Balanced Body Garage: Why cleaning your Reformer rails is fast, easy and necessary

The cleanliness of your equipment can greatly detract from the Pilates experience.  You and your client should be focused on the movement, not tuning out bumps and squeaks as the carriage travels within the frame.

Students on Reformers

One of the easiest things you can do for your Reformer is to wipe the rails and surface of the wheels every week with a damp microfiber cloth.  If you do this regularly, you will be able to quickly and easily get the dirt and grime off the rails and wheels, which will help the carriage travel smoothly for years to come.

There are a few additional benefits of regular cleaning besides simply improving a client’s experience on the Reformer.  First, regular light cleaning eliminates the need for harsh chemicals.  I normally clean the Reformer rails and wheels with a microfiber cloth that is damp with water.  Yep!  Just water!  This gets scuffs, dirt and hair off very easily.  The danger of using special cleaners, even multi-purpose cleaners, is that over time you can damage the finish on the wood frame or aluminum rails.

Second, all that hair and dirt on the rails migrates up into your wheels and gets wrapped around the axle and caught in the bearings.  Hair around the axles is harder to clean once it’s on the wheels (you’ll have to take the carriage out of the frame), and once the gunk disappears into the bearings it causes a grinding feeling, as if you are riding over sandpaper instead of smooth aluminum rails.  At this point, you’ll need completely new wheels to restore the original feel.

And finally, your Reformer looks clean, which reflects well on your studio.

Using tin foil to clean Reformer rails
Using tin foil to clean Reformer rails
If you haven’t been cleaning your Reformer rails regularly, you may have some nasty gunk built up on them. For this, a wet cloth probably won’t get the job done, so you will need some water and a folded piece of aluminum foil (the same thing you use in your kitchen!). Spray the water on the rail, scrub until the water turns black, and then wipe the dirty water off with the rag. Repeat the process until the rail is clean, or you’ve repeated six times. Once you do a deep clean, be sure to follow it up with weekly light cleanings because frequent scrubs with aluminum foil could take a toll on the metal coating of the rails. 
Happy Reforming! Kaleen
Kaleen Canevari

About Kaleen Canevari

Kaleen Canevari is a mechanical engineer and PMA certified Pilates instructor. She began her Pilates journey while working as an engineer at Balanced Body in 2014, and since then has started her own company called The Fit Reformer, which specializes in Pilates equipment care. She currently teaches Pilates part-time at a local studio in Sacramento, and spends the rest of her time traveling the country working on Pilates equipment and Pilates-related projects.