It’s no surprise that gyms can be a hive of bacteria.
With people constantly coming and going and sweating everywhere, it is important that gyms have a cleaning schedule to avoid infections.
Why it’s Important to Keep a Gym Clean
Providing a hygienic environment for your customers and staff can save you money, reduce sickness, and help you attract more customers.
If your gym is clean then there will be less infections, meaning less sickness absence amongst staff.
An outbreak of infections could damage your reputation and lead you to lose customers.
Gym-goers are more concerned than ever about hygiene since Covid-19, with 48% of exercisers listing “sanitation and cleanliness” as most important to them.
Showing that cleanliness is important to your business, could help you attract more customers and lead to higher profits.
Are Gyms Clean?
Over 70% of bacteria found on gym equipment is harmful to humans.
The average treadmill, exercise bike, and free weights have more than one million germs per square inch. Free weights had 362 times more germs than a toilet seat.
All three types of equipment were positive for gram-positive cocci, which can cause infections, and gram-negative rods, which are infections that can be resistant to antibiotics.
Exercise bikes and free weights also had Bacillus, a possible cause of infections such as ear, eye, and respiratory.
Gyms, however, were low spreaders of Covid. There was a small amount of members (0.0023%) who tested positive for Covid but there was no evidence they caught it from their gym.
An increase in using antecedent-based interventions, such as using signs or making cleaning supplies accessible, showed significant potential to positively impact health and safety.
What’s the Difference Between Disinfecting, Sanitising, and Sterilising?
While disinfecting, sanitising, and sterilising are all ways to kill germs, they do so to different standards.
When you disinfect a surface, it removes harmful organisms. It will kill most viruses and fungi and is effective against Covid when used properly.
It may not be able to remove bacterial spores and it needs to be done properly to work effectively.
Disinfecting removes harmful organisms by using chemicals. Disinfectants are available to the public in the form of disinfectant sprays, liquids, and wipes.
The disinfectant needs to be left on surfaces for up to 20 minutes to allow “kill time” and get rid of germs.
Sanitising removes dirt and kills germs, but it does not kill viruses. While it kills germs, it only removes them to a safe level, so it doesn’t completely get rid of them.
Hand sanitisers work by killing pathogens on our skin which is how it protects us from infections.
Sterilisation is the highest form of decontamination. Sterilisation is usually used in hospital settings or food establishments which need to have a high level of hygiene.
Sterilisation removes all microorganisms whether they are harmful or not. It is usually undertaken by those trained in doing so.
How do Gyms Maintain Cleanliness?
Gym Cleaning Policies
Some gyms have policies to ensure staff and customers know their obligations when it comes to cleaning.
Sports facilities may make it mandatory for you to wipe or clean the gym equipment after you use it.
Having a policy that states what cleaning should be done, when it should be done, how it should be done, and by whom, makes it easier to ensure your gym is kept consistently clean.
That way staff don’t think that another member has already done it and before you know it, it’s been longer than you realise since areas have been properly cleaned.
Having a policy can stop disagreements amongst staff about when cleaning was done. It can also stop an outbreak of infections at your sports facility which could damage your reputation.
Keep cleaning checklists and any training documentation, so you can check that cleaning is being done.
It also helps to keep documentation if someone claims they caught something at your gym or if you face any legal action as a result of this.
You need to implement a cleaning culture at your gym to ensure it is a priority for all staff.
The first thing you can do is ensure all your staff members are trained in health and safety and cleaning. Make sure they know why it’s so important to have a hygienic premises and show them how to use all of the cleaning products.
Create checklists that staff have to use to make them accountable for cleaning chores.
Customers also need to be aware of how to help keep your establishment clean. They should know how to report any repairs or spills, and if they are obligated to wipe down equipment after they use it.
While you may be reluctant to ask customers to do this; highlighting how important cleanliness is to your gym should only help you attract customers.
Especially since Covid, customers have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to hygiene.
Over half of respondents in a survey said they want venues to continue to have hygiene measures evident.
Signs have been proven to increase compliance. Signs asking customers to wipe down equipment after them, or hand washing signs above sinks could help to reduce infections at your gym.
Gym Cleaning Stations
Some gyms provide cleaning stations with disinfectant sprays and wipes. This can encourage both staff and customers to help with keeping your gym clean.
Antibacterial hand gel should still be supplied throughout your gym as 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by your hands.
Gym Cleaning Products
Choosing sustainable cleaning products are better, not just for the environment, but for your health.
Sustainable products don’t have any toxic chemicals which can cause respiratory issues. They’re also better value for money because they tend to last longer.
Your Gym Cleaning Checklist
Doing a quick clean on a daily basis will help keep your gym stay hygienic. You should also deep clean your gym occasionally.
Cleaning Gym Equipment
Asking customers to wipe down any gym equipment after they use it will keep it clean and save you from doing this as often.
This doesn’t have to mean leaving cleaning sprays and wipes for them to actually disinfect it. It can mean giving it a quick wipe down with a paper towel.
Cleaning a Gym Floor
Vacuum all surfaces before washing them to get rid of any debris then mop with disinfectant and water.
Some gyms will use cleaning machinery to do this, such as a steam cleaners or scrubber dryers. This way, if your gym is open twenty-four hours, it doesn’t leave areas out of bounds for long periods of time because they wash and dry simultaneously.
Cleaning Gym Mats
Gym mats are convenient for protecting your floor and providing a softer surface for doing exercise.
Wiping them down with antibacterial wipes is the quickest and easiest way to get rid of germs and leave them clean.
Cleaning Gym Showers
Using disinfectant spray on all surfaces should get rid of most bacteria.
If you find your shower heads or faucets are getting clogged or grimy, you can add some white vinegar to a sandwich bag and tie it round them overnight. The vinegar will help to get rid of any residue.
Getting Rid of Odours
Gyms can be smelly places, and no one likes to walk into a gym and be hit with the overwhelming smell of body odour.
To avoid smells lingering, you could use a steam cleaner which can be used on hard surfaces to get deep into them which removes odours.
You could also leave some cut up lemons in a bowl of hot water for a natural way to fragrance your gym.
White vinegar neutralises bad smells, so if there are any problem areas or spills then this is a good way to get rid of the smell quickly.
Gym Cleaning Services
If you’re struggling to keep your gym consistently clean, it could be worth considering hiring a cleaning service.
Hiring a cleaning service may seem like an added expense but it can save you money in the long term. It can save your customers and staff from getting sick, which can prevent costs from sickness absence.
It also looks good in the eyes of customers that you take cleaning seriously and could attract more patrons.
Keeping your gym clean is vital to prevent illnesses which could impact your bottom line.
Doing a little often in regard to cleaning can be easy to maintain and looks good for anyone entering your gym.