Removing Rubber Stains from Flooring

by Carolanne Strong
(last updated September 16, 2009)

Rubber stains aren't really stains. They are more of a residue that is left behind when friction loosens rubber from the source and deposits it on the contact surface. Most often, these types of "stains" are created by the protective tips for furniture legs or from rubber soled shoes. These kind of marks were abundant on the gym floors and hallways of a school I once worked in, and I remember watching the janitor walk through the corridors with a tennis ball attached to an old broom stick. I quickly realized the brilliance of his homemade tool as a watched him quickly rub off scuff marks with minimal effort.

Hard Flooring Surfaces

Hardwood, linoleum, tile and Pergo floors are most likely to be affected by rubber stains because their smooth contact surfaces make it easy for friction to build up as items move across the floor. The easiest way to remove these is to rub them off like the school janitor did. You can use anything that will create friction to do this, but I would recommend a tennis ball or a thickly threaded washcloth because their fuzzy fibers will help rub and lift off the rubber. Simply rub back and forth with quick motions to build up heat. The rubber will adhere to the ball or cloth or it will "pill up" and can be swept away with a broom and a dustpan.

Carpeted Surfaces

These surfaces are a little bit trickier to clean because the rubber can embed itself in the fibers. Your first task is to remove the pieces of rubber with a scrub brush. I recommend trying a nylon fiber brush because it will be softer on your carpet fibers and less likely to damage the texture than a steel brush. Work the carpet with the brush until you have loosened the rubber fragments and vacuum them away (a hand vac works really well for this purpose). If the rubber has left a residual stain, your best bet at removing it is to use turpentine. Always test an inconspicuous era of carpet, or even better, a carpet remnant at least before you try this! Allow the test area to sit for at least a day before you determine whether it is safe to use on your carpet. Wear rubber gloves and make sure the area is well ventilated before you proceed. Dip the corner of a rag (which should be properly disposed of afterwards) in the turpentine and work it into the stain. Once the stain is removed, cleanse the carpet with fresh water and a new rag.

Author Bio

Carolanne Strong

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