How to Clean Dumbbells

Every equipment and machine requires maintenance to function well, which applies to dumbbells. 

Before cleaning dumbbells, you have to discern the type to understand whether it is an iron dumbbell, steel dumbbell, chrome dumbbell, rubber dumbbell, or neoprene dumbbell. 

If you’re interested to know how to clean dumbbells, keep reading to find out!

How To Clean The Different Dumbbell Types

Cleaning your dumbbells is essential as it makes them last longer than ever, especially the high-quality dumbbells. The procedures and materials involved in cleaning all kinds of dumbbells are exhaustively set out below.

How to Clean Iron Dumbbells

Iron bells are mostly made with high-quality enamel paint coating. Due to continuous use, these dumbbells slowly shed off their enamel coating, leaving them in a vulnerable state for oxidation.

Oxidation gives room for the rusting of the iron dumbbell, making it pertinent to pay attention to the wearing off of the enamel coating to clean it as soon as possible.

To clean it:

  1. Get a dish soap and pour a couple of drops into a water bowl. 
  2. After that, dip a clean damp cloth into the initial mixture and wipe the dumbbells, making sure you brush every spot. 
  3. Finally, get another dry cloth to wipe off the liquid to prevent rusting.

Also, to remove rust from iron weights, use a wire brush to remove any evident rust. 

For 1-3 days, soak the iron dumbbells in a 50% vinegar and 50% water solution, use the wire brush to remove the remaining rust and varnish the dumbbells to prevent rusting again.

How to Clean Chrome Dumbbells

Chrome dumbbells are usually shiny, making it necessary to wipe them from time to time to maintain their sparkle.

Apply a protectant or a high-grade moisture inhibitor to the dumbbells to clean them. Wipe it with a cloth and wipe the equipment again with a soft dry cloth to remove the moisture. 

It is important to note that an alcohol-based protectant is not an advisable option to clean your dumbbells as it might bleach the equipment and remove the shine permanently. 

How to Clean Steel Dumbbells

Steel dumbbells are cleaned the same way as iron dumbbells since they possess the same properties. However, ensure it is stored in a cool, dry place and do well to handle it with care to ensure it lasts longer than ever.

How to Clean Neoprene Dumbbells

Neoprene is a durable, shock-absorbing material that lasts longer than ordinary rubber. It is used to cover steel dumbbells. Get a damp cloth, wipe the equipment and dry it to remove the moisture.

How to Clean Rubber Dumbbells

Rubber dumbbells are usually not wholly rubber. Instead, they typically feature iron with a complete rubber coating. Rubber dumbbells are waterproof, and they are prone to be affected by sun rays. Therefore, it is pertinent to keep it from sunlight to give it a long-lasting life. 

To clean rubber dumbbells, pour a few drops of dish soap into a bowl of water, dip a clean cloth in the mixture and use the wet cloth to wipe the dumbbell. Lastly, use another dry cloth to wipe and dry the equipment.

The above-mentioned easy steps give your dumbbells, no matter the type, a comprehensive cleaning, making them clean, shiny, and sparkling as ever.

How to Clean Rubber Residue Left on Rubber Dumbbells and Weight Plates

The dumbbells and the rubber plates themselves are always the first places filled with residues. It would help if you had clean clothes and Isopropyl alcohol with 70% concentration to clean the deposition. 

Isopropyl alcohol is known to get rid of bacteria, and any residue stuck on rubber, making it an excellent option for cleaning rubber dumbbells.

The steps involved are: 

  1. Put the weight plates and rubber dumbbells on a clean surface
  2. Pour a few drops of the isopropyl alcohol on the equipment
  3. Use a clean cloth to wipe off the residues
  4. Rinse the rubber bells and weight plates in water, and use another dry cloth to remove the moisture altogether.

The residues from rubber dumbbells and weight plates further stain other surfaces like carpet, clothes, floor, and the skin. We have also deemed it fit to point out how you can effectively remove the rubber residues from these objects.

READ: Dumbbell Triceps Exercises

How to Remove Rubber Residue from Clothes

While working out, the rubber residue from your dumbbell can stunt your cloth. Not to worry, you can easily remove it by dipping a washcloth in tea tree oil and using it to dab the stain. Go further to spray cold water on the stain and dab the oil with a clean towel.

Finally, wash the clothes the usual way you do.

How to Remove Rubber Residue from a Carpet

In exercising with a rubber dumbbell, rubber residue might find its way on your carpet. Clean it by putting a towel into isopropyl alcohol and using it to clean the surface until the residue vanishes.

How to Remove Rubber Residue from Your Skin

Your skin might come into contact with rubber residue during your workout session. Cleaning the skin is not difficult as you can wash it off with your regular soap and water. What if the residue proves stubborn and fails to remove in its entirety? You can then make use of baking soda or olive oil.

Apply the baking soda to the residue spot, scrub it, and rinse it with water. If you use olive oil, dip cotton wool in the oil, rub it on the area for a few minutes, and then rinse it off with water.

It is pertinent to note that sometimes, your rubber dumbbells can get smelly making them unpleasant. However, getting rid of the smell is not rocket science. You can remove the odor by dipping a wet cloth in a mild soap and water mixture and wiping the dumbbells with the fabric.

Sometimes, the rubber dumbbells come with harsh smells even when they are brand new. This smell lingers for a long time, but it can be gotten rid of quickly by increasing your ventilation, putting the rubber dumbbells and rubber weights under direct sunlight, and regularly cleaning it with soapy water.

How Often Should I Clean My Rubber Dumbbells

Typically, it would be best to clean your rubber band and weight plates at least once a month. 

This will help prolong the life of this equipment and make it look as new as ever. However, if you are a neat freak who likes your stuff to be clean all the time, you can clean the rubber dumbbells once every two weeks.

If you don’t want to clean your rubber bells too often, you can decide to purchase high-quality products that don’t tend to gather residue. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell is an excellent example of a dumbbell that does not require constant cleaning.

Using Damp Clothes To Clean Your Dumbbell

You can clean dumbbells with a damp cloth. Wipe down the entire surface of the dumbbell, and be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. If there is any built-up dirt or dust, use a small brush to scrub it away.

Using a Few Drops Of Dish Soap Or Hand Soap To Clean Your Dumbbell

This is a general method used to clean all types of dumbbells.

Prepare the soap and water: Mix a few drops of dishwashing detergent or hand soap per ¼ gallon of warm water; this should be strong enough to remove most forms of dirt.

Soak a microfiber cloth in the soap solution: You want to saturate the fabric in the cleaning solution.

Wring out the excess water: Squeeze out excess water from the cloth. It should be wet but not drenched.

Wipe the dumbbell: Apply some elbow grease to clean all the dirty areas. Re-soak the cloth to keep it warm and to steam. This can help lift dirt and oil.

Use a new microfiber cloth to dry the dumbbell: Pat down the dumbbell using a fresh microfiber cloth.

Allow to air dry: Leave outside or in a well-ventilated area for any remaining moisture to dry out.

Maintenance Of Your Dumbbell

Neglecting your dumbbell may cause it to fall apart; hence it is essential to maintain it. You can keep it in the following ways:

Clean Regularly: You can increase the lifespan of your dumbbells by ensuring it is cleaned from time to time. You can wash it with a damp towel, soap, water, or protectants.

Don’t clean with harsh chemicals: Be careful of the chemicals you use in cleaning your dumbbells because bleach, Lysol, and ammonia can cause harm to your equipment.

Avoid slamming the dumbbells on the ground: Always watch whenever you are using your dumbbells to prevent them from falling. Also, desist from dropping it on the floor deliberately after use. This is one of the significant causes of dumbbell deterioration.

Keep from sharp objects: A sharp object tends to leave marks or tear the encasing of your dumbbells, and if your dumbbell is made of steel, it can lead to rusting. It is therefore essential to keep your equipment away from sharp objects.

Arrange the dumbbells neatly: Properly arranging gym equipment properly enables them to last longer. However, you can ensure your dumbbell is set correctly by getting a dumbbell rack where you can keep it immediately after use.

The above maintenance tips can ensure the proper maintenance of your dumbbell, making it easy to last long and function properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

While looking for ways to clean dumbbells, you might have many questions to determine the best and most effective ways to achieve your goal. 

So, here are answers to some of the most common questions about cleaning dumbbells:

How do you clean dirty dumbbells?

After every use, wipe the dumbbell with a damp cloth and dry it to eradicate the moisture. However, at least once a month, ensure a deep clean of the equipment. Use heated water, mix a few drops of dish or washcloth, and a stiff brush. Do not forget to towel dry the dumbbells afterward.

Should I wipe dumbbells?

Yes, it is required to wipe dumbbells and other gym equipment before and after use to maintain and always ready to use.

How often should you clean your dumbbells?

You should clean your dumbbell at least once a month, and if you are a neat freak, you can clean it once every two weeks.


Gym equipment tends to last longer and function better when properly maintained and cared for. However, cleaning is one of the ways to preserve dumbbells and prevent rust. 

Regularly cleaning the workout equipment will enhance the removal of dirt, making the dumbbell ready to use at any time without the fear of it staining your cloth, skin, carpet, or floor.

We explicitly explained the various ways of maintaining a dumbbell, and it can serve as a guide for people who have no idea how to get the dirt out of their dumbbells.

Also, we pointed out the various ways to remove rubber residue from your rubber dumbbells to give a smooth ride to people who find it difficult to get out rubber residue from their rubber dumbbells.

Methods of cleaning rusty dumbbells were not left out as we briefly explained how to put a rusty dumbbell into good use again.

If you found this article interesting and helpful, check out more helpful fitness articles on

Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.