The covering on gym upholstery is made of slightly porous vinyl fabric that is available in a wide range colors. It is porous so that the high density foam that comprises the inside of the cushion can breathe. As a result, perspiration and other forms of moisture can get sucked into the pads as air enters and leaves the upholstered pad when it is compressed and released. Perspiration can also enter the gym pad through fine cracks in the vinyl wrap that come from repeated use. Therefore, it is important to keep the gym's upholstered pads clean and dry.

For commercial gym equipment, as preventive maintenance of gym pads, most manufacturers recommend that the vinyl upholstery be wiped down daily with a slightly damp cloth and dried thoroughly. Periodically, the pads should be wiped down with a cloth that has been dipped in a mild soapy solution and wrung out nearly as much as possible or a product made specifically for vinyl cleaning can be used. For difficult cases, a 5% solution of bleach often helps. These cleaning methods are to be used on vinyl covered gym pads only, like seat pads, back pads or flat bench pads. Do not use these methods on black foam roll pads, the type that are often used for ankle pads or behind the knee pads.

Never use harsh chemical cleaners or abrasive cleansers, because they will dry out the vinyl and cause cracking and splitting. Whatever you use, always first try it in an inconspicuous spot like the bottom of a seat pad to be sure it won't discolor the fabric on your gym equipment.

Replace worn gym upholstery immediately. Torn, split or ripped vinyl can have sharp edges that can scratch or cut skin. Pads that receive a lot of weight in small areas, like the elbow pads on a vertical knee raise ( VKR ) position or the arm pads on a pec deck position often allow the high density foam inside the pad to collapse from wear before the outer covering of vinyl tears or wears through. Gym pads in that condition are very uncomfortable to use and cause many users to resort to unnatural body positioning when using that station, which could result in injury.

Finally, periodically check to make sure that the mounting hardware for the seat pads, back pads, bench pads, etc. are in place and tight. Check to make sure that none of the mounting bolts are missing or have come loose. If it is necessary to replace a gym upholstery pad mounting bolt, be sure to use one of original length. Using one that is too long will damage the pad and using a mounting bolt that is too short won't do the job. Also check the retaining hardware for any roll pads that may be on the unit. Gym pads on single station strength equipment and multi-station gyms should always be firmly in place.

The gym upholstery cleaning information provided here applies to home gyms, as well. The only difference is that the frequency of periodic heavy cleaning can be reduced.



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