Whether it’s a school gymnasium, a health and fitness club, a yoga studio or a training gym for athletes, any athletic facility requires consistent, thorough cleaning.
The number of individuals who use these facilities is steadily rising every year. As of 2017, Statista estimates that some 61 million Americans belong to one of the 36,000 membership-based exercise facilities across the country. Additionally, the average American public school houses 528 students, most of whom use the school’s gymnasium for P.E. class and after-school sports.
With so many people passing through – and sweating in – athletic facilities each day, it’s no wonder germs, bacteria and viruses often make a cozy home for themselves on equipment surfaces, turf fields and locker rooms.
What bacteria are lurking on athletic facility surfaces?
Anyone who has gone to a gym or fitness club has likely seen the disinfecting sprays or wipes provided by the facility in shared equipment areas. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds this polite reminder to clean their equipment after use.
Consider these alarming statistics from a study conducted by EMLab P&K for FitRated:
- The average exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a plastic cafeteria tray.
- The average treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than a water faucet.
- The average set of free weights has 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
One of the most prevalent bacterial dangers in athletic facilities is MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). While MRSA typically presents as a skin lesion, it can cause serious and sometimes deadly infections if it enters the bloodstream through an open cut or wound. Perhaps most frightening of all is the fact that bacteria like MRSA are becoming stronger and more resistant to multiple antibiotics and disinfecting methods.
The shared equipment and frequent skin-to-skin contact in athletic facilities makes it easy for MRSA to spread in these environments. Similarly, fungal infections like athlete’s foot and warts are also commonly spread.
To reduce the risk of athletes picking up and spreading these types of bacteria and viruses throughout your facility, it’s essential to follow a strict cleaning and disinfecting regimen – and that includes using the right cleaning solutions for the job.
The best cleaning products for athletic facilities
Conventional commercial cleaners often advertise strong disinfecting power against the strong bacteria and viruses in your facility. The harsh chemicals in these cleaners may be tough on germs, but they’re even tougher on our health and the environment.
That’s why we recommend using safer alternatives like SDVO, an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.999% of bacteria and viruses in less than 60 seconds. It also prevents the growth of drug-resistant “superbugs” that are increasingly common in athletic facilities.
SDVO is non-corrosive and non-irritating to the skin, making it ideal for use on the commonly-touched surfaces in an athletic facility. It eliminates odors (a must in the locker room!) and kills mold spores and mildew at their root. Because SDVO is safe for carpets and soft surfaces, this disinfectant can even be used on areas like turf fields and wrestling mats.
For best results, SDVO should be used with an Electrostatic Sprayer, which allows you to apply the cleaner 70% faster, using 65% less product than you would with manual application.
Our sprayer of choice is the Victory Sprayer, which is available in a cordless handheld and backpack model. The Backpack Sprayer is particularly effective for large athletic facilities, as it can cover up to 23,000 square feet on a single tank of fluid.
How to properly clean and disinfect an athletic facility
With the right products and tools in hand, you can do your part to kill bacteria and prevent the spread of disease in your athletic facility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking the following steps as part of your daily routine:
- Clean and dry all shared equipment after each use. This rule should be strictly enforced among individuals who use your facility.
- Clean equipment like helmets and protective gear according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using safe cleaning products that won’t harm or corrode the items.
- Dispose of any equipment or furniture with damaged surfaces that cannot be properly disinfected.
The CDC also recommends using EPA-registered disinfectants like SDVO to effectively remove MRSA from athletic facility surfaces. Areas to focus on include:
- Commonly-touched surfaces, especially those that come into direct contact with bare skin each day like cardio machines and weight training equipment
- Locker rooms (locker handles, interiors, benches, floors, showers)
- Soft surfaces like wrestling or gymnastics mats
- Turf fields
- Sports equipment that is worn or handled by athletes
Finally, be sure to review all cleaning and disinfecting procedures with anyone responsible for daily cleaning at your facility, and carefully read and follow the directions for any cleaning product you use.
Need help? Call the Scalzo Team.
Cleaning and disinfecting your athletic facility and all its equipment is a big job. If you want to check it off your to-do list, call the Scalzo Team and ask about our sanitizing and disinfection services.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help you keep your facility clean, safe and healthy for your athletes.