The Filthiest Objects at the Gym from The Filthiest Objects at the Gym

The Filthiest Objects at the Gym

As sanitary as gyms claim to be, the truth is that they contain some of the dirtiest objects. From your sweaty gym bag, to the mat you use in yoga class and the free weights you work out with, some of these objects may come as a surprise to you.

Some gym-goers can be obnoxious, filthy and careless - from spitting in the water fountain and leaving their sweat for the next person, it would be ridiculous to expect gym employees to wipe down every surface after it is used. You should definitely consider wiping them down yourself - before and after use. 

According to a study, gym equipment may often serve as fomites for the transmission of viruses.

Prevent spreading or contracting harmful bacteria. Always wear flip flops in the locker room and showers, bring your own water bottle - never drink out of the fountain, and always wipe down cardio equipment before you use it.

Here are some of the filthiest objects at the gym. 

Swimming Pool


Your fitness center’s swimming pool may be one of the filthiest things at the gym. Public pools are full dangerous chemicals, urine, feces and other bacteria’s from individuals who swim without bathing first. Fact: According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Water Quality & Heath Council, one in five adults urinates in the pool. *See More: The Grossest Things You Didn’t Know About Public Pools

Exercise Mats


Exercise mats – especially for yoga and stretching – require you to lie down and get really close to the mat. This is gross considering you have no idea who used that same mat before you. You could end up with a variety of infections, some of which include athlete’s foot, skin infections, and the cold or flu.

Water Fountains


Unfortunately, some people are extremely inconsiderate and they spit in the gyms communal water fountain. Do you really want to bend over and see someone else’s snot? Or worse, catch an infection because the last person touched their mouth to the surface? Be smart – bring your own water bottle with you to the gym.

Locker Rooms and Showers


The locker rooms and showers are full of bacteria, and unless you like stepping in sweat or getting foot fungus, you should always be wearing flip flops in the shower and around the locker room. Tip: Lay a clean towel on the floor while you get dressed to avoid stepping on the floor.

Sports Equipment


Many fitness facilities allow you to use and or rent sports equipment for different activities – basketballs, tennis rackets, boxing gloves and racquetball rackets are most common. According to a study by the University of California (Irvine), if you’re playing sports at the gym you are at risk of spreading or contracting dangerous germs. Even if you disinfect the basketball before you use it, once you start dribbling and passing the ball around, it immediately becomes infected again. “Investigators discovered that Staph. aureus was capable of surviving on the sports ball after 72 hours in storeroom conditions,” according to the study.

Cardio Equipment


We have all been there before, we go to hop on the treadmill when all of a sudden we see a pile of sweat, or worse, put our hands on the rail right on top of someone else’s sweat. Not only is this a huge heath concern because it can spread germs and viruses, but, according to Athletic Business, the “oil and dirt left behind by users also can interfere with sensors that track heart rate and other stats as well as cause deterioration of equipment padding.”

Weight Changing Levers


We obviously know gym locker rooms are filthy, but have you ever thought about the levers used to change the stack of weights on exercise machines? Most people at the gym wipe down seats and handle bars, but often forget the one lever that almost everyone touches – the weight changing lever.



According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, weight equipment in the fitness centers they studied was significantly more often contaminated than aerobic equipment. Free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, according to Fitrated.

Your Gym Bag


This one may come as a surprise to you because most of the germs inside your gym bag are your own. But think about it – where do you put your gym bag? The locker room. Placing your bag on the floor or even on a bench in the locker room is asking for bacteria to swarm inside.

Soap Dispensers


You may want to think twice before using the soap dispenser in your gym locker room. Did the person that refilled the dispenser just finish cleaning the toilets? You may never know. Tip: Bring your own hand sanitizer or soap to the gym with you.