If you’ve visited a gym, you’ve noticed the signs reminding you to clean the equipment after every use. You’ve seen antibacterial wipes around the gym and hand sanitizer at every corner. But, what about your own personal fitness equipment? Do you really need to clean the equipment when you or your family are the only one using it? The answer is absolutely yes, you do!
Even if you are the only one using your personal home fitness equipment, cleaning your machines and equipment is a necessity. Your health, and the health of your equipment depend on it!
Can you guess the age of this treadmill? See the end of the article for the answer and how to prevent this from happending to your equipment.
The first, and most obvious, reason you need to clean your home fitness equipment is bacteria and health issues. The sweaty, damp, and warm conditions that surround your equipment, especially at home without commercial air systems and filters, are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria such as E. coli, staphylococcus aureus (staph), bacillus, and streptococcal bacteria. When spread, these bacteria can cause countless sorts of illnesses and infections.
Even when you’re the only person using it, the bacteria from the outside world gathers and grows on your home fitness equipment. You know that as you go about your day, you are accumulating germs everywhere you go. They live on your body throughout the day and are transferred to your equipment every time you work out. Bacteria love exercise machines, and without proper cleaning, your fitness equipment will become a perfect home for bacterial invaders.
You’ve spent a lot of your hard-earned money on building your personal gym and therefore, you should take care of it and ensure the equipment lasts as long as possible. Quality exercise equipment that is used regularly should last many years. However, equipment that is not properly cleaned and maintained could fall far short of this lifespan.
Did you know that the National Institutes of Health say that an average adult can produce up to a quart of sweat per day? Have you ever tasted sweat? What’s the overwhelmingly noticeable ingredient in sweat? That’s right, salt. Human sweat contains a very high amount of salt and minerals which quickly become corrosive. If this sweat accumulates on home fitness equipment, it becomes extremely damaging and can cause the machine to erode and malfunction. Our sweat is comprised of water, salts, and acids that are extremely corrosive. Therefore, sweat can cause rust that damages the metal components of your exercise machines over time. Sweat is also known to be a factor that contributes to overall machine deterioration, which causes equipment to vibrate during workouts and breakdown earlier than expected.
Most fitness equipment comes with a heart rate monitor to help you track your heart rate and level of activity. Heart rate monitors work through pulse sensors that are usually found in an area that you frequently hold while exercising. These sensors interpret the signals from your skin to give you an accurate approximation of your heart rate. Any interference in this signal can cause your heart rate monitor to malfunction. Without regular cleaning, the oils and dirt on your hand will build up and interfere with your equipment’s ability to give accurate heart rate readings. You should always clean these sensors as part of your cleaning routine to rid them of unnecessary dirt, oils, and bacteria.
If you’ve bought quality equipment, with a good warranty, you may think that you don’t need to worry about long term functionality of your equipment. However, failure to properly clean and maintain your equipment will void your warranty.
Dust is another major killer of fitness equipment. People are unaware of the high amount of dust that can become trapped in your equipment and affect its performance. Most people think their equipment won’t get dusty if it’s used regularly. This is completely untrue! The more you use your equipment, the more dust can become a problem. As a machine is used, it will suck dust and debris into the equipment. Since many parts of your machines are constantly moving, they require lubrication. Dust counteracts this lubrication and can cause parts to fail. Dust can also get into the electronics of the machine and cause it to short out and burn, or lock up.
The sweat and dust that accumulate on gym equipment is extremely damaging, and easily avoided! Higher quality equipment with strong clear coatings are less prone to rust, and a regular cleaning routine can be easily incorporated into your workout routine.
Exactly how should you clean your equipment?
Keep in mind that the easiest way to learn how to properly clean your fitness equipment is to simply ask your G&G Fitness Equipment consultant to demonstrate! You can always call your local G&G Fitness Equipment store and ask for help with this, or any other equipment questions/concerns.
To prevent any one of the issues we mentioned above, it is important that you clean your machine regularly and thoroughly. You should begin by wiping down the entire surface of your equipment after each use with a wet wipe. All G&G Fitness Equipment stores carry wipes designed specifically for home fitness equipment. Make sure you get into the creases of your machines and be sure to allow time for it to dry.
You should do a deep wash of your equipment weekly or bi-weekly, depending on usage. If you live in a more humid climate, you may want to clean your equipment more often. However, you need to be sure that you are using the right products. Avoid using any chemicals that are not designed for your equipment, as they can cause premature degradation of your machine, and always avoid bleach and peroxide as they are caustic and can rub off the machine and onto your skin, causing rashes and irritation.
And don’t forget to vacuum and dust the area around your equipment. This will prevent excess dirt from being reintroduced to your cleaned workout machine.
The pictures above are from a treadmill purchased in early 2015, making it less than three years old! As you'll see, the sweat damage here is severe - it even ate through the coating on the speakers and began rusting them. This treadmill is now experiencing problems with its buttons working, and the manufacturer has (justifiably) turned down the warranty replacement, as the machine was not properly maintained and the failure was from corrosion, not manufacturer defect. Non-alcohol and non-acid based cleaners, such as the ones in our Athletix wipes, would have kept this from happening if they had been used regularly.
If you’re ever in doubt, contact your local G&G Fitness Equipment Consultant. We're happy to help you to protect your investment with regular cleaning and maintenance.