Easy Tips: How To Wash Bath Mats and Bathroom Rugs

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It’s time to clean the bathroom, but what do you do with your bath mats and bathroom rugs? Is there an easy way to clean them? Read on to find out how to wash bath mats and bathroom rugs of any kind, easily.

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What is the difference between a bath mat and bathroom rug?

A bath mat can actually refer to a rubber mat that you have on the shower or bath tub floor, bathroom mats you have in front of your sink, tub, shower, and toilet like memory foam mats, or even bathroom rugs. So really, depending on where you are from and how you grew up will determine how you use the terms bath mat and bathroom rug.

But have no fear, in this article, I will tell you how to wash and dry all kinds of bath mats…and rugs.

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How To Wash Bath Mats That Are Rugs

Whether you have a bath mat that is woven, shaggy, or made of microfiber (microfiber is my favorite for absorbency), the easiest way to wash it is to put it in the washing machine. Before starting, check the care instructions on the rug to make sure it is machine washable. If not, scroll down to see “How To Hand Wash A Rug”.

How To Wash Bath Mats That Are Rugs In The Washing Machine

1// Vacuum the rug or shake it outside to remove any large amounts of hair, dust or debris and get rid of as much dirt as possible.

2// Wash the bath mat in your washing machine with hot water and on a delicate wash cycle.

3// Use normal laundry detergent.

4// Skip the fabric softener. This will keep your bathroom rug soft and absorbent. Instead, add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

5// Do not put your rugs in the dryer on high heat if they are memory foam or have a plastic or rubber backing. Instead, hang them to dry on a drying rack inside or outside on a railing or somewhere in the sun. You can put them in the dryer on the lowest heat setting, which is normally cool air or the “fluff” cycle.

Pro Tip: Never use fabric softener on bath towels, or bath mats. Fabric softener adds a slick coating to the fabric which stops the towels and mats from being able to soak up water efficiently.

How To Wash Bath Mats That Are In The Shower Or Bathtub

Plastic and rubber mats that are in the bathtub or shower are normally there to keep people from slipping on the hard surface. And they work great, unless they are dirty.

Buy A No Slip Bath Mat On Amazon

Because these bath mats never get a chance to dry out properly, they can get really gross and slippery.

They can grow mold, mildew, and bacteria around the under side of the mat. If you have a mat with suction cups, you may see a lot of dark mold and mildew. And on the top side of the mat, soap scum can accumulate, making the surface slick.

Thereby making that bathmat more of a risk than a safety feature.

For all the reasons listed above, it is a good idea to either clean them weekly, or find a different solution for the slippery tub and shower surface like these no slip bath stickers.

Here are the easiest ways to clean rubber bath mats for best results.

how to clean bath mats that are plastic or rubber like the pink one in this picture

How To Clean A Plastic or Rubber Bath Mat

1// Remove the bath mat from the bath tub or shower and lay it on a flat surface, bottom side up.

2// Fill a 750 ml spray bottle with 1/2 tsp dawn dish soap and 650 ml hot water. Give the bottle a good shake.

3// Spray the bath mat with the soapy solution.

4// Clean underside of the mat with a scrubby sponge or a scrub brush.

5// Rinse with warm water.

6// Flip the mat over. Clean surface of bath mat with soapy water spray and scrubby sponge or scrub brush.

7// Rinse with warm water.

If the topside of the rubber mat is still slippery:

1// Fill a 750 ml spray bottle with distilled white vinegar. (you can buy distilled white vinegar cheaply at Target or your grocery store)

2// Spray the bath mat with the vinegar and let sit at least 5 minutes.

3// Rinse the mat well with warm water.

If there is mold or mildew anywhere on the bath mat:

For this section, please take safety precautions when using bleach. (ie-rubber gloves, face mask, eye protection)

1// Make a bleach solution consisting of 2 tsp bleach and 1 gallon of cool water. Or purchase a bleach cleaner like this one.

2// Wearing rubber gloves, spray or wipe the bleach on the area with the mold and mildew.

3// Let the bleach sit on the affected area for 20 minutes.

4// Rinse very well with cold water.

How To Dry A Rubber Bath Mat

Air dry inside or outside. Sunshine allows for faster drying and the UV rays from the sun kill many types of bacteria and viruses. You can use the side of the bath tub to drape the mat, take it outside and drape over a railing, or use a drying rack like this one.

Related Post: No Sweat Practical Tips For Using Bleach In Your Home Safely

open shower doors for ventilation in shower

Tips To Keep a Rubber Bath Mat From Getting Gross

Once you have a clean bath mat, the best way to keep it that way is by trying to do at least one of the following tips every time you take a shower or bath.

1// Open the shower curtain or shower doors for proper ventilation into tub or shower.

2// Make sure there is proper ventilation in the bathroom by using a fan or open window to circulate air.

3// Remove the bath mat and lay it in a dry place so it can dry out before your next bath or shower.

4// After each bathing session, spray the mat with rubbing alcohol so it can dry faster.

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How To Wash A Memory Foam Bath Mat

A bathroom floor mat made of memory foam could have a coating on it that can be cleaned easily with soapy water. Or it could have a material covering that is soft which will need a little more care.

Steps to clean a memory foam bath mat with a slick coating.

1// First, look at the care tag if there is one.

2// Wipe the mat down with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust, hair, or fuzz.

3// Spray the mat with the warm soapy water solution from above. (1/2 tsp dawn dish soap and 650 ml hot water in a spray bottle) Try to clean a spray bottle you already have to save money and time.

4// Rub the surface of the mat with a different clean microfiber cloth.

5// Rinse under water in the kitchen sink or laundry basin.

6// Dry with a clean towel or microfiber cloth.

How to clean a memory foam bath mat that has material covering it

1// Look at the care instructions and follow them closely.

2// Wash in the washing machine on cold water.

3// Use a gentle laundry detergent like Woolite.

4// Do not put in the dryer. You may have to squeeze out some of the excess water or put the rug through an extra spin cycle in the washer to help remove some of the extra water.

5// Make sure the rug dries thoroughly, otherwise the wet memory foam could turn into a breeding ground for bacteria in your bathroom. Try taking it outside on a warm day or using a drying rack like this one for good air circulation.

How To Clean Bathroom Rugs Made Of Delicate Materials

Bath mats made of delicate material like chenille can be washed gently in the washing machine. Be sure to check the care label before starting.

1// Wash Chenille bath mat in the washing machine using cool water, the gentle cycle, and a gentle laundry detergent.

2// Hang on a drying rack or line dry outdoors. Do not put in dryer.

The other option is hand washing the delicate rug. You can also hand wash a rug if a rug is too big for your washing machine and you are worried about damaging it.

How to Hand Wash A Rug

1// Fill kitchen sink or laundry room basin with warm water.

2// Add small amount of gentle detergent like this one.

3// Gently rub the rug with your hands, working the detergent into all of the fibers.

4// Rinse well with cool water.

5// Hang on a drying rack or line dry. Do not put in dryer.

How To Wash Bath Mats With Rubber Backing

To wash a bath mat with rubber or plastic backing, avoid high heat. High heat can cause the plastic or rubber backs to break down and start to crumble over time.

Instead, wash in the washing machine with cold water and detergent for delicate material like Woolite. Then hang on a drying rack like this one or line dry.

You can also try handwashing the rugs which is explained in the section, “How To Hand Wash A Rug” above.

How To Remove Stains From Bath Mats

If you have a stain on your bath mat, I am assuming it is on a bath mat made out of material. Therefore, you will want to try to remove the stain with a laundry stain remover before putting it in the washing machine.

To use a stain remover, follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. I like Spray and Wash Max for removing stains in the laundry room. Just spray the stain and work it into the fabric or material on the rug with an old toothbrush.

If it is a stubborn stain, add a few more sprays and keep scrubbing the stain with that toothbrush until it is all or almost gone.

Sometimes you will need to let the stain remover sit on the stain and do its magic overnight. If you do this, come back to the stain in the morning and work even more spray into the stain with the toothbrush and then wash the rug as you normally would.

yellow rubber gloves

How Often To Wash Bath Mats

Rubber and Plastic Mats

You should wash rubber and plastic mats that are on your tub or shower floor weekly or at least on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to try to spray them down with some alcohol every time you get out of the shower or bath so they dry faster.

Bath Mats In Front Of Toilet

It is a good idea to wash bath mats in front of the toilet weekly or on a regular basis due to urine and feces being in the vicinity. Machine washing fluffy rugs in hot water and spraying down memory foam rugs with a disinfectant like this one.

Bath Mats In Front Of Tub And Shower

Remember that bath mats right in front of the tub or shower have wet feet on them every day. If they are fluffy rugs, then that water does not dry fast and can actually produce mold spores if left too long. So clean these mats every couple of weeks.

Rugs In Front Of Sink

Bath rugs in front of the sink do not necessarily need to be cleaned as often. I go a long time before cleaning these. I would say washing bathroom rugs in front of the sink at least once a month is good enough.

teal microfiber bath mat

Why You Should Wash Bath Mats Of Any Kind

Bathrooms are gross. There is feces spraying out of the toilet every time it is flushed (please please please tell me you close the lid first!). Boys missing the toilet when they pee! Yuck!

A lot of moisture from sinks, showers and bathtubs that can produce mold and mildew spores and bacteria.

So cleaning the bathroom…and I mean even the bath mats…is SO important to keep you and your family healthy.

I like to use a cleaning caddy so cleaning is easier.


Can you wash towels and bath mats together?

I say no to this. I am weird about what I wash together. You don’t want to risk feces and urine from the rugs getting on your bath towels. You also don’t want the lint from the towels to transfer onto the bath mats or vice versa.

Related Post: 5 Best Lint Removers To Remove Lint From Your Clothes Fast

Do new bath mats need to be washed?

Yes. New bathroom rugs need to be washed before using. People at the store have touched them, they have been in a factory, there is probably some kind of chemical preservative on them. . . so yes. Please wash everything before you use it to keep you and yoru family members safe and reduce toxic chemicals in your home.

Related post: The Most Remarkable Benefits Of Using Natural Vinegar To Clean

Can you put a bath mat in the washing machine?

Yes. See above section to know how to wash a bath mat that is a rug in the washing machine.

Can you wash bath mats with rubber backing?

Yes, as long as you do not use any high heat or hot water, the bath mat with rubber backing should be fine. I also recommend using a laundry detergent for delicate material like Woolite.

How often should bath mats be washed?

Depending on the type of bath mat and how dirty it gets, you will need to clean your bath mats often. Once a week for rubber or plastic bath mats on the shower or bathtub floor.

Once a week for rugs in front of the toilet and outside the bathtub and shower.

At least once a month for rugs in front of the bathroom sink.

fluffy bathroom rub in front of bathtub

How can I make my bath mats fluffy again?

Bath mats can become matted by foot traffic in the bathroom but also if you use fabric softener on them. Try washing your bath mats in the washing machine following the steps above that correspond to the type of bath mat you have. The, add white vinegar to the rinse cycle to help remove any oils from the rug.

Place the rug in the dryer on the setting with NO HEAT! Many dyers call this the fluff cycle or the cool down cycle. And then add dryer balls like these to help fluff up your rug while it tumbles.

Related post: How To Use Dryer Balls In Your Laundry and Why It’s Good

Can you put a bath mat in the dryer?

You can put a bath mat in the dryer. If there is plastic or rubber on the back of the mat, tumble it on the “no heat” setting known as the “fluff” setting or the “cool down” setting.

How do you dry a bath mat after a shower?

After a shower, you can hang the bath mat in a dry place, allowing it to dry out between showers. Try the side of the bath tub, a towel rack, or on the rail of a shower door.

Can I wash bath mat in hot water?

You can wash a bath mat in hot water…and I recommend this to help kill germs….as long as it does not have a rubber or plastic backing on it. If it does, try using a disinfectant spray like this one on your bath mat first, and then wash it with with cold water.

teal diamond bath mat in front of toilet

Should you put a mat around the toilet?

You can put a mat around the toilet if you plan to wash it regularly to kill the gross things that land on it. But an easier alternative is to just skip the rug. You will be amazed at how much faster and easier it is to clean around your toilet.

What temperature should you wash bath mats?

This depends on the type of mat you have. Read the care instructions or follow the instructions above depending on the type of bath mat you have.

Are shower mats sanitary?

Shower mats can be sanitary if you clean and disinfect them at least once a week…top and bottom. Otherwise, opt for no mat or something like this instead.

Where do you hang a shower mat to dry?

The side of the tub. Place an old towel under the side that drips onto the floor.

white bath mat on white tile floor with gray foot prints

One Last Thing

You will be amazed how great you feel knowing that you are stepping on a clean bath mat. So take your shower with confidence knowing that you have a clean body and clean bathroom. And if you keep up with the cleaning frequency recommended for your bath mats, you can feel this clean all the time.

Happy Cleaning,

Julie signature

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