Keeping a treadmill clean is an essential part of its maintenance. Whether you are using your treadmill on a daily basis or just occasionally, there are cleaning tasks that need to be carried out.
Cleaning your treadmill, and particularly the treadmill belt, will prolong the life of your machine and keep it in good working order. There are different parts which need to be cleaned daily, weekly or periodically.
Let’s take a look at how to clean a treadmill.
How to clean a treadmill belt?
One of the most important parts of your treadmill is the running belt. This requires maintenance about every three months, including cleaning and lubrication.
Check your manufacturer's instructions for your particular model. Some might just need cleaning as they are already pre-lubricated.
To clean the underneath of the treadmill belt you will need a clean terry cloth towel which is larger than the width of the belt.
- Lift the belt at one side and feed the towel underneath it to the other side. It’s easier to do this if you have someone to help you.
- If you have help, both hold tightly onto the towel, one either side. If you are alone, stand on the towel either side of the frame.
- Turn on the treadmill belt and let it rotate two or three times. Make sure the towel is very taut; you don’t want it slipping and wrapping around the rear roller.
- Remove the towel from underneath the running belt. You might be surprised at the amount of dirt and debris that was underneath it.
This YouTube video shows you how to clean underneath your treadmill belt:
You can buy cleaning kits such as this one from the Treadmill Doctor, which have specialized cleaners for the top of your running belt. Make sure you follow the enclosed instructions carefully.
Cleaning underneath the treadmill belt is a good idea prior to lubricating it.
Cleaning the dirt layer which accumulates on top of the belt can reduce the amount of heat which builds up when the machine is in use. This can prolong the life of many parts of your machine such as the motor, walking belt and deck.
After Cleaning the Treadmill Belt
Cleaning underneath the running belt can remove some of the lubrication, so it’s important to check that the belt and running deck are still sufficiently lubricated.
To check if your treadmill needs lubrication, lift the belt and run your fingers over the deck. If your fingers come away feeling greasy, the belt is still lubricated. If they are dry, you will need to lubricate the belt.
Lubricants are readily available and are generally 100 percent silicone or wax. Check your manufacturer's instructions to know which is suitable for your machine.
There are kits available from Amazon, like the Lube-n-Walk, which can be bought as a twin pack with the Clean-n-Walk. These are solutions for both cleaning and lubricating your treadmill belt.
Certain parts of your treadmill should be cleaned on a daily basis, especially when it is in regular use.
Exercising inevitably produces sweat and this is transferred to many surfaces of the machine. Our sweat contains salt which can corrode the nice shiny metal surfaces and break down rubber grips and padded surfaces if it’s not cleaned.
Dirt and grime can also be attracted to the treadmill surfaces. Body oils and bacteria may be left behind.
Areas that should be cleaned after every use include the handrails, display panels, motor cover and foot rails.
Use a clean, damp, soft cloth to wipe down all exterior surfaces. The cloth should only be damp and not leave your hands wet. Do not use sprays or cleaning materials unless they are recommended by the manufacturer.
Do not be tempted to use any cleaners to shine the metal parts of the treadmill. If these get transferred to the running belt it can become dangerous. Running will become impossible as it will be very slippery.
Avoid using sprays, as it’s difficult to control where they land, and they could interfere with electrical parts or again, the running belt. Never pour water onto any part of your machine.
There are a few cleaning tasks which should be done on a weekly basis.
It’s important to vacuum the area around and underneath your machine to prevent dust and debris being transferred to the treadmill belt. It also minimizes the chance of dust getting into the motor compartment.
Brush down the sides of the treadmill belt with a soft scrub brush or a mop. Following this, vacuum the treadmill belt and sides, being careful not to set the suction too high.
Removing dust and debris will help keep your treadmill belt running smoothly. Remember to rotate your treadmill belt 180 degrees to ensure you clean both sides of it.
You can also use vacuum attachments to clean dust and debris from around the motor area.
If you also use a treadmill mat you may want to clean it as well. I recommend cleaning it at least on a weekly basis, this will also help to prevent dust from getting in to your treadmill. If you don't have one yet, then you can read this article. It covers the best mats for treadmills (in my opinion): https://www.homefitnessjourney.com/best-treadmill-mat/
As the old proverb states, “prevention is better than cure.” There are things you can do to prolong the life of your machine and make cleaning easier.
Wash your hands before using your treadmill. Hands which are sticky or have a lot of hand lotion on them will leave marks on your machine.
Don’t wear outdoor shoes when using your treadmill. This will prevent you transferring dirt and debris from the street onto your treadmill belt.
Keep a clean soft cloth near your treadmill and wipe the apparatus down as soon as you finish your workout. This can remove sweat and all its impurities, which can corrode your machine.
I think I have established that cleaning your treadmill is essential to protecting your investment and prolonging its life (which is especially important for basic machines).
None of the tasks are particularly time consuming, and the half hour or so spent cleaning this piece of equipment will give you many more hours use.
Remember, only use recommended cleaners for treadmills. Don’t spray or pour water over your treadmill and don’t use products to shine the metallic parts.
Cleaning the underside of the treadmill belt may need to be followed by lubrication. Again, this is a quick and easy maintenance task.