How to Get Rid of Rubber Gym Floor Smell

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Tonya McIntosh

Tonya McIntosh—The main person behind TGFFitness as its Founder and Chief Editor. Get to know more about Tonya


It’s no secret that rubber gym flooring can sometimes smell unpleasant. But many people don’t know that there are ways to get rid of that smell – and it’s not as difficult as you might think.

So, how do you get rid of the rubber gym floor smell?

You can eliminate your gym’s rubber floor smell with manual cleaning, sun-drying, good air circulation, and a bit of patience. Use a reliable disinfectant to clean first. Drying out in the sun does wonders. Ensure proper gym ventilation and give it time to air out.

It’s not difficult to remove the rubber gym floor smell permanently, but it does take some effort and time to achieve desired results.

This article will show you how to eliminate the rubber smell using some simple tips and techniques.

Types of Rubber Flooring

The first step to eliminating the rubber smell is knowing what type of rubber gym mats you have.

The methods of rubber odor removal described here typically work across the board.

But it still helps to understand the type of rubber material in your gym.

High Odor

In most cases, a high odor usually implies that the rubber floors come from recycled rubber. Rubber from old tires or used rubber products gets pounded into crumbs

These rubber materials get treated, compressed, and fashioned into new rubber products. Because these materials are used in horse stall mats, they smell terrible.

Low Odor

These are rubber products made with new raw materials. Rubber flooring made from these materials will not have the strong rubber smell you get from horse stall mats.

They’re also more expensive because of the premium materials used in manufacturing. Also, they last longer and present better aesthetics than rubber flooring made of recycled rubber.

Although they will still generate a smell that requires timely cleaning, the rubber odor elimination techniques for one type will also work for the other.

Why Does Rubber Mat Smell?

The smell primarily comes from compounds released by the rubber mats. As a porous material, rubber releases compounds and chemicals that it gathers during treatment. 

For instance, rubber products undergo a treatment of Sulphur and similar chemicals to bind them and help them retain shape.

They call this treatment vulcanization. And it’s a common process that most rubbers undergo. 

Vulcanized rubber will give off a stronger rubber smell. They can also add to breathing problems or cause health issues if inhaled excessively.

The chemical makeup and artificial treatment during the early stages allow the rubber material to retain the smell even after it is processed. 

You can understand these chemicals as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are typical household and industrial pollutants that cause breathing issues and are generally unpleasant. 

However, it is natural for rubber to retain these smells after manufacturing. Even the highest quality rubber mats will produce a typical rubber smell when new. 

It’s the right cleaning and odor-removing treatment that will get rid of the smell after you bring it home. 

The Best Way to Get Rig of Rubber Gym Floor Odor

Choose Appropriate Mats

A good way of minimizing the rubber mat smell is by purchasing gym flooring with less odor.

Choose Low Odor Rubber Mats

Try to get low odor rubber mats not made from recycled rubber. New rubber mats will offer increased durability and a better appearance too. So, you have fewer cleaning and maintenance responsibilities by installing these mats.

Depending on your home gym’s size, these rubber mats will cost you a few hundred dollars. On average, a smaller home gym floor may cost less than $100.

So, if you haven’t installed rubber mats in your home gym yet, go for low odor varieties to save time and maintenance trouble.

They may incur more expenses compared to inferior rubber mats. But the extra cost will save you a lot of cleaning trouble as the year’s pass.

However, if you already have a set installed. Here’s how you get rid of that awful smell.

Use Neutral Ph Cleaner

Applying strong, acidic cleaners to your rubber flooring may damage the surface and compromise durability. 

So, grab a Ph neutral cleaner that simultaneously cleans and removes harmful compounds. 

Check if your home cleaner indicates its Ph value. If it doesn’t, I’ve found that Simple Green and Pine Sol work best for any rubber surface. These disinfectants clean rubber mats immediately, and cleaning takes only a few hours. 

Spray and administer the neutral Ph cleaner along the surface and corners of the mats. Wipe it clean with a mop, and some of the rubber odor will begin to vanish. 

The mopping will not remove the smell entirely. But it will set up the mats for proper odor treatment in the next few steps. 

Getting the correct cleaner is vital because strong, acidic solutions may damage the rubber and render your mats useless. 

If you don’t wish to buy a cleaner, create a simple mixture of warm water and vinegar at home. Wiping your garage gym floor with this liquid will help eliminate the smell in most rubber mats.

But think of this homemade solution as a quick fix. You’ll eventually have to use a proper cleaner with the right Ph neutrality for the best results.

Put Your Mats in the Sun

Next, pull out your mats and lay them out under direct sunlight. Solar heat is an excellent cure for smell coming from VOCs, mold, sweat, or mildew.

Good quality rubber flooring will lose its unpleasant smell in a few hours under adequate sunlight. So, avoid excessive sun exposure with premium rubber mats.

Rubber mats that withstand limited sunning will become brittle if exposed to excessive sunlight.

However, even the sun’s natural power will take some time to remove odors from horse stall mats with a particularly strong smell.

Some rubber mats smell for weeks, even after exposure to sunlight. You may need to put them out for more extended periods before the odor dissipates.

Open Door and Windows

Natural air movement becomes crucial in keeping the odor of rubber flooring at bay.

Open your windows and doors frequently and expose the floor to the natural flow of air.

This may not fully remove the rubber smell, but it will aid the process of cleaning and sun-drying.

Having the mats exposed to natural air will help remove the odor faster if they receive enough sunlight.


If your home gym is an enclosed space with poor ventilation, install ceiling fans will help to improve air circulation and Your mats will dry more quickly.

Ceiling fans allow you to control the room’s airflow speed and intensity. In the event that ceiling fans are too expensive, consider buying a floor fan instead.

Also, when you mop or wipe a floor with liquid solutions, these ventilation techniques will help the floor air dry.

Be Patient and Wait it Out

Remember that full odor removal may take time, depending on the type of rubber gym flooring you have.

A virgin rubber mat with premium manufacturing may have less smell. So, these varieties will lose their odors when exposed to sunlight.

Other cheaper and harder rubber mats may take a few weeks to lose the smell. Horse stall mats, for instance, may require two months or more, depending on their thickness and odor strength.

So, patience is also vital when it comes to getting rid of the rubber smell completely.


How Long Until Rubber Smell Goes Away?

Rubber odor takes considerable time to go away, regardless of what treatments you perform. But the duration varies depending on mat quality, rubber grade, or owner’s maintenance practices.

While a specific rubber mat may lose its smell in a few days, horse stall mats may take a month or two to get rid of the unpleasant smell.

Is Rubber Smell Toxic?

Rubber smell can become toxic if not treated well and regularly.

Premium rubber mats pose less risk because of their quality materials.

However, old horse stall mats may remain stacked with VOCs even after the first treatment.

The chemical odors eventually become unhealthy if these mats remain indoors with poor ventilation.

How do You Clean a Rubber Home Gym Floor?

Start with thoroughly vacuuming the entire floor to remove surface dust and dirt.

Then, use a neutral Ph cleaner (like Simple Green) to mop the mats. You don’t have to wipe each mat individually. But make sure your mop covers every area.

If you don’t want to use a neutral Ph cleaner, warm water and vinegar solution will also work for temporary relief.

Cheaper flooring, like horse stall mats, will require scrubbing, followed by dry wiping with a rag or old towel.

Is it ok to Use Vinegar on Rubber Flooring?

Adding some white vinegar to warm water is a decent solution for cleaning your rubber gym mat. But consider this solution a temporary measure before performing a more thorough cleaning.

The Takeaway

Removing the smell from rubber mats is one thing you can do to enjoy a better workout experience.

But remember that the process takes time, so be patient. Also, don’t forget to ventilate your gym and expose the mats to sunlight whenever possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email. I would be happy to help!

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

Finding your main motivator to keep going is easier said than done for Keep Reading.

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