One of the best qualities of rubber flooring is the fact that it is extremely durable and low maintenance. Most liquids will not stain or damage the surface, and it is relatively difficult to damage the material with physical impact due to its resilient yet yielding nature. It is also resistant to burns, and will not allow the growth of mold or mildew to occur. As for dirt and debris, it will rest gently on the surface of a rubber floor, making it easy to periodically remove.
For this reason rubber tiles are employed in a wide variety of challenging locations including kitchens, bathrooms, hospitals, playgrounds, and gyms. However there are some basic cleaning and maintenance steps that should be undertaken on a fairly regular basis, to both disinfect the floor, and keep it looking its best.
After a rubber floor is installed, you should not clean it in any way for at least 72 hours. You want to give the adhesive holding the sheets or tiles in place time to get a firm, set hold. After three full days you can consider the installation complete and can treat the floor normally, with the following basic cleaning instructions.
Rubber Flooring Maintenance
The most common maintenance issue that you will have with a rubber floor is dirt and small debris, which can be trekked into a space by shoes and boots, or blown in through windows and air ducts. This is a natural occurrence, that can be cut down to some extent through the use of place rugs at the entrance and exit of every room. Unfortunately, these small specks can be quite abrasive, and if not removed they can wear down the finish of the floor over time.
Cleaning this debris is a simple matter of sweeping, or vacuuming it up on a regular basis. The frequency will depend on how often the space is used, and the manner in which it is used. The more often you undertake this one simple maintenance chore, the longer your rubber floor will be able to maintain its original luster and shine.
More Information About Rubber Flooring
Mopping a Rubber Floor
If you get a nasty set in stain on your rubber floor a mop can be used to wet wash it without having to worry about damaging the material. Just make sure that any cleaning agent that you use is not acidic, acetone based, and that it does not contain turpentine. Those substances can all stain a rubber floor, causing permanent and irreparable damage.
For an inexpensive and all natural rubber floor cleaning solution you can mix one cup of white vinegar into a gallon of hot water. This mixture can be applied with a mop, sponge, or cloth in order to clean and disinfect the floor. Add a squeeze of lemon, or a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to the concoction for a fragrant effect.
A mild dish soap can be substituted for the vinegar in this solution. You can also mix them all together to create an even more potent cleanser. As always the ratio of water to cleaning agent will determine how concentrated and effective the cleaner will be. In all cases the water used should be warm to hot, and the mix should be changed frequently to keep it clean.
If you have an extremely set in stain then you can use a concentrated version of the above along with a hand brush to apply extra pressure to the floor. You can clean vigorously, but you want to make sure that you don’t press so hard that the bristles of the brush end up scarring the floor.
Things To Avoid When Cleaning Rubber Flooring
Any acidic or acetone based chemical cleansers, or any solution that contains turpentine. Scouring pads, and steel wool sponges can slice and scar the surface of the rubber, damaging it during the cleaning process.
Rubber Flooring Water Concerns
Unlike some flooring materials, rubber is not affected by moisture and can be safely immersed in water for cleaning and mopping. When done allowing the water to air dry is perfectly fine, and will allow the floor to finish with a lovely streak free finish.
The one concern that you may have to consider with rubber flooring is if it is installed over a plywood subfloor. If that is the case, then allowing standing water to sit on the seams in between tiles may lead to moisture leaking down, causing the subfloor wood to mold or rot. If you are aware of this during installation then a vapor barrier underlayment can be installed in order to protect the subfloor.
Buffing Rubber Floors
A rubber floor conditioner can be applied to the surface of the floor, either with a cloth by hand, or using a professional grade buffing machine. If you are using a machine, make sure that it operates at less than 350 revolutions per minute or you will risk damaging the floor with your efforts. This will help to restore the lustrous shine that a rubber floor had when it was first installed.
An inexpensive alternative to this is to mix one cup of fabric softener into a gallon of water, and mop it on the floor. This should help to restore some of the original glow that the flooring had if done on a regular basis.
Urine Stains On a Rubber Floor
In some cases urine can present a particular problem for rubber flooring, causing set in stains that just can’t be removed using conventional methods. In these cases, a large amount of white toothpaste should be applied to the affected area. This should be left to dry for a good 10-15 minutes, and then washed off with warm clean water. This can be done several times until the stain is extracted from the flooring.