Rubber Floor Cleaning, Care & Maintenance

Rubber flooring is chosen for its impact-absorbing performance in home gyms and similar settings, but a bonus is that it very easy to care for.

This guide to residential rubber floor care covers the basics and give specific tips for various types of flooring.

Newly Installed Rubber Flooring Cleaning and Maintenance

How to clean a rubber floor that has just been installed differs by product.

Virgin rubber flooring (standard and premium) and synthetic rubber flooring: These classes of floors include but are not limited to SBR, EVA and EPDM (M-class) floors.

Use a mild detergent such as diluted soap detergent or a solution containing 1 to 2 percent Simple Green or Pine Sol for the first cleaning of virgin rubber gym floor. There are also detergents formulated specifically for home gym flooring.

This first wash will remove any protective waxy coating applied at the factory. Be sure to go over the flooring with clean, fresh rinse water too. Open windows and a fan will help the flooring dry quickly. This is especially helpful for rubber flooring tiles, since water can penetrate the cracks.

Recycled rubber flooring: The technique is the same for floors made from rubber buffings and recycled tires. However, these materials often have a stronger initial odor than the first class, so you might find it helpful to increase ventilation in the area for two to four weeks.

Vacuuming Rubber Flooring

The preferred way to remove general dust, sand and debris from gym flooring and other rubber floor types is with a vacuum cleaner. If not removed, these substances grind away the surface of the flooring, and it wears out much more quickly. Vacuuming weekly is OK for home gym floors; commercial floors should be vacuumed daily.

The best type of vacuum cleaner to use is an upright vacuum with the cleaning head supported by wheels, casters or a ball. A shop vacuum or canister vacuum should not be used because dragging the head across the flooring causes undue wear. Also, the rotating brush of the upright vacuum should be turned off for the same reason.

While bagless vacuums are convenient, a bagged vacuum, especially one with an advanced HEPA filter, provides the most effective cleaning and filtration.

Mopping Rubber Flooring

This essential step of rubber floor cleaning should be done daily or weekly in commercial installations and at least monthly in residential space.

Your mop should be nylon, microfiber or sponge. Avoid cotton mop heads because cotton tends to leave lint behind.

A mild detergent solution of your choice or one recommended by the manufacturer is best. Use a mop that is damp; avoid getting too much water on the rubber floor surface. Again, this is especially true when cleaning rubber tile flooring.

Avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals or petroleum since they might stain or break down the rubber. Stay away from products containing wax because it will leave behind a residue.

General Rubber Flooring Care

These tips will prevent damage and prolong the life of your rubber floor.

  1. Make pure water the workout liquid of choice rather than soda, energy drinks, Gatorade or coffee. If a spill occurs, cleaning up water is easy. Anything else might stain or leave behind a sticky residue.
  2. Use pads under the feet of weight racks, workout machines and other heavy pieces of equipment.
  3. If you’ve installed a floating tile floor, consider removing it once a year to vacuum and mop beneath it. Tiles have penetrable edges, and eventually fine particles will sift through them. Water can do the same, so use a mop that is only slightly damp when cleaning. If you notice a bad odor starting, it’s likely from water trapped beneath the rubber. Take up the tiles, and give both the underlay and the tiles themselves a sanitizing wash.

Rubber Flooring Maintenance and Care FAQs

Q: Do you recommend rubber floor sealer?

A: If the manufacturer recommends it, then sealing the floor is a good idea. Only use sealers approved by the manufacturer, if you use them at all.

Q: Plenty of sweat ends up on our gym floor. What do you recommend for sanitizing the flooring?

A: A home solution of one cup white vinegar per gallon of warm water is an option. CleanBreak is the most widely recommended disinfectant for gym flooring and animal rubber flooring.

Q: Should I use a steam cleaner on rubber floors?

A: Most manufacturers DO NOT recommend steam cleaners due to their excessive heat and the fact that moisture might penetrate seams where it will get trapped.

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