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Expert Answers: Do I always have to wipe off workout gear in the gym?

Your questions answered.

Gym wipes dispenser

Q | Should I wipe off workout equipment when I’m done using it?

A | In general, yes. And if you’ve left a visible sweat trail, definitely.

Sweat — and germs — can linger on weight benches, cardio-equipment handles, medicine balls, and yoga mats. While most gyms have employees clean equipment multiple times daily, even the most fastidious staff will struggle to keep up with the hundreds or thousands of gym-goers who pass through a club on a given day.

So when in doubt, go ahead and wipe. (Most clubs provide disinfectant spray and towels in workout areas and locker rooms.)

“If you lie down on a bench and are not sweaty, I don’t think anyone is going to care whether you wipe it down. But if you get up and it’s wet, it’s just good etiquette to clean up after yourself,” says Bryan Janowiec, vice president of facility operations for Life Time — The Healthy Way of Life Company. And if your workout calls for using multiple pieces of equipment in rapid succession (as with supersets or circuit training), he suggests placing a towel on whatever piece of equipment you’re using. That way, you don’t have to continually clean up after yourself and can instead move the towel to wherever you’re working, keeping the clean side down.

Of course, if the thought of touching other people’s sweat bothers you, you can always wipe down equipment before you use it, too.

Nicole Radziszewski is a writer and personal trainer in River Forest, Ill.

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