Whether you work out at home because of convenience or cost, or your gym was closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an added benefit you may not have considered: fewer germs. And when we say fewer, we mean way fewer, because gyms and yoga studios are overrun with bacteria and other unhealthy germs. Or at least they were, pre-pandemic. Recently, there has been more awareness on the importance of how to clean gym equipment the right way.

But not so for your home gym, right? Maybe.

Even if you wipe down your workout equipment after every use with sanitizing wipes, it may still not be enough to prevent the spread of germs. Think about it. How easy would it be to get germs on your hands while taking public transportation or shopping, and then transferring those germs to your home gym when you work out? Then that bacteria gets transferred to your treadmill, the sink when you get some water, and the bathroom when you take a break. See where this is headed?

The above scenario only takes into account the germs you spread, so if other family members use your home gym, the risk of germs increases dramatically. If you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, then keep your home gym clean and disinfected. Wash your hands before working out and get in the habit of wiping down gym equipment every time it’s used.

From cleaning weights to disinfecting yoga mats, we’ve put together the best tips for how to clean gym equipment in your home to prevent the spread of germs. Your home gym equipment will be more presentable and you’ll enjoy a healthier workout environment—let’s get started!

How to Clean Dumbbells and Weights

Dumbbells, weights, and weight bars are repeatedly exposed to perspiration, germs, and dirt.If you don’t keep them clean and sanitized, they can harbor bacteria that can spread in a vicious cycle, creating an unhealthy environment. If you want to get the greatest health benefits from lifting, you must reduce the level of germs and other pollutants on your weights.

Here’s how to keep your weights, dumbbells, and weight bars clean, sanitized, and in good shape:

  • Mix two drops of dish soap with two quarts of water.
  • Wash the weights or bars with the soapy water and a microfiber cloth.
  • For knurled handles, use a nylon brush to get into the grooves.
  • Wipe away the soap residue with a fresh, damp cloth.
  • Dry iron weights right after cleaning to prevent rust.

If your weights and dumbbells have enamel paint or a rubber coating, avoid alcohol-based cleaners or window cleaners, because they can damage the protective cover.

To sanitize weight benches, bars, and weights, wipe them down before and after each use with a disinfectant wipe. If you don’t want to use a commercial disinfectant, you can sanitize workout equipment with vodka, rubbing alcohol, or distilled white vinegar. Most commercial or DIY sanitizers won’t hurt the finish on workout equipment because they evaporate so quickly.

How to Clean Gym Mats and Other Gym Equipment

Home gym equipment like elliptical machines, exercise bands, and yoga mats get just as dirty and germ-ridden as weights and barbells—maybe even more so. All that sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria have to go somewhere, and that usually means onto the equipment and floors where we’re exercising. The bacteria and fungi that cause staph infections, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and other unhealthy stuff grow on damp, germy surfaces, especially yoga and floor mats.

Whether you use rubber mats under your exercise equipment or work out with a yoga mat, it’s important to keep these parts of your home gym clean and sanitized. Even if your treadmill and dumbbells are clean and disinfected, all those germs beneath your feet are getting spread around with every lunge and downward dog. Here’s how to keep your gym equipment and your workout area clean and sanitary, starting with your yoga mat.

Yoga Mats and Floor Mats

Yoga mats and rubber exercise mats get bombarded with dirt, perspiration, and germs from the top and the bottom. All the bacteria and grime from the floor gets rubbed into the yoga mat on the bottom, and your sweat and body oils soil the top. Hopefully, you at least disinfect your yoga mat after you use it, but even that isn’t enough to keep it clean and germ-free.

A popular and natural disinfectant commonly used by yogis is a gym cleaning solution made with one part distilled water, one part distilled white vinegar, and a few drops of tea tree oil. One hundred percent tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, while distilled white vinegar is a natural cleaner, disinfectant, and deodorizer. Distilled water is used because the minerals and deposits from tap water can break down the foam and rubber in yoga and floor mats.

Here’s how to clean gym mats and yoga mats to keep them healthy and in good shape:

  • If the mats are really dirty, you can use some dish soap and water to clean them before you disinfect them.
  • After each use, spray your tea tree oil and vinegar gym cleaning solution on your yoga and exercise mats.
  • Let the disinfectant sit for about a minute to get rid of all the germs.
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the mats down.
  • Hang the mats and let them air dry before you put them back.

Give your yoga and other exercise mats a good cleaning at least monthly. The cleaning and disinfecting process for yoga mats will work just as well with weight benches, exercise machine seats, and other home gym equipment, too. Just be careful around electronics and don’t leave the disinfecting solution on plastics too long. Don’t forget to vacuum, sweep, and clean the floors beneath your mats and gym equipment at least weekly.

Treadmills, Ellipticals, and Other Home Gym Equipment

Home gym equipment like treadmills and ellipticals are typically electronic, and may be metal or plastic. As long as you’re careful around the electrical components, you can use soap and water to clean most equipment. Here’s how to clean and disinfect your exercise machines:

  • Unplug your electronic workout equipment before you clean it.
  • Use dish soap and water to clean handles, foot cradles, and other non-electric parts first.
  • Wipe off the soapy residue with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Dampen your cleaning cloth with soap water and wring it out to clean around the electronics and wipe off the residue.
  • After each use, wipe down your exercise machines with a damp cloth.
  • Disinfect the gym equipment with sanitizer, being careful not to get the electronics too wet.

Don’t forget jump ropes, exercise bands, and other small home gym equipment. Smaller workout gear can usually be washed in the sink with soap and water if they get too dirty. Always disinfect the handles on jump ropes after each use and any areas your hands touch on other equipment.

Learning how to clean gym equipment the right way and disinfecting it after each use is the best way to keep your home gym a pleasant and healthy place to work out. Keep clean microfiber towels and a bottle of disinfectant in your gym area so you can sanitize everything after each workout. Keep your equipment clean and wash your hands before and after working out to minimize the spread of bacteria.

If you want to learn more about how to enjoy a cleaner, healthier home, check out our extensive library of professional cleaning and disinfecting guides. Whether you clean and sanitize yourself or let The Maids take care of it with one of our popular cleaning services, we want every family to enjoy a cleaner home more often. Get your free estimate today and find out about affordable and flexible services customized for your home.

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