How should rubber flooring be sanitized

Tips for cleaning rubber sports surfaces, and for keeping gyms and sports centers hygienic and safe.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to an emphasis on cleaning and disinfection in public areas, including gyms and sports centres. As countries around the world begin to slowly open more public spaces, including gyms, it is important to ensure that these areas are cleaned and disinfected to help prevent the spread of the virus. In this guide, we discuss how to properly clean and disinfect rubber sports flooring.

Surfaces made of vulcanised rubber (a uniform material, not a compressed rubber granulate) have always been used because they guarantee high hygiene levels, and are easy to clean and disinfect. Think, for instance, about the use of rubber in hospitals (from patient wards to operating rooms), or in schools (both classrooms and cafeterias). And then there's the flooring on trains, buses, and subway stations.

This material’s biomechanical characteristics mean that sports facilities with vulcanised rubber flooring are safe and offer excellent performance and easy maintenance

The current emergency health situation gives rise to numerous questions regarding the cleaning and maintenance of the various types of surfaces, so we want to answer some questions regarding sports surfaces made of vulcanized rubber.

What make rubber flooring more resistant to bacteria?

To answer this question properly, it's necessary to understand that bacteria reproduces wherever it finds the right temperature, humidity, and food.

Vulcanized rubber floors are waterproof and non-porous, so they don't absorb sweat, liquids, or dirt. This breaks the bacteria proliferation chain as it eliminates humidity, making it quick and easy to remove the dirt that forms the food for bacteria.

Flooring in vulcanized rubber doesn't decompose and requires no antibacterial or protective finishes to maintain its waterproof nature.

But what about viruses?

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine determined that the coronavirus can survive on various surfaces that it comes into contact with, and then if it's touched with the hands, it can be transferred to the mouth, nose, and eyes.

This scenario can be counteracted, however, because—as the virologists have shown—the virus can be easily rendered inactive (i.e., lose its ability to infect you) by thoroughly washing with soap and water or similar detergents.

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So how should rubber sports flooring be cleaned?

Rubber sports flooring can have a smooth rubber surface, for example, what you find in gyms, but also an embossed surface, like prefabricated running tracks. Each type of surface needs to be cleaned with a specific brush, depending on its particular finish.

What doesn't change, though, is that routine cleaning can be done using just water and a detergent with a neutral pH (between 7 and 9) without the need for foaming agents or solvents.

This type of cleaning, if done properly and regularly, is enough to prevent any proliferation of bacteria and micro-organisms on the surface.

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Can rubber flooring be disinfected?

While using chemical disinfectants on any type of surface is a way of chemically attacking any possible micro-organisms, it also presents a risk for the surface itself.

With rubber flooring, before using any non-neutral detergent, it's important to test it on a small part of the surface to determine how strong the detergent is and see if it produces any color changes.

An excessively strong treatment might damage the floor, so use of it should be cleared beforehand with the flooring manufacturer.

What steps should I follow to clean and disinfect rubber flooring?

Maintaining your rubber flooring is a two-step process: cleaning and then disinfection. It is important that you clean the rubber flooring first to remove dirt and other impurities before disinfecting your floor.

When cleaning your rubber sports floor, follow these steps:

  • First, look at the current maintenance guidelines for your specific rubber flooring.
  • Vacuum or use an untreated dust mop regularly to remove dirt and dust from the floor.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Clean the floor with a neutral, non-filming floor detergent and a low-speed floor scrubber fitted with a 3M 5100 red pad attachment for smooth surfaces or a non-abrasive nylon brush attachment for textured surfaces.
  • Make sure the floor is wet while scrubbing to ensure that the scrubber moves easily over the floor.
  • Scrub the floor in multiple directions and vacuum the excess cleaning liquids when done.

Once you have cleaned your rubber sports floor, you can disinfect it with the following steps:

  • Before disinfecting the floor, make sure it has dried from the cleaning.
  • You must also make sure to use a high-quality disinfectant and equipment that is clean and intact.
  • Scrub the floor low speed with a 3M 5100 red pad attachment for smooth surfaces or a non-abrasive, soft nylon brush for textured surfaces.
  • Keep the floor wet as you scrub for smoother scrubbing.
  • Scrub the floor in multiple directions and vacuum up leftover cleaning liquids.

Other things to keep in mind when disinfecting your rubber sports floor include:

  • Test disinfectants in a small, inconspicuous area of the floor first to ensure that it does not affect the appearance of the floor.
  • Do not use abrasive brushes or pads to clean or disinfect the floor because they can cause damage to the rubber.
  • Do not spot clean with solvents.
  • Do not tilt a floor scrubber to scrub out a stubborn stain or mark, this will damage the floor.
  • Pay attention to the dwell time, or the time disinfectants need to effectively kill microbes.

Regularly clean and disinfect your rubber floor

Routine daily cleaning is sufficient for keeping sports facilities hygienic for the people using them. Make sure you keep your rubber sports flooring cleaned and disinfected, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep people protected from the disease. Remember to clean your rubber flooring first before disinfection and always follow the manufacturer instructions on cleaning products and disinfectants.

Contact MONDO for additional questions or specific requests about your MONDO sports flooring.

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