How to Clean and Look After Your Total Gym

It’s an amazing feeling to sweat during a tough workout… but no one wants to work out on someone else’s sweaty mess, even if it’s your own puddle at home!


It’s in your best interest to take care of your home fitness equipment by cleaning it properly and often so that it remains in excellent working condition. A good practice is to keep the equipment clean after every use, and regularly even if it’s not used (i.e. sitting in a corner collecting dust). Dried up sweat actually corrodes metal and breaks down the vinyl and foam padding on most exercise machines. Can you say gross?



There are many ways to effectively and efficiently clean your Total Gym equipment. It is important to understand the products that are best and how to use them correctly so that you don’t damage the equipment or use the wrong solution!


When selecting a product to clean with, your health and safety comes first. It is also important to use a material-safe solution that won’t dry the chemicals into the equipment because this can lead to premature wear, damage, and cracking of vinyl and plastic parts.


Most cleaning agents on the market today contain a solution with quaternary ammonium compounds. Basically, this is what is used to kill germs. However, it is not the only way to kill germs and harmful bacteria, especially in your home workout space.



When choosing the right method of cleaning, be cautious of store bought products such as wipes, sprays, or bleach, especially if the product requires you to wear gloves.



It’s convenient to pull out a wipe and start ‘wiping down’ the equipment, but it may contain harsh chemicals for you and your equipment, plus it’s very wasteful.


Spray cleansers

Depending on the germ-killing disinfectant agent spray you use, it could be toxic to your skin and harden or damage the equipment over time.  If you over spray, it can seep into the fabric, create a ‘sticky’ feeling once dried, and if you have a Power Tower TG, it could ruin the electronic panels! Not good.



This is a strong disinfectant and does kill germs, however, it can be unsafe if not prepared or used properly. It also is dangerous to your skin, toxic if inhaled, and can ruin clothes.


Borax solution

This is a more natural cleaner, but it doesn’t disinfect or kill the germs.


Baking soda

Again, a more natural form of a cleaner, but it does not disinfect or kill germs.  Also leaves a gritty paste mess that will need rinsed off.




There are many ways to sanitize and clean in a ‘green’ way.  I am all about keeping things clean and doing it in the best, healthiest, non-toxic way possible.  Here are some simple DYI methods you can go about cleaning your Total Gym equipment without having to worry about hurting your health or your machine.


1. Vinegar and Water Spray (Disinfectant)

Vinegar is an all-natural way to clean and sanitize your equipment. It helps kill any bacteria that are feeding off your sweat and also helps tackle stains. To enhance the germ-killing powers and the scent, add a few drops of an essential oil (ie: lemon, orange). You may even feel more alert when you breathe it in!  This spray mix is not only good for cleaning sweat marks off the equipment, but also it’s good for cleaning the chrome and metal parts of the Total Gym.


  • Mix a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar in a trigger spray bottle
  • Add a few drops of essential oils (lemon, orange, or lavender work well)
  • Spray the solution directly on the TG, a rag, or paper towel
  • Wipe the machine thoroughly to prevent corrosion
  • Keep the spray bottle on hand to clean after use


This is a multi-purpose cleaner that you can use to clean just about anything safely! This is a winner.


2. Vinegar & Dish Soap Spray (Disinfectant)

Combining vinegar and dish soap is similar to the above mix and provides the same benefits. This mix is great to wipe off dumbbells, kettle bells, yoga mats, and stability balls since it won’t break down the neoprene coatings like industrialized disinfectants. It’s super easy to make, cost effective, and is safe for you and your equipment.

  • Mix 1 cup of dish soap to 2 cups of white vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Any type of dish soap works
  • Use a scented soap for a refreshing smell


3. All-Purpose Antibacterial Cleaner


  • Peel 1 large grapefruit and place it in a glass jar with 2 cups of white vinegar. Cover and let sit in a dark room for 1 week.


  • After 1 week, strain the vinegar and transfer to a spray bottle.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with water and grapefruit seed extract or 6 drops tea tree oil.
  • Shake well to mix, spray on an area, and wipe off.


4. Disinfectant Wipes with Essential Oil

  • Combine: 3 tsps natural liquid soap, 50-65 drops of essential oil (choose your scent: tea tree, lavender, peppermint, or orange oil), and 3 cups vinegar into a glass container. Shake well.
  • Place a cloth square into the jar to soak up the solution and squeeze the excess (repeat this process to clean with the solution)
  • Save the left over mixture for the next cleaning
  • Wash used cloths


5. Mat Spray

Mats are breeding grounds for bacteria. Combining a mixture containing tea tree oil will have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that kill the germs.

  • Fill a spray bottle with distilled or spring water.
  • Add 1-2 drops of tea tree & lavender essential oil
  • Spray on mats, bags, and shoes
  • Wipe off and let dry


6. Natural Air Freshener

  • Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle: 2 Tbsp Vodka, 2 Tbsp baking soda, 20 drops Eucalyptus oil, 8 drops peppermint oil, 1 cup of filtered water
  • Shake bottle to mix
  • Spray to neutralize any odor & allow it to dry


7. Dust & Vacuum

Dust bunnies seem to collect and linger to wherever dust lands, creating a dirty mess. It only takes a few seconds to quickly wipe down the dust or hair that may have collected at the bottom of your machine. A lot of ‘yucky’ dust globs collect under the glide board, at the bottom base, on the rails, or at the tower base.




Follow this cleaning guide to keep your fitness equipment looking new and bacteria free:



  • Keep attire fresh – No one wants to smell old sweat melded into clothes!
  • Clean your phone – Germs breed your phone especially if it’s used for workouts
  • Sterilize water bottles – Water gets stale and stagnant. Try to use PBA Free.
  • Wash hands – A study showed that 12% women and 34% men don’t wash their hands after using a restroom! C’mon! You know to do this! There’s no better germ defense other than to wash your hands regularly.



  • Properly clean your Total Gym with a disinfectant spray. Clean the glide board and AbCrunch accessory fabric, wipe down the other accessories (squat stand, foot bar, all hand attachments).
  • Dust or wipe down the rails, tower, and base of Total Gym.
  • Dust off or wipe down all extra equipment: weights, bands, balls, and cardio equipment.
  • Wipe, dust, or vacuum floor mats.
  • Clean Ear Buds – Use alcohol on a Q-tip or cotton ball and do not get them directly wet.



  • Clean your gym bag – Lots of nasty things could be lingering in there
  • Clean footwear – Did you know it takes 3 days for germs to die on your shoes?!  Even scarier is that after wearing a shoe for 3 months, 13% of that shoe will carry E. Coli bacteria and 90% will have traces of feces!

Solution: have shoes you wear only inside at home to workout in and always remove shoes before walking around your house.


As it’s necessary to take care of your health and exercise daily, it is also important to take control of your workout environment and equipment regularly.   So keep sweatin’ up a hot mess…. And be sure to take care of your amazing Total Gym equipment so it works you, like you work it!


Happy Cleaning.



Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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