If you’re an avid gym goer, then you’re very familiar with one of the most important gym rules: sanitize the equipment. But like all the other rules in life, there are some people who believe the rules don’t apply. Like the guy who sweats buckets during his 5-mile treadmill stint and then nonchalantly walks away without wiping down the machine. He’s one of the reasons why treadmills harbor 74 times more bacteria than a water faucet.
Maybe you’re a gym user who cringes at the people who don’t clean their machines. Or maybe you’re the person who thinks wiping down the equipment isn’t truly necessary. We’re here to tell you that it does matter. Despite the fact that it’s a rule, there are real reasons why you should absolutely wipe down gym equipment before and after each use.
Gym Equipment Carries Serious Germs
Serious germs can lead to serious, or at the very least annoying, infections. Some of the worst contenders include Human Papillomavirus (HPV), community-acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella, and Influenza. While the machines are great for passing along contaminations, equipment with porous materials (yoga mats and other padding) carry even more risks. Bacteria literally thrives on soft, spongy materials, especially when it’s damp from sweat. Since most equipment and surfaces at the gym are shared, you’re susceptible to germs nearly everywhere. Free weights, for example, carry 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Athletes Are at a Higher Risk
It’s common knowledge that athletic teams, from hockey players to swimmers, spend a significant amount of their training inside gyms. Because of this and other reasons— athletes are at a much higher risk for contracting infections. Many of the infections, bacteria, and germs athletes are susceptible to come from their continued shared use of gym showers, locker rooms, saunas or steam rooms, equipment – and even a towel and razor used by two different people. Aside from the aforementioned common gym germs, athletes are especially prone to Escherichia Coli (E. coli), Candida, and Streptococcal bacteria (strep throat).
You Can Prevent Illness Before it Begins
Here’s a fun fact: A recent study found that 10% of gym equipment had staph bacteria on it before it was cleaned at the end of the day. Yikes. The good news about this statistic is that it’s great reason to always wipe down the equipment before and after each use. After all, you have no idea what kind of germs or infections the person who used the leg press machine before you is carrying. Disinfecting the gym equipment before you begin to work out is a simple and smart way to protect yourself and others, as prevention is the key to avoiding illness and infection.
How to Disinfect at the Gym
Just as important as understanding why you need to disinfect gym equipment is knowing how to do it. Disinfecting wipes are commonly offered at fitness facilities as a way to clean the equipment, but they aren’t the best choice since they don’t thoroughly disinfect. Ideally, your gym will offer an effective disinfecting and deodorizing spray for your use (and hopefully they’re using it throughout the gym after hours, too!). Clear Gear Spray is an EPA-registered disinfecting and deodorizing sports gear and equipment spray that kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Clear Gear Spray cleans in one easy step and is safe to use on all kinds of equipment. Plus, it contains a light scent, which means it won’t leave noxious fumes around the gym when you’re trying to work out. Clear Gear Spray can be purchased in smaller sized bottles, which is perfect for throwing in your gym bag and using as you go.