Rubber Spot Cleaning Guidelines

Spot Cleaning Guidelines for Rubber Flooring

Following six basic guidelines will limit the potential damage to your rubber flooring.


First Guideline:  Timing.

Tend to debris, stains, and spills as quickly as possible.  Debris grind the surface and stains set harder with time.


Second Guideline:  Dry Debris.

Use a dry method of sweeping or vacuuming for dry debris (e.g., dirt, sand, ash, toner, or powder).  An early application of moisture on dry particulate may make the problem worse.


Third Guideline:  Liquids.

Blot or wet-vacuum liquids to avoid spreading the problem.  Only after you have extracted as much as possible by blotting or vacuuming should you potentially introduce a water or a liquid cleaner; otherwise, an early application of moisture may expand the problem wider.


Fourth Guideline:  Technique.

Use a white, clean, absorbent towel.  The rubber's surface can become permanently scratched by using a rough scrubbing or scouring pad.


Fifth Guideline:  Cleaning Agents.

Use a cleaning agent that is as mild as possible to ensure that your rubber is not ruined by the cleaning agent.  Start with only tap water (which is almost a neutral 7.0 on the pH scale).  If water alone is insufficient, try a diluted, mild, alkaline cleaner (pH 7 to pH 10).  Carefully follow the instructions if you use an over-the-counter rubber cleaner.  Apply the cleaning agent to a white cloth.  Then, use the cloth to remove the stain.


Sixth Guideline and Last Step:  Rinse.

When finished, leave the floor free of cleaner residue and as dry as possible by rinsing and again blotting with a dry towel.

NOTE:  It is likely that aggressive cleaning will leave your rubber dull and will require that the area be buffed with a dry towel.  Built-in wax in the rubber will reemerge over time.

Remove Petroleum Byproducts

Use a glass cleaner, such as Windex® (pH 10.7) or Glass Plus® (pH 10.5), to remove petroleum-based problems or isolated, shoe scuff marks.  Petroleum byproducts include some inks, paints, markers, crayons, cosmetics, lipstick, lotion, sunscreen, furniture and shoe polish, lubricant, oil, grease, asphalt, and tar.  If glass cleaner does not work, use rubbing or isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits.  Again, apply the solvent to a towel.  Then, use the towel on your rubber.

CAUTION:  Solvent liquids are flammable.  A solvent can ruin rubber if allowed to seep into the joints.

Remove Gum or Wax

First, use ice to harden the candle wax or gum.  Then, use the edge of a wooden, plastic, or Teflon spatula or a credit card to scrape off the gum or wax.  If hardening the gum or wax does not work, use warm water and liquid handsoap to remove the wax or gum.  Wax or gum can also be removed with rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.  Do not allow your cleaning product to seep into the joints.

Products with Risk

Some name-brand cleaners (e.g., LESTOIL®, Top Job Mop & Shine®, Pine-Sol®, Spic and Span®) are not recommended for your rubber flooring.  Although rubber has good stain resistance, rubber may be vulnerable to janitorial chemicals and industrial products, including strong acids or alkalines, bleaching agents, acne medicine, food or hair dyes, solvents, pesticides, petroleum byproducts, and more.  Tar and asphalt residue can permanently yellow rugs, carpet, stone, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and rubber flooring.


Read:  How to Maintain Commercial Rubber Flooring for general maintenance instructions. Read:  How to Maintain Residential Rubber Flooring for general maintenance instructions.