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Exercise Equipment Cleaning Procedures

By Virginia A. Gorg

Exercise equipment at a gym or fitness center gets dirty and loads up on germs. You'll likely see staff members disinfecting equipment throughout the day, paying particular attention to handles, seats and displays. Simple cleaning and routine maintenance actions can prolong the life of the equipment and may help prevent costly repairs. Routine maintenance of the equipment includes washing with a soap or cleaning solution on a predetermined schedule and lubricating parts on a regular basis. You can use this gym equipment-cleaning guide on your equipment at home.


Choose a cleaner that contains an antibacterial, antiviral solution, which will kill cold and flu germs. The cleaner should also contain a degreaser to remove any grease left behind from the pulleys, treadmills or other working parts of the equipment. Disinfectant cleaning supplies are available at companies such as Simple Green and Iron Company. Read the manufacturer's instructions for use, and wear rubber or latex gloves as necessary.

Cleaning Schedule

If you are in charge of equipment at your gym, create a preventive maintenance and cleaning schedule. Your chart can show staff what equipment is to be cleaned; staff can log in the time of day it was done. While disinfecting must be done continuously throughout each day, your staff may need to clean the working parts of the machine only weekly or monthly. Wash leather and upholstery with soap and water once a month. This simple routine can help prevent tears in the seats or pads. Thoroughly train your in disinfecting and cleaning procedures.

General Rules

Some fitness centers ask their clients to clean the exercise machines when they have completed their routines. The gym will have available either a spray and towels or premoistened towelettes. However, many people do a poor job of cleaning, only superficially touching the equipment. Carry your own wipes or ask the fitness center to keep wipes that you can use. When you have completed your routine, you should clean the equipment as thoroughly as you can. Wipe the handles, the seat and any other parts you have touched, including pins used for adjusting weights.

Exercise Mats

Exercise mats, such as those used in yoga classes, should be wiped down after each use. The fitness instructor will teach users the proper cleaning procedure, which usually consists of spraying mats with an antibacterial solution. Thoroughly air-dry the mats--or use a clean towel--to ensure all moisture is removed. Once a week, wash the mats in a tub or washing machine. Choose a mild detergent such as Woolite for a rubber mat; a mild detergent that contains bleach may be used on cotton mats. In either case, use about one-half the amount for a small load.

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