Have you ever stopped to think about the action gymnastics mats see on an average day? Gymnastics mats are ripe for catching and holding onto bacteria. Sweat and moisture help spread bacteria, and when we don’t take the time to properly clean gymnastics mats, they are especially effective at spreading skin infections, germs and viruses. At Clear Gear, we know it isn’t always easy to keep gymnastics mats clean, let alone germ and odor free. As clean gear experts, we also know the risks gymnasts face if they encounter dirty gymnastics mats. That’s why we’ve compiled our instructions on how to clean gymnastics mats.
Why is it important to clean gymnastics mats? You’ve probably heard or read about recent outbreaks of superbugs like staph and MRSA happening in high school and college level sports teams. What you don’t hear about, however, is how disinfecting equipment, like gymnastics mats, could have prevented these diseases. When you fail to clean and disinfect gymnastics mats regularly, you risk becoming infected. This can lead to potentially dangerous conditions like staphylococcus, fungal infections like ringworm, and other unpleasant viral infections like herpes, warts, and the flu. Ringworm and plantar warts are particularly common among gymnasts — mats that haven’t been properly cleaned and maintained are often the primary cause.
One effective way to keep gymnastics mats more clean is to insist that gymnasts and athletes only walk on or use the mat with clean feet or wear protective socks until on the mat. Of course, this is just a small part of the solution, and does not prevent other bodily germs and bacteria from landing on the mat. You will still need to use an effective, regular cleaning protocol to keep gymnastics mats clean and to prevent illness among gymnasts.
How to Clean Interlocking Mats
Step One: Detach the mats.
Carefully detach the interlocking mats, one section at a time. This is important so that you don’t neglect to clean the nooks and crannies in between the interlock points. These are easy to ignore because they are not flat, but use caution here because it’s very easy to pick up and spread germs from here to other high traffic points on the mat.
Step Two: Lay each section flat.
Find a large area where you can spread the mats out and lay them on a flat surface so as not to cause deformation to the mat.
Step Three: Disinfect each section.
Using a disinfecting and deodorizing sports equipment spray, spray each interlocking mat section entirely, including the edges. Allow time to air dry. Once dry on one side, flip over and spray the other side.
Step Four: Clean the floor underneath.
While the mats are up, take time to sweep, clean, and disinfect the floor below. Follow the appropriate floor cleaning method using a disinfectant floor cleaner.
How to Clean One-Piece Gymnastics Mats
Step One: Vacuum any loose debris.
Step Two: Disinfect the mat.
If there is ample room or if the mat is overly large, you can disinfect the mat in place by spraying thoroughly with a disinfectant and deodorizing sports equipment spray. If the mat is smaller, you can roll it up and take it to a larger area or outside to spray. Clear Gear Spray offers a convenient gallon sized spray application, which works perfectly to disinfect and deodorize large areas. If the mat is smaller and you have room, spray and disinfect both sides. Allow the mat to dry thoroughly after spraying.
Step Three: Clean the floor underneath.
If you have removed the mats from the floor, take time to sweep, clean, and disinfect the floor below. Follow the appropriate floor cleaning method using a disinfectant floor cleaner.
The cleaning method we’ve described above should be done after each practice or meet. Maintaining a clean gymnastics mat is imperative. You should spray down the mat with a disinfecting and deodorizing sports equipment spray before and after each use use as well as in between each different athlete’s use.
Getting Back on the Mat
Gymnastics mats can quickly collect nasty germs and bacteria from sweat, and improper storage and cleaning. Without thorough cleaning and disinfecting, you can contract an annoying or dangerous illness like MRSA, staph, impetigo, the flu, or herpes. Clear Gear Spray is a disinfecting and deodorizing athletic gear and personal protective equipment spray that kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and gets rid of smelly odors. Deodorize and disinfect gymnastics mats and other gym equipment regularly with a quick spray of Clear Gear Spray to prevent odors and bacteria growth so gymnasts can stay healthy and in top shape for practices and competitions.