Dycem® vs Sticky Mats

A common method for controlling contamination at the floor level is the use of adhesive-based sticky mats. You may have heard them referred to as “tacky mats”, “peel-off”, walk-off mats, or “disposable cleanroom mats”. All of these describe sticky mats, a disposable contamination control product consisting of thin sheets of “tacky” coated plastic. When the top sheet becomes fully saturated, it is ‘peeled’, revealing a clean sheet underneath. 

Scientific testing shows that sticky mats are only 27% effective when preventing foot and wheel-borne contamination. There are several key factors to consider when comparing sticky mats with Dycem’s reusable contamination control mat.


The average size of a sticky mat is usually no larger than 3 feet by 2 feet (1 meter by 0.5 meters). This does not allow a surface area that is large enough to effectively decontaminate shoes and wheels. Research shows that you need at least six footfalls, and three full wheel rotations to achieve optimal decontamination. The usual placement of only one 3 ft. x 2 ft. sticky mat at the entrance of a critical area can be hazardous as personnel can accidentally step over or around the mat, resulting in little to no contamination removal. 

Dycem contamination control mats are customizable, allowing us to create an unavoidable barrier, ensuring maximum protection every time.

Tacky Mat
Dycem Vs Sticky Mats


To address the issue of size, some facilities gang sticky mats together. Ganging together at least 10 sticky mats and peeling them twice per 8-hour shift is necessary to prevent 80% of contamination from entering critical areas (Source Mcon). However, this option is both expensive and labor intensive, as well as generating huge amounts of waste. Although this may be a solution to the issue of size, ganging does not address the core issue of sticky mats: materials, labor, storage, and disposal costs.  

 Additionally, when sticky mats are ganged together, contamination may collect in the gaps between each mat. Dycem is a seamless solution, up to 99.9% effective, and has built-in antimicrobial protection.  

Dycem Vs Sticky Mats

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Particle Build Up

Sticky mats lose effectiveness with repeated steps in the same area due to contamination build-up which can be transferred back onto footwear. This issue is unavoidable due to the small size of the mats. Contaminants can adhere from the mat onto footwear and spread to other areas, increasing the risk of contamination in critical environments. Research shows that Dycem mats, designed to remove particles, remove an additional 99% of particles compared to sticky mats. Sticky mats can introduce more contaminants, with a 9.6% to 381.9% increase, even with contaminated footwear. Choosing the right type of mat is crucial for maintaining a clean and safe environment.  

Dycem Vs Sticky Mats
Dycem Vs Sticky Mats

Wheeled Traffic

Sticky mats pose numerous difficulties with wheeled traffic. They are prone to wrapping around wheels, tearing, and transferring the adhesive from the sticky mat onto wheels and into the critical environment. Additionally, sticky mats are susceptible to becoming heavily saturated very quickly, reducing their efficacy in heavy-wheeled traffic environments where particle frequency is generally high and particulate size is super coarse (over 100+ microns). 

Dycem WorkZone mats are specifically designed to withstand heavy-wheeled traffic, supporting weight up to 1280 lb/in² (90 kg/cm²). Dycem offers a food-grade stainless steel border for WorkZone mats to further safeguard them against damage caused by heavy-wheeled traffic entering and exiting the mat.

Particle Shedding

An independent study commissioned by a sticky mat manufacturer highlights the problem of particle shedding during the removal process of a used sticky mat. It revealed that on average, 125,000 particles were released back into the environment, re-contaminating the area during the removal process. 

Dycem mats capture up to 99.9% of contamination. The high surface energy of the mats retains this contamination until it is washed away, avoiding particles being redispersed back into your controlled environment.

Sticky Mat


Compared to sticky mats, Dycem offers a more effective solution for controlling contamination in critical environments. While sticky mats may have a lower upfront cost, they require regular replacement, and disposal, and come with many potentially costly risks. The total cost of implementing sticky mats compared to reusable Dycem mats (which have a lifespan of 3+ years) can be significantly higher.

A recent analysis conducted by a long-time Dycem customer within the aerospace industry revealed a cost saving of $300,000 in 7 years compared to their previous annualized spend on sticky mats.


Each time a contaminated layer is removed from a sticky mat, it creates an 8-inch (20 cm) ball of contaminated waste. Consequently, multiple dumpsters are filled annually with this type of waste. Sticky mats are classified as secondary waste, requiring proper disposal, which can be costly.  

The accumulation of contaminated waste, and the associated disposal cost makes sticky mats an impractical and expensive choice in the long run. As an alternative, Dycem’s reusable mats offer a more sustainable and cost-efficient solution, eliminating the need for frequent disposal.

Singular Sticky Mat
73% of contamination enters the
critical environment

Dycem Vs Sticky Mats

Ganged Sticky Mats
20% of contamination enters the
critical environment

Dycem Vs Sticky Mats

Dycem vs Sticky Mats
<0.01% of contamination enters the
critical environment

Dycem Vs Sticky Mats