With Loving Tender Care – Reformer Maintenance

I think I speak for most Pilates teachers when I say we have a special bond with our equipment and as with anything else it is vital to look after it well.

Special THANK YOU to Dave Littman from Balance Body for taking the time to write a series of short pieces outlining the most essential maintenance procedures for Pilates equipment.  We start with The Pilates Reformer.

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Reformer Care and Maintenance

Pilates equipment is designed and built to provide a lifetime of performance and enjoyment.  The care of your equipment is very important and will protect your investment.  Please follow the suggested guidelines for care and maintenance.


It is very important to keep your reformer clean.

  1. Wipe the frame, footbar, carriage pad, headrest, and shoulder rests with a soft cloth and a mild, non-abrasive, cleaner after every use.  Warm soapy water and a soft cloth works fine.  “Baby Wipes” are gentle and offer anti-bacterial properties.
  2. Keep the carriage tracks and wheels clean and clear of dust and grit.  Wipe the track with a household grease cutting cleaner on a regular basis.  Disconnect all the carriage springs and wipe the entire track.  Hold a damp cloth against the moving wheels.
  3. Keep the ropes and springs clear of dust.
  4. Cotton Loops should be machine-washed regularly.  Place in a pillowcase and wash on “Gentle”.  Hang to air dry.  Consider rotating several pairs for each reformer, or provide individual clients with their own hand loops.
  5. Clean the floor surface under all Pilates equipment periodically.


  1. Apply oil periodically (3 in 1, sewing machine oil) on pulleys or leather casters.
  2. Apply oil periodically (3 in 1, sewing machine oil) on metal to metal parts: standing platform hinge, footbar plunger pins, etc.
  3. Apply silicone spray lubricant the footbar track, and wheel tracking channels as needed.
  4. Always wipe off excess lubricant and be cautious of over-spray.


  1. Establish a maintenance log, with a page assigned to each piece of Pilates equipment.  Note all issues, including lubrication dates, squeaks and noises, thumps and bumps, replacement parts.  Refer to this log when ordering parts or upgrades for each piece of equipment.
  2. Reformer springs should be replaced every 2-3 years, depending on usage.  We recommend replacing springs after 3000 hours of use (5 hours/day, x 5/days a week, x 50 weeks a year, x 2.5 years).  Periodically check springs for kinks and coil separations.  Rotate springs to balance usage; springs on the right hand side of the Reformer receive more use than the left.
  3. Ropes should be replaced every five years.  This is not a safety issue but ropes get fuzzy and lumpy with use, and leather straps stretch.
  4. Tighten all screws and bolts.  Check periodically; shoulder rest mounting screws, leather strap screws and headrest hinge screws.
  5. Wheels and axles should be kept clean and free of dirt and hair.  Wheels and wheel bearings should be replaced every five years.
  6. Check and tighten Tower bracket attachment screws, Tower knobs, all eyebolts (if applicable)
  7. Repair upholstery tears and holes.  Use an upholstery repair kit, or have the repair or re-upholstery done locally.  Contact manufacturer’s customer service for other upholstery and re-upholstery options.
  8. Riser attachment screws should be kept tight.
  9. Carriages should track in smoothly and without contacting the frame.   Instructions for carriage tuning are available from manufacturer’s customer service.
  10. Please consult the manufacturer’s customer service with any other questions.

Video: Reformer Maintenance


Title Image credit: Patrice Munro <patricemunro@gmail.com> Pilates Teacher, Friend and Photographer – Thank you :)



Post Author: pilatestree