How to Clean Your Home Gym Equipment
The public gyms aren't the only ones full of germs. In this article, Doctors from around the world share how we can keep our homes free of nasty bacteria.
We all know that gyms are germ playgrounds. This is hardly surprising since there are so many different people using the equipment on a daily basis. That’s why, when gyms closed down in 2020, there was an explosion in the amount of people setting up a home gym.
The equipment they used varied from cardio equipment, free weights, resistance bands to full on gym racks that needed to be constructed before you could use them.
People who exercise on a regular basis usually don't spend much time cleaning up after themselves when exercising at home. That's why they should consider investing in some good quality cleaners that will make this tedious task easier and quicker.
Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus discusses the deadly risks of using at-home gyms unless they are cleaned correctly: "Of course there's a risk if you're sharing the gym with multiple people in your household, but even if you're the only person using your at-home gym that doesn't mean you aren’t bringing bacteria from external environments."
"Many individuals have an idea about what is clean or not," he explains to ABC News. He points out how easy it can be for someone to get sick when working out on equipment used by other members without any precautions of cleaning after use.
In the January 2019 BMC Infectious Diseases study, researchers took a total of 288 swabs from various surfaces at fitness facilities. The most contaminated areas were weight balls (63%), cable-driven curl bar/CrossFit box handles (63%), and weight plates on the ground floor or in racks near where people work out (~50%). Meanwhile, only 19% of bathroom levers contained bacteria - likely because they are constantly being touched by hands that may be cleaner than those touching other parts around workout stations.
Gyms are unique in that they not only have a high-touch environment but also tend to involve lots of deep, fast panting and the aerosolization of respiratory droplets.
Holly Danneman explains this as someone who is a family medicine specialist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Kentucky.
Between working out on cardio machines and grabbing dumbbells you will be spreading germs all over yourself when wiping your sweat from your face or breathing heavily onto machine displays. Germs are just waiting for any opportunity to enter into eyes or mouth according to Dr Gosenhauser.
If you think that your dirty dish rag is the only thing in your house full of bacteria, then think again.
Research shows that sponges and rags are typically the dirtiest items around a household with 75% testing positive for coliform bacteria which includes salmonella and E coli indicating possible fecal contamination! So when cleaning up don't forget to wash those kitchen sinks too.
Based on that, let me ask you the question? What are you using to wipe down your gym equipment?
Your New Home Gym Cleaning Routine
Gosenhauser is a huge believer in staying healthy and fit. His biggest tip for keeping exercise equipment clean is - Disinfecting after every use, including mats, weights, machines and anything else you come into contact with!
A gym should be a clean,safe and enjoyable place to work out. Try and get into the habit of wiping down anything that might have been contaminated with disinfectant spray or wipes, then every one-to-two weeks.
it’s a good idea to perform a deep clean where everything gets washed in soapy water before being wiped off again using an effective disinfecting solution. This way your workout routine can be both satisfying and healthy ensuring no germs are lingering around.
Popular cleaning materials include Clorox and Lysol, but it is important to note that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website provides a list of cleaning products which meet criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 virus.
To make an at home disinfectant, Gosenhauser recommends adding 1/4 cup bleach in one gallon of water. "Leave [the solution] wet on the surface for 30 seconds or more," he says; then wipe off any excess liquid with a paper towel before you're done wiping down your surfaces."
For a clean and healthy gym, be sure to thoroughly remove each cleaning product before applying another one. When using harsh disinfectants, it's important to wear a face mask and open the windows for better ventilation.
Special Considerations for Cleaning Gym Equipment
There are many things we do in the gym that can be hazardous to our health. Working out on equipment where someone else has sweated, for example is never a good idea because sweat glands contain E-coli and other bacteria which could lead to illness or infection if ingested into your mouth.
Regularly clean with antibacterial wipes!
Experts suggest wiping down machines after every use, cleaning weights before putting them away, washing hands before beginning exercises involving exercise mats (or anything touching mat surfaces), cleaning up spills immediately so they don't dry onto machine parts etc.
Dr. Danneman advises to thoroughly spray a mat with sanitising spray and allow it to dry before re-rolling the mat so that you have an adequately clean yoga surface area.
He recommends having at least two disinfectant wipes handy just in case there are any germs left behind on the floor.
Yoga Mat: During deeper cleanings, try placing your yoga mat at the bottom of your bathtub where you can get into every crevice that may have collected dirt or bacteria - even if not visible on the surface.
Once you’ve finished cleaning use any type of brush available (even just hand soap), gently wipe off what was left onto its non textured side before laying flat in order dry for 24 hours; this will allow any remaining liquid from previous soapy water solutions to evaporate out while drying instead.
Foam Roller: are an excellent way for people to help alleviate their muscle soreness and stiffness after a strenuous workout.
Wiping them down just like the yoga mat is really important. But, submerging them in water isn’t usually a viable option since they can retain moisture. The last thing you want is bacteria growing inside your roller!
When you've been using your foam roller for long enough, it may start to wear down or become discolored. When this happens, the surface still feels slippery to the touch even after disinfecting.
In most cases we recommend buying an entirely new foam roller since they tend not have porous surfaces and they’re not that expensive to replace.
Hand weights: are often used by people who are looking to train their upper body, and they come in various shapes and sizes. The surface of these hand-weights is typically textured with grippy ridges that can trap dirt or grime from your hands easily.
Gosenhauser says spraying disinfectant down into the tiny cracks on the top should do a great job at cleaning out any germs left over after usage—if not then scrubbing it lightly with soap water will dislodge anything like dead skin cells stuck inside those tight crevices too!
Resistance Bands and Suspension Trainers
Resistance Bands and Suspension Trainers: are not easy to clean, but it’s essential for the health of your hands. The handles can be cleaned in a bucket with soap and water every day If you don't use them very often.
For deep cleaning, though (which we recommend), submerge all parts into warm soapy water then scrub away any grime that has accumulated over time using an abrasive pad or cloth before dry thoroughly again as this will help kill bacteria.
The surfaces on cardio equipment can be rough enough that it could leave skin irritated, so we always recommend wearing gloves while exercising with them.
They also don't really stay clean because their screens often get stained from sweat or water droplets - but there's one easy way to keep your machine in tip top shape: just wipe down any residue around buttons and handlebars after each use for better hygiene.
Wiping the screen and handles with a disinfectant after every use will keep your machine germ-free. The pedals or treads should also be cleaned periodically because they too can harbour germs.
If you accidentally wear your street trainers onto a yoga mat, make sure to give any contact points an extra wipe down.
While it might seem unlikely that the shoes can carry germs from outside of the gym with them, they are much more likely than not to introduce some form of bacteria into your workout equipment and space.
Dr. Danneman claims that the main concern is bacteria within fibers of dirty, sweaty clothing. “Wash clothes after every use, no matter how 'not sweaty' you think you got.”
After examining soiled fabrics for a majority of her career Dr. Danneman has seen more than just some grime and sweat stains in these materials, but also an exponential growth from harmful microbes which can lead to various skin diseases such as folliculitis or dermatitis.
One of the main recommendations to prevent infection is to wash or sanitise your hands before getting a drink from a water bottle.
A 2018 Journal study published in August identified significant bacteria contamination in 83 percent of exercisers’ reusable shaker bottles, which can lead to infections like salmonella and E coli.
One hundred eighty-three people took part in this research by voluntarily submitting their own shaker bottle for examination - some used reusable containers while others did not.
Those who had previously washed them found that about 82% were contaminated with various types of bacteria at levels so high they could cause health risks especially if consumed regularly without washing it between uses.
It doesn’t matter if only a few members use certain machines or weights. All it takes is one sick member to make the whole gym dirty with their germs and bacteria, making all equipment unusable by other people who do care about hygiene.
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