Gyms across the world are preparing to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Formerly, gyms were places entrusted by their patrons to make them fit and healthy, but now gyms could be a potential hotbed for the coronavirus and many other germs.
Germs thrive in the warm, sweaty atmospheres provided by gyms. This, alongside the presence of shared equipment that sees frequent use makes for the perfect atmosphere for germs not only to spread, but to survive. Coronavirus itself can live for up to three days on a surface if it is not cleaned properly.
Previous cleaning schedules and hygiene products probably won’t do the trick anymore. If you are a gym owner, there are certain precautions you will now have to put in place in order to keep your staff and members safe. Cleaning schedules will need to become more rigorous, and it is important to know exactly what to do to prevent the spread of germs throughout your business.
We’re here to give you all the information you need to keep a clean, safe, and healthy environment in your gym, as well a free cleaning schedule template to make it easier to plan for the future.
Where Are Germs Lurking in Gyms?
Germs can essentially lurk anywhere in gyms. It is critical to keep every area as clean as possible, with a specific focus on the highly traffic touchpoints throughout (door handles, equipment etc). There’s a lot more to keeping a gym clean than removing smells and visible dirt, and particular attention must be paid to areas that are harder to reach.
A study by Fitrated discovered that gym goers get a lot more than they bargain for on their workout. Having gathered bacteria samples from 27 different pieces of gym equipment, Fitrated found that each piece of equipment is teeming with more than one million germs per square inch.
The next time you reach for a dumbbell or swipe the screen on your treadmill, here’s the number of bacteria you could be getting up close and personal with:
- Treadmill = 74 times more bacteria than a public bathroom tap
- Free weights = 362 times more germs than a toilet seat
- Exercise bike = 39 times more germs than a tray from a school canteen
This study was performed before the spread of COVID-19, so when you add new and highly contagious bacteria into the mix, you can only imagine how dirty a gym can really be.
How to reduce the spread of germs in a gym
With so much bacteria around us, it seems near to impossible to keep ourselves safe in a gym. It’s important to implement a thorough and frequent cleaning schedule, and to know which products will work best.
It’s important to be clear on the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning alone won’t be enough to limit the spread of any germs and bacteria in your gym, so you have to perform both actions.
Cleaning will remove germs, dirt and impurities from a surface or object. It works by using soap or detergent, alongside water, to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process won’t necessarily kill the germs, but by removing them it will lower their numbers and the risk of spreading any infections.
Disinfecting will kill the germs on surfaces. It works by using chemicals to eliminate germs on surfaces or objects. This process won’t always leave a surface physically clean, nor will it physically remove the germs present. It will simply kill them in order to lower the risk of spreading infection. This is why both cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is a necessary part of reducing the spread of germs.
Another precaution that should be taken is sanitisation. This will lower the number of germs on a surface or object to a safe level. Using hand sanitiser, for example, will reduce the number of germs on the hands, by extension limiting the number that will then transfer to any equipment or touchpoints they come into contact with. It might be an idea in these uncertain times to introduce set cleaning times throughout your working day. You could inform any members that between certain hours across the day, the gym will have to be emptied and cleaned thoroughly. You could then arrange a system of work-out slots, so that you have time to clean the gym without anything getting in your way. This will allow you to reduce the level of germs in the gym and also maintain this standard of cleanliness throughout the day, keeping yourself and your customers as safe as possible
Essential gym cleaning products
A hand sanitiser system is a must have item. To further reduce touchpoints, a touch free dispenser such as Deb’s InstantFOAM TouchFREE dispenser is an efficient choice working in sync with the Deb InstantFOAM Complete Hand Sanitiser. Available in black and chrome, it’s perfect for a gym that favours design as well as hygiene. Simply hold your hand under the dispenser to activate – it’s that easy!
Wet wipes such as Cleanline Sanisafe Disinfectant Wipes are ideal for a quick and easy way to decontaminate all smooth surfaces, and should be made easily accessible throughout the gym. Ideal for disinfecting and cleaning equipment such as running machines, weights, bikes and rowing machines. For more wet wipe options, you can browse our selection.
Disinfectant sprays and paper towels
An unspoken rule in gyms has always been to wipe down any equipment after you’ve used it, to remove any sweat that may have gathered. However, just wiping down the equipment with a towel isn’t really enough anymore. Alongside wet wipes, disinfectant sprays and paper towels should be made available to all gym patrons to use throughout their workout.
This Cleanline Ultra Disinfectant can be purchased both as a spray bottle and a whopping five-litre container, allowing you to keep your sprays topped up whilst reducing plastic waste. These sprays alongside simple Gold Std Mini Paper Towel rolls can be stocked at every workout station, in full sight of any gym member so they can sanitise their equipment before and after each use. However, be sure to remember that customer cleaning won’t be enough, and full staff cleaning schedules still need to be adhered to throughout the day.
We all know that gyms can sometimes smell unpleasant, so it’s vital to consider air care options to make it a welcoming environment for customers. System air care systems are convenient, intuitive systems which release fragrance to suit the needs of their environment. You can find out more about air care options in our blog post, “Air Care Trends: Freshening Up for Spring. Additionally, if you’d like to find out about fragrance families, “Make Your Washroom Wonderful with Harmonising Fragrances”, is a must read.
Additionally, it is also crucial to acknowledge the importance of proper ventilation in close spaces. Allowing air to pass through a space properly and frequently can limit the spread of coronavirus, so whilst smells are important, you need to make sure that any doors or windows that can be left open always are.
Hand and body wash
To ensure that hands can be washed thoroughly, hand wash should always be made available and restocked where necessary in washrooms. Multi-purpose options are available, combining both hand and body wash which is perfect for shower rooms. Pristine’s Coconut Luxury Hand and Body Wash, offers a refreshing and delicious scent of coconut, moisturising and cleansing when applied to damp skin.
For bathrooms alone, be sure to have an antibacterial hand wash, such as this Pristine Antibacterial Foam Soap. You should also consider putting up signs around hand-wash areas showing proper cleaning methods and that hands need to be washed for 20 seconds at a time.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Cleaning and Supplies Schedule for Gyms
If you run a gym and want to make infection control a key priority, download our FREE cleaning schedule and supply template for gyms. In doing so, you’ll be ‘lifting’ your way to a clean and organised gym!