gymnastics mat cleaning process

February 20, 2024

How to Clean Gymnastics Mats?

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While gymnastic mats are must-haves for shaping the performance of athletes, keeping them clean and odor-free is a prerequisite for you. 

After all, they go through a lot of action every day while absorbing sweat and moisture from the bodies of the athletes. If not cleaned properly, they become hotbeds for germs and bacteria, spreading infections in the athletes. 

So, why take the risk? Not cleaning your gymnastic mats for days can lead to serious fungal infections like ringworms and virus contagions like herpes or warts. Many athletes and gymnasts report catching infections after practicing on the same mats for days in their gym or fitness center. While replacing the mats every alternative day is impossible, the only thing to do is clean them methodically and thoroughly.

Well, that's what this blog is about! We will explain how to clean gymnastics mats, ensuring they are supremely hygienic and don't pose any risk of infections. Along with the detailed procedure, we presented the importance and benefits of cleaning gymnastics mats.

In a nutshell, learn here why cleaning the mats should be a part of your regular gym routine and how to do it. Take a look!

What are Gymnastics Mats?

In every way, gymnastic mats are core support equipment for athletes or gymnasts. Like any other sports kit, they contribute to improving the performance and spirit of the athletes. 

The sturdier hardwood floors or rubber floors of gyms and fitness centers are unfit for the athletes to do any movements involved in gymnastics. It is all about doing artistry movements, including high jumps, showcasing the strength and flexibility of your arms, legs, back, chest, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. Doing the high-spirited gymnastics movements directly on the floor would lead to severe injuries or risks of fractures. 

Here comes the role of gymnastics mats. They provide a cushioned platform on the gym floors to help athletes practice movements and flex as much as possible without worrying. In other words, the gymnastics mats are the elementary platform for gymnasts, which allow them to practice any movements and push their boundaries while experiencing a soft landing every time. 

Before diving into gymnastics mat cleaning, you must understand the materials of these mats and how they get dirtier. Typically, they are made of foam or any shock-absorbing material. The core foam is covered with a non-porous and highly durable vinyl or plastic for the perfect cushioning effect after a jump or fall. This material blended into the gymnastic mats makes them prone to bacterial growth and germ infection. 

While cushioning the floor is the primary function of gymnastics mats, there are more that we would like to mention.

  • Shock absorption: The mats or mattresses are of specific material that absorbs the shock from the athletes' jumps and flips. The mat absorbs energy when an athlete lands on it with all weight, and the filling compresses, reducing the force exerted on the athlete's body. It prevents the athletes from getting any sprain or injuries on their muscles. 
  • Prevents slips and falls: The gymnastic mat surface is non-slippery, preventing slip-off or falls during practice. It makes them ideal platforms for athletes to practice balancing exercises and tricky maneuvers. 
  • Boundary mark: The gymnastic mats typically define the area or boundary the athletes need to perform within. Therefore, it creates a safe zone for them to practice their acrobatics and movements without accidentally stepping on the hard floor surface. 

Significance of Cleaning Gymnastic Mats Regularly

The need and significance of gymnastic mats have justified why they need regular cleaning and maintenance by expert gym cleaning services. Being an inevitable part of a gym or fitness center, they help the athletes practice their usual stuff safely and comfortably. 

Since multiple athletes use the same mattresses, they tend to get dirtier soon. Also, they absorb sweat from their bodies and dirt from their hands and feet. If not cleaned methodically, they breed germs and microbes, give out foul odors, and make mats unfit for use. 

However, when discussing how to clean gymnastics mats, we aren't simply referring to dusting and wiping them daily. We understand the difference between cleaning and deep cleaning mats! While the former implies just general brushing and wiping with a wet cloth to remove the visible dirt, deep cleaning is about cleaning and disinfecting them. The latter process is mandatory to remove the trapped dirt and debris from the mattresses while killing the germs and microbes. 

Gymnastics Mat Cleaning Procedure: How do you clean gymnastics mats?

Gymnastic mats are inevitable in the performance of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. While they are crucial for ensuring comfort during their practices, maintaining them in pristine condition is equally vital for the health of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. 

Considering their unique foam material, you need to know how to clean a gymnastic mat technically without damaging it. We will explain that to you through a comprehensive gymnastics mat cleaning checklist. Look at this detailed guide on how to clean gymnastics mats to ensure they are top-notch and hygienic. 

Step 1: Basic Cleaning

Basic or regular cleaning is about maintaining the appearance of mats on which gymnasts and athletes will practice. First impressions matter! And, when we say this, we also mean the impression that your gym creates on its first-time visitors. Uncared and dirty mats in your gymnasium will leave an awful impression on anyone visiting there for the first time and reduce the chance of them getting a membership. 

However, when they step into a gym that is all through clean and looks professional, it naturally instigates them to buy a membership and get converted into customers. So, remember to include the cleaning of mats in your daily gym cleaning checklist!

For basic cleaning of gym mats, tick through the following steps.

  • Clearing off the loose debris that gym mats accumulate is the first step of basic cleaning. It is the easiest step of the mat cleaning procedure. Just sweep a broom over the mats to get rid of the loose dirt, gravel, debris, sand, etc., collected in the mats.
  • Vacuuming the gymnastic mats is the next thing to do to remove the tiniest particles of dirt or debris that are trapped in the mats. This step is a must-do for the apparent reason – grime or dirt gets inside the porous cover of the mats after jumps or movements on them. If not vacuumed and cleaned, grime will build up on the surface without letting you notice them at all! You may not need to vacuum your gymnastic mats daily, but you must do it every 1-2 days. Usually, we suggest vacuuming the mats every day after dusting them if your gymnasium experiences more significant foot traffic every day. More people using the mats means more dirt and debris they accumulate! 
  • Spot cleaning is also a part of the basic cleaning of gymnastics mats in case the mats get liquid spills or stain marks due to everyday use. You need to use a mild detergent or soapy solution for basic spot cleaning. Take a clean cloth or brush and soak it in the prepared soap solution. Rinse it thoroughly and then scrub it over the stain or spillage spot. Rinse the cloth or brush, rewash it in the soap solution, and repeat the procedure for cleaning the next place. 

Step 2: Deep Cleaning

Here comes the most vital step of how to clean gymnastics mats – deep cleaning! Deep cleaning is necessary once a week or twice (if there's more significant traffic daily and the mats are heavily used). 
Also, you need to determine the type of mats used in your gym to specify the deep cleaning procedures. 

Depending on the material and cover of the gym mats, you can either machine wash or hand wash them, ensuring that the foam or vinyl doesn't get damaged. Most importantly, you need to read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the gymnastic mats for cleaning. 

While regular cleaning of the mats is a prerequisite for maintaining the gym's appearance, deep cleaning is equally significant for ensuring the health of the gymnasts or fitness enthusiasts. We prioritize deep cleaning of communal gym mats more than basic cleaning since they are vast-sized mats used by many.
If deep cleaning is the next thing to do for the mattresses of your gym, here are the simple steps for you to follow. 

  • Get the essentials for deep cleaning handy, such as a piece of cloth or microfiber cloth, mild dish soap or mat shampoo, pH cleaner, and a dry cloth.  
  • The first step of deep cleaning the gym mattresses is a no-brainer. You need first to sweep or dust the mats to remove any loose dirt or grime gathered on them.  
  • Then, it's time to vacuum the gymnastic mats to remove the dirt or loose debris deep-seated in the porous material of the mats. 
  • Once you are done with dusting and vacuuming the gymnastic mat, it's time to proceed with the deep cleaning process. First, take detergent and mix it in water in a bucket. Dip your cloth in the detergent solution and scrub across the mats. As commercial cleaning experts, we typically run the wet cloth in circles and in the direction of '8' to clean the mats thoroughly. 
  • Wiping and scrubbing the mats with soap and water solution is the most essential stage of deep cleaning, and it's only considered complete once you do it for all the mattresses. 
  • After deep cleaning, it's time to check if there are any spots or stains still left on the mats. For any stains, apply the spot cleaning method, which is the most effective for maintaining unblemished gymnastic mats! Take a dishwasher or shampoo for spot cleaning. First, use the shampoo or dishwasher on the stains and let it stay for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, gently scrub the spots and stains on the mats to rub them out and make the mats look sparkling clean!

Step 3: Disinfecting the gymnastics mats 

So far, you have only dealt with the visible dirt and stains on the gymnastic mattresses. But what about the microscopic bacteria or germs growing and inhabiting the porous texture of the mats?

Since many gymnasts use the same mats, they naturally absorb dirt, sweat, skin cells, etc., from different users. The best way to get rid of microbes and germs is by cleaning them with a disinfectant. Also, disinfecting the mats ensures no mold growth, making them smelly and gradually degrading the core material or foaming the core after a specific time. 

In short, we must take advantage of the disinfecting procedure in this guide on how to clean gymnastic mats! If you skip disinfecting the mats, germs may spread from one person to another, leading to infections. 

For all these reasons, we put disinfecting in our planned gymnastics mat cleaning checklist, and here are the steps to do it. 

  • Consider using a proper disinfectant according to your convenience, such as rubbing alcohol or peroxide for your gymnastics mats. Whichever disinfectant you choose, make sure it is strong enough to destroy the germs and bacteria but is safe on the texture and material of the mats.
  • We recommend hiring a professional cleaning agency in the USA for gym mat cleaning. They mainly use industry-approved eco-friendly agents for cleaning and disinfecting that are safe on the skin of the mat users. 
  • If a proper disinfectant is not available, use commercial-grade disinfectant wipes to rub the surfaces of the mats and make them germ-free! 
  • Fill a spray bottle with the disinfectant solution and some water. It is time to apply the disinfectant on the mats' surfaces and ensure sanitizing the entire area. Again, using the disinfectant evenly to ensure complete coverage is challenging, generally when the mats are large or made by interlocking multiple mats.
  • Having professional cleaners will, of course, give you an upper hand on this! They know how to disinfect the mats evenly using proper spraying equipment that leaves no patches untouched and sanitized. Also, professionals are mindful of the exact amount of disinfecting agent to apply so that the mats are moist but not soaked or damaged with the disinfectant. 
  • After spraying the disinfectant, let it sit on the mats for sufficient time. The dwell time is essential to allow the disinfectant to eradicate the germs. 
  • Lastly, wipe down the disinfectant from the surface of the gymnastic mats. Wipe the entire surface to thoroughly wipe off germs, microbes, and bacterial growth from the mats, making them hygienic! Also, you should dry the mats before using them again! Drying the mats is essential to prevent accidental slips or fall hazards for gymnasts.

Step 4: General maintenance tips for overall cleanliness

Apart from the usual cleaning and deep cleaning of the gymnastic mats, you must be aware of their overall maintenance! Gymnastics mats are costly, and when investing in multiple ones, you must maintain them in durable and pristine condition. 

In other words, overall maintenance of gym mats is necessary to increase their longevity and get higher returns on investment. Here are the vital steps to maintaining your gymnastic mats. 

  • Decide a regular cleaning schedule for the mats and hire a professional cleaning agency in NYC to execute that. It would help to clean your mats regularly, as many use them continuously, causing the germs to multiply. As a result, regular cleaning and disinfecting of the mats will keep germs at bay, contributing to a spotless and hygienic environment. 
  • Make your staff aware of how to clean gymnastics mats. Cleaning the gym mats isn't a plain sailing task that your gym's janitors will also know. You need to hold sessions to educate them on how to vacuum and disinfect the mats. General cleanliness training for the staff is also necessary to help them deal with accidental spills or dirty mats faced by gymnasts during practice sessions. 

While we covered the fundamental steps of the gymnastics mat cleaning procedure well, we will now share the steps for cleaning two common types of gymnastic mats- interlocking mats and one-piece mats. 

How to clean interlocking gymnastics mats?

  1. Carefully separate or detach each of the interlocked mats one by one. Cleaning after detaching them is necessary to wipe off the dirt from the gaps at the joining points of the mats. Those gaps lead to easy accumulation of dirt and become the breeding spots of germs. 
  2. Next, lay each of the sections of mats on a plain surface so as not to cause them to fold or deform while cleaning.
  3. It's time to disinfect the sections of the mats using a disinfectant spray, wipe, or rubbing alcohol. Make sure to disinfect the corners and edges, too! If possible, spray a deodorizer for a fresh-smelling mat. 
  4. Lastly, clean the floor or rubber floor underneath the mats by sweeping, mopping, and then laying the mats after joining the sections. Rubber floor cleaning of gyms involves technical steps that ensure efficient cleaning. Floor cleaning is as relevant as cleaning the mats to prevent germs or dirt from getting into the interlocked sections and bottom of the mats.

How to clean one-piece gymnastic mats?

  1. Vacuum the gymnastics mats to get rid of the loose debris.
  2. Clean with a mild detergent or soap solution to remove the stains or spots. Scrub the stains and spots while wiping the entire mats evenly along the edges. 
  3. Spray disinfectant evenly over the mats and wipe them thoroughly to make sure they are free of germs and bacteria and are hygienic for use. 
  4. Remove the mats and clean the floor underneath the mats. This step is necessary for maintaining the overall cleanliness of the gym and ensuring the floors are free of loose dirt and debris that get on the floors due to high traffic and frequent athletes' sessions. 

Prevalent Issues That Make Cleaning of Gymnastics Mats Necessary

Being professional gym cleaning experts, we have been addressing the mat cleaning needs of many sports and fitness centers. Apart from dealing with dirty mats, we encounter many unhygienic aspects in the mattresses, making their cleaning a routine essential task. 

Stinky odors

Most gymnastic foam mattresses usually develop stinky odors over time. They get that musty odor by soaking body sweat and dirt from the moist hands and feet of the athletes. While cleaning helps somewhat, it can further aggravate the smell if the wet mattresses aren't dried well. 

For this reason, it is compulsory to clean and disinfect the mats after a few day's gap. It instantly digs out the trapped germs and microbes from the mats, giving them a refreshing smell. But, most importantly, what we do after the cleaning procedure is to vacuum the mats.

If we inspect that the mats are used in a damp room or where no natural daylight enters, we recommend the gym owners keep the mats in open air under the sun after the cleaning. It allows proper ventilation in and out of the foam core, releasing the foul odor in the mats.  

Persistent stains

After using the mattresses for a few sessions, you can notice dirt stains and sweat marks on them. Some sticky dirt results in persistent stains even after basic cleaning and needs more vital cleaning agents.
However, using more vital cleaning agents may damage the foam core of the mats and, eventually, reduce the longevity of the mattresses. As professionals in the cleaning field, we understand the importance of cleaning gymnastics mats rather than at the cost of affecting their durability. Thus, we use mild agents that effectively remove stains but will not damage their materials. 

Also, there's a particular technique of gymnastics mattress cleaning! We first apply the commercial cleaning solution on the stains and let them stay for some time to work on. Our cleaners then gently blob and wipe away the stains, giving the mattresses a posh new look!

Dirt accumulation on worn-out mats

Another common gymnastic mat cleaning challenge is excessive dirt accumulation in worn-out areas. Most mattresses experience minor wear and tear on the surface cover due to consistent force and movements by the gymnasts. But that does not mean you need to replace them with new ones!

It's normal to use the mats as long they are sturdier and absorbs shock, even if they have little slits or tears on them. However, dirt from the feet and sweaty substances from the skin quickly get into those cracks and gaps, making them hidden breeding grounds for germs and microbes.

We take special care while cleaning to ensure those tear gaps do not make the mats unclean and unfit for us. We scour the tear gaps using brushes to dig the loose dirt and then spot cleaning with a mild, soapy solution. After that, we sanitize the areas and dry them to prevent moisture from getting inside the foam. It would help to let the mattress air dry for a long time to avoid the worst, i.e., bacterial growth or mold development.

How Does Sterling Cleaning Services Help You With Gymnastics Mats Cleaning?

If you have understood how to clean gymnastic mats, you have also realized that it isn't a piece of cake that your usual maintenance staff can do. From wiping the mats extensively to disinfecting every inch of them, there's a lot to take care of to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of your gym. 

The best solution to keep your gymnastic mats clean is hiring an expert team of cleaners from a professional agency like ours. Here's how Sterling Cleaning will help you with efficient mat cleaning.

Thorough cleaning:

 As a professional cleaning company in NYC, we can access commercial-grade mat cleaning equipment such as counter-rotating brushes. Furthermore, our experts have industry expertise and are adept at specific practical cleaning techniques for deep mat cleaning. 

Hygiene maintenance:

Having expertise in technical cleaning methods, our experts clean and disinfect the mats using allergens, bacteria, and even mold to make the mats look pristine, clean, and hygienic. In short, we contribute to making your gym environment healthy, too! 

Increased durability of mats:

Our professional cleaners deploy the correct cleaning techniques, like optimal scrubbing and spot cleaning, with eco-friendly cleaning solutions. We know how to clean gymnastic mats thoroughly without affecting their quality and increasing their longevity.

Save your time and effort:

Cleaning all your gymnastic mats, whether interlocked or one-piece mats, is undeniably tedious for your general staff. It's even more challenging without the expertise in mat cleaning or proper equipment. Hiring Sterling Cleaning will hence help you save time and effort for your staff and let them focus on other essential gym maintenance tasks. 

Get Your Gymnastics Mats Flawlessly Cleaned By Experts!

Gymnastic mats are vital for every gymnast, sportsperson, or fitness enthusiast practice session. While gym owners emphasize maintaining the overall cleanliness and hygiene of the place, they tend to overlook the need to tidy up the mats more frequently!    

The mats are used by many in continuous practice sessions and get ample dirt from the feet, hands, and sweaty skin. Paying no attention to cleaning the mats means letting the germs build up and making the mats unclean and unfit for use. If left uncared for a long time, they also start giving out foul odors, displeasing everyone in your gym, including the staff and practitioners. 

So, keep your gymnastic mats from getting smelly and dirtier, negatively impacting your clients and employees! Here, we explained an exclusive guide on how to clean gymnastic mats, and our adept cleaners will stick to that to ensure unblemished and hygienic mats at your place. 

Contact Sterling Cleaning Services in NYC today and experience hassle-free gym mat cleaning with our experts. We specialize in cleaning various commercial places, including schools, hospitals, hotels, office buildings, etc. Rely on us to get the highest-quality cleaning services and make your mats supremely tidy and fresh-smelling, appropriate for a hygienic gym environment!

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