Jim Krimbill was general manager of Genesys Athletic Club, Grand Blanc, MI, at the time of this writing. He is now general manager at Gainey Village Health Club and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ. For more information on the cleaning product mentioned in this column, go to www.genesysathleticclub.com.

Clean must become a mantra for everyone at a club because hygiene and cleanliness are priorities for current and prospective members. Nothing differentiates your facility more in the minds of members and potential members than your staff and your facility’s cleanliness. The value of your club rises when you can show that you provide a clean facility where your members are safe to work out. And that means that retention rises, too.

At Genesys Athletic Club, we have committed ourselves to continually improving the cleanliness of our facility. We continually add new dimensions to our cleaning routine, reinforcing past cleaning practices and making total hygiene a priority for the club and for the members. For example, we installed hand sanitizers and equipment wipe dispensers a couple of years ago. Our nightly cleaning crew and daytime crew have learned to focus specific attention on each area of the club. In the aquatics area, we not only monitor chemical levels of the pools using computer controls, but we also personally test the chemical levels three times a day. In addition, we added two female maintenance staff members to focus during the day on the women’s locker room, a change that has received rave reviews from members.

The challenge for us was how to move from clean to cleaner. We pledged to improve 1 percent each day. Part of that improvement involved investing in antimicrobial technology. We had a company treat our men’s, women’s, and family locker rooms (9,000 square feet in all) with a durable, protective antimicrobial treatment that does not migrate from the treated surface to humans or the environment. The system we chose has been used in hospitals and consumer products for more than 30 years. The EPA-registered product promised to eliminate problem odors, staining and deterioration caused by bacteria, mold and mildew. This technology physically controls micro-organisms on contact and remains permanently affixed to the surface. What makes the antimicrobial treatment unique is that it becomes a durable part of the treated surface and kills micro-organisms, fungus, mold, mildew, yeast and bacteria on contact.

The treatment of the locker rooms included the showers, steam room, sauna, cold plunge, whirlpool, restrooms, walls, ceiling, tile floor, carpet floor, sinks, lockers and other surfaces. Our cleaning crews just wipe the surfaces at night and during the day with a mild soap to remove the dead germs from the surfaces. This treatment has reduced the need for the power washer, degreasers, bleach and other harsh chemicals.

In our pro shop, we stock antimicrobial products that our members can apply to their shoes, sportswear, equipment bags, athletic gear, etc. By doing this, members can help us complete the circle of hygiene. The product provides 24/7 antimicrobial protection for up to 30 days on all hard surfaces. It is practical, easy-to-use and cost effective. We also stock a product for members that eliminates odors, bacteria, fungi and mold growth on linens, clothes and towels. It lasts up to 30 washes and is environmentally friendly and hypo-allergenic.

We promote use of the products to our members using the analogy of a student driver. We know you drive well (you wash), but watch out for the student drivers (other members who don’t wash). So, take control and use the product for defensive purposes. The next step for the club will be to treat the mats and weight room equipment seats and handles.

These efforts are making “cleaner than clean” a reality at Genesys, something our members appreciate—we hope so much so that this will be just one more reason for them to renew their memberships.