Eww! These 3 Pieces Of Gym Equipment Have The Most Germs Ever

We all know going to the gym is a necessary evil—we may not love it, but we want to stay fit. Now, however, new studies were done by FitRated.com on 27 common pieces of exercise equipment and how many germs they acquired. Any guesses as to what scored the highest in terms of gross-ness?

NOTE: First of all, a quick warning. After you read this, you may never want to work out at the gym again. For those of us who aren’t fans to begin with, this is great news. For everyone else, our apologies, but you’ll soon see why.

So… what piece of gym equipment was the most germy? The exercise bikes? Free weights? The treadmills?

“We tested the samples we gathered to determine bacteria levels based on colony-forming units (CFU)—the number of viable bacteria cells,” FitRated states on their website about their gym equipment research.

“It turns out the average treadmill, exercise bike, and free weights are all teeming with germs—more than 1 million per square inch apiece.” Pass the Purell, please.


According to FitRated, treadmills, exercise bikes, and free weights all were also found to have the following:

  • Gram-positive cocci (i.e., skin infections and other illnesses)
  • Gram-negative rods (i.e., infections, and some of which resist antibiotics)
  • Gram-positive rods (i.e., can possibly cause infections)


In general, you’ve probably heard horror stories of people going to the gym to work out, but then coming home with a strange rash or health ailment. For instance, athlete’s foot, HPV, and staph infections are just a few of the things you can get at the gym. Grrrreat. And FitRated’s research backs up this point.

Some gyms provide wipes so you can ensure your machine is clean before using it. But what advise does FitRated give to gym-goers? “Be sure to disinfect machines both before and after you use them, never walk around barefoot, don’t touch your face, and always wash your hands and change out of your gym clothes immediately after a workout.”

Personally, I’d start to exercise at home or outside. After all, now that spring is here, maybe it’s time to dust off those running shoes or invest in a pair. (I got my first ones last summer, so it’s never too late!)

Photo by Dave_Murr