5 Tips For Maintaining Rubber FlooringShyam Mishra
Rubber is an excellent choice for many flooring applications. It’s a natural product that provides exceptional durability, comfort under foot, and slip resistance. Installing rubber flooring is a big investment, but when taken care of properly, it will last a long time.
Understanding how to clean and maintain your rubber flooring may seem like a small task, but it’s a very important one. If you spend time on the frontend learning about the unique properties of rubber and making custom care procedures, you will avoid damaging the rubber, and you will make the whole process easier as well as cost effective in the long run.
Creating a Cleaning Protocol
Before rubber flooring is installed, we recommend thinking through and creating a custom care and maintenance plan. There are several factors to consider: the type of rubber, the amount of traffic, the season/weather, and the maintenance budget. The protocol should change according to these factors, and even change season to season.
For example, summer in Arizona is so hot, rubber tends to dry out and break. Cleaning procedures should be adjusted to account for changing variables. For these reasons we always work with our client on providing a huge variety of options that best suits the environment your rubber flooring will be in.
If there are any questions, clients can contact Alliance Floor Covering to aid in this process. We often schedule team meetings for clients where experts like myself are included and can advise in creating custom procedures for every environment and season. We find that customers who are proactive and take this step seriously do a much better job maintaining their new floor and avoid damaging it by using abrasive cleaning pads or strong cleansers.
While cleaning plans vary and involve multiple factors, here is an example of basic steps for ongoing maintenance:
- Dust mop with a microfiber to remove dirt and soil.
- Clean the flooring with an auto scrubber and a microfiber pad
- Follow the manufactures’ recommended dilution ratio of a pH neutral floor cleaner. Less chemicals are better.
One of the first things to think about when installing rubber flooring in Phoenix Arizona is soil and debris that will be tracked inside the facility creating an unsightly looking floor. We recommend custom made entryway systems that reduce the amount of soil and debris tracked onto the floor.
Over the years, I have seen beautiful floors permanently damaged because of entryway mats. The fibers typically have a lighter basis weight making them less effective in removing debris, so the debris is carried onto the flooring and further into the facility making the floor more difficult to maintain. If our customers choose to use their own mats, we advise them to be very careful and avoid economy mats with questionable backing.
2. Rubber Has its Own Natural Wax
One of rubber’s many benefits is itself migrating wax. It slowly and continuously goes to the surface of the rubber over time. This means you don’t have to add wax to rubber floors, rather with proper care, maintain the look of the floor throughout its service in your facility.
We have seen the use of microfiber pads on an auto scrubber keep the rubber, whether smooth, textured or raised profile, clean as well as maintain the migrating wax. The use of some cleaners may break down the natural wax. For example, if your facility uses grease or oil, and you must use a degreaser to clean, the degreaser may break down and compromise the rubber’s natural wax. Procedures put in place to maintain the floor as well as keep the desired appearance can be established. It’s important to choose your cleaning agent wisely and ask for guidance.
3. Cleaning Agents
First, let’s address disinfectants. Disinfectants are commonly used on rubber floors, especially in recent years due to COVID-19. Disinfectants are made to leave a residue on the floor so that bacteria and microorganisms continue to die when they come in contact with the substance. These residues, while useful in keeping people healthy, can leave a haze on the floor and compromise its look and feel over time. It is important to routinely clean off disinfectant residue.
This can be done with water alone or with a neutral cleaner.
You don’t need strong chemistry to keep the rubber clean. We recommend periodic cleaning with a neutral cleaner. A pH of around 7 or 8 diluted with warm water is preferred, or just warm water by itself. In some cases, it is more about simply wetting the surface to reactivate any residue on the floor and suspend soil in the water so that it can be easily removed.
4. Cleaning Pads
Cleaning pads are used on auto scrubbers, mops, and other cleaning tools. They come into direct contact with the floor. The type of cleaning pad we recommend depends on the type of rubber flooring and degree of cleaning needed. There are alternative pads that are occasionally recommended for corrective or deep cleaning. But in general, microfiber pads work best. A flat traditional pad may work well on a smooth surface but does not work well on embossed or textured rubber or flooring with prominent seams and transitions.
Microfiber cleaning pads work much better in these situations, and we have seen them used as part of a holistic solution to maintain all types of flooring within a facility. The fibers clean smooth surfaces with ease as well as textured and raised profile tops on the floor while reaching into the valleys of the embossing or seams. Different types of microfiber cleaning pads are recommended for different types of cleaning.
5. Felt Pads and Chair Glides
Lastly, we recommend felt pads to cover any surface that meets the rubber flooring. Using felt pads on the feet of tables and chairs avoids unsightly marking or tears that can occur when furniture is moved on the rubber. These are always a part of successful care and maintenance programs. Be sure to order and apply these felt pads before your rubber floor is installed.
The Bottom Line
In summary, rubber is a high-quality product, it’s an investment to purchase and install and with proper care, it can service your facility for a long time. Take the time, prior to purchasing, to evaluate the area, consider the proper entryway system for soil removal and have in place a holistic plan for maintaining the rubber as well as surrounding areas that will achieve expectations.
Customers fare much better when they take the time to review our numerous providers and get our help in creating the right cleaning procedures and protocols. If you are planning to install rubber flooring, or if you already have it installed, be proactive in reaching out. We are here to help!