Your Gym Is Filthy. Here’s What To Do About It


When you go to the gym, the only thing on your mind is probably getting an effective workout (and maybe you’re also counting down the minutes till you can leave). So it’s likely you don’t consider how many times, if at all, the equipment and surfaces of your gym are properly sanitized. How dirty is your gym, exactly? Let us fill you in: It. Is. Filthy. examined 27 of the most common workout machines for what kind and how many germs were on each of them. We almost want to stop here and just beg you to bring antibacterial wipes, but if you’re mentally prepared, we’ll continue.

An exercise bike was found to have 39 times more bacteria than a plastic cafeteria tray and 79 times more bacteria than a water faucet. Our hearts are palpitating.


But the worst offender of all? Free weights. They were found to have, on average, 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Bye, guys, we’re done. While exercise machines have a good amount of bacteria on them, they may be less aggressive than the free weights because they’re more likely to be wiped down. Have you ever seen a single free weight be wiped down?

Fitness mats and locker rooms were also big germ offenders, mostly for boasting excessive sweat, dead skin cells and lack of regular cleaning.

Spangdahlem Air Base

So how do you avoid this catastrophic mess of bacteria? Simple. Do the following:

1. Wipe down each piece of equipment you touch before and after you use it.

Yep, it will take an extra minute per machine or workout, but you really will thank yourself for it.

2. Never go shoe-less in the locker room.

In an interview with Fitness Magazine, Philip Tierno Jr., PhD, a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Medical School and the author of The Secret Life of Germs, says hot and humid locker rooms can breed diseases such as staph, strep and MRSA. That should be reason enough.

3. Wipe down your gym bag after you leave the gym.

Though bringing your own gym bag is a good way to keep your germs to yourself (and others’ germs away from you), germs will hop onto your bag from every surface you place your bag onto or into.

The last thing you want to worry about at the gym is whether or not you’re going to catch a cold or get a weird infection, so protect yourself at all times. Following a few extra steps will keep your body healthier — and it will keep you on the right track.