CARE AND CLEANING: What started as the unknown was what will happen to the rubber surface over time, with regular use and exposure to the indoor and outdoor elements of dog trials and training fields. I've always suggested "normal care"; cover or store obstacles when not in use, power washing or hosing as cleanup. But with many leaving obstacles outdoors especially to the UV rays of the sun, I'm now getting emails and phone calls about how to clean the rubber surface.
The following are some cleaning ideas:
For normal dirt or muddy surfaces, a garden hose with a strong nozzle setting works well.
A stronger cleaning can be done with a power washer. Use a fan nozzle to prevent damage to the rubber skin.
Taking the equipment to the quarter car wash where soap and water can be used will clean deeper stains.
Using a nylon scrub brush will help clean deeper dirt and stains.
The biggest question I'm getting is "my rubber has faded- what type of paint can I use to restore the color?". FIRSTLY, THE RUBBER HAS NOT FADED. What has happened is with continual exposure to the UV rays of the sun over 2-3 years, and depending on the strength of the sun in the area you live, OXIDATION is taking place. A cloudy white finish is showing which will happen to any rubber surface under the same conditions. It is purely cosmetic, but does have the look of faded color. This process can be slowed by covering or storing the equipment when not in use. But if this is not practical, deep cleaning the surface occasionally is an easy solution. See photos & instructions below.
Test Results with other cleaners:
30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner: says on the label it cleans many things- algae, mold, mildew and is meant for use on outdoor furniture, etc. Diluted the cleaner as recommended. Sprayed on a generous amount on 1/2 rubber sample, scrubbed surface with a 4" sq. nylon brush, let sit 10 minutes. Rinsed thoroughly under a faucet. Let dry overnight. RESULTS: none! Did not remove any of the heavy dirt or white haze from oxidation. When dry, you couldn't even tell what side I tried cleaning. Also left an odor of bleach, the main ingredient in the cleaner.
The best cleaner I have found so far, and simple and easy to use, is the household cleaner Soft Scrub. Below I'm cleaning half of a mat I've had outside my work building for over 3 years. It's been exposed to a south sun exposure, winter snow and salt, and continual foot and dog traffic.
First, wet the surface with a hose. Then apply a liberal amount of Soft Scrub. Use a 4" square nylon brush to work the cleaner around. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly with a strong nozzle on the hose. As you can see, dirt, grime, and the effects of oxidation have been cleaned from the surface!
This is a new page that will be dedicated to provide Rubber on the Run customers the latest information on the long term care and cleaning of their rubber surfaces. It will be updated regularly as more information and ideas are developed.
People purchasing rubber surfacing from other companies should contact their source for proper care and cleaning; factors such as the chemical makeup of the binder and the method of application (ours is wet pour using industry standards for mixing and applying) may make methods of cleaning vary.
RUBBER ON THE RUN!