A school, office or healthcare facility’s gym equipment and locker room are some of the dirtiest places on the campus premises, where harmful germs, viruses and parasites love to fester and hide.
Janitorial staff doesn’t just have to be concerned with all the highly trafficked and hard-to-reach surfaces associated with the gym, but personal hygiene areas and bathroom facilities in the gym locker room must be meticulously cleaned in order to maintain the health and safety of students and staff.
In addition to the normal strains of bacteria and viruses that are often found in other highly trafficked areas of a school, gyms and locker rooms are unique in that they’re commonly subject to fungi like ringworm and athlete’s foot, which are contagious and require detailed cleaning to eradicate. Failure to keep gyms, locker rooms and other associated areas free of viruses, bacteria and fungi can result in closure of affected areas and loss of productivity and funds.
We’re here to provide some basic steps for keeping your school, office or healthcare facility gym clean from viruses and fungi, and to keep your students or staff safe, happy, and of course, healthy and fit.
Cleaning Wooden Gym Floors
Gym floors are some of the most rigorously used surfaces in school, office or healthcare facility gyms. From traditional maple wood gym floors commonly found in schools to the rubber flooring that adorns office or healthcare gym facilities, gym flooring is going to absorb sweat, dirt and other contaminants and germs from staff and gym goers that can spread fungi and bacteria. For wooden gym floors:
- Start by sweeping the entirety of the floor (using a bigger broom will speed this process up), making sure to pile debris and dirt into a corner and dispose of it in proper waste receptacles.
- Apply an eco-friendly cleaning solution to the floor using a wet mop system. Again, using a larger mop will alleviate the time it takes to thoroughly disinfect the wooden gym floor.
- Allow the wood floor to air dry.
Pro-Tip: If you noticed any smudges on the wood floor, there’s an easy fix that doesn’t require costly cleaners: use a tennis ball and rub the smudge; the thick felt on the tennis ball will erase the smudges, leaving your wood gym floor looking like new.
Cleaning Rubber Gym Floors
For rubber gym floors commonly associated with workout spaces that include heavy equipment, the cleaning process is a bit different.
- Use a plastic scraper to remove residue, such as gum or mud tracked in from shoes.
- Dispose of the removed refuse in the appropriate disposal bin.
- Vacuum the rubber gym floor, removing any smaller particles of dirt, food and other debris.
- Mix an eco-friendly cleaner with water and apply it to the rubber gym floor using a wet mop system.
- Rinse the mop and bucket clean with water and allow them to dry for a few minutes, taking care that soap is removed from the bucket and mop.
- Fill the bucket with cold water and mop the entirety of the floor again to remove residual soap from the floor that can leave it looking cloudy or stained after drying.
- Once the floor has been rewetted with clean cold water, allow to air dry.
Pro-Tip: For particularly stubborn stains or spills, apply the eco-friendly cleaner and water mixture from Step 4 directly to the stain or spill with a separate brush, scrubbing with light pressure so as to remove the stain but not damage the floor.
Cleaning Wrestling Mats
Wrestling mats and other gym mats require special cleaning, as they are one of the most highly trafficked areas in a gym by bare feet, and are hotbeds for fungi and bacteria such as1:
- Tinea Corporis (ringworm)
- Herpes Gladiatorum (Herpes Simplex 1)
- Staph Infection/MRSA
In order to prevent the spread of infections and diseases, wrestling mats and other activity mats should be cleaned at the end of each day and after every large event. An eco-friendly disinfectant should be used to thoroughly scrub the contact side of the mat with sponges, cloths or mops. The underside of the mats should be cleaned at least weekly.
It’s crucial that the sponges, cloths and mops used for wrestling and other gym mat cleaning are used for this purpose only. Using them for other general janitorial tasks could result in the spread of infectious disease or skin conditions to areas outside of the gym.
Quarterly, all wrestling mats should be cleaned with a 1 to 10 ratio bleach mix (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) in order to maintain optimal disinfection. The bleach mix should be used to clean the mats after their regular scheduled cleaning.
It’s important to pay particular attention to the sides and creases of gym mats that may be pressed together in order to form a larger area on which to perform activities. Be sure to separate mats and clean the sides, allowing them to dry before touching them together again. If a wrestling mat is damaged to the point of unrepair, discard it immediately; punctures or other abrasions to the surface of a wrestling mat can render cleaning useless, giving fungi and bacteria a place to live and thrive.
Cleaning the Locker Room
Locker rooms are some of the dirtiest areas in a gym space. For instance, a gym shower handle has been found to have seven times more bacteria than a shared kitchen sink in an office or break-room space2. Locker rooms are also where the majority of bare skin touches heavily trafficked surfaces, meaning that bacteria, germs and fungi all have a plethora of people to infect.
It’s important that gym locker rooms be cleaned at least once a day in order to ensure the health of gym goers and to prevent spread of infectious fungi or diseases from the locker to gym equipment and other areas of the facility. Ensure your cleaning team is following these steps to clean locker rooms properly:
- First, the tops, fronts and sides of gym lockers should be thoroughly scrubbed using an eco-friendly disinfectant and allowed to dry. For vacant lockers, the interior should also be disinfected with an eco-friendly cleaner and allowed to dry.
- After lockers have been disinfected, toilets, sinks and showers of adjoining locker room bathrooms should be disinfected thoroughly. Special attention should be paid to common touch points like shower handles, sink handles and faucets and locker room benches.
- Locker room benches should be disinfected with an eco-friendly cleaner and allowed to air dry.
- Locker room floors should be mopped with an eco-friendly solution and wet mop system and allowed to air dry.
Cleaning Exercise Equipment
While most gyms offer disinfectant wipes to gym goers to clean off gym equipment after use, gym equipment must be professionally cleaned at the end of each day in order to maintain sanitary conditions for continued use. Handles, pedals and all surfaces of workout equipment should be thoroughly disinfected using a microfiber cloth and eco-friendly disinfectant. Vinyl surfaces of inclined or declined benches must be thoroughly disinfected due to the heavy amount of traffic that these surfaces experience on a daily basis.
All surfaces should be wiped down again with a different, dry microfiber cloth in order to remove the remaining disinfectant and any bacteria, viruses or fungi present on the surfaces. Medicine balls, dumbbells and other standalone items should also be thoroughly cleaned with a microfiber cloth, wetted with eco-friendly disinfectant and then dried with a separate, dry microfiber towel, before being replaced to their rightful locations for the next day of use.
Tired of time-consuming cleaning regiments for your gym and locker room? Contact us today to learn about our electrostatic disinfection services that will save you time and money, while keeping your gym goers happy and healthy.