A few days ago, I was doing a little mat work in the open space at my gym when I was assaulted with a mouthful of Simple Green. I looked up to find a man spraying down his own mat directly over my face. And while I applaud him for actually using the disinfectant, the cavalier crop-dusting of cleaners is something that is not rare, and not good.
First, I want to reiterate that it is great that he was disinfecting his mat. Because, as we all know, communal exercise and yoga mats are teeming with bacteria and can even give you a staph infection. So props, guy, for actually being a good person and cleaning up after yourself. And, granted, we belong to a pretty small urban gym that doesn’t have a ton of space, and it was a little crowded on this particular afternoon.
There was definitely an area just out of range of my mouth/not standing directly over the top of me where you could have gone to town with the mat cleaner. Or, better yet, done the thing that every gym ever tells you to do because it’s considerate for other patrons and also better for the machines, which is spray the stuff onto a rag, and then use the rag to clean up.
Because this is not the first time that I’ve gotten a giant faceload of disinfectant. While running, lifting weights, or desperately trying to perfect boat pose, there will inevitably be someone who–while trying to do the right thing–will spray a giant cloud of cleaner all over the adjacent stationary bike, leg-press machine, or mat.
And, because gyms are smelly places full of stagnate air, they almost always have overhead or even stationary fans going. Those fans will inevitably pick up particles of the disinfectant spray, which will cause them to be dispersed onto every other person in a six foot radius. Which could be problematic considering nearly a quarter of household cleaners have been found to cause or worsen asthma. Do you want someone to have an asthma attack because you got overzealous with the Mr. Clean? I didn’t think so.
So let’s recap:
Cleaning up after yourself: Good!
Using disinfectant to do it: Good!
Using it with reckless abandon and getting it all up in every other patrons grille: Not good!
Let us all take a lesson from the guy who doused my face with cleaner and remember this pneumonic device that I just now came up with right this second.
“Spray the rag, it’s in the bag. Spray the thing, you’re a big jerk to who gets cleaner all over everyone else.”
Image: olly via Shutterstock