It might be trendy in a New York industrial loft apartment, but rust decorating your gym equipment is slightly less than stylish. This post outlines the risks and causes of rust, and most importantly how to avoid it.
The biggest risk factors for rust developing on your equipment are high humidity and improper maintenance. In any gym setup – whether it’s at home or in a commercial facility – the essential elements are good ventilation and maintenance.
Your gym location has a big impact on humidity levels both geographically (tropical vs arctic) and spatially if your gym is indoors or outdoors.
Rust is caused by a chemical reaction between iron, water, and oxygen. It results in the metal beginning to disintegrate which will eventually cause it to fall apart after many years.
The structural integrity of your equipment is at risk when rust forms and isn’t cleaned off. While a little rust may not seem like reason for concern, the rustier metal becomes the less smoothly it will move before eventually completely seizing up or breaking.
What’s more, it looks bad – particularly on gym equipment. Rust can flake off onto floor surfaces and your hands or body when touched…not such a lovely experience during your workout.
What causes rust?
Most gym equipment is manufactured with a coating; either paint or a specific substance that prevents the metal from being exposed. This coating prevents air and moisture from accessing the raw metal, and therefore it is an important part of protecting your equipment against rust and corrosion. If the paint chips, wears down or scratches, the metal underneath will become exposed and therefore be at risk of corrosion.
You can’t have rust without moisture, which is why equipment in places like garages or in high humidity level climates are at risk of rusting very easily. Gyms and storage rooms should be well sealed to prevent moisture getting in, and places with high humidity levels should consider a dehumidifier if possible.
Temperature and temperature fluctuation has an impact on rust. Higher temperatures can increase corrosion, with every extra 10 degree Celsius increase the speed of corrosion nearly doubling.
The temperature of the equipment itself is also important to take into account. Metal heats up during use and subsequently it cools down afterwards – this is when condensation can occur. This is sometimes unavoidable, but being aware of it is important so you can take the time to wipe down your equipment afterwards.
Dust and pollution can also contribute to causing rust, so keep your metal gear out of dusty spaces or covered if you are limited for space in other areas.
The partner in crime of fitness – you can’t have one without the other! Sweat is a combination of the problems we face with humidity and moisture. Make sure if any sweat does fall onto your equipment that you wipe it off afterwards.
Direct UV exposureWhile not a direct cause of rust, the exposure from the sun directly onto equipment can cause damage. The strength of the UV rays in places like Australia are so high that long periods of exposure can deteriorate paint and rubber on your equipment, leaving the metal underneath exposed. Keep equipment out of the direct sunlight of covered when not in use.
How can you avoid rust?
When avoiding rust, maintenance and cleaning are absolutely key. Protective paints and coating can wear off with use and over time, so it’s important to maintain and replace these when you notice they need it. There are a multitude of oils and rubs specific for gym equipment that can be purchased for extra protection and quality assurance.
Regularly cleaning and wiping your equipment is something which should be done for the overall longevity of gear regardless of preventing rust.
Storing and using your equipment in a well-ventilated room so that moisture and air flow can pass through is important, as you don’t want it sticking to the metal of your equipment.
If you aren’t using equipment for long periods of time, it’s a good idea to keep them covered. This protects them from other elements such as sunlight, pollution, etc. as well as keeping them dust-free and clean for your next use. Fabrics lined with water resistant material are a good idea so that moisture won’t find its way in.