Clean, dry, well-ventilated locker rooms are healthy, while dirty, damp, and stuffy ones are not.
A clean locker room is one in which:
- There are no body fluid residues (e.g., blood, sweat, or tears after disappointing performances) that can foster bacterial or fungal growth and odor.
- There are no harmful airborne substances or VOCs to breathe, or chemical residues on flooring to irritate bare feet.
- There are no visible or invisible soils to mar the appearance and health of the facility.
Check locker rooms several times a day for cleaning and security purposes.
During operating hours, remove trash and spot-clean/wipe using microfiber towels and non-irritating solutions of EPA-registered sanitizers or disinfectants. Fold the microfiber towel into quarters for 8 new cleaning surfaces, and use all 8 surfaces before replacing the towel with a fresh one. A pump sprayer or powered hand-sprayer works best for high-demand spot-cleaning applications, as trigger sprayers cause fatigue when used repeatedly or heavily.
For occasional spills, a microfiber flat mop or string mop provides a quick fix.
The best powered equipment for daily locker room cleaning is a spray-and-vacuum unit, as it gently “pressure washes” all watertight surfaces such as fixtures, sinks, counters, partitions, urinals, toilet exteriors, walls and floors, vacuums up the dirty liquid, and even blow dries the surface after washing.
Since this system relies mostly on a low-pressure (500 psi) water agitation and high-velocity vacuum removal process, fewer chemicals are needed, lowering operator exposure to cleaners, and decreasing drying time to prevent mold growth.
Conversely, airborne transmission of flu viruses goes down in humid environments as the viruses absorb moisture and fall out of the air. That’s one reason why flu spreads in winter’s dry overheated indoor environments, as the virus stays airborne longer.
Still, in general, the problem is too much moisture in locker rooms, not too little, and one solution is to use a dehumidifier with a humidistat to control moisture levels, standalone or part of the HVAC system.
A desiccant system may also be effective. Types include:
- Dry desiccant wheel: a slowly rotating absorbent wheel picks up moisture from the indoor air and exhausts it outdoors.
- Liquid desiccant systems: these use a liquid (e.g., salt-type solutions) combined with heat to absorb moisture and transfer it outdoors, also functioning as air scrubbers.
When outside air is moderate in temperature and dryer than indoor air, ventilation is key to drying the locker room environment, including damp, sweat-laden uniforms and towels.
Since ventilation requirements are complex in these environments, consult an HVAC professional re: ASHRAE Standard 62, local standards, mechanical codes, and related building rating systems such as LEED.
We urge you to submit your entry for the Healthy School Award today. It’s not just a way to be recognized, but to further your progress on the path to healthy and prosperous.
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