This was me a few weeks ago — I walked into my gym for a workout session, and the stink of the rubber floor, combined with the lack of ventilation, made my stomach hurl. As it turns out, many gym owners don’t have a clue how to tackle and clean rubber gym flooring without damaging it.
So, I have been researching the best way to clean rubber gym floors and summarized my findings in this article to help both commercial and home gym owners. Let’s get into it.
Tools and Materials You Need to Clean Rubber Gym Floor
First things first, you need the right tools to clean rubber gym floor properly. Here is a list of essentials you need to gather –
- Soft-bristled broom
- Vacuum cleaner
- Mop and bucket
- Soft bristle scrubbing brush
- Neutral pH cleaner
- Mild dish soap
- Rubber floor finish and sealer
How to Clean Rubber Gym Floor?
Step 1: Sweep or vacuum the floor
First, you need to remove all the dust and debris from the rubber flooring. In this step, you can either use a soft-bristled broom or a vacuum cleaner to pick up all the accumulated dust and debris. Undoubtedly, the vacuum will deliver better results than a broom and make the next step much more effortless. Use a rolling type vacuum cleaner with a soft beater brush as they are less likely to scuff and damage the rubber material.
Step 2: Treat the tough spots
Before moving ahead, take a look around and treat any spot that will require some extra attention. These tough spots could be stains or sticky and gummy substances, which is pretty common in public gyms as people walk around with their shoes. The gym is also a land of spillage that demands extra attention during cleaning. Although no one likes to admit it, you will likely find a few gums stuck around the corners.
You can typically remove stains and sticky spots by scrubbing vigorously with a soft-bristled brush. For a tough set-in stain, you might also need to soak it using a pH-neutral cleaning solution before scrubbing. There are a few methods to remove gum from rubber flooring. However, we recommend icing and lightly scraping off the gum as it works best on rubber.
Step 3: Prepare mopping solution
Before moving on to the mopping part, let’s discuss which products are safe to use on rubber floors. We cannot stress this enough, but using the right cleaning product is key to a squeaky-clean floor without causing any damage.
The best cleaning product for rubber floors is a pH-neutral cleaner mixed with preferably warm water for deeper cleaning, quick drying time, and natural disinfecting qualities. You mainly have two options for mopping solutions: a store-bought cleaner or DIYing it.
Store-bought rubber gym floor cleaner: A store-bought rubber floor cleaner is the safest and most effective to take the guesswork away — an ideal choice for commercial gym owners. The specialized rubber floor cleaners sanitize, degrease, and effectively remove wax or sticky residues. You also don’t need to worry about damaging the rubber as they’re labeled safe for rubber flooring.
Homemade rubber gym floor cleaner: If you are a DIYer, you can make a homemade rubber gym floor cleaner using products under your sink.
Here is a recipe for an effective rubber gym floor cleaner:
- A gallon of warm or hot water
- 1 cup of dish soap or any pH-neutral soap
- Few drops of essential oil or lemon juice (optional)
Step 4: Mop the floor
To give your gym floor a deep clean, you need to mop the floor weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how much dust and debris your floor collects. You can use a nylon, microfiber, or sponge mop to mop the rubber flooring. When mopping, make sure you are not soaking the floor too much. Otherwise, the moisture will seep through the joints and damage the subfloor.
Start mopping from a corner of the gym and mop your way out. Rinse the mop in soapy water often for best results. Change the water once it becomes dirty. Allow the rubber gym floor to dry before walking on it.
Additional step: Seal the rubber gym floor
Sealing your rubber floor adds an additional layer of protection to it. The seal prevents water damage and keeps the flooring intact for longer. The seal creates a protective wax layer that gives the floor a shiny look.
However, keep in mind that a sealer is required for virgin rubber floors or rubber floors with a high percentage of virgin rubber flecks. For completely recycled rubber floors, seals are not necessary.
Here are the necessary steps to seal the rubber gym floor:
- Soak a clean sponge mop with a non-diluted rubber floor finish.
- Apply a thin coat of finish on the rubber floor and allow it to air dry.
- Repeat the process until you reach the desired level of sheen (no more than four layers).
- Make sure to completely dry the floor between each coat to avoid hazing.
- Allow the seal to sit for a day before continuing your maintenance routine.
What to Avoid When Cleaning Rubber Gym Floors
Now that we know how to clean a rubber gym floor the proper way, here are a few mistakes to avoid –
- Abrasive cleaning pads: Any abrasive cleaning supplies such as steel wool or scouring pads should be avoided since they can scratch up the rubber flooring and damage it.
- Using too much water: Mopping rubber flooring with too much water can do more harm than good. Excess water can seep through the seams of the rubber floor and damage the subflooring.
- Harsh chemicals: Cleaners containing bleach, vinegar, or solvents can cause the rubber to discolor, and they can even start eating away at the material. Any harsh chemicals and cleaners not targeted explicitly for rubber material should be avoided.
Can you steam clean rubber gym floors?
Steam cleaning is a great way to clean rubber gym flooring and doesn’t damage the rubber material. Steam cleaning is a natural way of disinfecting without using any harsh chemicals. It also deep cleans the floor as the steam loosens and removes any hard stains and spots.
How Do You Disinfect Rubber Gym Floor?
Public gym floors trap sweat and bacteria; thus, you must disinfect them regularly. You can either use a specialized floor disinfectant or an inexpensive all-natural rubber floor disinfecting solution.
To make a homemade floor disinfectant, mix a cup of vinegar with a gallon of hot water. You can also use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to disinfect the rubber gym floor. We recommend mixing a ½ and ½ solution with peroxide or rubbing alcohol and water.
How Often Should You Deep Clean Rubber Gym Floors?
The combination of dust, debris, and dirt mixed in with sweat make gym floors unpleasant and unhygienic. Dirty gym floors can also be a health hazard. The buildup over time can make the floor slippery and increase the chances of infectious diseases. Hence, you need to deep clean your gym regularly.
But how often should you deep clean rubber gym floors? If you mop and dust the gym floors regularly, deep cleaning monthly is a reasonable frequency for commercial gyms. You can deep clean your home gym flooring once every month or once every two months.
Deep cleaning rubber gym floors
Automatic floor scrubbers are very effective and efficient at deep cleaning rubber gym floors, especially in commercial gyms. It scrubs the floor and sucks up the dirty water at the same time, which speeds up the cleaning process. Make sure you use a machine with soft bristles. Otherwise, stiff bristles can leave scuff marks on the rubber flooring.
How to Make Rubber Floor Shine?
A few products are available in the market to add a nice sheen to rubber flooring. The best way to make rubber floor shine is to use a rubber finish and sealer. Follow the instructions above to seal the rubber gym flooring.
What dissolves Rubber Flooring?
Although rubber floors are durable and sturdy, some harsh chemicals frequently used in floor cleaners can damage and even dissolve the rubber. Solvent or oil-style cleaners such as Lysol, Pine-Sol, Murphy’s Oil Soap, WD40, or paint thinner should not be used on rubber. These cleaners can break down the rubber flooring with continued use.
Can You Use Bleach or Clorox on Rubber Gym Floors?
Undiluted bleach or Clorox can discolor and even dissolve rubber flooring. However, bleach is a powerful disinfectant and safe to use in small amounts. A cup of bleach mixed in with a gallon of water is safe for cleaning and disinfecting rubber gym floors.
And there is everything you need to know about how to clean rubber gym floors. So, clean your rubber gym floors properly and enjoy your next workout in a clean, odorless gym!