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. Rubber flooring is also resistant to burns and is not susceptible to mold or mildew taking hold. Dirt and debris rest gently on the surface of a rubber floor, making it easy to sweep up.
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 you should follow on a regular basis, to both disinfect the floor and keep it looking its best.
If rubber flooring is installed with adhesive, you should not clean it in any way for at least 72 hours after installation in order to .give the adhesive time to get a firm hold. After three full days, you can consider the installation complete and can treat the floor normally, with the following basic cleaning instructions. (With click-together and static-weight products that don't use adhesives, these precautions are not necessary.)
Rubber Flooring Maintenance
The most common maintenance issue with a rubber floor is dirt and small debris trekked in by shoes and boots or blown in through windows and air ducts. This is a natural occurrence that can be minimized by using 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 up 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 maintain its original luster and shine.
Mopping a Rubber Floor
If you get a nasty set-in stain on your rubber floor, you can easily wet-wash it with a mop without worrying about damaging the material. Just make sure that any cleaning agent that you use is not acidic or 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, mix one cup of white vinegar into a gallon of hot water. This solution 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 is. 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 a stubborn stain that is deeply set-in, then use a concentrated version cleaning solution 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 scar the floor.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning Rubber Flooring
Any acidic or acetone-based chemical cleansers or any solution that contains turpentine will badly stain your floor. 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 during cleaning and mopping. When done, just allow the floor to air dry to a lovely streak-free finish.
Be aware that if your rubber flooring is installed over a plywood subfloor, then allowing standing water to sit on the seams between tiles can allow moisture to leak down, over time causing the subfloor wood to mold or rot. This can be prevented if, during installation, you install a vapor barrier underlayment.
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 risk damaging the floor. Periodic conditioning will help to restore the lustrous shine that your 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. Done on a regular basis, this should help to restore some of the original glow.
Urine Stains on a Rubber Floor
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. Lete it dry for 10-15 minutes, then washed it off with warm, clean water. This can be done several times until the stain is removed.