Rubber gym mats are a popular flooring option for home gyms, but prolonged use can often lead to unhygienic conditions. However, they are pretty easy to clean and simply mopping the mats with cleaning agents and disinfecting them can do the trick.
Daily exercise can add dirt, debris, and perspiration to natural rubber gym mats, which creates a suitable environment for mold, mildew, bacteria, and other microorganisms to thrive. From my experience, I can say that even the dirt from gym shoes can damage the rubber mat gym floor. That’s why it is essential to engage in regular floor cleaning to prevent bad odor and maintain the hygiene of your floor.
So, here’s my step-by-step guide on how to clean rubber gym mats at home.
How To Clean Gym Mats At Home
Tools You Will Need
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Mop and bucket
- Sponge or rags
- Neutral pH cleaner (vinegar as an alternative)
- Floor scrubber
- Plastic scraper
Step 1: Consider The Quality Of The Gym Mats
You can either use cleaning agents, like amino acid, chemical solution, ethanol, etc., to clean rubber mats, or simply vacuum, mop, and use a disinfectant.
However, before treating or cleaning your gym flooring, you must know the grade and quality of the rubber mats. This is because different grades require different types of cleaning, and some might not be able to withstand chemical substances. For example, when I asked my supplier about the cleaning process, he specifically asked me not to use abrasive cleaning pads or bleach on my gym floor.
However, it’s always recommended to purchase high-quality gym mats for the floor surface since they don’t have added adhesive like inferior mats. If your rubber flooring mats are one by one meter with 15 mm thickness, then it is of good quality. Anything below that is probably made from inferior-quality recycled rubber.
Step 2: Spot-clean
Use a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove all dirt and debris from the rubber gym floor. Ensure you cover the entire floor and make it as grit-free as possible. If you find a tight spot of dirt build-up, consider opting for a soft-bristle brush to loosen it. Then, gently vacuum the loose debris.
If there’s anything stuck on the gym floor, like chewing gum or mud, use a plastic scraper to pry it off the rubber gym mats.
Step 3: Treat Stains
Gym mats can often have an unsightly stain that is hard to remove. In this case, use a glass cleaner or any other surface cleaning solution over the space. Let it sit on the mat for a while, and wipe the excess moisture using microfiber towels. Then, let it air-dry before you move on to the next step.
Step 4: Make Your Cleaning Solution
The next step in the process is deep cleaning the rubber gym floor by mopping. But for this, you need the right cleaning solution to remove all debris in a single session.
Add a few ounces of neutral pH cleanser to one gallon of warm water in a mop bucket. You can also add a few drops of essential oil if you don’t like the smell of cleaners. Since my rubber gym floor gets really dirty, I add some detergent to the solution for better cleaning.
If you use detergent, ensure it is non-acidic and contains no harmful additives. And if you cannot find a neutral pH cleaner or similar chemical substance, make a solution of white vinegar, lemon, and warm water.
Step 5: Apply The Cleaning Solution
Dip a sponge mop into the solution and wring it until it’s damp but not soaking wet. Otherwise, the excess water from the mop can soak into the rubber gym floor and cause damage. Now, start wiping the floor in one direction.
I have had great difficulties with this step because I always end up stepping on the clean mats. So, lesson learned, I now start mopping from the farthest corner of the room to the entrance.
Avoid using mops with loose cotton fibers since they get stuck to the ridges on the flooring surface. Instead, opt for a nylon or sponge mop that is soft to the touch.
Step 6: Let It Sit
After applying the solution to the gym floor, let it sit for at least 5-10 mins. This will give the solution enough time to deep clean the gym flooring and kill germs or bacteria on its surface. However, if you find that the solution is drying on the floor, quickly start mopping it off before it completely dries. If the cleaning solution is absorbed into the gym floor, there can be high chances of damage.
Step 7: Remove The Cleaning Solution
Throw away the dirty cleaning solution and refill the bucket with clean, warm water. Dip in the mop and remove the solution from the rubber gym floor with back-and-forth strokes. Again, be careful not to let the excess water seep into the flooring. This method is also useful in removing scuff marks from the gym floor surface.
Step 8: Apply Disinfectant
If you don’t want your gym floor to harbor bacteria, consider applying some disinfectant on the flooring. You can do this in two ways: either use a clean cloth or mop or spray the disinfectant directly and let it sit for five to ten minutes. For very dirty areas on the gym floors, use a soft-bristle brush to apply the disinfectant solution. Then, wipe it off with a clean cloth.
You must let the rubber gym mats air-dry after either of these methods since letting the moisture sit for too long can lead to soaking, damaging the rubber.
Step 9: Dry The Gym Mats
This is a very important step since any moisture or residue can lead to the growth of mildew or mold. And avoid walking on the wet floor since the dirt from your feet or shoes can stick to the clean gym mats. I often find it difficult to dry the gym mats, especially in winter. If you, too, face this challenge, use a high-speed fan or wipe the floor with dry towels.
Tips For Cleaning Gym Mats
1. Avoid Certain Cleaning Tools And Solutions
Since the rubber material is prone to scratches, you should always avoid abrasive cleaning tools and solutions. These include rough cleaning tools such as steel wool, scouring pads, and harsh scrubbing machines. You should also avoid chemical solutions like Pine-Sol and bleach.
2. Wipe Off Gym Equipment
Besides the flooring, the gym equipment harbors bacteria, germs, sweat, and dirt. So, cleaning the rubber gym floor will be useless if you place dirty gym equipment right after.
Make it a habit to wipe down gym equipment regularly; this way, you can prevent damage to gym mats and your health.
3. Clean The Tiles
Increase the frequency of cleaning the tile floor under your rubber gym mats. Regular floor cleaning will also prevent bad odor and mildew, which is very common, especially when the space between the subfloor and mats doesn’t get enough air or light.
How To Clean Gym Mats At Home Final Thoughts
Before knowing how to clean gym flooring surfaces effectively, I found it very difficult to maintain my home gym and replacing the mats frequently was too expensive. But following this foolproof method of cleaning gym mats has made my rubber flooring very durable and long-lasting. So, now you, too, can quickly clean the home gym floor before your next workout!
However, remember not to neglect your gym mats and then suddenly deep clean them one day. If you do this, there’s no point in cleaning your mats because they are guaranteed to be damaged before long. A healthy home gym practice is regularly wiping down the floor after each workout and doing a deep cleaning once a week.
That brings me to the end of my trusted method of getting rubber gym mats squeaky clean. Want to learn more about home gym maintenance and repair? Keep an eye on this website!
Until next time, stay healthy!