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Clean Insights Blog

The Top 4 Chemicals That Destroy Your Gym Equipment

| February 10, 2020

As a gym manager, you’ve invested a big portion of your budget in equipment, furniture, and other amenities to make your gym stand out as the best choice for members. Filling your gym with the best high-tech, in-demand equipment is not cheap. But you don’t mind, because investing in that equipment is key for your gym’s success. However, are you properly maintaining your investments? 

If machines begin to malfunction and surfaces begin to crack, rust and get scratched, you’ll have to replace these items. Since you’ve already spent thousands of dollars to buy them, you’ll be spending more than double to replace them. Protecting your equipment and machinery boils down to two things: care and proper maintenance. 
With the estimated cost to stock a small gym totaling $10,000 and more than for larger gyms, it’s easy to see why taking good care of your equipment is necessary.

Part of good care and maintenance is knowing what you should and shouldn’t use to clean them. Using cleaning products with certain chemicals can accelerate the demise of your equipment, causing them to break down, experience glitches, and become discolored or corroded.

4 chemicals you shouldn't use to clean your gym equipment.


If you are using wipes, sprays, or cleaning solutions that contain the following four chemicals, you should throw them out ASAP. 


Alcohol is one of the most common chemicals used as a disinfecting agent in cleaners. Generally, it’s used in the form of isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol, which kills different germs and bacteria based on different concentration levels. You’ll find alcohol in many common cleaning products like wipes and sprays. However, when it comes to your gym, alcohol is one of the worst chemical disinfectant agents to use on your valuable equipment. 

When you clean with alcohol-based products, you’re putting equipment like vinyl benches, rubber grips, steel weights, and treadmill screen monitors at risk. Cleaning with alcohol can cause unattractive cracking in surfaces where germs can hide, it can expedite rusting on metal objects like hand weights, and can dissolve protective screen coatings making touch screens less responsive and sometimes, cloudy. When selecting the right cleaner for your gym equipment, it’s best to stay away from alcohol at all costs. 

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the 4 chemicals you shouldn't use to clean your gym equipment.


Hydrogen peroxide has a reputation for being a less-dangerous disinfecting agent than alcohol or bleach, however, hydrogen peroxide can also do serious damage to your gym equipment. Hydrogen peroxide is notorious for oxidizing aluminum, copper, iron, steel, tungsten, and other base metals or base metal alloys.

This means any surface on your equipment made from these metals, in the form of pilates reformers, on rowing machines, and even stationary bicycles could be severely damaged if you clean them with hydrogen peroxide. 

These chemicals react with the surface of the metal and what’s left is a layer of rust on your gym equipment. Metal corrosion can occur quickly, and if you continually clean with hydrogen peroxide and make the damage worse, it can weaken the integrity of your machines, not only making them dangerous for your guests but also making them wear out much faster than they should.

Check liquid chemicals such as sanitizers and disinfectants to make sure they don’t have hydrogen peroxide listed as a disinfectant to help save your customers, and yourself, a big headache. 


Bleach has been branded as a go-to disinfectant since the beginning of time. When people think bleach, they think “gold-standard clean”, but for gyms, bleach can lead to disaster. Using products with bleach can fade and discolor gym equipment and surfaces. Your investments into the best mats, benches, and even counters or desks can quickly be undone when you clean them with bleach.

Another undesirable side effect of cleaning your gym equipment with bleach is that it often discolors surfaces, leaving a yellow tint on white or light-colored surfaces. Bleach also corrodes protective layers on your gym equipment and can break down the structural integrity of machines and surfaces to cause rusting or cracking. There are many other products you can use to properly disinfect or kill germs on equipment besides bleach that are much safer. 


Just reading the word ammonia might instantly bring its unforgettable odor to your mind. Ammonia is used to clean a variety of surfaces and you can find it in anything from toilet cleaner to floor polish. But because of how quickly it evaporates, ammonia mostly used to clean surfaces that could become streaky.

It’s often used in its liquid form for cleaning use, but cleaning with ammonia carries a lot of risks. Not only can it
irritate the respiratory system, but it can also lead to breathing issues and can trigger allergy or asthma troubles. Ammonia can also cause serious skin burns if it comes into direct contact with any part of the body.

In the case of your gym equipment, when not handled correctly, ammonia can cause discoloration and cracking of equipment. There are many odorless disinfectants that will be gentler on your equipment and be safer for your members and their health.



So what should you use to kill harmful bacteria while removing dust, sweat, and dirt from your gym equipment if you can’t use alcohol, bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners? 

Thankfully, there’s a very simple solution. You just need to look for QUAT based, phenol-free cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfectant wipes. 

Why wipes? Spraying liquid cleaner and disinfectant directly on your equipment can cause significantly more damage to your equipment, especially those with screens and electrical components. Apply too much spray, and the integrity of the electric or computer system can become damaged. 

Apply the spray in the wrong area and you can accidentally expose vulnerable parts of your equipment to dangerous chemicals that will slowly damage them without any sign that the machine is rusting or becoming weak inside. Learn more about why wipes are better than sprays by clicking here.  

But, when you choose a QUAT based, phenol-free disinfecting wipe, you are free to clean with confidence. You’ll have control of the chemicals that you’re exposing your valuable and delicate gym equipment to and you’ll have full control of how and where the chemicals are applied, ensuring that you are fully protecting your investments, your customers, and saving massive amounts of money over time. Not sure how to choose the best wipe for your facility? Reference our Q&A Guide To Selecting Disinfecting Wipes for Your Facility here


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