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Why is my gym floor slippery?

Why is my gym floor slippery? 

Why is our gym floor slippery?

This question comes up again and again. Let’s discuss some of the conditions that contribute to making a gymnasium surface slippery and unsafe for the athletes. 

  1. Improper cleaning methods or lack of cleaning methods.
  2. Poor quality cleaning products.
  3. Improper or poor-quality finishes. 

Let’s look at these challenges one at a time: 

  1. Improper cleaning methods or lack of cleaning methods.

A clean well maintained gym floor starts outside of the gym with walk off matts. 

The importance of walk off mats, cannot be overstated!

Any good program to keep the gymnasium floors clean, starts

outside the gym with walk off mats. 

Having good walk off mats outside the main entrances to the gym is very important. Please note for the walk off mats to be effective, THEY NEED TO BE CLEAN! Vacuum and clean the walk off mats daily, or they will just be another source of dirt & debris coming into your gymnasium. 

In areas where heavy snowfall is normal during winter months. Court runners like this can be 

extremely beneficial. 

Extra effort will need to be put in on days with snowfall. Sand and salt will inevitably get tracked into the gymnasium. 

Dust mopping the gym floor: 

Dust mopping needs to be done early and often. This is critical for removing dirt & debris. 

Dust mopping should be done multiple times per day. In a perfect world…. dust mop the gym floor after every class or practice. 

Leaving dirt and grim on the floor works to dull the shine, scratch the paint, and make the floor slippery. 

Sweat can be part of a slippery floor problem

High performing competitive athletes literally leave Sweat, Blood, and Tears on the gym floor! A droplet of sweat contains a small percentage of body oil. In time, if the floor is not thoroughly cleaned (at least occasionally) The body oil will become part of the “slippery floor” problem. 

  1. Poor quality cleaning products

This not to say that you must purchase the most expensive cleaning products on the market, but you MUST use a product that is effective and designed for use on a gymnasium floor. 

We like alcohol-based products because they quickly evaporate and do not leave a residue. 

There is a legendary story about a gym with slippery floors. The Contractor who installed the floor looked at it, agreed it was slippery, but did not know why. Next out was the representative from the finish manufacturer, who likewise agree it was slippery they could offer no explanation……. Eventually someone thought about the night custodian, so they talked to her about her cleaning procedures. She revealed a “secret” she had been using to remove heal marks and scuffs. She sprayed them with WD-40, and the marks came right off!!

Do NOT use WD-40 to clean gym floors!

  1. Improper or poor-quality finishes

The MFMA (Maple Flooring Manufactures Association) is the trade association that writes and oversees specifications regarding gymnasium floors. The MFMA tests finishes in multiple areas, one specific test is for Coefficient of Friction. If the contractor applied an MFMA certified finish, the finish has passed friction testing. Make sure the finish applied to your gym floor is an MFMA certified product. 


In some cases, slippery floors may be a result of poor-quality finishes or substandard cleaning products. HOWEVER generally slippery floors are a result of a lack of maintenance. Here is a YouTube video that details in depth gym floor cleaning procedures: 

Hopefully this article has provided some information for areas of maintenance improvement in your facility.