How to Clean a Treadmill Belt

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Did you know your treadmill belt can actually kill your motor if you aren’t careful? Treadmill running belts need some TLC from time to time, or they can snap, jam up the motor, and cause irreparable damage.

To avoid buying an entirely new treadmill or paying a maintenance guy to repair it, we need to perform some preventative maintenance. Let’s look at how to clean a treadmill belt

Why is it Important to Keep a Treadmill Belt Clean?

How to Clean a Treadmill Belt

Your treadmill belt is like the fan belt in your car. If it’s busted, the motor’s not going to run. Except with a treadmill, a messed-up belt can actually destroy the motor. These are all the reasons it’s important to keep your treadmill running belt clean.

  • Extended Treadmill Life: Less wear and tear on the motor means a longer lifespan for your treadmill. This can also help smaller components inside of your treadmill run more efficiently. It’s not just the motor that gets jammed. There will be less debris on the interior parts, making everything run smoother.
  • Removes Dust: Dust builds up on your treadmill in between each use, even if it’s such a minuscule amount that you can’t really tell at first. That gets dragged under the belt and stored inside of the machine, which is all the more reason to clean it out as often as possible. Mitigate that dust buildup, and keep the internal section of your treadmill in top form for as long as possible. At some point, you might have to open it up and clean out the inside.
  • Resale Value: While you’re not going to make back the same amount you paid for it, you can sell a treadmill for a decent percentage after it’s fulfilled its purpose. This is helpful if you’re only in a location for one or two years and you need to travel light when you move. One thing that treadmill buyers look for is sweat stains on the tread and excess dirt on the edge of the belt feed.
  • Peak Speeds: If you use your treadmill console and turn it up to a 5/10 speed, all that’s doing is telling the motor how much output to produce. What if you put it on a 5, and it was only producing power like a 3 or a 4? That would be because it’s taking extra power to run the belt. The motor doesn’t know the speed, it only knows how many RPMs it’s supposed to attempt.
  • Motor Burn: The way a mucked-up treadmill belt can destroy your motor is through unnecessary friction/traction. The belt is designed to work in a specific way with the motor, and if it requires extra traction to get through the dirt, it begins to burn out the motor. You can sometimes smell the rubber on the belt burning as a result.

Cleaning a Treadmill Belt

How to Clean a Treadmill Belt

Cleaning off the treadmill belt itself isn’t too difficult. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to clean as much as possible.

  • Make sure you unplug your treadmill. You run the risk of electrocution if you keep it plugged in while working on it, even if it’s just to clean it.
  • Use a static-free duster to clean off the top of the belt. Even if you just used it, there’s absolutely dust that gathers on the top. Use this duster in every crevice that you can to eliminate dust.
  • Once the belt is dust-free, take a wet cloth rag and ring it out. You don’t want it to be soaking wet. Wipe the top of the belt off with the wet rag and move in strokes along the length of the tread.
  • Use a paper towel to dry the treadmill off. Make sure you’re in an area with a lot of light so you can see the wet spots disappear. Allow to air dry for 30-60 more minutes.

That’s all you have to do to clean the belt. Deep interior cleaning doesn’t have to happen all that often.

Top Surface of a Treadmill Belt

You can clean this once a week if you get a lot of use out of your treadmill by simply wetting a cloth and wiping it down the top of the tread. Let it dry completely before you manually rotate the belt.

Once it’s dry, you rotate the belt and wipe down the other side. Wait for it to air dry, and you’re good to go.

The only difficult part about this is remembering to get to the other side afterward. If you don’t, that dirt and sweat is going to spread the next time you turn on your treadmill.

Underside of a Treadmill Belt

If you go so far as to disassemble your treadmill and get underneath the belt, you’ll be doing your machinery a favor.

Inside, debris from the rubber belt pulling against everything for so long will build. On top of that, the dust buildup that we talked about earlier will be completely noticeable here.

Vacuum it out, make sure the belt is free from dust and debris before you put it back on, and if you use a duster, only use a static-free one. Otherwise, you could end up with some problems.

Clean Your Treadmill at Least Twice a Year

How to Clean a Treadmill Belt

Depending on how much you use your treadmill, you should aim to clean it at least twice a year. If it’s being used very frequently, you might want to do it once every quarter.

Try to only use indoor shoes for your treadmill so you aren’t tracking in actual dirt.

Your belt builds up debris, and muck, and can seriously damage or destroy the motor in your treadmill. Make sure you get ahead of it by cleaning it regularly.

If you need to know how to disassemble your entire treadmill to replace the belt or check the motor, be sure to check out our other guides.