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Commercial Equipment Cleaning & Fitness Center Prep

General Cleaning/Wipe-down Basics:

  1. Use a soft, clean cotton cloth for wiping down all equipment. Avoid using paper towels to clean surfaces on cardio equipment when possible. Paper towels are abrasive and can damage surfaces.
  2. Use a mild soap and a damp cloth. DO NOT use ammonia- or alcohol-based cleaners as these will cause discoloring of the aluminum and plastics. Alpha HP, Simple Green, and other similar solutions work well for wiping down and cleaning.
  3. Do not pour water or cleaning solutions on any surface. This could cause damage to electronics and components. (Spray the cloth, not the equipment)
  4. Spray the cloth and wipe the console, heart rate grip, handles & side rails after use. Avoid spraying cleaners and solutions onto the equipment as this can lead to pooling and excess moisture on components that can be damaged.
  5. For cleaning touch screen displays, use distilled water in a spray bottle. Spray distilled water onto a soft, clean, dry cloth and wipe display until clean and dry. For very dirty displays, adding vinegar is the recommended option.

Specific Guidelines for Each Equipment Type:

Strength Machines, Plate-Loaded Equipment, Benches & Racks:

Upholstery & Grips should be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water or a non-ammonia, non-alcohol based cleaner (Alpha HP, Pure Green 24, or Simple Green are examples). **Avoid spraying cleaners on guide rods, pulleys, and weight stacks.

Cardio Equipment Base/Handles/Frame:

Use Antibacterial Soap (dish soap/Dawn) & hot water or disinfectant sprays and wipes such as Alpha HP, Pure Green, or Simple Green that DO NOT Contain Ammonia or Alcohol

Cardio Equipment with touchscreens/TVs:

For cleaning touch screen displays, use distilled water in a spray bottle. Spray distilled water onto a soft, clean, dry cloth and wipe display until clean and dry. For very dirty displays, adding vinegar is the recommended option. For additional disinfecting, spray Alpha HP, Pure Green, or Simple Green solutions onto a soft towel and wipe clean. Ensure that you immediately wipe dry to avoid pooling of liquid or moisture in the console.

Barbells, Bars, Kettlebells & Dumbbells w/chrome or iron handles:

Staff and members can use “Simple Green” or similar sprays to clean dumbbell handles and some barbells (depends on barbell’s finish).

Staff & members can use antibacterial soap or dish soap (Dawn) and warm water to wipe off bars and dumbbells– make sure to wipe dry after to avoid rust. Other sprays and solutions are likely to eventually cause rusting of bars and handles.

Fitness Center Recommendation

Recommendations For Things To Do In Your Fitness Center During a Shutdown Period & Ways to Become More Efficient & Effective in Your Fitness Center Operations:

Overview
  1. Record the serial numbers on all of your cardio and strength equipment and put number decals on them.
  2. Usage Stats: Check the hours/miles on your fitness equipment & record them.
  3. Get on & use your equipment.
  4. Rearrange your equipment for space efficiency & better traffic flow.
  5. Take an inventory of your fitness center and studio materials.
  6. Preventative Maintenance: in-house & through certified technicians.
  7. Clean the equipment and the facility with attention to detail.
Record the serial numbers on all of your cardio and strength equipment and put number decals on them. (If your equipment doesn’t have a connected cloud management system)
  • After a delivery of new equipment record the serial numbers for the cardio equipment (frames & consoles), strength machines and plate-loaded strength equipment, and any benches (in case you ever needed to order pads, wheels, bolts, or other components).
  • Place the numerical decal or sticker on the unit so members, staff and service providers can easily identify the equipment for reporting service needs and completing the service. Make sure the decals are easily visible and large enough to see.
  • Record the serial numbers in a spread sheet along with the delivery date, invoice number for the purchase, equipment model, the warranty information (parts and labor warranty end dates) and the decal # that was placed on the piece of equipment.
  • If you haven’t done this previously, take time during the shutdown period and record the inventory of everything you currently have on your fitness center floor.

This record keeping system will save you a great deal of time in the event that someone reports that a piece of equipment needs service – they can identify the machine by the decal and you can quickly pull-up your spreadsheet to retrieve the serial number and report any service needs with ease. You’ll also have an accurate history of delivery dates, invoice references, and warranty statuses. **for commercial fitness equipment each service request and question will require that you provide the make, model, and serial # to ensure accuracy of information and therefore having these records in an easily accessible document for quick reference will make these requests more easily completed and responses provided more quickly.

Usage Stats: Check the hours/miles on your fitness equipment & record them. (If your equipment doesn’t have a connected cloud management system)

At the start or end of each month record the usage stats from the consoles on your cardio equipment – hours and miles if available. This provides a reference point to see which types and models of equipment are used the most and what times of year specific types are in higher demand. Recording both distance and hours allows you to determine the intensity with which the equipment is being used (ie walk, jog, run, or leisurely pedaling vs. high intensity use).

You can then use this information to determine if specific individual pieces of equipment are popular because they are preferred for their feel and function or if they happen to be placed in a desirable location – such as in front of a TV, window, or fan – non-equipment related factors that might determine usage.

Reviewing these usage stats allows you to determine if you should be rotating equipment, for example if you have 5 treadmills of the same age, make and model and Treadmill #1 and #2 were used twice as much as Treadmill #4 & #5, you would move #1 & #2 into the spots of #4 and #5 so that the equipment lasted longer (#4 & #5 would then go to where #1 & #2 came from). Rotating equipment positions every 1-3 months is recommended depending on the overall usage and the disparity in usage based on where the equipment was located.

Using your strength equipment for 1 set each week allows you to determine if guide rods and weight stacks are lubricated and working properly, whether seat and pad adjustments are smooth, and identify any other service needs.

Another benefit of getting on your equipment is that you are experiencing what your members experience. You might realize that your equipment is out of date, doesn’t fit users properly, or has outdated movement mechanics that need to be upgraded through replacements. Maybe you’ll realize that the spray bottles are too close to a certain piece of equipment and the users of that piece get sprayed every time someone sprays a cleaning cloth at that spray. Maybe the oscillating fans don’t quite reach the cardio equipment you intended them to and they need to be moved. There are many things you can learn by putting yourself in your members’ shoes and experiencing what they experience and therefore make improvements to the overall quality of your facility.

Getting on strength and cardio equipment also gives you the visual perspective of a member…maybe the equipment is awkward to get on when a person is on the adjacent piece or perhaps it is facing the wrong way and creating undesirable lines of sight - what are members looking at when they are on the strength equipment? Does your chest press face the stretching area, and therefore in between chest press sets are those members staring directly at the people stretching and doing core work that has put them in body positions that they’d rather not have people seeing them in? Are people avoiding using certain machines because the user on the piece of equipment across from them is staring them in the face. Anything you can do to make people more comfortable and feel less like they are being watched by others is going to increase your patronage and encourage use of your facility and equipment.

You might also have equipment that has maintenance needs and no one has said anything…we’ve all been to fitness centers where the members know something is broken and they avoid it, but the staff is completely unaware. Don’t rely on your members to tell you what’s in need of service – be proactive and try the equipment for yourself. Members expect the staff to know more about the equipment and facility than they do and appreciate when staff are proactive and identify any potential issues as soon as they arise.

Rearrange your equipment for space efficiency & better traffic flow.

If you record your usage statistics and rotate the equipment as discussed previously, you’ll have concrete data on what equipment should be placed in various locations. By getting on your equipment as outlined in bullet point #3 you will have further insight as to whether your equipment is located in the correct position in your facility. Based on these 2 factors, you might want to reconfigure the arrangement of your fitness equipment to maximize space, usage and traffic patterns, and ensure member comfort while using the equipment.

Moving equipment is a big project and using a layout program or reaching out to your Johnson Fitness Contact is one way to have a layout design created at no charge. The benefit of these layouts is that the equipment and room are both to scale, so you can see whether things will fit into place before you move them and avoid having to move things multiple times. **If requesting a layout plan, please provide the dimensions of the room, the location of doorways, windows, TVs, and other such objects, along with an equipment list.

Take an inventory of your fitness center and studio materials.

Knowing how many plates, bands, kettlebells, mats, etc. that you have can help you plan in advance as these items are worn or resistance levels needed change (do you need more and heavier kettlebells now that you’ve been running kettlebell classes for 3yrs and members are getting stronger?). If you can order equipment ahead of it needing to be replaced, that is the best way to avoid disruption in your classes. If you have 30 class participants and only 30 bands, if one breaks, then one participant must go without a band. Tracking and recording studio class inventory after each “season” or “session” is recommended. This gives you an inventory record at the start and end of each session and you can have staff report broken or worn equipment throughout the session. If you find that during each session you typically wear through 10 bands, then you know to order those in advance to prepare for the next session. This also helps with budgeting each year.

Preventative Maintenance: in-house & through certified technicians

Some preventative maintenance is very basic such as vacuuming out treadmill motor compartments or lubricating the guide rods on strength equipment – and some is more extensive such as replacing belts and decks, tightening cables on strength equipment, or checking internal components on cardio equipment. Preparing your equipment for the facility re-opening will ensure you are putting your best foot forward when members are returning. Whether performed by yourself, an in-house technician or a Johnson Fitness Certified Service Technician, preventative maintenance is one of the best investments you can make in ensuring the longevity of your equipment and avoiding equipment down time by getting ahead of any issues occurring due to worn components. For information on preventative maintenance services and options please feel free to contact your Johnson Fitness Commercial Account Manager directly.

Clean the equipment and the facility with attention to detail:

For detailed cleaning instructions please click here:

This article will cover proper cleaning products and procedures. More general cleaning instructions will follow here.

Beyond cleaning the equipment itself, a closed facility provides the perfect opportunity to clean the “hard to reach” and neglected areas. These include:

  • Under the treadmills – Vacuum under treadmills at least once a week if possible, particularly if you have carpeted floors. Dust, debris, and carpet fibers can get pulled into the treadmill’s motor compartment and adds heat, which can lead to premature wearing of the treadmill motor. Rubber floors can still accumulate dust, but carpet in particular is a haven for dust under treadmills due to the electrostatic activity created by the motor. IT is recommended that you put a vinyl treadmill mat under your treadmills if you do have carpeted floors (these are available from Johnson Fitness if you’d like more information). Some facilities have difficulty getting a standard vacuum under the treadmills without moving another row of equipment. If you don’t have access to a vacuum with a hose attachment to get all the way under the treadmills, using time during a facility closure to move the equipment to thoroughly clean is a good option.
  • Under bikes and ellipticals: The main area of focus here is that if you have rubber floors, the sweat and debris from users will still get on the floor and needs to be cleared away regularly – if you move the equipment, you’ll see that under the frame there is an accumulation of dirt from sweat, spills, and dirt/dust.
  • Around and behind strength equipment. If your equipment is against a wall or in a corner, it may never get dusted off or vacuumed behind. If a member would happen to drop something behind one of those pieces and you have to move it, will they find a pile of dust and dirt? If the area behind the equipment is clean, the members will also assume the rest of the facility is well taken care of.
  • Lights, TV screens, and fans: You’ve likely been to facilities where the fans blowing on you have a string of dust hanging on them waving in the air. Wiping down fans daily is ideal, but at minimum you should do it once per week. You don’t want members complaining of the dust being blown on them as they are working out.
  • TV screens: Just like at home, your TVs do need to be wiped down periodically due to dust accumulation. The TV can start to look blurry if not wiped down often enough…again, your members will notice.

Lights: Many facilities have high ceilings and suspended light fixtures that are too high for cleaning by the regular fitness staff. You may even need a lift or ladder to get the lights clean, but these should also be addressed by your staff or facilities team at least once per month and especially during a shutdown period. Facilities without windows will benefit from this the most, but keeping the lights clean is one way to enhance the mood of your members, particularly in a northern climate where the daylight hours can be painfully short and devoid of sunlight. If you’ve ever been in a fitness center at night and feel like you’re closer to taking a nap than doing the next set, take a look at the overhead lights – are they bright and vibrant or dull and covered by dust? Lighting can have a significant impact on energy levels and mood, particularly in a fitness center setting.

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