Fight Back Against Common Gym Germs With EPA-Registered Disinfectant
Gyms are all about health and wellness, but, as a gym owner, you know more than anyone that gyms can be a hotbed for some pretty scary germs, bacteria, and viruses! Sadly, as your staff works hard to clean and disinfect your surfaces, equipment, and facility they may unintentionally be exposing themselves and your clients to some toxic ingredients that are just as scary. The cleaning industry is poorly regulated when it comes to health, so many common disinfectants and cleaners trigger and cause allergies, asthma, and other serious health conditions. One recent study found that chronic exposure to the most common cleaning products can be as harmful to our health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. While a cleaner might be effective in killing germs on a surface, it isn’t necessarily safe to come into contact with our skin, respiratory systems, or even the surfaces of your valuable equipment. This puts gym owners in a tough spot. Having even a few infections from the most common sickness-causing germs can devastate your business, particularly if it is considered an “outbreak.” Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more about the most common gym germs and how our revolutionary devices, Force of Nature and Force of Nature Pro, can help you effectively clean, sanitize, and disinfect without exposing your members and staff to harmful chemicals.
The Top Gym Germs & How To Kill Them Without Putting Your Clients & Staff At Risk
Here are the top sickness-causing germs found in gyms and what to do (and not do!) to protect your clients and staff from them.
This itchy, scaly, and downright misery-inducing infection is caused by a few different types of fungi and is incredibly common – 15% of the population develops it every year – and, while it usually responds to over-the-counter creams, it’s no fun to experience. Because sweaty feet put you at an increased risk of contracting Athlete’s Foot, gym locker rooms, mats, and studio floors are common areas where clients pick it up.
Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)
Staph is a serious concern for gym owners because it can be very dangerous. Staph is a bacteria that spreads from skin to skin and skin to surface to skin, which makes gyms an ideal environment for spreading. Staph bacteria can become very serious when it enters your bloodstream, even resulting in sepsis or death. More than 120,000 people contract staph every year.
Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that is caused by a mold-like parasite. This parasite lives on the cells of your outer skin layer and causes a circular rash that gives it its name. Ringworm usually spreads by direct, skin-to-skin contact and can be related to athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm of the scalp.
The Common Cold (Rhinovirus)
Long before COVID, the common cold was wreaking havoc – infecting over 3 million people every year. A virus called the rhinovirus, the common cold is spread by airborne droplets that can contaminate surfaces for up to a week. The majority of gym equipment is contaminated with rhinovirus according to one study.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a dangerous and highly contagious bacteria that is recognized by the CDC to be easily spread at athletic facilities due to sharing of athletic equipment and frequent skin-to-skin contact.
Top Ingredients To Avoid For Safer Disinfecting
Before you reach for your antifungals, sprayers, foggers, and bleach – take caution! Many of these products can put your clients and staff at serious risk for their health and wellness.
Despite its nostalgic longevity in the cleaning space, bleach isn’t safe. It’s a corrosive and harsh ingredient that can damage and destroy your valuable athletic equipment, mats, and surfaces. When athletic equipment is chipped, rusted, or cracked, it is much harder to effectively clean and disinfect that surface. Bleach is also harmful to your staff and clients (and particularly children that may be in childcare or kid’s programs at your facility) as it can cause burns, trigger asthma and allergies, and exacerbate or cause respiratory conditions like COPD. The impacts of bleach also linger after the initial exposure. For example, some asthma sufferers continue to show reduced lung function the day after exposure to bleach.
Gyms rely on alcohol to clean mirrors, screens, and other areas where you want to avoid water spots while also disinfecting and cleaning. Alcohol is also a caustic ingredient that can cause toxic and corrosive fumes which, if mixed with bleach can be deadly. Alcohol is only useful on certain specific bacteria and only in certain concentrations, so it can be hard to know you’re actually getting the results you’re looking for. It can also cause your surfaces to crack, yellow, dry out, and rust, which allows more germs, viruses, and bacteria to thrive.
3. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (“Quats”)
It can be tempting to look for a disinfectant that remains on surfaces to continue to disinfect for hours or days after use – but it’s not worth the negative impact of that product on the health of the people in your facility.
Quats are a class of compounds that are effective at killing microbes by attaching to the negatively-charged surfaces of bacteria and viruses. These chemicals are found everywhere from disinfectants to detergents, to shampoos and dryer sheets. These compounds have been used in disinfectant products for decades, but scientists are now concerned that we don’t know enough about these chemicals to deem them safe for frequent use. Quats can cause health issues ranging from allergic skin rashes and irritation even with limited exposure, to severe eye injury, irritation of the nose and throat, and trigger allergy and asthma symptoms — even causing asthma in those who previously did not have the condition.
Quats can linger on the surfaces of your mats, equipment, and locker room surfaces for days, continuing to expose your clients and staff to harmful toxins.
Something you may not know but is worth considering is that about 30% of US adults have asthma or allergies. Quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach are so dangerous to this population that the CDC recommends not using cleaning products with quats, bleach, or fragrances around them.
4. Fragranced Cleaning Products
Fragrances often contain toxic chemicals like phthalates that do not have to be disclosed by manufacturers due to a regulatory loophole (they’re considered to be trade secrets). As a result, hundreds of ingredients can be hidden under the word “fragrance” on a label and almost every cleaning product contains fragrances. In a research study among asthma sufferers, scented products triggered reactions so severe that 62.8% would be considered disabling under the ADA. Another study linked phthalate exposure to 100,000 early deaths a year.
Something you may not know but is worth considering is that about 30% of US adults have asthma or allergies. Quaternary ammonium compounds, bleach and fragrances are so dangerous to this population that the CDC recommends not using cleaning products with these ingredients around people with asthma or allergies.
We’ve Got You!
We’re here to help you clean and effectively disinfect without exposing your valued team members and clients to caustic chemicals – or destroying your valuable equipment. We launched our Force of Nature appliances to end the compromise between what works and what’s gentle to people and our planet. They use electricity to convert tap water, plus a tiny capsule of salt, water and vinegar, into an all-in-1 cleaning, deodorizing, sanitizing, and disinfecting formula that meets the EPA’s stringent germ-kill requirements, and performs as well or better in 3rd party independent testing as the leading brands. Our formula is a hospital-grade EPA registered disinfectant that kills 99.9% of germs and is on the EPA’s List N, the disinfectants approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19.
We have 2 size options to meet the needs of smaller and larger facilities: our 12 ounce Force of Nature for smaller businesses and homes, and our new large-capacity, commercial-grade Force of Nature Pro that makes 32 or 64 oz, so it’s perfect for fitness facilities. Force of Nature Pro’s Electrolyzer uses an electronic control system that senses and automatically adapts to accommodate differences in water chemistry and temperature, so you can feel confident that every batch meets the EPA’s stringent 99.9% germ-kill requirements.
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