You don’t want your training routine at the gym to be the reason you get sick and are sidelined from working out. You know you should be wiping down equipment and not sharing towels, but do you know why? Do you know how long you should be waiting to use any equipment after wiping it down with a sanitizing wipe?

“The gyms have gotten much better [about cleanliness] in recent years, Thomas S. Ahrens, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., and authority on infectious disease. “A lot of them have alcohol-based wipes that can be used to clean equipment, in addition to hand sanitizer and that’s all good. Now, you just need to make sure you’re using that correctly.”

We also chatted with cleaning experts and skin doctors to learn about where you might encounter gym germs and bacteria that could be making you sick or cause a skin reaction—and how to avoid them. If you notice a strange rash or reaction on your skin, make an appointment with a dermatologist to get it checked out and treated.