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You need to clean and sanitize your home gym -- here's how
Your home gym equipment is dirtier than you think.
Alina BradfordCNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Do you clean your home gym? I'm guessing if you do, it's probably not enough. There could be germs lurking on your weights, machines and mats that can give off foul odors or make you sick. Here's why you should keep your home gym equipment clean and how to clean your fitness equipment.
The importance of cleaning your home gym
It may seem silly to clean your own gym equipment because you, and the people you live with, are the only ones that touch it. Even if you're not sharing your equipment with a stranger's germs, it's still important to clean.
Say one day you somehow got Staphylococcus aureus on your hands while you were on the subway home. Then, you hopped on the treadmill for a quick workout without washing your hands. That bacteria on your hands is responsible for staph infections and now it's on your treadmill handles and buttons.
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Guess what? That bacteria can live there happily for three days, spreading to everyone else who uses your treadmill, and back to yourself during later workouts.
This isn't the only bacteria that lives on your home gym equipment either, so it makes sense that you need to not only clean your equipment, but sanitize it. What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing home gym equipment? Sanitizing kills bacteria that can make you sick while cleaning just removes surface dirt.
What supplies do you need for sanitizing fitness equipment?
Many people make their own cleaning solutions from vinegar or bleach to clean their gym equipment. Don't do that. Rubber floors, rubber handles, wood floors, resistance bands and other fitness items can be damaged by these DIY cleaners.
Instead, go with disinfectant wipes that are made specifically for gym equipment like Zogics gym wipes or Scrubs Gym Equipment Cleaning Wipes. These wipes will clean up most things, but you may need some other cleaning items, depending on what's in your gym. I'll cover those, below.
How to clean your home gym
Cleaning your home gym isn't too difficult, but there are several different surfaces you need to pay attention to. Here's each area and how to clean it.
One place people overlook when cleaning their home gyms is their flooring. You get down there to stretch, do sit-ups or do yoga, so it should be clean, too. The cleaning you do depends on the type of floor.
Wood floors are tricky surfaces to clean. There's a lot of argument online over what you can use to safely disinfect wood floors without damaging them. Skip the home remedies you may find on the internet and go with a disinfectant cleanser specifically made for hardwood floors and follow the directions closely.
Mats and rubber flooring are much easier to keep clean. With mats, you can just wipe them down with a disinfectant cloth and then let them dry after each use.
For rubber flooring, each day, sweep away any dust or lint using a vacuum. Then, mop it with a gallon of warm water and a couple of drops of mild dish soap. Avoid harsh chemicals and vinegar because they can cause the rubber to deteriorate.
Once a month or so, you may want to do a deep cleaning on your rubber floors. Mop them like usual and let the floor soak in the soapy water for around 10 minutes before going over it with a wet-vac full of clean water.
Treadmills, ellipticals and other machines
With machines, first and foremost, unplug them before doing any cleaning. Then, wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes. Be sure to get in the nooks and crannies around handles and seat seams. Then, let the machine dry.
It's best to wipe down your machine equipment every day after a workout.
Free weights and benches
To sanitize free weights and benches, simply wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe after you use them or spray them with a disinfectant like Lysol. Make sure they completely dry before using them again since the cleanser needs time to kill the bacteria, plus they'll be a little slippery.
Resistance bands are a little more difficult to clean because they are floppy and stretchy. To make matters worse, most cleaning solutions can deteriorate the material.
The best you can do is dip your bands into warm water with a couple drops of mild dish soap mixed in after your workout. Swish the bands around for a few seconds, then rinse them with warm water and let the bands air dry. Don't put them in the sun to dry because sunlight can deteriorate the material, as well.
If you use your bands in the pool, make sure to rinse the chlorinated water off right away to avoid it eating away at the band.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.