As a fitness professional, helping your clients live a lifestyle centered on wellness is in the bedrock of your business. But what you may not realize is that the cleaning products you use everyday may not be a healthy choice for you, your clients or your staff.
Upwards of 70 percent of typical cleaning products contain harmful agents. About 53 percent of cleaning products contain ingredients that can harm the lungs, and 22 percent can cause asthma. Many big-name cleaning products, especially sprays and aerosols, can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can have short- and long-term health effects on the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. Because it takes time for these chemicals to dissipate, these products can have negative effects on anyone in the studio even hours after it has been cleaned. And as for the person doing the cleaning, conventional cleaning products also pose risks such as chemical burns to their skin and eyes.
Green cleaning is a safer alternative, but many business owners are wary of making the switch. Several myths about sustainable cleaning products persist, chief among them that they don’t clean as well and are expensive. However, you don’t have to spend more money to effectively and safely clean your studio. In fact, there are several DIY recipes for making your own cleaning products with natural ingredients that will cost less than buying traditional products.
In many cases, all you need to give your studio a healthy clean is white vinegar, water and essential oils. Have empty spray bottles and clean rags on hand to make it easier to apply the DIY cleaning solutions.
Here are several sustainable cleaning hacks for the areas of your studio you clean regularly:
GYM MATS AND VINYL-COVERED SURFACES
Keeping your wrestling, tumbling and apparatus mats, wall padding, or vinyl-covered surfaces of exercise and weight training equipment will deter the spread of skin infections. You can mix your own antibacterial/antifungal spray with 1 part warm water, 3 parts white vinegar, and 8 to 12 drops of essential oils, like eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, mint or tea tree oil.
Wipe down the surface daily and don’t forget to flip the mats over once in a while. While it is not necessary to clean under mats after each use, moisture and mildew can build up over time.
Add one to two tablespoons of white vinegar to a spray bottle and fill to the top with cold water. Then, include four to five drops of tea tree oil and shake to mix. In this mixture, the white vinegar acts as an antibacterial agent, and the water dilutes the vinegar’s strength to avoid harming your yoga mat as well as reduces the strong vinegar odor. Tea tree oil has antifungal properties and will add a fresh scent to your spray. You can substitute the tea tree oil for lavender oil. It isn’t an antifungal, but it is an antibacterial and it smells great.
If you’d rather buy, than make, try Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day multi-surface concentrate and dilute with water. It is both earth- and budget-friendly.
FREE WEIGHTS AND DUMBBELLS
To clean free weights and dumbbells, fill a large bucket, plastic storage container or baby wading pool with warm water and dish soap. Wipe down each piece with a rag or towel to remove the dust that gathers when the dumbbells sit between uses. Submerge all pieces in the warm, soapy water. Let all the parts sit for a few minutes to soften any hard-to-clean gunk. Scrub with a clean rag, then rinse.
Some of the “eco-friendly” or “natural” dish soaps on the market actually contain potentially hazardous chemicals such as phosphates, petrochemicals and dioxane. To mix your own safe version, combine two parts Castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a good option) with one part warm water, and a few drops of lemon oil. Shake well before pouring into your container of warm water.
Bathroom cleansers can contain toxic chemicals like ammonia, phosphorus, alkylphenol ethoxylates and petroleum. When you use these products to clean toilets and sinks, you send these chemicals into nearby rivers, lakes and streams, causing a negative impact on local wildlife.
Instead, try cleaning your toilets with a homemade mixture of 1/4 cup Borax or baking soda and 1 cup vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes (or longer, if necessary), scrub and flush.
To remove mold or mildew from your locker room area, clean with a 1/2 cup Borax mixed with 1/2 cup vinegar to make a paste. Scrub with a brush or sponge and rinse with water. For tough mold, let it sit for an hour before rinsing with water.
If you’ve got stubborn grout stains, mix lemon juice with one or two teaspoons of cream of tartar to make a paste. Cream of tartar is an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse.
Alternatively, Method produces an entire line of naturally derived, biodegradable, non-toxic household cleaners that is carried in most major grocery stores, Target and Amazon. Restocking these products won’t require any more effort than buying traditional products.
Don’t forget to stock your bathroom soap dispensers with organic hand soap.
A simple spray made of half distilled white vinegar and half water is inexpensive, earth-friendly and can remove fingerprints as well as, if not better than, the more toxic glass cleaners. If you prefer to buy instead of mix, try Green Shield Organic Glass Cleaner.
LET YOUR CLIENTS KNOW
Once you make the switch to greener cleaning in your studio, make sure you let your clients know. Post small signs that say something like “We Clean Green” around your studio, and write posts on social media that will let your clients know you care about their total health and the health of the environment.