When training in a garage gym, something 99% of garage gym beginners will come across is an issue with dust. It’s not just dust that is an issue in most garage gyms but also the overall air quality in which you train.
The most important thing that people look at when starting their own garage gym is the equipment. This is the exciting part – browsing equipment, mentally testing different combinations to see what will fit in the space, getting your budget decided – but an important step that needs to be considered is dust in a garage gym along with overall air quality.
While some people like the dark and dusty atmosphere to train in, the majority want their garage gym to be a pride and joy, equipment isn’t cheap after all! Therefore, in this article, we’ll cover how to remove and prevent dust in a garage gym along with improving the overall air quality so that your garage is both a clean and healthy place to train.
Dust In Garage Gym: How to Prevent It
The most important step to take in order to keep dust out of a garage gym is prevention.
Once dust starts to build up in a garage gym, you’ll experience a multiplier effect where some dust leads to more dust and before you know it, it’s on all your equipment!
The best way to keep dust out of a garage gym is to seal your floor and walls with concrete sealant paint. This paint will cover any gaps or cracks in the concrete that allows dust to build up. You also need to seal any gaps around the garage door and any windows to prevent dust from entering externally.
Finally, you need to invest in an AC unit or extraction unit to remove any dust and debris in the air before it has time to settle on surfaces like your gym equipment.
Paint the Floor and Walls With Concrete Sealant
A key piece of advice you’ll see on any forum or Facebook group for new garage gym builders is to seal a concrete floor and breeze blocks on the wall with sealing paint. This is because gaps in concrete along with cement will allow dust to build up and move around the area.
These materials are also porous meaning they attract dust and moisture rather than repelling it like some materials and surfaces.
A sealing paint does exactly what it states on the tin – seals the surface. Not only does a sealing paint prevent concrete or cement from coming loose and creating dust, but it will also hold dust on the surface making it easier to wipe away with a regular cleaning routine.
Most will use masonry paint which does a great job but you can get concrete specific sealant paint which could be a better option depending on the condition of your surfaces.
Add Gym Flooring
Adding a rubber matting for gym flooring over the sealed concrete will add another layer of dust prevention. Rubber doesn’t attract or hold dust the same way that concrete and brick do, therefore, placing a layer of rubber flooring down is not only beneficial to protect your floor from dropped weights but will also act as a layer of dust prevention.
You’ll also find that while rubber won’t attract dust as much as concrete, even if some dust does build-up due to neglect, it’s very easy to clean up with a vacuum or mop – the same can’t be said for bare brickwork or concrete which holds the dust and is very difficult to keep clean.
Seal Gaps in Windows and Doors
Secondly, you’ll want to seal any gaps, holes, or areas that wind (and ultimately dust) can get in. For most garage gym owners, this will mean sealing windows, ensuring the hinges are tight with no gaps when closed, filling in any holes around the frame, and most importantly, ensuring there are no gaps around the garage door.
The garage door is one of the biggest culprits for allowing dust and debris inside. If garage doors are not sealed tightly when not in use, dust can easily be blown inside. Ensuring you have an air-tight seal around a garage door is not only beneficial for keeping a breeze out (especially during winter months) but will also protect against dust getting inside.
Install an Extraction Unit
An extraction unit (extractor fan) is not only beneficial for reducing moisture in your garage gym but it’s essential for keeping your garage cool and dust-free. An extractor unit pulls out air and moisture whilst filtering in the fresh air.
This circulation – when switched on – means that there is a constant flow of air making it more difficult for dust to build up or settle on your equipment and surfaces. The previous two steps should be a priority to minimize dust in a garage gym but having an extraction unit is an investment that will really help to keep your garage clean.
The final thing you can do to keep your garage gym dust-free is also the easiest and this is to clean the floor and surfaces weekly. This doesn’t need to be a full “spring clean” effort by removing all your equipment etc…
Simply sweeping weekly and dusting down equipment will be enough to keep excessive build-ups at bay. It’s not really possible to eliminate dust but sweeping or even using a leaf blower once per week should go a long way in minimizing dust at all times, especially if you have the previous steps already in place.
How to Improve Garage Gym Air Quality
Dust is just one factor of overall air quality when training in a garage gym. If you’ve even been to an underground or old-school bodybuilding gym, you’ll find that dust and a gritty environment is a sign of “hardcore” training.
When training in your own garage gym though, the highest priority should be reducing mold, mildew, damp, dust, and anything else that affects your air quality when training. Going back to absolute basics, you need a clean air supply to perform at peak levels when training.
While I can accept it’s a bit of a boring topic, there are some steps you should follow to improve your garage gym air quality which includes:
- Regular cleaning
- Improving air circulation
- Getting an air filter
- Using a dehumidifier in warm months
- Using a humidifier in cold months
- Opening windows and doors while you train
1. Regular Cleaning
Your gym is a sacred space and it needs to be clean and organized. Regular wiping down and dusting is a must and you want to try to do it at least twice a week if you can, or simply get into the habit of cleaning the gym before you let yourself take a shower after a workout.
While it certainly takes up extra time, having a pristine spot in which to work out improves your morale and lets you focus on the important thing – strengthening your body and your will. By treating the gym like a temple and cleaning it regularly after each use then you will cultivate the perfect environment for reaching your personal fitness goals.
Besides, if you really hate cleaning, you might be able to hire someone or let a friend use your home gym in exchange for keeping it clean – there’s always a solution if you look hard enough.
2. Better Circulation
In conjunction with keeping the place clean, circulating the air helps to keep things cooler and to help you breathe and work out better.
A ceiling fan is a good start, but if you place one or two fans nearby, with one by the door and one close to the center of your home gym, then you can create useful air currents that will make you breathe a little easier and keep you cooler.
It’s easy to do and a few fans won’t break the bank, but you’ll definitely notice the difference between the stale air from before and the newly circulated and fresher air that you’ll have afterward.
3. Consider an Air Filter
An air filter is a solid investment, especially these days. Portable air filters that are available commercially can really purify the air, especially if you purchase carefully, and make sure that you go with a HEPA-compliant air filter. HEPA air filters are an industry-standard, used for things like pharmaceutical labs and microchip manufacture.
They are also commonly used by the general public because HEPA standards can rank all the way up to 99.5%!
This means that all of the dust in your gym, any allergens from the cat sneaking in… all of that will be gone and replaced with fresh, clean air. This will help to ensure that the air quality in your home gym is not only excellent, but it might even be better than the rest of the house!
4. Get a Dehumidifier for the Humid Months
During the humid months, dust has a nasty little advantage when it comes to polluting your carefully maintained garage gym environment. That humidity is a prime condition for growing mildew and mold.
This is something that you can effectively fight against, however, and all it takes is a dehumidifier that can sap that excess moisture out of your garage gym.
The goal is to run this humidifier in conjunction with your fans so that you can keep humidity well-managed and preferably below 50%, and this is quite doable as long as you’ve got the equipment. You’ll also get the added bonus of a more comfortable environment because the dry air that is produced is easier to cool.
Your gym air will be dryer, cooler, and you can check ‘mold’ off of your list of worries.
5. Get a humidifier for the winter months
On the flipside, seasons change, and your strategies need to take this into consideration. While a dehumidifier helps for the humid summer months, when the winter comes it’s a whole different ball game.
When the air is dry and cool as it is in winter, allergens and dust particles have an easier time floating around your gym, where they can easily end up traveling up your nose and into your lungs.
By adding a small amount of moisture in the air with a portable humidifier, the dust particles and allergens end up binding to the moisture, taking them down to the floor instead of into your lungs.
You also get some additional benefits from this winter strategy as well, such as less chance of your hands developing cracked, dry skin, and portions of your equipment that are susceptible to too much dryness, like the seat of your weight bench, will also be much less likely to dry out and develop cracks.
6. Open the Doors When You Work Out
Finally, the easiest and most practical way to improve the air quality (unless you live right in the center of a big city) is to open up doors or windows. If your home gym is in the garage, then open up that garage door and let the fresh air in.
If you are timing your workouts for the late evening or early morning, then you’ll get a cooler and more refreshing workout from the increased air circulation and the constant flow of fresh air from outside. If you use a room in the house for your workouts, open the doors and windows and let the air circulate.
The simplest way to have more fresh air in your gym is to simply give it a way to come inside!
Dust and air quality are two things that go hand in hand for garage gym owners. Whenever you get one problem like a mold or mildew outbreak, you’ll soon notice other factors like too much dust on your equipment or even difficulty breathing well during a session because the air quality is so low.
While regular cleaning should be commonplace for any garage gym owner, simply cleaning won’t be enough if you don’t combat some of the problem areas first. Start by using sealant paint on any concrete or brickwork surfaces.
This one step alone will drastically minimize dust or a build-up of moisture, the best addition though will be to also cover the floor with matting to further prevent any dust collecting. The next steps should be to seal any gaps in windows, the garage door, or around the infrastructure of your garage.
Finally, it’s best to take active steps to improve air quality with a range of products – an extraction unit, dehumidifier, humidifier, and fans will all contribute to improving air quality while simultaneously minimizing other harmful substances like mold, mildew, and of course… Dust!