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Cleaning Dumbbells (Tips To Keep Them Rust Free!)

Cleaning dumbbells is important to maintain them so that they’re safe and usable for a long period of time.

In this article, I explain how to clean a dumbbell, how often you should clean them, and tips to stop them from getting rusty.

cleaning dumbbells

How Do You Clean Gym Dumbbells?

To clean your dumbbells, you only really need:

  • Washing-Up Liquid
  • Warm Water
  • A Microfiber Cloth
  • Disinfectant Spray

As a minimum, you should be wiping down your dumbbells with a microfiber cloth after each use, paying particular attention to the handle to remove any sweat.

Twice a week, you should give your dumbbells a more thorough clean using warm water and washing-up liquid.

This helps remove any dirt, grime, or bacteria that you may have missed with your microfiber rub down.

Following this, you should spray your dumbbells with disinfectant spray before drying them off with a microfiber cloth.

How To Clean Dumbbell Handles

Dumbbell handles are the main area where sweat, grime, and germs build up.

When doing an after-use clean, you should wipe any sweat from the handle.

This is not just important for hygiene reasons, but it helps maintain the condition of your dumbbells.

If doing a deeper clean with warm water and washing up liquid, dip your cloth into the water and washing-up liquid mx, wring it out, and wipe down the handle ensuring to cover the entire surface.

You can follow a similar process for disinfecting your dumbbell handle, but instead of dipping your cloth into a bowl of water, simply spray the disinfectant straight onto the handle before wiping.

Any time you use washing-up liquid or disinfectant on your dumbbell handle, it’s vital that you ensure all moisture is dried off using a microfiber cloth before putting your dumbbells away.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dumbbells?

As an absolute minimum, you should clean your dumbbells after each use with a microfiber cloth.

You should also clean your dumbbells with warm water and washing-up liquid at least twice a week to ensure they’re clean and germ-free.

You may need to clean them more or less frequently depending on how often you use dumbbells.

For daily use, the above cleaning frequency is required.

But if you only use your dumbbells from time to time, you can probably get away with a quick wipe down every now and then.

Should You Clean Dumbbells?

Absolutely! There are many reasons why you should clean your dumbbells, let’s take a look at some of these reasons.

Prevent Odors

No one likes smelly gym equipment, and it can be surprising how quickly new equipment can pick up odors.

Dumbbells can easily become smelly and unhygienic due to sweaty hands holding the handle, leftover chalk not being wiped off, and moisture allowing bacteria growth.

By thoroughly cleaning your dumbbells, you can prevent unwanted odors from interfering with your workout.

General Care

As with all gym equipment, dumbbells require regular care and maintenance to keep them in full working order for as long as possible.

Cleaning your dumbbells regularly will help maintain their condition and reduce the need to replace them any time soon.

Dumbbells aren’t cheap, so you want to maintain them for as long as possible!

Prevent Rust

Any moisture left on a dumbbell can cause it to rust.

Sweat, water spillages, or even storing dumbbells in a humid environment can cause rust to build up.

By cleaning your dumbbells often, you can ensure they’re fully dried off each time reducing the likelihood of rust build-up.

Kill Germs

If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that germs can spread quickly.

Regularly cleaning dumbbells will help keep germs at bay. And you can have a greater peace of mind knowing that you have a safer, cleaner, and more hygienic training area.

Why Do Dumbbells Become Rusty?

Rust on dumbbells can be attributed to various reasons, but it’s mainly due to the material (metals) they’re made of.

Metals, like iron and nickel, begin to rust when they become wet or when they’re stored in humid areas. Moisture corrodes these metals which causes rust on the surface.

A rusty dumbbell can have a weakened structure making them potentially unsafe.

How To Prevent Dumbbell Rust

While dumbbells are expensive, they can last a long time and are easily worth the price if taken care of properly.

The main defence against rust on your dumbbells is keeping them dry as much as possible. When completing a workout, remember to wipe down the dumbbell to ensure that the surface is free from any sweat or water.

Also, you should store your dumbbells in a cool, dry place. In a warm and humid environment, dumbbells can collect moisture on the surface and over time become rusty.

How To Remove Rust From Dumbbells

Dumbbells are often made of iron, or metals containing iron.

When a dumbbell starts to rust on the surface, it can be salvaged before the rust grows and penetrates deeper into its structure.

The easiest way to get rid of rust on the surface of your dumbbell is to sand the rust off the surface.

Sanding the rust off the surface is as simple as using a lower grit sandpaper and some elbow grease, or if you have an orbital sander, it can be done at a more efficient pace.

Regardless, removing the rust at the earliest point will ensure the dumbbell maintains a strong structure for many years.

After removing the rust, you should paint the dumbbell with enamel to help prevent further rusting on the surface for a longer period of time.

Are Rusty Dumbbells Safe?

While you can technically use rusty dumbbells, it’s not recommended without trying to solve the issue first.

Rusty dumbbells can cause serious skin irritation for long periods of time that’s otherwise preventable by ridding the dumbbell of rust before use.

And if the rust is deep within the dumbbell, the dumbbell can break and fall apart mid use which can cause an injury if it lands on a body part.


In summary:

  • Cleaning dumbbells is quick, easy, and important if you want to maintain your dumbbells for a long period of time.
  • You should wipe down your dumbbells after each use and give them a more thorough cleaning with warm water and washing-up liquid at least twice a week.
  • If not looked after properly, dumbbells can become rusty. Preventing rust is important for safety reasons.

That’s all for cleaning dumbbells, but how do you clean a kettlebell?

Thanks for reading!