How to Keep Your Favourite Bouldering Gym Dust Free

Chalk Bucket in Climbing Gym

Chalk or magnesium carbonate powder can cause an excess of white dust in climbing gyms, especially in small confined spaces & training rooms. The dust not only settles on all surfaces, giving the cleaning staff a hard day, it also can cause some respiratory problems in some climbers & just is plain uncomfortable. What can you do to keep your gym dust-free?

The first obvious solution is to switch to chalk alternatives yourself. Liquid chalk has been proven to significantly reduce chalk dust in gyms & works just as well as traditional powder chalk, especially on bouldering problems. Another alternative is using a chalk ball instead of a chalk bucket with loose chalk. This is less effective than liquid chalk but many gyms still recommend it.

If your gym hasn’t already banned the use of chalk powder, you can encourage the gym owners to do so. With COVID-19, we’ve seen an uptick in liquid chalk use due to its antibacterial properties & gyms are more open-minded about making the switch to liquid chalk now. Some gyms have even switched to offering free liquid chalk from a dispenser.

You can also suggest gyms to install better air filtration systems. So-called chalk-eaters can be installed: custom-made stand-alone air filtering systems that remove chalk dust from the environment. These are cheaper to install than fully integrated air filtration systems which move the whole volume of air in a building through a filter.

Another thing gyms can do is to up the frequency of their cleaning rounds. Loose chalk settles on all surfaces & easily gets airborne again in a busy gym. This is especially true for the dust on bouldering mats. Those should be vacuumed very frequently or the gym should switch to fabric-covered mats that keep the dust in & are easier to vacuum.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

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