Gym mats need to be cleaned regularly because of the high volume of foot traffic that they experience. This is especially true if you are working out with bare feet or wearing shoes that don’t cover your whole foot. Even though gym mats may look clean, there can still be a lot of bacteria living on them and this can lead to sicknesses such as the flu or other contagious diseases.
In order to keep yourself healthy, it’s important that you disinfect gym mats at least once a week so that germs don’t spread from one person to another. If you have a home gym, then it’s even more important for you to clean these mat surfaces in order to prevent spreading germs around your house! In our previous article, we covered the best mop to clean rubber gym floor, now let’s talk about disinfecting gym mat surfaces.
Here are some steps about how exactly you can go about disinfecting your gym mat surfaces:
1. Sweep the mat
Take a broom or dustpan and sweep out as much dirt, mud, sand, etc., as you can. Be sure to sweep out the seams on your mat where it connects, as this is a prime location for dirt build-up.
2. Soak the mat
Take your gym mat outside and place it in a sunny area. Be sure not to put it in a spot that gets direct sunlight, as that can damage the material. If you don’t have access to sunlight (for example, if it’s winter), some mats have built-in UV lights that you can set the timer to run on. Soaking your mat for about 30 minutes will help kill bacteria.
3. Clean your mat using a mop or sponge
After the allotted time, take your mat and wipe off as much dirt and mud as you can with a mixture of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon dish soap. You can also use a simple mixture of warm water, organic liquid soap. Be sure to pay attention to all the nooks and crannies where dirt can hide.
4. Let your mat air dry
Once you’ve wiped down your gym mat, let it air dry. The best spot to do this is outside again – just be sure to place your mat somewhere where it won’t get wet.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to disinfect even the grimiest mats safely and without harsh chemicals.
Watch the video guide here:
Basic Gym Mat Cleaning Methods
There are a few basic cleaning methods to use when disinfecting your gym mat at home. You can choose which one works best for you.
Hot Water Extraction – This method requires some hot water and a commercial-grade laundry machine, but it’s effective in killing germs on the surface of the mat. All you have to do is run the machine through a cycle with nothing else but the mat. Make sure to check first for any water damage; you should avoid running it through a washing cycle before doing this.
Baking Soda – Here’s another pretty simple method if you own a baking soda maker at home, which uses heat and pressure to make baking soda from regular granulated table salt. You can use this method to make baking soda and then sprinkle the soda on the mat. Let it sit for an hour or two before you vacuum up the powdery substance with your machine. The baking soda will absorb moisture and kill off all of those germs that like to live in moist areas!
Rubbing Alcohol – If you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying baking soda, this is another option. Mix some water with rubbing alcohol and wipe it down on the mat. Make sure you can cover all mat areas if you do this since it evaporates quickly after being soaked up by your machine.
Hydrogen Peroxide – This works similarly to rubbing alcohol and is commonly found in 3% and 6% solutions for hair bleaching. Remember that it can stain certain materials, so test it out on a small area before applying it entirely on your mat.
Bleach – Bleach is a strong disinfectant and can kill most germs on contact with its strong chemical nature. Make sure you only use bleach in a well-ventilated area, and always wear protective clothing when using this product. You can soak the mat with full-strength bleach for about an hour before wiping it down to get rid of all germs. However, bleach is not suitable for rubber flooring gym mats.
Why Cleaning Your Gym Mat Matters?
Cleaning your mat is vital for several reasons.
Protect Yourself – If you have a gym floor mat at home, you probably use it pretty often to exercise or stretch on. You can contract germs from people’s feet if they’ve stepped on the mat without cleaning their shoes first, so by cleaning your mat regular basis, you’ll keep yourself safe from any germs that might be lingering around.
Protect Your Family – By frequently cleaning your mat, you’re also protecting your family. They can catch some of the same germs that you pick up if they use it, so keeping it clean is a good idea for everyone in the family.
Protect Your Home – This applies not just to your gym mat but to any other rugs or mats you might have in your home. If germs are allowed to grow on these surfaces for too long, it’s easy for them to spread around the house and infect everyone that comes into contact with it. Bad odor may also spread in your home. Keeping your mat clean is one of the best ways you can help maintain a clean house.
What are some common germs you’ll find on your gym mat?
Three primary types of germs can be found on gym mats. First, there are common skin bacteria. These include Staphylococcus Aureus and Streptococci, which can cause infections if they enter a person’s body through an open cut or another type of wound. They can also cause respiratory problems, like pneumonia.
Then there are the fungi that grow on mats after they get wet for long periods. These include Aspergillus, which is dangerous because it produces toxic substances called mycotoxins. If you don’t clean your mat for a long time, it can increase the chances of catching an infection.
Finally, there are the viruses that you might catch from using a mat with someone who has recently used it without cleaning their feet or shoes before stepping on it. Some common examples include rhinovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus. They usually cause mild symptoms in most people but can be extremely dangerous if a young child or elderly adult gets infected.
What is the best way to disinfect a gym mat?
There are different ways to disinfect a gym mat, depending on the type of bacteria or virus you need to get rid of.
Disinfectant Spray – Most spray cleaners have chemicals in them that will kill germs instantly if they’re sprayed onto the mat. The problem is that these sprays can also damage surfaces if they aren’t used properly, and some mats need to be kept away from harsh chemicals.
Vinegar – An excellent natural cleaning solution, vinegar can kill most germs and is proven not to harm any surface materials. The only downside is that it evaporates quickly after being sprayed on a mat, so you’ll need to spray down your mat several times if the vinegar is going to be effective.
How often should you disinfect your gym mat?
You should disinfect your mat after every single use, whether you’ve been using it at the gym or at home where lot of traffic goes through. This is especially important if multiple people have been using the mat in a short period of time. If you only use the mat by yourself for stretching or exercising, try to clean it twice a week with either vinegar or a spray cleaner.
Do commercial gym cleaning companies disinfect your mat?
Some do, but not all of them. Look for one that has years of experience in gym cleanings and ask if they can bring down disinfectant spray cleaners to use on the mats while you’re working out. Most people don’t think to let others know before they start using a gym mat, but it’s a good idea to always ask for permission before working on high-activity areas at a gym.
Is it safe to use bleach on a sweaty or dirty gym mat?
No, bleach is too harsh for your mat. You should only use vinegar or a disinfectant spray that’s specially made for gym mats. Bleach can damage the materials in old mats, and it might even discolor newer ones if they’re made out of vinyl, which isn’t good for you because it won’t provide you with as much support as you need while you’re exercising.
What is a good disinfectant to clean gym matts?
There are a few different disinfectants that would work for your Matt. Antibacterial wipes, Lysol spray, and hydrogen peroxide all have antibacterial properties that will help protect you against germs while you’re using the mat. Just make sure to follow the directions on the label when you use any of these products.
Of course, the best disinfectant for a Matt would be vinegar since it’s a natural substance and won’t damage the materials in your mat. However, you’ll have to reapply the vinegar several times if the dirty or sweaty areas haven’t been cleaned in a while.
Gym mats are an excellent place to work out, but the surfaces can become dirty or sweaty really quickly after you start. You should always clean your mat after using it (even if you’re the only person using it), and you should always disinfect it if others have used it.