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How to Remove The Smell from Rubber Mats

Rubber mats are versatile and extremely useful in various applications, from gyms to warehouses to garage floors. They are naturally durable, flexible and have a long lifespan.

However, amongst all the positives of investing in rubber matting, many buyers notice that their new rubber mats have an unpleasant smell.

But there's no need to worry; we are here to help. Follow our tips below to find out how to remove smells from your rubber mat and make your space smell much sweeter.

Why Do Rubber Mats Smell?

Before we dive into all the different ways to remove the smell from a rubber mat, it's essential to know why they can smell unpleasant in the first place.

Rubber Mats smell because they contain volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs). These compounds are trapped inside the rubber mat, so the compounds get released when a new one is rolled open and laid down. However, the longer the mat is exposed to the air, the more depleted the VOCs become; therefore, the smell fades.

Another possible reason for the unpleasant smell is that the rubber mat may be vulcanised. This is a process of hardening rubber by treating it with sulphur at a high temperature. Vulcanisation can cause the mat to carry a significant odour, although sometimes the mat is further treated with other chemicals to help minimise the smell.

No matter how the smell has built up, it can be very frustrating as people may develop headaches from it, and if you're running a business, it could potentially drive people away. In addition, homeowners may find it creates a very unpleasant smell within their entire house as it is a confined space, and it may even make pets feel unwell.

Rubber Mat by Front Door

How Do I Get The Smell Out?

Use a neutral pH cleaner.

The best way to ensure that your brand-new rubber mats don’t smell is to clean them immediately after you purchase them or once they arrive at your home. You can thoroughly wipe down both sides with a pH-neutral cleaner (those that are not pH neutral can damage rubber and ruin your mat). You should allow the mat to dry thoroughly before placing it where it is intended.

If you have more than one mat, clean each one and allow them to dry fully to prevent any other musty or mould odours from building up.

Air them out

Good ventilation is vital to removing (and preventing) smells from your rubber mat. If your mats are installed in a space with poor ventilation, you'll quickly find that the rubber odour will build up and only get stronger.

Start by opening all windows, especially in a small and enclosed space. You could also use fans to help generate more air movement. Position fans so that they carry the air across the room and out of a window, door or loading bay.

Sun the mats

As explained earlier, the smell from rubber mats is sometimes caused by volatile organic compounds. To remove the odour from rubber mats, those VOCs need to be released, and you can speed up this process by sunning them out. This is a great and cost-effective way to remove the smell, as solar heat causes the rubber to release the VOCs.

You should lay your mats outside (preferably during the summer) and look for a spot where they will be exposed to direct sunlight for as many hours as possible. You will know when they are finished sunning by conducting a smell check. If the smell has decreased after a day, they may only need a few more hours if the odour is still strong.

Rubber Mat on Decking

Store the mats correctly.

When removing the smell from rubber mats, you must store them correctly to prevent the smell from getting worse or spreading, especially if you live in the same space during the process.

An ideal storage space could be in a garage, shed, or the back room of your business to prevent anyone from inhaling the rubber smell as you work on eliminating it. You should be patient during the process, as removing the odour from rubber mats can sometimes take longer than anticipated. If you need the rubber mats for a set date, make sure you purchase and treat them accordingly ahead of time to avoid any disappointment.

Invest in the appropriate mats

Avoiding a rubber odour in the first place is far easier than removing the smell afterwards, so it’s crucial you invest in suitable mats for your space.

At First Mats, we pride ourselves on providing the finest and highest quality mats available on the market today. So when you choose us, you know you’ll be in safe hands.

Rubber mats and flooring rolls offer countless benefits, and they can make a space more comfortable, versatile, and safer for all. But if your rubber mat has a strong smell, we hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to remove it so you can return to enjoying your space sooner.

It is important to remember that some mats naturally have a more pungent scent than others, so our dedicated customer service team is here to help you with any questions or queries about any of our mats. Contact us today, and we will be more than happy to help.

See our full range of Mats and Flooring for more.


Richard O'Connor's Headshot

Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

Contact Richard