During these uncertain times, we know that reopening your fitness facility came with a lot of responsibility and consideration for how you would do it safely. It’s not just protecting your members and clients, but also yourself, your trainers, and your staff. Now more than ever, unbeatable hygiene, thorough cleaning strategies, and correct disinfection of your facility can prevent the spread of dangerous pathogens, and will also help clients feel at ease when they finally return to your gym or studio.
Personal trainers and fitness instructors work in a wide variety of different workout spaces: commercial gyms, health clubs, public fitness centers, athletic facilities, small boutique studios, and client’s homes – to name a few. In all of these settings, there are surfaces and equipment that are touched by many different individuals. A busy fitness facility often involves multiple individuals touching the same surfaces and equipment, which can increase the spread of harmful germs. Putting together a workplace health and safety plan, as well as cleaning and disinfection protocols for your fitness facility is important, especially during the ongoing pandemic. When putting together these plans, carefully consider what kinds of chemicals you want to use around your employees and clients. Most cleaning products and disinfectants on the market are extremely toxic, but Vital Oxide gives you peace of mind that you are using an effective product that does not come with any alarming safety warnings and precautions. You no longer need to use harsh chemicals that increase Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in your environment.
We’re proud to offer an EPA-registered disinfectant that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria and is on the EPA’s List N as a disinfectant approved for use against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Vital Oxide is currently being used in fitness facilities across the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean to help combat against SARS-CoV-2 and other harmful pathogens.
Tips on cleaning and disinfecting your fitness facility with Vital Oxide.
THE GYM: A COMMON ENVIRONMENT FOR PATHOGENS
Fitness facilities are huge breeding grounds for germs and have been long before the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s because the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause disease and skin infections thrive in the sweat and respiratory droplets that get left on exercise equipment, as well as in warm, moist areas such as locker rooms, showers, saunas, and swimming pool decks. Since cardio machines like treadmills and exercise bikes are used by many people in quick succession, and equipment such as dumbbells and exercise floor mats are often passed around – it only takes one infected person to potentially expose hundreds to their germs. Research has found that gyms contain high amounts of viruses and bacteria on various surfaces (e.g.,floors, handrails, counters), and exercise equipment. A 2013 study from the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine showed that 63% of tested gym machines harbored traces of rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. Another study found that over 70% of bacteria found in gyms is potentially harmful to humans and that equipment like free weights can harbor 362 times more germs than a public toilet seat. And a University of California-Irvine study found that staphylococcus bacteria – spread easily through cuts and infections, can survive on hard surfaces like gym equipment and benches for 72 hours.
Researchers are still determining how long the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on surfaces, but a new study by the Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has shown that it can survive up to 28 days on certain surfaces.
To prevent the spread of disease-causing germs, it’s important to frequently clean, sanitize, and disinfect key areas around the gym.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLEANING, SANITIZING, & DISINFECTING
Understanding the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting is critical for correct disinfection. Disinfecting has the most stringent requirements, given that all surface disinfectant products are regulated by the EPA and must clear a higher bar for effectiveness than surface sanitizing products. It’s important to note that there are no cleaner or sanitizer-only products with approved virus claims.
To disinfect correctly, the disinfectant product needs to come into contact with 100% of the surface. Prior to disinfection, always remember to clean the surface of any debris or residue, then spray it thoroughly with the disinfectant and let it sit for the required contact found on the product’s label. A common mistake a lot of people make is spraying a surface with a disinfectant and then wiping it immediately afterwards. However, letting the product sit for the required contact time is critical.
Under lightly soiled conditions, Vital Oxide can be used to pre-clean surfaces before disinfecting. Clean and disinfect in two easy steps: First spray and wipe Vital Oxide to clean, then spray and leave behind to disinfect. Just make sure you are applying enough solution to remain wet for the proper contact time. In cases where more frequent disinfection of surfaces results in possible buildup of dry disinfectant residue, a wipe down with a moist towel or microfiber cloth of surfaces that come into contact with clothing (chairs, exercise equipment seats, floor mats, etc.) will prevent any possible discoloration of fabrics.
FITNESS FACILITY CLEANING & DISINFECTING IN THREE STEPS:
Preventing the spread of harmful germs should be a priority for any fitness organization. Fitness facilities can ensure a clean and safe environment by following these three steps: training, cleaning schedule, and documentation.
Fitness facilities should properly train all employees in personal hygiene (e.g., washing hands) and disinfecting procedures. Employees should learn how to safely and effectively use cleaning products and disinfectants, including dwell time.
Every organization should have a daily cleaning schedule for employees to follow to ensure the facility is cleaned thoroughly and frequently. High touch areas that are commonly touched by staff and clients, like door handles, buttons, drawer pulls, touch screens, phones and tablets, interactive screens, TV remotes, water fountains, sinks, countertops, etc., should be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day. Special focus should be put on cleaning and disinfecting gym equipment and machines, as well as locker rooms and bathrooms. Floor mats, battle ropes, foam rollers, and other soft surfaces should be sanitized frequently as well.
In addition, clients can also be educated on their role in helping to prevent the transmission of disease-causing microorganisms by following three simple steps: cover, wipe, wash. Encourage gym goers to use a towel to cover the equipment when used during the workout to create a barrier between themselves and the equipment surface, to wipe down and spray the equipment with disinfectant after use, and to wash their hands after working out.
There should be a continuous documentation log of cleaning practices to ensure that all facility disinfecting is being accomplished daily. Having a consistent, daily cleaning schedule can be difficult in a busy facility. Organizations should strive to have a reliable cleaning plan to protect professionals and clients.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) – COVID-19 Employer Information for Gyms and Fitness Centers
- International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Cleaning, Disinfecting, & Sanitizing Your Gym During COVID-19
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), 11 Steps for disinfecting your fitness facility
- USA Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UMMAF), Keeping Your Gym Properly Sanitized
- Yoga Alliance Guidebook to Re-opening and Recovering
- Association of Fitness Studios (AFS), Reopening Guidelines
- Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP), Re-opening Guide