By Hayden Delia
We’re living in unprecedented times. The coronavirus has affected nearly all aspects of our life, from hitting the gym to going to church. It’s been difficult for everyone to adjust to the “new normal.”
Among the hardest-hit places are schools and exercise facilities (gyms, YMCAs, etc.) We want to use our 30 years of expertise in gym floor care to teach you how to navigate this challenging time.
If you follow the tips in this article, we guarantee your gym floor will be as safe as it possibly can be as you re-open further and welcome more people into your facility.
The Gymnasium Daily Disinfecting Regimen
Every gym floor must be cleaned daily. After hours of play in gym class, varsity/JV sports, dances, and more, dirt, dust, and germs gather on the floor. Regular cleaning makes sure that this build-up is removed consistently for the health of students and teachers. A properly treated dust mop is a great option for daily cleaning. Sweeping dirt and debris off the floor not only is good for the health and safety of the people who use it, but it will also extend the life of your floor.
Seamless pad and pour floors are able to be cleaned routinely with a wet mop and a water/detergent mix. This is an extremely easy way to keep bacteria and grime off your floor. It’s also a great idea to use entrance mats at doors that lead outside.
Vacuuming, sweeping, and other typical cleaning methods work on most gym floors, as well. There will be different cleaning guidelines and parameters for each type of athletic floor, so be mindful about your cleaning method so that you don’t damage your floor.
Walls, doors, appliances, bleachers, and more objects that are in direct contact with your floor will require close attention and a disinfecting process. This will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 from those objects to your floor and help you keep your space as safe as possible.
Increase in Cleaning Frequency
You may need to increase your cleaning frequency from daily to multiple times throughout each day. This depends on how many people are using your facility, how frequently they’re using it, and what types of activities are performed on it.
Make sure to keep “dwell” time in mind for the cleaner/disinfectant you’re using. Dwell time is the amount of time needed for the cleaner to stay on the floor to maximize its effectiveness. Some are effective in less than a minute, others in as long as 10 minutes.
Keep this in mind as you decide on the maintenance routine that works best for you.
Regular Weight Room Maintenance
If your school has a weight room, you’ll follow different (but similar) instructions than cleaning your gymnasium floor.
The surface of a rubber weight room floor must be kept free of loose debris. Then, damp-mop the floor. You can use a grease remover for this portion for thorough cleaning.
After mopping, use a wet vacuum to pick up the cleaning solution from the floor. When completed, make sure you rinse the floor to remove excess cleaning solution, then wet vacuum again. Make sure not to flood the floor while rinsing.
Disinfect the weight room floor after completing the regular maintenance procedures. Find a disinfectant recommended by the floor’s manufacturer and follow the same process you did when using the cleaning solution/grease remover.
Intense Involved Cleaning/Disinfecting
More intense cleaning methods are needed periodically. Using a neutral cleaner mixed with water in an auto-scrubber every so often deep-cleans the floor and extends its lifespan.
Using a stronger cleaner or a brush that’s too rough will damage the floor. Make sure you have the right materials before auto-scrubbing, or have a professional come in and auto-scrub the floor.
Spot stains must be cleaned immediately as well. You extend the life of the floor, as well as keep it more sanitary, by cleaning immediately rather than waiting for routine maintenance times.
Auto-scrubbers can be used on both gymnasium flooring and weight room flooring. Again, be absolutely certain that you are using the right auto-scrubber, brush, cleaning solution, disinfectant, etc. before you clean. You can’t afford to harm your floor.
Facility Closures Due to Coronavirus
Some states still have facilities closed due to COVID-19. If you’re in a situation where you need to close again, it will be a great opportunity to deep-clean and disinfect your floor.
While not a perfect situation, the silver lining will be the ease with which you can complete your maintenance while people aren’t using your facility.
Every obstacle can become an opportunity. A closure could be the opportunity for you to create the safest space possible for students when they return.
Just Be Mindful
Many experts agree that the best way to avoid COVID-19 is to wash your hands regularly. Tara C. Smith, professor of epidemiology at Kent State University, expressed the importance of hand-washing to Men’s Health.
“If you touch the surface that has a virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you basically inoculate yourself with the virus,” Smith said. “That’s where hand washing comes in. That’ll eliminate that source of transmission.”
This also stresses the importance of wiping down sports equipment and fitness machines with disinfecting wipes after use. Pretty much every gym you’ll enter focuses on maintaining a sanitary environment. Disinfectant is found all over the place, and it’s general gym etiquette to wipe your equipment after use. However, many facilities go above and beyond during disease outbreaks.
As a flooring contractor, we’re in and out of sports and worship facilities every day. The most important thing for us, and for anyone who goes to the gym, attends a sporting event, or participates in sports, is to remain mindful. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, keep hand sanitizer readily available, and wash your hands. If you feel sick, avoid public places.
We must all do our part to stop the spread of this disease so we can get back to doing the things we love.
Hayden Delia is with Abacus Sports, www.abacussports.com. Founded in 1991, Abacus has been designing and installing revolutionary floors across North America for almost 30 years.