Every bathroom needs a bathroom mat, but they tend to get dirty quickly, making them a haven for dirt, soap scum, bacteria, and mold.
Whether you’re giving your bathroom a deep clean or simply washing your bath mat, we share all the methods and answer frequently asked questions about bath mat cleaning.
How to wash bath mats
Bath mats come in different materials, such as cotton, microfiber, bamboo, memory foam, and rubber, among others. And each material has its requirements when it comes to washing.
For instance, a cotton bath mat can be machine-washed with warm water and tumble-dried on low heat. While microfiber bath mats are also machine-washable, it's best to avoid fabric softeners, which can reduce their absorbency. On the other hand, bamboo mats may need to be hand washed in cold water and air-dried to prevent damage to the fibers.
Memory foam mats are typically not machine-washable and should be spot cleaned with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Rubber mats can be cleaned with a simple mixture of soap and water, but it's important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers, which can damage the material.
Regardless of the type of bath mat you have at home, we’ll show you how to wash it safely.
How to wash fabric bathmats (tufted or shag)
Fabric bathmats are common in most homes because they dry fast and are gentle on the feet. If your bathmat is made from cotton, chenille, nylon, or microfiber, you have a fabric bathmat at home.
In general, fabric bathmats can be machine washed. However, we always advise consulting the care instructions or care tag to know the best setting to use. If you have done that, here’s all you need and how to wash tufted or shag fabric bathmats.
What you’ll need
- Laundry detergent
- White vinegar
- Soft-bristled brush or lint roller
- Use a soft-bristled brush or lint roller to shake and brush off any loose dirt or debris from the bathmat.
- Pre-treat any stains with a laundry detergent or a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Apply the solution directly to the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before washing.
- Next, place the bathmat in the washing machine using a gentle cycle and cold water.
- Add a small amount of laundry detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using too much detergent, which can leave residue on the bathmat and make it feel stiff.
- Run the washing machine cycle and allow the bathmat to complete the spin cycle.
- Remove the bathmat from the washing machine and shake off any excess water. Do not wring or twist the bathmat, as this can damage the fabric fibers.
- Place the bathmat in the dryer on a low heat setting. Add dryer balls or a clean towel into the dryer to help fluff the bathmat and prevent it from flattening.
- Check the bathmat periodically to ensure it is drying evenly. If the bathmat is still damp after the first cycle, continue to dry it on a low heat setting until it is completely dry.
- Once the bathmat is dry, remove it from the dryer and give it a final shake to fluff up the fibers.
How to wash memory foam bath mats
Memory foam bath mats are very water-absorbent. As a result, they’re also bacteria and mold magnets.
The tricky part is that, unlike other fabric mats, cleaning a memory foam bath mat requires extra care to avoid damaging the foam and ensure it remains in good condition. Here are all you’ll need for this process.
What you’ll need
- Mild detergent
- Large sink or bathtub
- Clean towels
- Cold water
- Washing machine (optional)
- A fabric or soft-bristled brush (optional)
- Check the care label before washing the memory foam bath mat to see if there are any specific instructions for cleaning.
- Shake off any excess dirt or debris from the mat before washing.
- Remove the fabric cover and wash it separately either with a washing machine or by hand.
- Machine-washing the fabric cover: remove the fabric cover from the memory foam insert and machine-wash it separately in cold water on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, which can damage the foam.
- Hand-wash the memory foam insert: fill a bathtub or large sink with cool water and a small amount of mild detergent. Gently hand wash the memory foam insert in the soapy water, being careful not to wring or twist it.
- Once the memory foam insert is clean, gently squeeze out the excess water by pressing on it with your hands. Avoid wringing or twisting the foam, as this can damage its shape.
- Next, lay the memory foam insert flat on a clean, dry towel, allowing it to air dry completely. Avoid using heat or direct sunlight to dry the foam, as this can cause it to shrink or lose its shape.
- Once both the fabric cover and memory foam insert are completely dry, reassemble the memory foam bath mat by putting the insert back into the cover.
How to wash rubber bath mats
First things first, inspect the bottom part of your rubber bathmat to see if it's damaged or peeling before washing. If this is the case, it might be time to get a new mat, as these little bits can break off during washing.
What you’ll need
- Rubber gloves
- Mild soap or detergent
- A scrub brush or sponge
- A bucket or large sink
- Clean towels
- Vinegar (Optional)
Steps to clean
- Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands and goggles for your eyes.
- Remove the bath mat from the tub or shower and shake off any loose debris.
- Next, fill a bucket or large sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild soap or detergent. Mix the solution until it becomes sudsy.
- Place the rubber mat in the water and use a scrub brush or sponge to gently clean the mat. Pay extra attention to any areas that are particularly dirty or stained.
- Rinse the mat thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue.
- Finally, squeeze out excess water from the mat and hang it to dry in a well-ventilated area.
- Once the mat is completely dry, return it to the tub or shower.
Meanwhile, if you notice mold and mildew on your rubber bath mat, you will need an extra cleaning step with vinegar.
Vinegar is a cheap and efficient household cleaner with built-in antimicrobial properties. Its acidity kills mold spores and prevents any future growth. Compared to bleach which can break down the rubber backing and is dangerous to work with, vinegar is a safer alternative for the environment and your family.
Another interesting thing about vinegar is that besides removing mold from your rubber mat, it also works wonderfully to clean your floors, remove slime from carpet, and clean your shower.
- Mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle and spray on the areas with mold.
- Leave the solution on the mold for up to an hour.
- Next, use a cleaning brush or scouring pad to thoroughly scrub the rubber bath mat, being careful to get into all the crevices.
- Give the mat a good rinse and hang it to dry in a well-ventilated place. We do not recommend putting the bath mat in the dryer because the heat will cause it to warp.
Can you put a bath mat in the washing machine?
Depending on its material, you can put a bath mat in the washing machine. As a rule of thumb, cotton, microfiber, chenille, and memory foam can be machine-washed. However, always check the care label first before washing.
How often to wash your bath mats?
How often to wash bath mats depends on the number of people using the bathroom and the ventilation in the space. For the best results, we recommend washing your bath mats every three to five days. Even if your bath mat appears to be clean, it's a good idea to establish a regular washing routine.
Should you wash bath mats separately?
When washing bath mats, it's advisable to wash them separately, especially if they are made of materials that shed (like cotton) or produce a lot of lint. Also, bath mats can become heavily soiled with dirt, soap scum, and bacteria, so washing them separately can ensure they are thoroughly clean.
How to wash bath mats easily
Whether your bath mat is machine-washable or has to be hand-washed, you now know everything that’s required to clean it.
Want more tips like this on how to handle your bathroom cleaning tasks? Learn how to clean a porcelain tub without scratching it or how hotels maintain glass shower doors.