How to effectively clean your fitness center

The hard truth: Fear of coronavirus may be keeping your gym members at a distance. While it's true that the more a barbell or set of weights is used and touched, its chances of spreading germs and viruses increases, it doesn't mean you and your members aren't safe to exercise.

Properly cleaning throughout the day, especially in high traffic areas and during peak hours, may lower the risk of gym members picking up coronavirus, according to the latest recommendations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued enhanced cleaning guidelines, so read up on the latest recommendations to ensure you’re properly disinfecting all surfaces, equipment, and electronic screens. And let your members know the steps you're taking to keep them safe. Communication is key in an otherwise confusing time.

Cleaning guidelines for surfaces

Follow these CDC guidelines to ensure that your equipment and other surfaces are as clean as possible.

  • Clean frequently. Cleaning and disinfection activities are recommended to occur after each busy hour in the facility, a minimum of three times per day — morning, midday, and evening. All cleaning activities should be logged in your organization’s equipment cleaning schedules, including the details of the product being used (name, concentration, etc.).
  • Wear gloves. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. Reusable gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and shouldn’t be used for other purposes.
  • Wash your hands. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • Pre-clean dirty surfaces. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Disinfect with alcohol. For disinfection, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries, is available on their website. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method, and contact time, etc.).
  • Remove visible contamination. For soft (porous) surfaces, such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination, if present, and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning, launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (see list) that are suitable for porous surfaces.

Recommended disinfection products for fitness center

The CDC recommends using Purell and Oxivir for fitness center disinfection. Here’s a bit about each.

  • Purell health care surface disinfectant: This broad-spectrum, one-step surface disinfectant and cleaner helps maintain a sanitary health care environment. It’s great for use in common areas, hallways, and workspaces, and it doesn’t need to be rinsed when used on food contact surfaces. Learn more about this product.
  • Oxivir: This hospital-grade disinfectant is formulated with accelerated hydrogen peroxide technology to deliver fast-acting, broad-spectrum disinfection with enhanced cleaning power. It can be used to disinfect hard surfaces or soft surfaces, such as carpets, cushions, and curtains. Learn more about this product and check out the user guide.

Cleaning guidelines for electronic equipment

The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting electronics (e.g., laptops, tablets, keyboards, phones, peripherals) routinely using products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. Consult with the manufacturer about guidance on products appropriate for disinfecting devices and touch screens, and consider additional use of wipeable covers for machines, if possible.

If no guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to clean device buttons and touch screens. Use of alcohol-based products may reduce risk of damage to sensitive components.

About the Author

Catherine Conelly

Catherine Conelly is a California-based health, fitness, and lifestyle writer.

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