Gym owners are often focused on features such as having the newest machines or classes that cater to the latest workout crazes.
But if you research what potential gym members look for when finding the gym that is right for them and priorities that are valued in fitness culture, gym cleanliness is a universal concern. A recent article by Shape Magazine titled “7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym” notes:
“Things that may not seem important during your initial tour can become major gripes later on. Cleanliness of the gym is a common example, so look for signs of regular maintenance.”
The gym a person chooses reflects their social identity. Gym cleanliness matters.
Gyms are destinations for socializing and investing valuable free time. Just as you wouldn’t visit a doctor with a dirty office or take a date to a restaurant with grimy dishware, fitness enthusiasts don’t want to patronize a dirty fitness center. Gyms and fitness centers are lifestyle choices that impact social standing. Do you want your business to be seen as a popular destination that boosts the standing of your clientele, or merely as the inexpensive alternative for those who don’t mind sweaty equipment?
Don’t rely on your members to keep your equipment clean. While many gym users are attentive to the cleanliness of their equipment, your gym is only as clean as your messiest customer.
In addition, there are health concerns. Dirty equipment can harbor viruses and bacteria if not properly cleaned. Some illnesses harbored by improperly maintained equipment can be extremely serious. Gym users have contracted everything from MRSA to Legionnaire’s Disease at fitness centers around the country.
An article a few years ago in Outside Magazine took the matter of gyms as germ vectors so seriously that it asked, “How Clean Must My Gym Be, Legally?”
Keeping your equipment clean protects your customers, your reputation and your business as a whole.
Here are the basics for cleaning and maintaining your gym equipment.
Disinfect. Toweling down equipment is not enough. Wipe down all your strength machines, cardio equipment, free weights, mats, and any other accessories that are handled by customers with a water-based disinfectant and clean cloth. Look for products that kill bacteria and viruses. Equipment should be disinfected at least once a day, but more popular equipment should be cleaned more regularly. Letting your customers see you cleaning equipment regularly tells them that you care about their health, safety, and comfort.
Lubricate. Be sure to lubricate strength equipment with silicone every three to four weeks. When doing your rounds, make sure to test bearings as well as weight racks. You should also check the oil reserves of self-lubricating cardio equipment.
Clean. Nothing turns off customers like a dirty bathroom. Clean and disinfect the bathroom and check for malfunctioning toilets multiple times per day. Establish a cleaning schedule which requires staff to sign off that they have cleaned the bathroom at specified times throughout the day and hold them accountable when they fail to fulfill their duties. In addition, make sure that the reception area is always kept clean and free of clutter, as it makes the first and last impression on every person who walks through your doors.
If you want your fitness center to succeed as a business, keeping your equipment clean is just as important as paying your rent. Cleanliness means the difference between failure and success.