By Jillian Warren
In the pre-pandemic life, gym-goers had it made. You went to workout and you left, not having to take a second thought about whether your gym equipment was getting properly sanitized every day. But after COVID-19 hit, many people decided that it was time to get started on that garage workout space they’d been considering since a lot of gyms were shutting down. In fact, over 38,000 gyms and health clubs closed in 2020 according to one study.
Owning your own gym equipment is like leveling-up in the fitness world; but just remember, in the wise words of Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Setting up your space with your favorite kind of wall balls and dumbbells is cool and all, but you also have to do the right thing maintaining their cleanliness and just wipe them up afterward.
Do you have any idea what happens when you don’t clean after a couple of sessions of getting your sweat and oils all over your workout equipment? Bacteria such as E. Coli and Bacillus can form on the surfaces as well as ones causing staph infections and strep throat, to name just a few. So, if you are one of the lucky people who decided to start an in-home gym, you're going to want to help keep your equipment in shape while they keep you in shape.
1. Supplies For Scrubbing
You don’t need much to keep your personal fitness space clean - just two items: a spray bottle filled with all-purpose cleaner or sanitizing wipes, and microfiber hand towels. That’s it! If you don’t feel like making your own cleaning agent, we recommend a Mrs. Meyers multi-surface cleaning spray - They smell wonderful and the brand is also very environmentally-conscious. And, while you don’t need anything fancy when it comes to your towels, this Bustle article provides a solid list of microfiber gym towels that you may be interested in exploring.
2. Close and Convenient
If cleaning your gym equipment isn’t easy, chances are you won’t be doing it very often. Instead, create a space where you can keep the supplies close by. Put a hook in the wall to hang a rag and an all-purpose cleaner spray bottle. These hanging wall baskets from Amazon also do the trick quite nicely. The last thing on your mind after a workout probably won’t be, “I should clean my equipment now!” Which means it’s a good idea to keep your cleaning items in a place where they won’t be out of sight and out of mind.
3. Create a Concoction
If you prefer to go the au naturale route when it comes to your cleaning supplies, we have just the DIY disinfectant recipe for you. All it takes is water, white vinegar, a few essential oils, a couple shakes to combine, and voila! You have a safe and effective cleaning solution for your at-home gym.
And, if you are looking for something to clean your lifting gear, naturally, while you're at it, this Bad(Ass) Stink Spray kills bacteria AND keeps you smelling fresh. Just a few spritzes and those funky odors will be replaced with lemongrass and eucalyptus.
4. Don’t Forget the Floor
Wherever you’re working out, you’re most likely dripping a little (or a lot!) of sweat on the ground. And just because it’s probably your garage floor, that doesn’t make the bacteria any less nasty. You can either get down on your hands and knees to scrub the floor or you can invest in a mop. This spray mop kit from Target is a multi-surface cleaner and just the tool to destroy that gnarly grime harshing your style.
Bonus: Maintaining Your Rowing Machine
We get that sometimes special fitness equipment could use a deep cleaning as well as a tune-up now and again, and fortunately Aaron Varcasio, owner and lead technician of Smooth Rowing, took some time to give us a few pointers on maintaining a rowing machine. Varcasio dives into the specifics of maintaining a Concept2 rower, but if you have different equipment that needs some love and don’t know where to begin, he is available for a free consultation.
For this project, you will only need a lint free cloth, a spray bottle with cleaning solution, a 3-in-1 oil, and a 9/16 socket wrench. You’ll start easy by wiping up the monorail and rollers. Varcasio says, “Along the way the monorail and rollers gather dust and sweat. Grab your lint free rag and spray bottle and spray down the rail and rollers. You should be able to get most of the dirt off the wheels.”
Varcasio suggests moving onto the chain of your rower and applying the 3-in-1 oil to your towel. “As you pull out the handle, take the rag and wipe down the chain. It may have been a while since this has been done,” he says and we feel called out by this very true statement, “so apply more if needed.”
Lastly, you will need to treat the clutch which is the inner part of the flywheel. For some people, moving the rower from inside to outside to enjoy a warm, sunny day is one of the perks of a rowing machine. But Varcasio mentions that the rower is not a fan of cool weather. He warns, “When the clutch gets cold, it gets stuck and the bearings don’t work. What you will find that happens, is that you will take a few strokes and then the machine will lose resistance and you will fly back into your seat.”
To fix this, simply remove the four screws holding on the flywheel cover and pull the aluminum flashing off as well. Then you will grab a 9/16 socket wrench to take the flywheel off which will allow you to apply your 3-in-1 oil to the middle of the flywheel and all over the axle. Once you’re done and have put everything back in place, give yourself a pat on the back. Your rower should be in tip-top shape and ready to be included in your next WOD.
When it comes to your gym routine, you want to save all your energy on crushing your fitness goals and not worrying if your equipment is riddled with gross germs or falling apart. Take a little time every day to follow some of these simple tips and your home gym will be easy to maintain.
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Do you have any special tips to keep your home gym equipment in good shape?