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Gym Cleaning in the New Year

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Two health clubs share the importance of having the right gym cleaning supplies, equipment and procedures in the new year.

Cleanliness has always been a standard in health clubs. However, ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, your members are expecting more from gym cleaning procedures — and you should deliver. 

“We clean more frequently, we inspect more frequently, and we use different products and techniques for cleaning than we did before COVID-19,” said Mark Durall, the general manager of the Olympic Athletic Club in Seattle, Washington. “For example, we didn’t use a fogger or any hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning products pre-COVID. We used bleach-based products, other disinfectants and a Zep product called Triton three times a day.”

While the Olympic Athletic Club is open, the staff sprays and wipes disinfectant on all surfaces, including the equipment, countertops and floors. Durall said their members have noticed their increased gym cleaning procedures and appreciate the designated staff who clean at all times. 

Olympic Athletic Club also installed multiple hand sanitizer stations located in each area throughout the facility, and disinfectant bottle and clean towel stations for each member to access and use to wipe down equipment before, during and after each workout.

Another key element to ensuring your clubs are safe is by investing in a good ventilation system. “We purchased a new HVAC system,” said Durall. “It brings in fresh filtered outdoor air and exhausts indoor air up and out of workout spaces efficiently. However, simply installing MERV-13 filters, adding air purifiers, and/or opening windows will improve air quality and ventilation, too.”

Despite financial concerns, health clubs across the country have stepped up what cleaning products and equipment they are using inside their facilities. 

Club Northwest in Grants Pass, Oregon, has added various cleaning supplies, such as airPHX’s air disinfecting units, NanoSeptic materials to kill bacteria and viruses on all high touchpoints, ultraviolet light technology in their aquatics center and KidZone, and the fogging of high-use areas of the club.

With the increase of cleaning products, your facility may need to adjust your budget and allocate funds from a different department to keep up with the demand. Scott Draper, the founder and owner of Club Northwest, said they have adjusted their monthly budgets to keep up, and invested substantially in the equipment listed above. Durall said they have also adjusted their budget to keep up with the higher volume of cleaning products, employing more cleaning personnel and providing personal protective equipment for their entire staff. 

Another expense your club may have to prepare for is replacing equipment sooner than planned if you are not thoroughly researching what effects your cleaning products can have on your facility. 

“Initially, we were concerned about the chemical residue of the products causing some equipment to break down,” said Durall. “After all, most of the products are designed to kill and prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses — not lubricate or protect parts of machines. However, we researched and experimented with different products and changed our application method for machines with open surfaces that expose moving parts. For example, we fog most free weight equipment and hard surfaces. We don’t fog most cardio equipment or resistance machines, but rather spray and clean them by hand.”

While some clubs may worry about the side effects of their cleaning agents, Draper said Club Northwest is not one of them. “We feel we have found the right balance of technologies for next-level cleanliness without sacrificing equipment,” he explained. “Of course, it seems we all continue to learn more as things evolve and we are forever seeking improvement in serving our members.”

Gym cleaning products and procedures have evolved quickly over the last year to ensure members can workout safely. And while it may be an additional cost to keep up with, continuously showing members you are keeping them safe can go a long way. 

“It is essential to keep a culture of well-being — including mental, physical and emotional — for the whole person during this time,” said Draper. “There is enough fear being spread elsewhere. The club is a safe, welcoming place to leave those worries behind. A strong immune system is supported by a healthy whole person — exactly what a safe, professional and caring club environment provides.” 

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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