New Year, New You craze swept the world once again. With everyone packing up their gear and heading into their local gym or fitness center, a concern that not enough people take into consideration is the cleanliness of an establishment. It might look clean, but the BIOClean Team knows that looks can be deceiving when it comes to biohazards. This time on the blog, is your gym really sanitary?
Here’s the bad news: there are no standards of cleanliness that all gyms need to meet, no federal codes. If the gym has a sauna, spa, or any sort of cafe, those individual places may have specific inspection guidelines to adhere to but the rest of the space? The machines, free weights, mats, and floors? All of that is up to the diligence of the individual gym and their clients and employees to maintain. There’s a reason gyms frequently have signs asking their members to ‘Wipe down gym equipment after use.’ For many gyms, it seems impossible (or perhaps an afterthought) to call in a committed cleaning crew after the morning or evening rushes.
Where are the ‘Hot Zones’?
Here are the main areas of concern when it comes to a sanitary gym, and how gym-goers can protect their health!
Mats are covered in bacteria from those who use them. They can cause skin infections like athlete’s foot, or the germs to spread the cold and flu. The only way to be sure you’re staying safe here is to bring your own mat and clean it after each use.
Free Weights / Weight Machines
Weights get a lot of handling and are not nearly as frequently wiped down as their cardio equipment counterparts. To keep yourself from contracting any bugs or viruses, wipe down the weights before and after you use them. If your gym doesn’t have a station for disinfectant spray and clothes (a bad sign!), carry your own antibacterial gel for your hands.
Locker rooms tend to be hot and humid places, making them the perfect breeding ground for infectious materials. Always wear flip flops in the showers, and never sit on the bench unclothed or without a barrier between your skin and the surface.
Speaking of the shower, if possible just shower right when you get home. The gym shower surface is home to fungi and other infectious organisms that cause ringworm, warts, and athlete’s foot. If you must use the gym showers, use an antimicrobial soap and avoid shaving (that’s a surefire way to expose yourself to infections).
Towels may look clean but there are plenty of potential worries here. The towels might be washed in the same machines as mops and other rags. The clean towels may be transported in the same bins that move dirty towels. The only way to be certain you have a clean towel is to bring your own.
Still looking for the right gym to join? When being given the tour speak to the gym staff, ask if they get they monitor their air quality, what their cleaning process and schedule is like. Ask how they handle infection control. They should have an answer for it. Look for DIY cleaning stations and cleaning staffs presence. If either aren’t easily visible, this gym might not be as clean as you hope.
New Year, New You but stay healthy while you are at it! Here at the BIOClean Team we are fighting biohazards wherever they crop up – and that includes gyms! That’s why we partner with gyms to provide the regular heavy duty cleaning services they need. People want to be healthier than ever, not fall ill with infected feet.