By now, you know that staph, MRSA, E. coli, and other germs are everywhere in your locker room, but some places are more prone to microbial growth than others. Dark, damp environments provide opportunities for bacteria and molds to rapidly multiply, and frequent skin-to-skin contact in sports allows for further spread back in the locker room.
Where do you think germs are most likely lurking? Here are 5 places where germs are thriving (and that you probably aren’t disinfecting):
1. Gym Bags
The smelliest item in your locker room is also one of the most common places to find germs. No matter how often you clean them out, gym bags seem to hold onto funky odors — which is a warning sign for microbial growth.
Think about what your athletes are packing in their gym bags. Sweaty practice clothes are mixing around with water bottles while clean towels rub against dirty cleats. And the knee pads that were shoved in there are touching mouth guards. With so many soiled items coming into contact in one dark, damp bag, it’s no wonder that gym bags are often havens for microbial growth. And every time athletes put their clean clothes and towels in their gym bag before practice, the “clean” clothes are contaminated by germs already living in the bag.
This one is pretty obvious. Your athletes walk in from a muddy field or out of the restroom, and they’re bringing all of the germs with them. Most commonly, you’ll find colonies of E. coli that traveled from the bathroom, athlete’s foot from the showers, or staph bacteria from contact with skin — all on the floor of your facility.
While changing out of their practice gear, athletes are quick to drop a helmet or shoulderpads on the ground, which provides a perfect opportunity to spread germs from the floor to their gear and eventually to their skin. Unfortunately, athletes are pretty comfortable with being barefoot in the locker room or even taking a seat on the floor, which can expose them to a number of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Mats probably come in the most contact with skin, so naturally they can easily harbor and transmit germs. Whether you use them for sit ups and push ups during conditioning or you’re coaching wrestling practice, these mats touch nearly every part of an athlete’s body.
Sanitizing protocol is often just a quick wipe down (if even that), which often leaves behind germs and sweat. With so many athletes practicing and working out on mats, this common surface puts athletes at higher risk for infection than most other gear.
When your team is gearing up for a big game, you naturally have your players take a seat so you can fire them up with a speech. While this might hype your team up in the moment, the germs they encounter on your benches could cause a season-ending outbreak.
Benches harbor the same common locker room germs that are transferred from skin onto the surface of the bench, which can infect the next person that sits on the bench. And worse, bacteria like MRSA can live on surfaces for months — meaning they could linger the entire offseason and cause infections at your first practice.
Instead of sitting right on locker room benches (or any locker room surface in general), athletes should lay a towel down on the bench to avoid direct contact.
How often are you disinfecting the inside of your baseball mitts? Or the toes of your cleats? Athletic gear comes in contact with the owner’s skin, other players’ skin, and the germs on locker room surfaces — providing a perfect opportunity to spread diseases from person to person.
When you redistribute gear at the beginning of the season, improperly disinfected germs can come in contact with the new owner and cause infection. Shared gear can also cause massive staph and MRSA outbreaks on your team.
How to Get Rid of Germs in Locker Rooms
It’s hard to reach those nooks and crannies, and it’s time consuming to disinfect every piece of gear and equipment by hand — much less sanitize your entire facility. You need a sanitizing solution that’s both powerful and efficient, which is where we come in.
At Global Ozone, we have all the tools you need to create a safe environment for your athletes. Our products unleash the power of ozone to disinfect everything from shoulder pads and helmets to mats and floors.
Our Sports-O-Zone sanitizing chamber quickly sanitizes gear in just 32 minutes, while the Gear Blaster unit can sanitize entire rooms up to 2,000 square feet overnight. Say goodbye to endless hours washing gear by hand and scary staph outbreaks on your team, and spend more time prepping for the big game.
Ready to blast away germs with ozone? Reach out to us.