The information in this article will provide steps on how to clean vinyl floors of asphalt sealer that has been tracked onto a commercial floor. This problem occurs most often in retail stores and malls and to a much lesser extent in other commercial buildings.  Normally, this problem is not noticeable until a build up over the first several days to a week of tracking has occurred. Later in the article, hints and tips on what to do to prevent this build up is discussed.

This problem is a difficult one to correct and specific steps of how to clean vinyl floors of asphalt tracking need to be completed to achieve positive results. However, when it comes to asphalt sealer tracking, there is no guarantee that complete removal of the sealer can be accomplished because it depends on how far the asphalt sealer has penetrated into the floor finish or past the floor finish into the tile. Vinyl Composition Tile the most commonly used floor tile in retail can be sensitive to solvents like the ones used in asphalt sealers.

Asphalt Sealer Tracking occurs shortly after the parking lot has been resealed. This occurs for several reasons…

  • High Humidity Conditions when the seal was applied
  • Seal was applied over heavy soiled parking lot pavement. Always use a professional sweeper/cleaner to sweep and clean the pavement prior to re-sealing
  • If the pavement was wet within 24 hours before or after the application of the sealer. Watching the weather forecast can assist in reducing this risk
  • When sealers and/or crack fillers are applied too thick
  • Poorly mixed sealer. Especially with Coal Tar based sealers
  • Using an oil/solvent based seal over a water based sealer
  • Allowing traffic on the parking lot pavement before it has had a chance to cure. Most tracking occurs within the first 24 hours of sealing the parking lot

If you are interested in how to clean vinyl floors for daily or routine cleaning, please see the commercial cleaning of tile floors that has been discussed in a prior article, click on the following link to review commercial daily tile floor cleaning (Cleaning Tile Floors – Floor Finish Coated Tile Procedures, Product and Tools).

The following are the step by step procedures with the products and tools necessary to get positive results for cleaning vinyl floors of asphalt sealers.


How to Clean Vinyl Floors – Asphalt Sealer Removal Procedures

  • If the asphalt tracking is on the surface and has not penetrated into floor tile, clean the vinyl floor of the asphalt tracking patterns by using a professional grade floor cleaner and The “That’s Amazing” Floor Cleaning Pad from Unichem Marketing, Inc. with a swing floor machine or automatic scrubber. The “That’s Amazing” Floor Cleaning Pad will remove asphalt tracking.
  • If the asphalt tracking has penetrated into the tile past the floor finish, strip the Floor Finish off the floor with a professional grade Floor Finish Stripper used according to label directions. Many times this resolves the problem. If there is no asphalt staining on the bare vinyl tile, the problem is resolved. If the stain is removed, floor finish can then be applied to the floor. If stain is not removed completely, the next steps are necessary to either completely remove the asphalt sealer staining or lighten the stains enough to be considered acceptable.

        If stripping the floor finish does not remove the sealer staining, complete the following steps

  • Use a cream cleanser applying to the floor. Using a single disc low-speed machine equipped with a high productivity strip, scrub the bare floor making multiple passes with the machine. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the floor making sure to remove the cream cleanser from the floor. This heavy rinse procedure may have to be done repeatedly until the cream cleanser is completely removed from the floor. Cream Cleanser can be difficult to rinse so it may take multiple rinsing to remove all of the cream cleanser. DO NOT use dry powder cleanser. Inspect the floor. If the stain is removed, floor finish can then be applied to the floor. If the stain is still on the bare floor, complete the next step below.
  • Scrub the floor with a propane stripping machine and a heavy concentration of stripper at 1:1 or 1:2 dilution ration. Check with the manufacturer of the stripper to insure it will not damage the tile at this high concentration. Be sure to allow the stripper solution to remain on the floor for at least 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing with the propane stripping machine.  

NOTE: If the asphalt stain has penetrated deeply through to the tile and cannot be removed through the above processes or lightened to acceptable levels, the stained tiles may have to be replaced.


How to Clean Vinyl Floors – Hints and Tips to help Prevent Asphalt Tracking from Occurring

Immediately after the parking lot has been sealed, the following cleaning and preventative steps should be employed to assist in preventing asphalt tracking

  • Increase entrance matting including the length of the matting
  • Change and clean the matting often – Daily if possible for the first week after parking lot has been sealed
  • Daily floor cleaning should be completed by swapping the normally used daily Red scrub pad for a blue deep scrub pad in the front end of the store, mall or building entrance ways. Doing so will help remove as much of the asphalt soiling before it has a chance to build up on the floor
  • Increase the number of floor finish coats to the floor
  • Clean the shopping cart wheels with a water based degreaser, diluted according to label directions often – daily if possible for the first week after parking lot has been sealed


How to Clean Vinyl Floors – Reference Websites & Contact Information


Unichem Marketing, Inc. – “That’s Amazing” Floor Cleaning Pads

Contact Information: 708-296-7408;

2 Responses to “How to Clean Vinyl Floors – Cleaning Asphalt Tracking – Commercial”

  1. hi, how are you! i have a few questions?
    1.-how can i remove the sealer on tile floors interior?
    2.-how can i clean and remove the sealer on vinyl floors?
    thank you so much for your information.
    i waiting for your answer.

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