It’s a tried-and-true practice many clients are familiar with: clean off your equipment after your workout. Some studios provide wipes for clients to use, while others contract a cleaning crew to take care of it instead. How you go about this, though, can have an impact not just on your budget, but in the overall perception of your studio.
There’s no denying that having your clients wipe down their own machines is an economical option. It’s easy and relatively cheap, costing around $100 for 700 wipes. Depending on the look of your studio, there are options for dispensers—a wall dispenser will only cost about $40, while a stainless steel standing dispenser will set you back nearly $300. There are also options for stations that include a place for hand sanitizer and wipes.
Still, if you’re not up for doing the nitty gritty work of regular cleanings to your studio that include vacuuming, mopping, steaming and the like by yourself, it’s definitely worth it to invest in a cleaning crew. Cleaning crews can combat germs and disinfect equipment with professional equipment. Cost varies by studio size, what kind of equipment you have and how often you want the cleaning, but Coverall, a commercial cleaning program, can send you a price quote no matter your location.
If you’re not ready to contract cleaners yet, you might also consider utilizing a spray bottle and towel method. According to a a 2013 National Fitness Trade Journal, “disinfectant spray bottles and towels can save you up to 90-95% versus disposable wipes.” Often times, the cost per use is lower with the spray bottle and towel as opposed to individual wipes.
For a more boutique, organic approach, try creating your own products using essential oils. Heather Andersen of New York Pilates, whose two studios are lush with fresh scents and a natural, earthy feel, says that the cleaning products in her studios are just extensions of the space’s design. Clients are given white towels and spray bottles filled with a mix of water and essential oils to clean off their machines.
“All of the products and scents at New York Pilates are organic and completely natural, no synthetics,” Andersen says. “Our bodies are bombarded by so many chemicals all day, every day. It is exhausting to our immune systems. These essential oil based products are effective anti-microbials and sanitize without negative side effects of chemical products.”
When it comes to costs, bottles of oils can run anywhere from $10 to $25 for 5 milliliters, so be sure to do your research before spending too much. Keep in mind though that oils, especially the good ones that have not been diluted, pack a major potency factor. One drop of peppermint oil can be as powerful as 30 cups of peppermint tea. Mixing water with a drop or two of oil should do the trick on gym equipment, but you can always add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to every 1 ½ cups of water and about 2 drops of the oil of your choice to make a solution that works best for you. Orange, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemongrass and peppermint oils are all popular for cleaning supplies.
Andersen’s team uses essential oils from an importer, mixing them with water for the cleaning solution and also putting them in a diffuser. She chooses scents that change based on the season and also stocks the bathrooms with organic beauty products free of unnatural ingredients.
“As business owners we have to decide when something just being better is worth more to us than the bottom line,” she says. “I know that our clients feel that dedication and ultimately it makes a difference in them returning again and again.”