Have you ever stopped to think about the action supposedly clean gymnastics mats see on an average day? If you have, you understand why it’s so very important to make sure that you maintain clean gymnastics mats. Gymnastics mats are typically made of a foam insert covered by some sort of vinyl or plastic casing.
While you typically see these mats in blue, as with landing mats, they come in all sorts of colors: orange, red, pink, black, yellow and even white. They also vary in size and thickness depending on what sort of activity they are being used for. For instance, tumbling or floor exercise mats would require more bounce or give while landing mats used with vault, uneven parallel bars or trampoline need to be thicker and more supportive.
Because we typically see blue mats, we may not appreciate just how dirty they can get, which may help explain why we don’t see that many white mats being used especially in a training capacity. However, gymnastics mats are ripe for catching and holding onto bacteria. Sweat and moisture only help to spread that bacteria and when we don’t take the time to properly clean gymnastics mats, they could be especially effective at spreading skin infections, germs and viruses. Ringworm and plantar warts are very common among gymnasts and mats that haven’t been properly cleaned and maintained are often the primary cause.
One effective way to make sure that your gymnastics mats stay clean and germ free would be to insist that gymnasts and athletes only walk on or use the mat with freshly cleaned feet. You could accomplish this by either wearing protective socks until you move to the mat or by keeping antibacterial wash, rinse or gel by the mat for using before walking on the mat.
Where gymnastics mats are concerned, remember that it is always the best idea to clean a mat before and after each use to ensure that the gymnastics mat is clean at any given time.
If you use interlocking mats, carefully detach them one section at a time. This is important so that you don’t neglect to clean the nooks and crannies in between the interlock points. These are easy to ignore because they are not flat, but use caution here because it’s very easy to pick up and spread germs from here to other high traffic points on the mat.
– Next, you’ll want to lay each section out on a flat surface so that you don’t cause deformation to the mat.
– Use a clean sponge or cloth and dip it into Clear Gear Disinfectant Sports Spray until it is saturated, but not dripping wet.
– Wipe down the entire surface of the mat: top and bottom and allow to fully air dry before interlocking the sections again. You want to be sure that the mat is dry before you flip it over to do the other side. It’s also helpful to clean the floor underneath while you have the opportunity.
– If you are using a one piece mat, you will want to first vacuum up any loose debris.
– Next, you can roll it up and take it to a larger area or outside and you can use the convenient gallon sized spray application of Clear Gear.
– If you have ample room where the mat was, then you won’t have to move it, just be sure you clean both sides and allow them to thoroughly dry before replacing.
Maintaining a clean gymnastics mat in between these more thorough cleanings is imperative. You should routinely spray down the mat before and after each use use as well as in between each different athlete’s use. Also, be certain that the mat is always dry before the next use as wet or damp mats can invite mildew and mold and that’s exactly the sort of problem we’re trying to avoid.