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Cut Out The Sweaty Feet Smell

Gymnastics schools all have one thing in common – people constantly coming and going. The last thing you want is for a customer to be hit with a wave of sweaty feet smell when they open the door to the gym. That can easily be a tipping point for customers to try out a different facility. Don’t let your customers get away just because your gym doesn’t smell good.

I talked to a few of Jackrabbit’s customers who have found good products and procedures to keeping the stinky odors to a minimum.

Bake Cookies

There’s nothing like the smell of hot cookies coming out of the oven! Bob Tanon bakes everyday at GymStars Gymnastics. The smell quickly fills the entire gym and folks come running for the cookies. They typically bake three batches a night starting at 4pm and each hour on the hour following. This keeps the fresh bakery smell and the cookies are sold out every hour.

Cookies can’t solve all of your problems…sadly. Bob also has a cleaning process put into place. It goes something like this:

  • Each night a professional cleaning company comes in to clean everything.
  • Three times a week [or more often if needed] equipment and mats are cleaned with Scrubbing Bubbles. This product cleans and disinfects, but also conditions the mats.
  • Once a month, the staff does a “high cleaning,” meant to get the dust off anything higher than 10 feet.
  • Once a quarter the carpets are professionally cleaned.

“Keeping the facility, carpet and equipment clean is critical to a nice smell in the gym.” – Bob Tanon

In the bigger picture, the in ground pits often are the culprits when it comes to bad smells. They replaced all of the usual foam cubes with “rounders” which are foam cubes wrapped in a spandex type material. These were very expensive and considered an investment, but so far after two years it has been very worth it. The added benefit  is they last 3 to 4 times as long as the regular foam and the kids never get pit dust in their eyes or hair. Bob says the gym looks better with -0- pit dust. Another area to be aware of is the chalk areas. Bob makes it a priority to keep these very clean because chalk tends to absorb the smells. They vacuum it up daily and wet mop the bar mats every other day.

Eagle 5000 Air Purifier

I am by no means an expert on the Eagle 5000 Air Purifier, but have heard great things from Jackrabbit customers and would like to share.

First, I talked to Kathy McCormick from Gymnastics Unlimited. Gymnastics Unlimited is a full service gymnastics training center.  They specialize in gymnastics, cheerleading, preschool fitness, boys classes, summer camps, and much more. They offer programs for children 18 months to 18 years and train over 80 team members ranging from JOGA to USAG level 9.

Their Eagle 5000 is well over 10 years old. It’s a real workhorse for them keeping the 8000 square foot gym smelling fresh and clean. Most people think that the gym just smells clean, but every once in a while someone with a very sensitive nose will notice a “swimming pool” smell.   This is so much better than the “stinky feet” smell of the past. The small brown box takes up no space at all and is about 18” square. An employee cleans the ozone plates once a week with ammonia and changes the filter according the manual specifications.

In addition to the Eagle 5000, they have a Time Mist machine. Since this area is small and a heavy traffic area, they want it to smell great. Kathy has chosen the Yankee Candle Buttercream spray and highly recommends it.

“Everyone thinks we are baking cupcakes!  You have to smell this one to believe it. It drives the kids nuts.” – Kathy McCormick

[Their Eagle5000 was bought from Kevin Keithley at KLK Partnership in Menlo Park, California. 650-361-1000. He has also supplied Gymnastics Unlimited with replacement parts as the ozone plates will crack over time.]

Next, I talked to Planet Gymnastics about their Eagle5000. Sally Poveromo has five of these machines throughout the gym. Over the past several years, they have slowly added additional machines around the facility. Because they are running 24/7, it’s really important to keep the maintenance up.

The ozone plates are cleaned regularly and replaced a couple times a year. When the humidity rises in the summer, the machines work harder. They keep an eye on the machines a little more during this time of year. Once a year they send the machines off to get serviced and to repair any parts necessary.

These machines create a smell that is best described as chlorine. Some people have said it smells like a pool in the gym if they are close to one of the Eagle 5000s. This is much better than the sweaty feet smell and knowing the air quality is good in the gym makes Sally and her staff very pleased with the machines.

Keep The Gym Clean

Each of the customers I talked to have mentioned the importance of cleaning. Getting rid of the bacteria will stop it from spreading and eliminate odors. These products have been great for keeping her facility clean and smelling fresh.

Bonnie Petitt from Bright Stars Gymnastics shared a few of their cleaning methods:

  • Obodan [from Sam’s Club] is used to clean the mats, restrooms, etc. daily.
  • Lysol is used to sanitize the ‘cubbie’ area. Once a week they are thoroughly cleaned with Obodan.
  • Fauloso [from Target] freshens the air throughout the facility.

“It’s worth every penny.” – Bonnie Petitt

This is an area of your business that can make or break your reputation. Parents don’t want to leave their children in a place that they don’t see is safe – we all know that. But the next level of that is the cleanliness of the facility. Can they trust you enough to know that their child isn’t going to be doing forward rolls with another child’s flu germs all over it from last week?

What products do you use to keep your gym smelling fresh and not like sweaty feet?

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