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Stay fit, stay healthy: cleaning tips for community gyms

It’s no surprise that communal gyms can quickly become a health risk if not correctly cared for and cleaned. Keeping an apartment or townhouse complex community gym clean requires more than just a few wipes from a rag or a quick sweep of a vacuum. A study done by Environ Health found that the surfaces of treadmills, weight machines, and other standard gym equipment are teeming with bacteria and other infectious germs.

If you were asked where you most likely are to find contagious agents such as staphylococcus, MRSA, or salmonella, you would probably think of public bathrooms or hospitals. You may be surprised to learn that gyms are at almost equal risk of transmitting these types of infectious viruses and bacteria.

Here’s how to lower the risk of your apartment or community gym becoming a breeding ground for bacteria or a hot spot for virus transmission:

Encourage patrons and staff to wipe down equipment regularly

Setting up disinfecting wipe stations in multiple areas of the gym will make it easy for exercisers to easily and effectively wipe down the equipment once they are finished using it. Do not rely on patrons alone to care for equipment. Routinely clean and disinfect all machines, yoga mats, free weights, and high touch surfaces with a high-quality chemical solution to ensure viruses and bacteria are wiped out and prevented from spreading.

Dispose of garbage frequently

If disinfecting wipes are used frequently, you need to have a place where they can be thrown out. Adding garbage cans around the gym will prevent people from simply throwing used wipes on the floor. When choosing a garbage can, consider getting one that has a top that can close, so any germs remain contained and don’t escape into the gym.

Keep floors clean

Whether your gym has carpet, hardwood, or rubber tiles, you want to make sure your floors stay clean. Each type of flooring will need its own unique maintenance. If your gym has carpet, make sure to vacuum it frequently, spray with a disinfectant, and clean with an industrial-strength carpet wash regularly. For hardwood, tile, or rubber floors, a cleaning agent that sanitizes and disinfects should be used daily.

A combination UVC/HEPA air filter will help eliminate airborne pathogens

When people work out, they naturally breathe heavier. This can increase the risk of airborne germ spread if proper ventilation is not utilized. Investing in an air disinfecting unit can help give your HVAC system a boost by pulling air into the appliance, pushing it through a high-grade HEPA filter, and then passing it through a UVC lit internal chamber to kill any remaining pathogens.

Provide clean towels and encourage proper towel hygiene

Towels help people remain hygienic in the gym. However, if your guests are to use towels, they must be clean. Providing towels for use can ensure that clean towels are always used by gym-goers. A plan to collect soiled towels and promptly wash them with a quality detergent must be implemented.

Provide hand sanitizer and encourage handwashing with posted signage

This final tip is a no-brainer, yet some people still need a reminder even in these difficult times. Encourage patrons to wash their hands before and after exercise with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. It is also a good idea to set up a hand sanitizing station at the gym's entrance to encourage people to use it as soon as they step foot indoors.

Using the proper cleaning products, sticking to a diligent cleaning schedule, and providing towels, soap, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer to patrons, will help keep everyone who uses your community gym healthy and active.