row2k Features
How to Keep Your Equipment Clean and As Safe As Possible
March 17, 2020

Following are some best practices from rowing equipment experts for keeping your equipment as clean as possible, for equipment performance and longevity as well as hygienic reasons; we have previously published these in separate articles, but have gathered them together here for your convenience. None of the equipment folks are epidemiologists, and as such NK shared the following caveat, please take it under advisement: While NK does not claim these techniques will be 100% effective against the spread of viruses, here are two ideas that may help your program:

While NK does not claim these techniques will be 100% effective against the spread of viruses, here are two ideas that may help your program:

  • When sharing CoxBox microphones, you can purchase a set of finger cots to put on the end of the microphone. These are not too hard to find; for example here are some from Walgreens. The finger cot should not affect the overall sound amplification and can be removed after one-time use. The next user then applies a fresh one for their session.
  • Use a 10% Bleach and 90% water solution to sanitize all the equipment. This solution is very effective against killing all types of viruses and should not harm the plastics or rubber used in our equipment.

HUDSON Boat Works

  • As simple as it sounds, a thorough clean with soap and water, focussing on touch points on the boat that may get glossed over normally (gunnel lips, riggers, oarlock knob...). It's been often repeated by health professionals for our personal hygiene, and for good reason, it's effective.
  • The second option, mirrors again what health professionals recommend as second in line to hand washing: Isopropyl alcohol.
  • We do not recommend bleach
  • There can be a further recommendation to wash hands before and after practice to further reduce the transmission coming and going.


  • RowErgs, SkiErgs, and BikeErgs
    Mix a dilution of ¼ cup of standard household bleach per gallon of water to clean indoor equipment. (Note: Too much bleach can corrode electronics.) Wipe off excess or, if possible, with a damp (water) paper towel. Do not spray electronics directly. Air dry. Clean before and after every row, ski or ride. Clean handles, grips, handlebars, and other surfaces you touch.
  • If cleaning with a disinfectant or household cleaner, please follow manufacturer's instructions.
    Wipe the monorail with a cloth or non-abrasive scouring pad after use. You can use soap and water or any glass cleaner. Do not use mineral acids, bleach, or coarse abrasives on the monorail.

  • Oars
    Regularly clean all grips with a diluted bleach solution: 1 cup bleach per 5 gallons of water (125 ml bleach per 10 L water).
    For oar grips that have been neglected and require mold removal use: 1 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water (250 ml bleach per 4 L water)
  • Rubber Grips and Wood Handles
    Scrub the grips with a nylon brush (the type used for cleaning vegetables or fingernails) and the diluted solution of bleach and water. Do not soak. Rinse well with fresh water.
  • Microfiber Suede Grips
    Gently scrub the grips with a soft-bristled nylon brush and the diluted solution of bleach and water (approximately 10 parts water to 1 part bleach). Scrubbing aggressively will damage the grip surface finish. Do not soak grips in either solution. Rinse the grips well with fresh water.


  • Daily: Dip handles in a 10% freshly mixed liquid bleach to water solution in a bucket deep enough for full handle immersion. Rinse clean with water and put oars away. Bleach solution must be mixed up new EACH DAY. This will disinfect handles that are otherwise in good shape to start. It might not be a bad idea to add this protocol to the *beginning* of each practice as well. Wet handles are nothing shocking for rowers. It's a known variable.
  • Weekly: Mix up a solution of 1 cup trisodium phosphate powder to 3 gallons of water. Scrub handle with the solution using a brass brush. The brushing needs to be thorough, not hard. This removes any organic grime deposits that could harbor pathogens. Squeaky clean is better than surface clean.

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