From California to New York, locker rooms can be found in almost every gym and fitness facility across the United States. These rooms provide a safe environment for your members to catch their breath after an intense workout or shower and prepare for their busy day ahead.
Anyone who has been in these areas knows that they are high-traffic and high-touch areas. This means they are often teeming with viruses and bacteria—and perhaps bloodborne pathogens—which leaves occupants with greater chances of getting sick. Fortunately, you can reduce this risk with proper cleaning and disinfecting.
Read on for your guide on how to clean locker rooms the right way. Or, if you’re searching for a reliable cleaning service with a proven track record of success, get in touch with our team at 360clean. Our trusted JaniMed® Cleaning System involves hospital-grade disinfectants and comprehensive training to ensure your facility always looks immaculate. To learn more, contact us today for a free quote!
Why It’s Important to Keep Locker Rooms Clean
Believe it or not, you can catch some serious illnesses from locker rooms, including the following:
- Athlete’s foot
Additionally, within your typical fitness center, three types of employees may come in contact with bloodborne pathogens—first aid providers, your janitorial crew, and maintenance workers. OSHA knows these jobs come with safety risks, so they created training requirements for all gyms. The training is required both upon initial hire and annually for employees.
7 Steps for Properly Cleaning Locker Rooms
The good news is that keeping a locker room clean is only a matter of attentiveness, consistency, and proper cleaning technique. Once you have identified your highest-risk areas, you are ready to formulate a regular cleaning schedule with these five steps.
1. Wash Your Hands
Before you begin cleaning, wash your hands with soap and water. If you start cleaning with dirty hands, you may increase the number of germs on the surfaces you touch rather than reduce them. Similarly, wash your hands after cleaning, too. This step is essential for eliminating any viruses or bacteria you may touch while cleaning. Additionally, it helps remove any residue from the cleaning chemicals used. As an added safety precaution, we also recommend wearing gloves before starting.
2. Clean the Lockers
First, wipe the lockers down and out. After, have a broom and vacuum handy. Depending on the orientation of the locker room, you will want to use either the broom or a vacuum first to remove any loose debris. Start with whichever will make the most impact, then use the other to take care of anything more problematic—for example, hard-to-reach corners that often accumulate dust.
3. Disinfect the Lockers
Once the lockers and surrounding floor are clear of debris, it is time to disinfect and deodorize the area. This step is crucial because this is where you kill the majority of bacteria and viruses that are festering throughout the space.
4. Make Your Way to the Sinks
Refill the soap dispensers first and wipe down the faucet, sink bowls, and surrounding surfaces. Remember to refill paper towels if needed. Sweep or vacuum the area as needed.
5. The Toilets
Start by emptying trash as needed and replacing liners inside stalls if necessary. One by one, use a bowel cleaner to scrub the toilet bowl. Next, spray the exterior with a disinfectant. Allow the solution to sit for the allotted amount of time. Use disinfecting wipes to take care of hard-to-reach places like the seat hinge. Once complete, sweep.
6. Remember High-Touch Areas
Use disinfectant wipes or color-coded towels and disinfectant spray to disinfect the following areas:
- Toilet handles
- Sink faucets
- Sink knobs
- Anywhere along the sinks that people tend to touch
- Locker handles
- Door knobs
It is good practice to wash your hands whenever you finish using a disinfectant. This rule applies even if you use personal protective equipment like gloves. Washing your hands helps ensure that you do not inadvertently ingest any harmful chemicals.
7. Mop the Floors
Finally, when all surfaces have dried, you are ready to clean the floors. First, identify which surfaces are carpet and which are tile. The rug should have already been vacuumed once at this point in the process, but you can do so again if a reasonable amount of time has passed. This can help ensure all dirt and debris are removed.
Next, you are ready to apply a commercial-grade disinfectant to the floor. Like with any other cleaning product, remember to read the label and follow all printed instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.
Special Instructions for Locker Rooms with Showers
If the locker room you are attempting to clean has a showering facility, you must follow a couple of additional steps. First, check the showers for tangible items that members may have left, like towels. Remove them before you begin cleaning. Next, apply a commercial-grade disinfecting foam to all tiled areas and carefully follow the instructions on the label.
The Dangers of Mold
When cleaning a showering facility, you may encounter mold. This potentially dangerous fungus thrives in conditions where heat and moisture are present. The dampness and humidity of a locker room create a perfect incubator for mold.
If mold is left untreated for too long, it can cause many problems. In addition to endangering your customers and employees, mold can wreak havoc on your tile and grout and render your showering facility virtually unusable.
Although some molds are not considered toxic, molds can worsen if left untreated, causing health issues like respiratory infections. This is why it is in your best interests to keep your facility in such a state that mold cannot thrive in the first place.
How to Prevent Mold
Mold is a substance that can cause severe issues to your facility, customers, and personnel. Fortunately, you can combat mold by following a comprehensive cleaning schedule. Here are some tips:
1. Ensure Proper Ventilation
You can prevent mold growth by ensuring your facility has adequate ventilation. That’s because mold will grow whenever steam and water are trapped in an enclosed environment for a prolonged time.
2. Monitor Humidity
Additionally, try your best to ensure the area is not consistently humid. Mold loves warm areas with lots of moisture in the air, so if the showering facility becomes too humid, you can likely expect mold to pop up.
3. Beware of Standing Water
While mold can undoubtedly develop in pools of water spread across the shower floors, it can also thrive due to untreated water beads along the walls; wiping down the shower areas daily is essential.
4. Remove and Clean Mats and Discarded Towels
Finally, mold can thrive in discarded towels and mats that have become damp and left on the ground for too long. It can also form underneath mats where it could easily missed. This is why it is essential to pick up your mats and treat them in another area before cleaning the showering facility.
How to Remove Mold
Because mold emits spores that can cause problems when inhaled, the cleaning process can put the person cleaning at risk. To safely remove mold from your showering facility, follow these steps:
- Wear rubber gloves to protect your arms and hands
- Wear old clothing to cover as much of your body as possible
- Discard the old clothing after you are through cleaning
- Wear a face mask to protect your mouth and nose
- Wear goggles to protect your eyes
- Bring a box fan to ventilate the area and remove moisture
- Bring proper cleaning tools for scrubbing and sanitizing
- Use a scraper or screwdriver to remove the mold from the grout and tile
- Apply a spray specifically designed to remove mold
If properly followed, these steps should ensure the satisfactory removal of whatever mold is in your facility.
Leave It to the Professionals
For your safety: Countless articles will tell you that cleaning your fitness facility matters for your bottom line, customer satisfaction, and extending the life of your equipment—but don’t forget another important consideration: the safety of your employees. To address employee safety, the government agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was created; its purpose is to help protect employees and make the workplace a safer environment for everyone. Stay tuned for our next blog on OSHA compliance for fitness facilities to learn more.
Or, leave the cleaning to the professionals at 360clean. Our trusted JaniMed® Cleaning System involves hospital-grade disinfectants and comprehensive training to ensure your facility always looks immaculate. To learn more, contact us today for a free quote!