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Maintaining a hygienic workout environment is largely dependent on how well you’ve been taking care of your gym mat. Especially since it’s prone to collecting dirt and sweat that can even lead to bacteria buildup over time.
With that said, if you are looking for tips on how you can clean your gym mat more effectively, then our comprehensive step-by-step guide below can help you get started right away.
Steps on Cleaning Your Gym Mat
Gym floorings or personal fitness mats are both often made of rubber because it’s a durable material. It also provides the right friction for most physical activities and great at shock absorption. However, dirt accumulates around rubber pretty fast, which means you have to be on top of your cleaning routine to keep the floor from becoming a health and safety hazard.
1. Clean the Surface of the Mat
If you’re sweeping or vacuuming the gym mat regularly, then you pretty much just need to run another cycle to clean the surface of the mat. This way, you can immediately clear solid debris, which will then make it easier to wash the mat later.
Go over every part of the mat or floor once before you start any other cleaning. If there are materials stuck on the surface, use a plastic scraper or a similar item to get debris off the floor. Do this carefully so that you don’t risk scratching or puncturing the rubber mat permanently.
2. Prepare the Cleaning Solution
Mild detergent and water is a handy and simple cleaning solution that works on rubber floorings. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to achieve the ideal mix. For example, a cleaning agent like a Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach only needs 1/3 cup to make a one gallon cleaning solution.
Avoid harsh chemicals, solvent-based and oil style cleaners like Pine-sol or Lysol since they have active ingredients that can break down rubber over time.
3. Test the Solution in a Small Area
We made this a separate step because people tend to look over this part of the cleaning process when using a cleaning agent.
But as a reminder, you should always test the solution over any unremarkable surface of the mat to ensure that application will not lead damage or discoloration.
4. Apply the Cleaning Solution
When applying the formula, a spray bottle is recommended since it allows you to control the direction and the volume of the application. Meanwhile, you can use a soft-bristle mop or brush to aid in spreading the mixture evenly across the mat’s surface. Apply enough cleaning solution so the floor is damp but not soaking wet.
Pay extra attention to areas with visible stains. You may need to scrub harder on these parts of the mat in order to get rid of stubborn blemishes.
5. Rinse the Mat After a Round of Cleaning
You can use a mop or fresh cloth to clean the surface with fresh water and remove any residue from the cleaning solution.
Do not let the cleaner dry on its own since the rubber mat can get damaged by absorbing too much. As soon as you can see cleaning solution drying, you can start rinsing the gym mat with the mop or damp cloth. Do not let water pool up and soak the rubber.
6. Sanitize the Gym Mat
To kill bacteria and germs, you can use a solution of water and rubbing alcohol or a commercial-grade disinfectant. This solution must be applied sparingly. To get the best results, let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing or wiping it off with a mop or cloth.
7. Let the Gym Mat Air Dry
Use clean, lint-free cloths or a mop to dry the gym mats’ surface. Do this thoroughly until no moisture is left on the surface. Let it air dry completely before doing any activity. If possible, leave it a full day before resuming your routine.
If you have a good weather and ventilation, open the door or windows to help the gym mat dry naturally. You may also use fans if you need to speed up the process.
Tips for Gym Mat Maintenance
After giving your gym mat a full treatment, you can consider these aftercare tips to protect your mat from unnecessary damage.
1. Do not use undiluted bleach on your gym mat. Similarly, a vinegar solution is also not recommended. Both of these have active components that must no be applied to rubber, which most gym mats are made of today.
2. Do not use mops or brushes with abrasive materials. Likewise, avoid using sharp utensils when scraping debris off of the surface of the mat.
3. Clean the gym mat weekly to remove stains and dirt. You may consider cleaning more frequently if the mat is used in a shared space or high-traffic areas.
4. Interlocking rubber tiles can be cleaned the same way as other rubber floor mats. But you’ll have to be more mindful as it’ll have more seams where excess water can slip through and get absorbed by the mat.
5. For commercial establishments, rubber floor sealant can help protect the surface of your gym flooring and extend its life. This is optional since vast majority of home gym owners will not need to seal their rubber floors.
Maintaining your rubber mat and flooring will not only keep your workout environment hygienic, but will help prevent accidents and distractions during you training. While cleaning your gym mat is not difficult, you must quickly learn to do it regularly in order to take better care of your equipment and home environment. In general, cleaning the mat once a week to get rid of dirt and dust before they build up should make for standard, reliable schedule.