These days, we’re more than a little preoccupied with keeping things sanitized, thanks to COVID-19. Beyond masking up for grocery store runs and washing our constantly worn workout apparel, what about all of our equipment and gear we’ve got at home?
“Cleaning your workout equipment regularly at home is very important, because sweat is a breeding ground for bacteria,” says Sheena Malik, a board-certified family medicine physician in Los Angeles. “If you’re leaving home for work, to run errands, or even walk in the park, you’re at risk of bringing the germs home. Cleaning the equipment is a crucial way to protect yourself and family members from bacteria.”
Beyond the COVID contamination concerns, cleaning your training equipment is generally a smart idea (especially for Spartans, who are using it all the time!). Regular old bacteria can live on your fitness gear for up to three days. Whether you’re sweating through a Dead Ball workout after your commute or sharing your gear with your family, it’s important to know the most effective ways to get rid of germs. We asked Malik for her tips on ensuring that your kettlebells, Pancakes, and other assorted gear are properly cleaned and virus-free.
How to Sanitize Your Workout Equipment at Home
Tip #1: Use the Right Cleaning Solution
For many of us during the pandemic, our instinct is to Lysol EVERYTHING. The CDC recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces in your household daily with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. That definitely includes your workout equipment: Per Malik, alcohol-based solutions may be used, but “be careful using homemade solutions, as they may have improper proportions of ingredients, thus not being potent enough!” You also need to be careful with vinegar and bleach, as they can damage certain equipment materials like rubber handles and resistance bands. (See below for how to clean specific Spartan gear).
Tip #2: Give It Time to Sanitize
In order for the disinfectant to truly work, it needs to sink in a little: Malik recommends allowing sanitizer to sit on your equipment for at least 60 seconds — the longer, the better. It’s the best way to ensure you’ve killed any bacteria. She also suggests disinfecting after every workout, “given the sweat is a breeding ground for germs to flourish.” Also, make sure you have proper ventilation and wear gloves if you can (yes, even in your own home gym!) if you want to be extra careful. Oh, and then sanitize your hands after too — don’t worry, we made our own hardcore sanitizer for Spartans.
How to Clean Your Spartan Workout Equipment
Because of the material they’re made with, some resistance bands will deteriorate if you use harsh cleaning substances. For everyday cleaning, you can dip your band into warm water mixed with some dish soap. Swish them around, then rinse them and let them dry — just not outside, because the sun can mess with the material, too.
Kettlebells can generally withstand harsh chemicals, but you can also take good care of them with a microfiber cloth: Again, mix some dish soap with warm water, dip the cloth in, wring it, and wipe down your kettlebells (as well as other similar equipment, like dumbbells and weights). Then dry them using a clean microfiber cloth.
Our Pancake sandbags are made with heavy-duty elastic neoprene, so they deserve a little extra TLC: It’s best to handwash them in cold water with some detergent. Don’t scrub it, but do soak it in detergent if it’s particularly stained. And let it air-dry, but not in the sun! As for your Ramroller, you should be able to wipe that down with disinfectant or warm water and soap. Same goes for your Slam Ball.