After an unprecedented pandemic, businesses are finally opening back up. A lot of people spent a long time indoors eating their feelings, so fitness centers are needed more than ever. According to a survey from Mindbody, nearly 80% of respondents prefer working out in person at a facility, yet only a fraction are completely comfortable walking back in. Why? 92% said a rigid fitness center cleaning checklist and sanitizing policy will be key for them to use a gym again.
Fitness centers are high-risk areas for viral spread because:
- It’s a warm environment
- All equipment has multiple users
- People wipe sweat from their faces and touch multiple surfaces after
- Heavy breathing can spread germs
- When their hands are on equipment, people are less likely to cover coughs and sneezes
Because your clients expect strict and stringent cleaning and disinfecting practices, we’ve got some tips to elevate your fitness center’s sanitizing routine. Following our step-by-step process will help your customers feel secure, giving you a competitive advantage over other gyms because everyone will feel safe and stay healthy.
Create a Non-Negotiable Employee Hand Washing Policy
One of the most important things we can all do to stop the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses is to wash our hands. A quick swish under a stream of water won’t cut it. We suggest brushing up on the proper way to wash your hands and demonstrating this for your employees.
It may take a few reminders to get them in the habit, but they’ll get there. The next best option to washing is using a hand sanitizer. Our best practice is to add sanitizer bottles near high touch places like:
- The front desk
- Outside the bathroom doors
- Inside the locker rooms
- Next to the free weights
- Just inside entrances
The cleaner everyone’s hands, the safer your fitness center will be.
Reminders and Instructions
We suggest placing laminated signs reminding people to sanitize their hands before and after using the equipment. It’s also a good idea to post step-by-step CDC hand washing instructions near sinks.
Disinfect All Gym Equipment After Each Use
How you go about this will depend on the number of staff you have. If you can afford it, stationing a staff member during peak hours to watch over machines and equipment is ideal. They can disinfect after each user, giving visibility to your strict standards.
If you don’t have the staff, post signs in high visibility areas asking patrons to disinfect their machines after they use them. Make finding disinfectant convenient by placing multiple bottles at regular intervals in community rooms.
Clean Before Disinfecting
It’s a mistake to think sanitizing is enough—this step won’t clean a surface. Dirt and grime are ideal hiding spots for germs and bacteria. Every machine should be cleaned at the end of the day and anytime something is visibly dirty. Bathrooms and locker rooms should be scrubbed at night and at specified times during the day.
Understanding Your Cleaning Solutions
Not all cleaners and sanitizers are created equal—some take 10 seconds to kill germs, while others can take up to 10 minutes. When disinfecting a fitness facility, read the label of your bottles and follow the instructions to the letter.
The simpler a routine is, the more effective it will be. The best cleaners and disinfectants can be used safely on multiple surfaces. Having only one cleaning solution and one disinfectant is ideal.
Create a High Visibility Cleaning Schedule
Don’t keep your stringent routine a secret from your members. Once you’ve decided the right schedule and developed your fitness center cleaning checklist, promote it. Make a flip chart with times and places for your employees to initial upon completion. Have one at the front desk, in the restrooms, locker rooms and in your main equipment rooms.
Post signs letting your clients know their health is your number one priority and spell out your routine for them. The more confident they are in your standards, the more likely they’ll return and recommend your facility to their friends and family.
Zones will simplify your routine. Aerobic and weight machines, free weights, bathrooms and staff areas can all be their own zone. Each zone should have its own posted cleaning schedule. Zoning your facility makes communication easier too. Asking an employee to disinfect zone one is much more efficient than trying to describe an area and/or machine.
Identify High-Touch Areas
Walk through your fitness center when it’s empty and make a list of all high-touch areas. These may include:
- Door knobs, handles and bars
- Check-in counter/reception desk
Create a cleaning and disinfecting schedule throughout the day for these areas. Once an hour is a good starting point, shortening the time during peak hours. Using an anti-bacterial wipe or cloth sprayed with a multi-surface disinfectant is sufficient if there’s no visible dirt.
Details, Details, Details
The smallest of surfaces can contain just as dangerous a virus as the large, obvious ones. Teach your staff to pay attention to details like:
- Buttons and switches
- Weight machine pins
- Free weight shelves
- Cleaner and disinfectant bottles
- Tissue boxes
- Soap dispensers
Anywhere people are, there’s a surface that’s been touched. How safe your fitness facility is will depend on your attention to detail!
Selecting the Right Cleaning Solution for Your Facility
The best fitness center cleaning checklist in the world won’t matter if your cleaning and disinfecting solutions aren’t effective. Because your members are working out, it’s important to not fill the air with toxic fumes or leave dangerous residue on surfaces. Bottom line, you need solutions that are both tough on germs and bacteria but safe enough to use around your members and staff.
We suggest a hypochlorous acid disinfectant like Pathonex from Pathosans Direct. Pathonex is a hospital broad-spectrum disinfectant that’s 99.9% effective in killing viruses. Unlike most hard-hitting disinfectants on the market, it’s non-toxic and won’t irritate eyes, skin, nasal passages or mucous membranes.
Because disinfecting is only half the battle, you need a cleanser that will remove dirt and grime, eliminating bacteria and germ hiding spots. Pathopure is a powerful all surface, non-toxic cleaner. It’s the perfect partner to Pathonex. Check out Pathosans Direct for more information.