Proper Gym Cleaning: Skin Infection Protection for Your Gym and Its Members

Whether they’re a fitness newbie or could compete in a professional bodybuilding competition, the gym is a place where all types of people build mental and physical health. But when not properly maintained, a gym can be a breeding ground for harmful microbes, which is not only gross but can lead to your patrons going home with more than just their gym bag in tow. Moist, enclosed communal spaces like a gym are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. That means proper gym disinfection and maintenance are not just about aesthetics; they’re fundamental responsibilities for the health and well-being of your clients! Making gym cleaning a priority protects your clients’ health and your gym’s reputation.

Types of Skin Infections From the Gym

With warm and moist environments, gyms can inadvertently become breeding grounds for various infections, which isn’t what you want your gym to be known for. Studies reveal that between 10 and 30% of gym surfaces contain bacteria that could lead to skin infections. Commonly contracted skin infections from the gym include:

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are caused by a virus that enters the foot through a weak spot.

Plantar warts, which can be caused by walking around barefoot at the gym, are small, rough growths that typically appear on the balls and heels of the feet, areas subjected to the most pressure. This pressure can lead to the inward growth of a wart beneath a tough, thick layer of skin known as a callus.

Plantar warts result from an HPV infection in the outer layer of the skin on the soles of the feet, developing when the virus enters through cuts, breaks, or weak spots on the foot’s bottom.


Ringworm has a clearer center but expands over time.

Ringworm, a fungal infection, produces a red, itchy, scaly ring on the skin surface. While it can appear anywhere, it’s often found on the torso, upper arms, or thighs. Given its preference for warm, moist environments, it can thrive on sweaty gym equipment, shared towels, and wet gym shower floors. Aside from the red, itchy, and scaly ring, common symptoms of ringworm include:

  • Clearer skin in the center of the ring
  • An expansion of the ring in size over time
  • Patches on various body parts, such as the scalp, groin, or feet (athlete’s foot)

Athlete’s Foot

Athletes foot is caused by moist conditions and can be spread rapidly.

Despite its name, athlete’s foot can extend beyond the feet, affecting areas like the groin (known as jock itch), armpits, and under the breasts. This fungal infection, caused by Trichophyton rubrum (also responsible for ringworm), is commonly found on the feet, leading to itchy and peeling skin between the toes. Walking barefoot in gym locker rooms or using contaminated surfaces like yoga mats can result in infection. Moist conditions from sweaty feet create a breeding ground for the fungus.


Folliculitis causes acne and severe inflammation.

Folliculitis is a common condition resulting from inflamed hair follicles on the body, leading to acne or itchy red bumps around affected hair follicles. It can be caused by staph, fungi, or clogged sweat ducts. The bacteria or fungus responsible for folliculitis can be easily picked up at the gym, especially when sharing towels or using dirty gym equipment. Additionally, inadequately chlorinated hot tubs and swimming pools have been associated with folliculitis. This bacterial or fungal infection often manifests as rashes, bumps, or pus-filled pimples, commonly occurring in hairy areas like the arms and legs.

Staph Infections

Staph infections are painful and can become life threatening.

Staph infections, stemming from staphylococcus bacteria on the skin or in the nose, are easily contracted at the gym. Skin damage, like cuts, can foster bacterial growth, overcoming the skin’s natural defenses and leading to infection. Staph infection, marked by a red, tender sore, is common in gym settings. It can rapidly spread, causing inflammation, pain, fever, chills, sweating, and weakness. Highly contagious, staph often transmits through physical touch or shared gym equipment, potentially becoming life-threatening.

Unclean Fitness Centers Lead to Infections

An unclean fitness center can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi, leading to various infections and all the gross stuff mentioned above. Improperly cleaned equipment, sweaty surfaces, and communal areas create an ideal setting for the spread of these pathogens.

Gym cleaning is not just a visual appeal but a commitment to the well-being of your fitness community. Investing in regular and thorough cleaning routines, providing sanitization stations, and enforcing stringent hygiene protocols is an investment in the health and safety of your fitness community. Maintain a clean and safe gym environment by implementing the following practices:

  • Regularly disinfect equipment and surfaces, with a focus on high-touch areas
  • Ensure members can easily access disinfectant wipes, sprays, or hand sanitizers for pre- and post-use cleaning
  • Educate gym-goers about personal hygiene practices, emphasizing the importance of showering, using clean towels, and avoiding item sharing
  • Display obvious signs encouraging cleanliness, including showering before using communal facilities, wearing clean workout attire, and proper footwear
  • Conduct regular facility inspections to address any hygiene concerns promptly
  • Provide adequate ventilation to minimize the risk of fungal growth
  • Promptly clean spills
  • Encourage members to report any signs of skin infections
  • Display educational material on symptoms, prevention, and treatment of skin infections within the gym to raise awareness and promote a healthier workout environment for everyone

Obviously, no one wants an infection, but proper gym disinfection goes beyond just protection from those nasty microbes. It shows patrons that they matter. Fitness center cleaning demonstrates a commitment to every member’s physical well-being and peace of mind. It builds trust, fosters a positive reputation, and contributes to your fitness center’s success and longevity.

Prevent Skin Infections with the Help of Gym Disinfection Experts

Running a gym is complicated. The challenges are numerous between the specialized equipment, the customers, and the unique environment. Consider partnering with a reputable commercial cleaning services company specializing in fitness center cleaning to protect patrons from the microscopic threat of infection. Professional janitorial services know how to handle thorough gym disinfection, from equipment to high-touch surfaces and communal areas. The right dedicated cleaning service will ensure that cleanliness is consistent, comprehensive, and collaborative, offering a proactive approach to preventing the spread of infections.

Need assistance keeping things clean? At OpenWorks, we focus on making your facilities safer, cleaner, and more compliant. Our facilities management and janitorial services make maintaining a healthy and hygienic environment for your members and staff simple. Contact us today to learn more.

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