Some rubber backed matting used at doorways and in other areas of a floor such as in checkout stands in a store may cause a browning or brown yellowish stain to the floor tile directly under the rubber mat. This article addresses this problem which occurs with some rubber matting and can occur in a commercial or a residential location.  It can be a real hassle when it happens. We will discuss why this happens and how to avoid or greatly reduce the risk of browning occurring on your floor from matting. We will also discuss and advise the best ways of correcting this problem as part of your cleaning floor tiles maintenance program. This is a special process of cleaning floor tiles and would be used on an as needed basis.

The reason browning occurs on tile floors from a color transfer coming from the rubber backing of the mat to the floor tile. It will penetrate the floor finish (wax) and eventually if not taken care of quickly will actually penetrate clear through and into the floor tiles.


Cleaning Floor Tiles – Why Browning Occurs

There are two primary reasons for the occurrence of browning from rubber mats.

  1. The most common and reason is the type of rubber used in the matting. The less expensive rubber matting usually has for more issues than a better grade and high quality rubber mat. Quality does cost a slight amount more but if it can avoid this problem it is worth it and will actually save money that has to be spent cleaning floor tiles of the brown staining.
  2. The second reason, is replacing the rubber matting to soon after applying fresh coats of floor finish (wax) to the floor. Floor Finish (wax) during the drying process evaporates many volatile materials including water. During the drying and curing process of the floor finish, these migrating materials evaporating from the floor finish can have a chemical effect that cause the color of transfer from the rubber matting to the floor. To avoid or educe this form occurring, replace rubber mats only after the floor finish has had a long enough time to dry or cure which should be at a minimum of 8 hours and preferably after 24 hours.


Cleaning Floor Tiles – Steps to Cleaning Brown Rubber Mat Stains

There are two ways to remove browning while cleaning floor tiles. After the stain has been removed, the use of a water based true floor sealer will assist in protecting the floor finish and floor tile from the staining. The seal is applied as the first coat before applying the floor finish.

  1. The first is when the brown color has transferred deep into the floor finish and through to the floor tile. At this point you will have no choice but to strip that section of the floor. Please see a prior article written on how to properly strip a floor tiles (Cleaning Vinyl Floors – Floor Finish (Wax) Stripping Procedures – Commercial).
  2. The second way to clean floor tiles with browning is to use the “That’s Amazing” Floor Pad to clean with a Strong mixture of Neutral Floor Cleaner. This can remove the brown stains as long as it is caught before the stain has penetrated into the floor tile and through and under the floor finish (wax). Utilize a deep scrub and recoat cleaning procedure using the “That’s Amazing” Floor Pad from Unichem Marketing. See a prior article written on deep scrub and recoat procedures (Clean Tile Floors – Floor Finish (Wax) Deep Scrub & Recoat Procedures – Commercial).This special pad will grab into the floor finish and remove the brown stain from the floor finish. Most likely after the floor has been cleaned and rinse, one cost of floor finish will need to be applied. This procedure is less expensive from a labor and product cost as compared to Strip and refinishing the floor to correct the problem.


Cleaning Floor Tiles – Reference Information


Unichem Marketing – “That’s Amazing” Floor Cleaning Pad

Contact Information: Donna Alm – 708-296-7408;

Leave a Reply