How to Clean Rubber Products

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How to Clean Rubber Products

Rubber is widely used in the manufacturing of several industrial products and household items. Rubber is also a common component of driveway ramps designed to provide driveways a smooth transition from the roadway. But like other items, products made from rubber also acquire dirt and soon require cleaning. One major challenge with cleaning rubber is that it can be affected differently by various types of cleaning agents. It is therefore essential to learn how to clean rubber products so that they can maintain their aesthetic appeal and functionality without damaging them.

Cleaning Sticky Rubber Grip

The surfaces of many products are covered with rubber to enable a firm grip, but the rubber can break down and may become sticky and messy. This may be due to environmental conditions such as high temperature or exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Rubber starts out as a sticky substance. It only transforms to the rubber we are familiar with after undergoing various chemical processes during production. When it gets exposed to unfavourable conditions, it reverts to its original state.

Fortunately, rubber can safely be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which is readily obtainable from a hardware store or chemist. Start by wiping the affected area with a wet cloth to remove any dirt. Also, keep a clean dry cloth handy to remove excess IPA. It is advisable to wear a pair of hand gloves during the process, although isopropyl alcohol is not known to be dangerous when handled in small quantities.

Add some IPA to the area, enough to cover the rubber. Begin to wipe the rubber with a clean, dry cloth after applying the IPA. Isopropyl alcohol evaporates very quickly, so you may find that the cloth begins to stick to the rubber as the IPA dries out. Apply another layer of IPA repeatedly and use a clean section of the dry cloth each time until all the dirt is removed. Wipe the area clean with the dry cloth to give it a nice finish.

Cleaning Rubber Floors

Cleaning a dirty rubber floor requires a mopping bucket and a clean mop. Sweep the floor with a broom to remove dust and other fragments. Fill the bucket with about a gallon of warm water. Add one tablespoon of household dishwashing soap to the water and stir until it is well mixed.

Fill another bucket with warm water and immerse the dry mop into this bucket to wet the mop before inserting it into the soapy bucket. Apply the mop on small areas of the floor to remove stains or dirt and rinse the mop in the clean water bucket after each area has been cleaned. Replace the water in the clean bucket with fresh water as soon as its content becomes cloudy or dirty. Cover the entire floor area in an orderly manner and leave the wet surface to dry.

Cleaning Rubber Mats

Rubber mats at home or inside the car require regular cleaning to remove dust, stones or other forms of dirt. Shake the mat vigorously to dislodge any debris and spray the surface of the mat with water from a garden hose attached to a water source. Obtain a washing brush but ensure that your mat is not too fragile for the bristles of the brush as some brush bristles may damage your mat if they are too stiff.

With the procedure similar to that used in cleaning rubber floors, prepare a bucket of warm, soapy water and scrub the surface of the mat. Clean the back and front of the mat and rinse with water from the garden hose until it is clean. Hang the mat in a cool place to dry. Avoid drying your mat in the sun as this may weaken the rubber.

Many other rubber products such as footballs, vehicle tyres, rubber toys and handles can be cleaned by applying the same principles but only safe cleaning agents should be employed. Harsh chemicals such as bleach should be avoided as these may degrade the rubber or cause it to lose elasticity.

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