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Dirty Gyms Turn Away Members, New Study Finds

Nearly 9 in 10 adults won’t return to a gym with cleanliness issues

CINCINNATI— [December 27, 2012] – Lack of motivation is not the only reason people will avoid a gym, as found by a recent study commissioned by the Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS). The survey, conducted online in December 2012 by Harris Interactive® among 3,036 U.S. adults, revealed that 88 percent of adults wouldn’t exercise in a gym or athletic facility if they found it to have cleanliness issues.

“As people make their New Year’s resolutions, they are likely looking to join a nearby gym to meet their 2013 health goals,” said Dave Mesko, Senior Director of Marketing, Cintas Corporation. “The survey results are a clear indictor that gym managers need to improve cleaning practices to encourage repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.”

When asked which specific cleanliness issues would most likely prevent them from exercising or working out in a gym or athletic facility, U.S. adults reported the following:

Unpleasant odors72 percent
Dirty equipment71 percent
Unclean restrooms/locker rooms71 percent
Dirty floors55 percent
Lack of cleaning products to wipe down equipment52 percent
Spills/Stains on the floor or carpet46 percent
Dusty surfaces36 percent


When survey respondents were asked to describe the dirtiest object or behavior they’ve ever seen in a gym or athletic facility, some interesting responses were shared, including:

  • “Janitors using same towels people use to wipe their bodies to clean the bathroom floor/toilet, etc.” (Female, age 40)

  • “I once saw a man sneeze into his hands and then proceed to wrap his hands around a piece of gym equipment.” (Male, age 31)

  • “A urinal in the men’s locker room that had a brownish, yellow stain running down the wall under it that went all the way to the floor.” (Male, age 47)

“Without proper cleaning and disinfecting, gyms can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and unpleasant odor,” added Mesko. “Providing a clean gym for members is critical to ensure they maintain their membership well beyond the New Year.”

To help gyms enhance cleanliness and increase member satisfaction, Cintas provides comprehensive cleaning and disinfection programs for any type of athletic facility. Through tile and carpet cleaning, restroom/locker room deep cleaning, Signet™ cleaning chemical service, hand sanitizer and matting, Cintas helps gyms keep their facilities clean and members returning.

For more information about Cintas’ solutions for athletic facilities, visit www.cintas.com/facilityservices

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cintas from December 7-11, 2012 among 3,036 adults age 18+. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and a full list of open-ended responses, please contact cscharff@mulberrymc.com.

About Cintas:
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 900,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.