Cleaning & Disinfecting your Corporate Fitness Facility

Part two of CFWs ‘The Great Corporate Fitness Reboot’ blog series.

Gym cleaning and disinfection. Infection prevention and control of epidemic. Staff using wipe and alcohol sanitizer spray to clean treadmill in gym. Anti Covid-19 precautions

Proper cleaning and disinfecting are among the first and most critical areas to address with any reopening plan. Defining these protocols early in the process will help ensure you have the necessary resources, supplies, communications, and staff training complete before members set foot back into the facility.

Cleaning for participant health and safety is not new in corporate fitness management, but it has taken on a whole new emphasis with COVID-19. Like most businesses and individuals, we’ve learned and talked more about cleaning these past few months than we ever thought possible.

Lesson #1 – Cleaning vs. Disinfecting.

The Centers for Disease Control defines “cleaning” as removing dirt, germs, and impurities from the surface. This reduces the risk of spread of but does not kill the germs. “Disinfecting” kills the germs on the surface to reduce the risk of spreading infection, but does not remove dirt, germs, or impurities. It is important to understand this difference to ensure your facility and equipment cleaning regimen includes protocols and solvents that accomplish both cleaning and disinfecting. The combination is highly more effective at protecting members and fitness staff from surface transmission.

Lesson #2 – Not all surfaces are the same.

The CDC offers a comprehensive list of solvents that work affectively against COVID-19. These are ideal to have on hand for counters, desks, doorknobs, and other high-touch areas. However, some of those chemicals are not safe for the various types of fitness center and equipment surfaces. We can classify typical fitness center equipment into three surface types:

  • Hard/Non-Porous
    Equipment frames, pedals, bars, and dumbbells
  • Soft/Porous Surfaces
    Pads, upholstered benches, grips, and mats
  • Electronic Displays
    Can include older consoles with push buttons or newer touch screens
the new normal for businesses after covid-19, hand cleaning gym equipment with disinfectant wipe against virus and bacteria

These various surface types call for different solutions. In most cases, mild soap and water is safe for cleaning dirt and removing germs on the above surface types. However, products made with bleach, ammonia, alcohol, or peroxide are too harsh and will damage the equipment. Before stocking your supply closet, consider all the surface types in your facility and look to the equipment manufacturers for recommendations on multi-purpose solutions and/or wipes specifically formulated for fitness equipment to properly clean and disinfect without causing damage.

Lesson #3- 3, 2, 1, Contact!

How we apply cleaning agents to these various surfaces also matters. Fogging for example, has been a method some businesses and institutions have used to sanitize high-touch surfaces, but it is not recommended for fitness center equipment. The key for fitness centers is to apply the manufacturer recommended spray or wipe-based product and allow it to coat and remain on the surface for the recommended amount of time before wiping away. This can range from 2-10 minutes for an applied disinfectant to go through the chemical process necessary for killing virus causing germs.

Lesson #4 – Supplies on hand.

Once you have defined the necessary solvents to properly clean and disinfect all the surface types in your facility, you need to stock your supplies accordingly. This includes individual cleaning supplies the members will use (spray bottles filled with solution and/or manufacturer approved equipment wipes), as well as solvents and PPE for the fitness staff. Think about disposable gloves, masks, etc.

Sanitizing hands cropped

Try to order enough to get you through the month. This can be tricky as some of these products remain in high demand. Fitness management providers, like CFW, maintain relationships with key suppliers to ensure we have the necessary quantity to deliver proper cleaning for our client site operations. Upon reopening, you’ll need to closely evaluate how much product you go through on a daily or weekly basis to help gauge your needs.

Lesson #5: It’s all about routine.

An important piece to your cleaning protocol is the schedule. At what points in the daily operations will cleaning be performed. Before COVID-19, an adequate cleaning schedule occurred with opening/closing and then perhaps a spot clean during the day after peak usage. For today’s standard, this is not enough. Thorough cleaning and disinfecting should occur with opening/closure procedures, then again after each peak usage time frame – morning, lunch, evening. Some facilities may close for 30-minutes to an hour during non-peak usage for the staff to clean, then reopen for member use. While a mid-day closure may seem like a possible customer service issues, in most cases members take it as a positive, recognizing the fitness center management is working very hard to ensure health and safety.

Lesson #6: Train, communicate, and reinforce.

Everyone has a role in keeping our fitness centers clean and safe. Once cleaning and disinfecting protocols are set, all fitness center staff and personnel should complete mandatory training. This includes the full-time fitness professionals, front desk staff, and instructors.

Cleaning home table sanitizing kitchen table surface with disinfectant spray bottle washing surfaces with towel and gloves. COVID-19 prevention sanitizing inside.

Those working regularly should have a clear knowledge of how to clean and disinfect properly, where to find supplies, and how to protect themselves and others while performing cleaning duties (wearing gloves, masks, other PPE and sanitizing hands before and after). The members should also have a clear understanding of what their steps are for cleaning and disinfecting their space before and after workouts. Fitness management should issue communications, post signage, and then verbally giving reminders for details like mask requirements, sanitizing hands and spraying down their workout spaces before and after use.

Having the proper cleaning and disinfecting protocol in place before reopening your fitness center directly plays into our next topic in this series: Establishing Member Trust and Comfort. In these times of COVID, members need to know and see that their health and safety while utilizing the facility is top of mind. A clearly communicated and visibly implemented cleaning and disinfecting plan provides great assurance on that front.

Needing a thorough cleaning and disinfecting plan for your onsite fitness center, but not sure where to begin? Let us help you! Consult with our team of experts for your fitness center reopening plan which includes additional insight on the types of cleaning solutions ideal for fitness center surfaces and equipment, and a schedule that fits with your daily operations and usage patterns.

Contact us for pricing and scheduling your consult for receiving your customized reopening plan.