You want to keep your home gym in tip top shape. Cleaning is the most important preventative maintenance you can do to keep your equipment in good shape and your gym hygienic and comfortable. But what do you have to clean and how? Let’s find out.
A home gym should be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria and mold to grow as well as prolong the lifespan of the equipment. Wipe down all contact surfaces after every use and clean all the equipment and flooring weekly. Shrouds should sometimes be removed to clean behind.
Below we’ll go into what you need, why you need it and what to clean in your home gym exactly. There are some things you should be careful off not to damage your equipment or flooring.
What do you need to clean your home gym?
Before we get started with the why, what and how to clean your home gym, let’s see what you need. Most things are simple cleaning supplies you likely already have at home. There are one or two items that are a little less common but very useful for cleaning gym equipment. Those other items are cheap to get.
- Mop (not cotton) (Amazon Link)
- Mild detergent (Amazon Link)
- (Rubber) floor cleaner(Amazon Link)
- Non-abrasive microfiber cloths(Amazon Link)
- Disinfectant wipes (preferably alcohol and bleach free)(Amazon Link)
- Plastic bristle brush(Amazon Link)
Since you’ll be cleaning surfaces that you’ll touch often and a gym is a place where you breathe deeply, it’s a good idea to use detergents that are safe for humans and pets.
Keep in mind this information is for home gyms, not commercial gyms or health clubs.
What and why to clean in a home gym?
What are the most important parts of a home gym to clean? Obviously you want your home gym to be clean and sanitary so it’s safe and comfortable to use. Another thing you want to accomplish is longevity for your equipment. Luckily you can accomplish both things with some simple cleaning.
Working makes you sweat. Sweat is detrimental to most surfaces and when not cleaned also provides a great environment for bad things to grow. You don’t want to expose yourself to more microorganisms than necessary.
Dust and dirt builds up naturally pretty much everywhere. It can be dust from outside or hairs and skin particles from inside the house. Either way, it doesn’t feel good to work out in a dusty environment and can actually be detrimental to the moving parts of many pieces of gym equipment.
Cleaning is important for your own comfort, hygiene and the longevity of your gym equipment.
Cleaning Contact patches
Clean ever part of gym equipment that got touched by hands or body after every workout to get rid of sweat and other residue. using alcohol and bleach free disinfectant wipes is the best way to do this quickly without preparing a bucket of water with detergent.
Something that is very important to clean are the contact patches. It’s something that should be done after every workout. Contact patches are any places where your body touches the equipment. These can be handles, seats, etc.
That’s because you will leave sweat deposits, skin oils and skin particles on everything you touch. Sweat is pretty destructive for almost every material if not cleaned off. Skin oils and skin particles build up over time and just leave a dirty mess.
Clean these contact patches (and all places where you see sweat drops) after every workout. It’s unlikely you’re going to prepare a bucket of water and detergent after every workout so the best way to make sure you’re actually going to do this is to have a tub of wet wipes nearby.
Go for wipes that are pre-moisturized to make things as easy as possible. The best option is to use disinfectant wipes that are alcohol and bleach free. The alcohol and bleach can damage some of the rubber handles and vinyl seats so wipes that contain those things should not be used on a regular basis.
Simply wipe all the parts you touched including barbells, dumbbell handles, seats, grips and seats after every use. If you see any sweat drops on other parts, take the little extra effort it takes to wipe those down as well.
Cleaning Home Gym Equipment
Wiping down contact patches is a good start but sometimes a little deeper cleaning is necessary as well. In most cases you just want to clean off all the equipment so sweat, dust and dirt doesn’t keep accumulating. In most cases just mixing a bucket of warm water with a mild detergent or all-purpose cleaner (amazon link) and wiping every part of the machine down with that is perfect. However, there are a few things you should know which we’ll discuss below.
- Machines/racks: All parts of gym machines and racks that are coated or painted metal, plastic or rubber can be cleaned with your bucket of water. If there are holes in the frame for adjustments, avoid getting water inside. Don’t get everything too wet. A damp cloth is fine and the water left on the surface should dry quickly to avoid buildup that could cause corrosion.
- Shrouds: many machines have plastic shrouds to protect what’s inside. However, that can also catch dust and prevent it from getting out. It’s a good idea to take off any shrouds and clean behind them every +-6 months.
- Cardio machines: Cardio machines can also be cleaned with a water/detergent mixture and a cloth. Make very sure that you don’t make things wet because many cardio machines have electronics inside which really don’t like water. Make sure to not get rid of any grease where there should be grease.
- Guide rods & Slide rails: These should be kept clean of any dirt or residue. Using water and a non-abrasive cloth is fine. However, if you clean them, they should be lubricated afterwards. Or make your life easier by getting these lubricating wipes to do everything in one go. (Amazon link)
- Barbells: Barbells can be wiped down with the same water/detergent mixture and a cloth. If there is a lot of residue in the knurling, use a plastic bristle brush to dislodge it. Barbells that are not corrosion protected or the protection has worn off should be treated with a light coat of 3 in 1 oil after drying.
- Dumbbells: Dumbbells can be cleaned in the same way as barbells.
- Resistance bands: Take a damp cloth in one hand, put the resistance band in the cloth and grip it. Then pull the band through it with the other hand to clean. Let air dry.
All this cleaning should be done weekly if you’re using your gym regularly or you live in a dusty area.
Cleaning is just the first step of maintenance. Find more about gym equipment maintenance here.
Cleaning rubber gym flooring
The floor is an obvious part that should be cleaned regularly. When working out, you sweat. A lot of that sweat will be caught in your clothes and on equipment, but some of it will get on the floor. The floor is also the place where most of the dust and dirt will settle. The sweat just causes smells and creates and unhygienic environment. The dust and dirt can be kicked up and get into the moving parts of many machines and cause them to wear out faster. So keeping it clean is important.
How you clean a gym floor depends on what type of flooring you’ve got. I always recommend high quality rubber mats as gym flooring or equipment mats so I’ll assume that’s what you’ve got.
To clean a rubber gym floor;
- Sweep or vacuum the floor first. Get rid of as much particles as possible
- Spot clean: If there are any obvious stubborn spots on your floor, lay a damp warm cloth over them for a minute to loosen things up and then vigorously brush with a plastic bristle brush (amazon link).
- Mop the floor. You can either use a specific rubber floor cleaner or mix up your own by mixing 1 cup of mild dish soap with 1 gallon of warm water. The specific rubber cleaner is going to be a bit better for your flooring in the long run. If you have seams between rubber mats in your floor, be careful not to get those too wet. Use a sponge, nylon or microfiber mop since cotton leaves lint.
- Dry: Just let the floor air dry from here. Open doors and windows so it can dry quicker and the humid air can get out.
- (Optional) Seal: Got a very nice looking rubber floor? Consider sealing it after cleaning. This will give a shiny, stain resistant finish that means you have to mop less often. This Zep Rubber Sealer (Amazon link), is cheap, works well and is easy to use.
You can see here why it’s beneficial to have large rubber mats in your gym instead of tiles. The tiles have more seams in between them where water can seep through. Once it gets under the tiles it can start all kind of havoc. Find good gym flooring here.
The floor should be cleaned weekly.
Favorite home gym tools
Many people often forget a few important pieces of their home gym that isn’t directly gym equipment. Here are my favorite home gym tools.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and all types of other workouts, the GymNext Flex is easily the best and easiest to use.
- Mirrors: Fab & Glass (Amazon link) makes the best large mirror sheets so you can see your exercise form.
- Flooring: American Floor Mats gym flooring (Amazon) or equipment mats make your gym quieter, easier to clean and keeps your floor and equipment safe.
- Fan: The Rowenta VU5670 (Amazon) is a great way to stay cool while working out.