How to Sanitize Your At-Home Workout Gear

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Like many of you, it’s taking a lot more motivation than usual to get my butt in the (home) gym. It’s cold, it’s dark, and I’m enjoying my couch a lot more than crunches. So in an effort to remove any obstacles standing between me and my morning sweat, I’m giving my gym equipment a deep clean. Making sure my at-home workout gear is clean, sanitized, and smelling fresh is an important step. 

Even though cleaning is the last thing any of us want to do after an exhausting workout, your equipment can start to smell, deteriorate, and even make you sick if you don’t. (Now’s not the time, ok?) So, after composing yourself and getting your heart rate down, grab a Maker’s Clean Microfiber Cloth and start cleaning. 

Why You Need to Sanitize Your At-Home Workout Gear  

It’s not like you’re going to the gym and interacting with random gross, sweaty people. So why do we still need to clean our workout gear at home? One word: bacteria. 

Anyone can pick up bacteria and if you don’t wash your hands before hitting your home gym, you could spread it onto all of your equipment. Some commonly found bacteria and germs that live in gyms include HPV, e-coli, streptococcus, and influenza. And according to a study from UC Irvine, bacteria can live on gym surfaces for up to three whole days, leaving plenty of time to infect your family or roommates. That aside, bacteria can also be odor-causing, and no one likes gripping handles that smell like stale Doritos.

This is where sanitization comes in. It goes beyond just removing dirt; it kills the bacteria altogether. If you touch it or sweat on it, you need to clean it after every session. 

What You Need to Clean Fitness Equipment 

  1. Multipurpose wipes 
  2. Homemade vinegar solution (water + white vinegar, optional: baking soda)
  3. Disinfectant spray (like Lysol)
  4. Dish soap
  5. Maker’s Clean Microfiber Cloths
  6. Maker’s Mop 
  7. Yoga mat balance spray or our DIY recipe

Keep all your cleaning gear handy and leave it in a shower caddy in the corner of your exercise area. That way, it’s easily accessible. No excuses! 

How to Clean Exercise Machines 

After a sweat sesh on the treadmill or elliptical, grab an all-purpose spray (or if you want to DIY it, check out our DIY all-purpose recipe). Spray the product of your choosing onto the surfaces used (avoid screens) and allow to sit for a minute. Then, grab a dry Maker’s Clean Microfiber Cloth and wipe down the handles, bars, or any other commonly touched surfaces.  Every now and then, I’ll take that dampened cloth and wipe down other parts of the equipment that get dusty and the occasional drip, too.

I recommend cleaning your machines between every use. (And be sure to unplug your machine just to be safe. It’s far-fetched, but I don’t want anyone getting electrocuted.) 

How to Clean Dumbbells and Weights

Do you even lift, bro? Well, if you do, it’s really important to clean your weights. Weights have direct contact with the palms of your hands so if you pick up any germs, they’re sure to transfer onto them.

Here’s how I like to clean weights: 

  1. Fill a bowl with water and add some dish soap to it. 
  2. Then, dip your microfiber cloth into the soapy water and wring it out so it doesn’t drip. 
  3. Wipe down your dumbbells. 
  4. Wipe them down again with a dry cloth. 

You could even optimize your time by doing this during your rest breaks. Soapy water is great at killing most germs, so this is a great idea for at-home equipment. If you are worried about someone being sick, feel free to bring on the disinfectant for weights or equipment and you can check out our DIY recipe here, or get your hands on your favourite brand and keep it in your caddy.

How to Clean a Yoga Mat 

Once you’re done downward dogging, you need to get rid of the sweat droplets that fell onto your mat. 

Disclaimer: yoga mats come in many different materials so be sure to check the instructions so you don’t ruin them. If your mat is rubber, there are two ways to clean it:

  1. Use a store-bought yoga mat balance spray. You can spray your mat down before or after a practice to get rid of sweat and odors. 
  2. Or, use your DIY disinfectant spray mentioned above: water, vinegar, and 10 drops of an essential oil of your choosing. (I like tea tree oil.) I’ve got a video on how to do this, too.

An optional step is to hang your yoga mat over a shower curtain or outside to dry (but not in direct sunlight).

Take Off Your Shoes

A lot of germs and bacteria are traced in on our shoes. That’s why I have a pair of “indoor” workout shoes that have never left the house (much like me these days). But if you don’t want to do this, just make sure to wipe down the bottoms of your running shoes before starting your workout.

Clean Your Clothes

When your workout is over, don’t toss your sweaty Lululemons into the hamper right away — that will just stink up the rest of your clothes and possibly cause mold. (No, thanks.) So if you don’t want your laundry basket smelling like a men’s locker room (and trust me, you don’t), I recommend washing your workout clothes ASAP. If this isn’t possible, hang them to dry inside out until you can throw them into the machine. 

One more thing: when washing workout clothes, avoid using fabric softener at all costs. It blocks the sweat and dirt from washing out completely, so if your clothes still have the fitness funk after washing them, this is probably why. (Pro-tip: the hotter the water, the better it is at cleaning bacteria.)

Watch this video for more on how to clean workout clothes.  

Scrub Those Floors 

You don’t need to mop the floor after every workout (unless you want to, but I’m usually done looking at the room when my workout is over), but it’s a good idea to take out your Maker’s Mop every once in a while to get rid of the shmutz your shoes drag in. 

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.