How to Clean Exercise Machines With Household Products

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At the gym, running your grimy towel over the machine you've just vacated is good form. When cleaning your own fitness equipment, you may want to be a bit more fastidious. Cleaning exercise equipment thoroughly will keep it fresh and appealing and doesn't require any special products. Use items you already have in the house to clean and disinfect everything from your jump rope to your elliptical machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Vegetable oil-based (castile) soap (optional)
  • Rags or sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • Mix the solution. Use approximately 1 tsp. of vinegar for every pint of warm water, multiplying as necessary depending on how much you need. For a stronger solution, add more vinegar. You may also want to add a few drops of liquid castile soap; this is strictly optional. If you make the solution too strong or soapy, you may have to wipe surfaces down again with a more dilute rinse. The vinegar aroma will dissipate as the cleaning solution evaporates, leaving the air fresh, not pungent.

  • Decant the solution. You can opt to put your mixture into a bucket, but this recipe is essentially a window cleaner; as such, a spray bottle is a natural choice.

  • Spray and wipe. Adjust the spray nozzle to a fine, non-diffuse setting to avoid spritzing electronics or lubricated parts--or surrounding areas of the room. For small parts or areas, such as jump rope handles, spray a rag or sponge, and wipe directly. Spray once, in one area, and wipe, not soaking the equipment, just getting a bit of cleansing water and vinegar to each spot.

  • Treat soft materials separately. If your equipment has a vinyl seat, a flexible rubber tread or cushioned handles, the above solution may be too weak. Thrifty Mom recommends an alternative: 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 tsp. castile soap and water to dilute.

  • Let the equipment dry thoroughly. Besides being unpleasantly vinegary, the damp surfaces of just-cleaned equipment may be slippery.

Tips & Warnings

  • For day-to-day cleaning without disinfecting, try a microfiber cloth. Simply dampened with water, these cloths trap dirt effectively with no need for cleaning solutions.
  • Unplug any powered equipment before cleaning. Allow to dry before plugging back in.
  • Avoid any parts of a machine that are lubricated. Cleaning off oil or grease from these parts will likely cause serious damage to the machine. If you accidentally remove lubrication, consult your owner's manual or call the company's customer service line.

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