Owning an elliptical trainer is not limited to training and burning calories. It is also about knowing how to clean elliptical machines.

To clean your elliptical properly, you need to know the cleaning materials to use and the exact parts to clean up. 

Here’s a three-step guide to help you get started. For cleaning demo purposes, I’ve included images of the NordicTrack Elliptical 9.9.

I’m also sharing an elliptical machine cleaning schedule to make the process easy to do on repeat.

Step 1: Prep Your Cleaning Tools

Your product manual has the cleaning items you can use for your elliptical trainer. But generally, there are three standard tools:

  • dry cleaning rag (microfibre or any lint-free cloth)
  • water spray bottle with antibacterial or mild soap or disinfectant
  • vacuum cleaner

You can also include disinfectant wipes in your cleaning kit if your elliptical manufacturer allows it.

But I find the cloth and spray bottle combo more practical and less wasteful.

For safety, make sure to have protective eyewear and gloves on hand, too.

TIP: To make the disinfecting solution, combine ½ cup of bleach with 3.8L (or 1 gallon) of water.

Transfer enough disinfectant to your spray bottle, then store the rest.

You can also use any non-abrasive cleanser or all-purpose cleaner that you like.

Tools for Cleaning Elliptical Machines

Step 2: Vacuum the Machine Interior

When it’s time to give my elliptical trainer a thorough clean, I prefer starting with the inside first, then out.

Doing it like this will avoid transferring dust or fingerprints and repeating the cleaning steps you’ve already done.

Before starting, make sure to turn off and unplug the elliptical first. Next, do the following:

  1. Use the proper screwdriver or hex key/Allen key to remove the screws and the plastic cover. Check your manual for assistance if you’re doing this for the first time.
  2. Once removed, vacuum any debris or dust you see inside. Be careful not to hit any of the internal components.
  3. You can use a dry cloth to wipe them down tight corners.
  4. After vacuuming and wiping, put the elliptical cover back, ensuring that all screws are complete and tight.

TIP: Learning how to clean elliptical machines’ interiors prevents dust build-up that usually results in elliptical squeaks.

Also, do not use a damp cloth for cleaning the inside. Leaving any moisture here can lead to rusting.

Vacuuming the fan of an elliptical cross trainer

Step 3: Wipe Down the Exterior

The exterior parts of your elliptical constantly come in contact with sweaty palms and arms or dirty running shoes.

These will leave germs and microbes on your fitness equipment and can cause an infectious disease to spread.

Residue from sweat can stain equipment parts. Sweat bacteria and germs will produce unpleasant odours, too.

That’s why you must wipe and disinfect your machine after every use. This step will keep your equipment clean and safe for the other elliptical user.

Here’s how to clean elliptical machines’ exterior correctly with a spray bottle and clean rag:

  1. Spray some disinfectant onto your cleaning cloth. Then wipe elliptical trainer parts from top to bottom.
  2. Focus more on the high-touch surfaces like the handles, arms, water bottle holder, accessory tray and pedals. Spray more cleaning solution onto your rag if needed.
  3. Ideally, use a dry cloth for cleaning the screen or console to avoid damaging its electrical parts.
  4. Allow your elliptical machine to air dry.

TIP: Keep your rag or cloth damp, not wet. Too much liquid might seep into equipment parts and cause corrosion or electric issues.

Also, always use a clean cloth for wiping to avoid spreading germs onto your machine.

Wipe the surface of the elliptical machine with a microfibre cloth

Elliptical Cleaning Schedule

Now that you know how to clean elliptical machines, the next question is, how often should you do it?

Here’s my cleaning routine that you can use to create your own:

  • Daily or after each workout: I do Step 3. I regularly wipe down my elliptical machine to avoid dust and sweat build-up in high-touch spots. Regular elliptical wipe-downs also shorten thorough or deep cleaning time.
  • Weekly: I do Step 3 plus vacuum the floor and surrounding area. If you have an equipment mat underneath your elliptical, you can clean that up, too.
  • Every month: I do Step 3 but more thoroughly. I wipe down the whole exterior of the elliptical. Aside from the high-touch parts, I also focus on cleaning the stride rails and rollers this time.
  • Every six months: I do Steps 1 to 3.


An elliptical is an investment. When you decide to invest in your health and fitness, you should also commit to taking care of your exercise machine.

And now, we know that learning how to clean elliptical machines only needs simple cleaning tools and three easy steps.

With a schedule to follow, keeping your elliptical spic and span should be second nature in no time.

I have one last tip for easy equipment cleaning, though. Find and own a well-made elliptical! Look for one with high-quality parts without too many hard-to-reach spots.

This elliptical cross trainer review and buying guide might help you find an easy-to-clean machine. Check out these NordicTrack ellipticals, too.

1. How do I clean my NordicTrack elliptical?

Have a soft cloth and some water or non-abrasive cleaner ready for wiping down your NordicTrack elliptical after every workout. Avoid spraying the cleaner directly on the console or any machine part. Over time, you’ll need to tighten its drive belt for proper tension. Visit NordicTrack’s Support page or check your user manual for detailed instructions.

2. Do elliptical machines need maintenance?

Elliptical machines need maintenance to keep them in good condition for a long time. Maintaining your exercise equipment also helps avoid costly repair or replacement. Aside from cleaning, elliptical maintenance includes lubricating, levelling and stabilising, tightening the drive belt and calling for professional assistance.