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How to Wash Bath Mats: Machine-Wash or Hand-Wash?

white cotton fluffy bath mat on a laminate wooden floor

After a relaxing shower or bath at the end of a long day, having to step out onto a dirty bath mat can be an absolute turn off! In fact, most of us avoid making any type of contact with our bath mat once it has gotten even mildly dirty or grimy. 

Unsightly and unsanitary, overused bath rugs require immediate attention and frequent cleaning if you want to keep them plush and looking decent for a long, long time. But before we get to the cleaning guides for washing bath mats in the washer and by hand, let’s talk about why and when you should be giving your bath mat attention.

Why You Should Clean Your Bath Mat

close up of cotton fluffy bath mat

Unlike rugs and mats that are placed in different rooms of your house, a bath mat isn’t vacuumed regularly which, in turn, means faster dirt accumulation. This is further excelled by the fact that bath mats and rugs are often walked on with dirty feet or slippers before one gets into the shower. 

Yet another major contributor to the unsanitary condition of a bath mat is prolonged dampness that encourages bacteria, mould, fungi, and the likes. Because these organisms thrive in damp and humid places, your bath mat can very easily be a breeding ground for disease-causing germs. With all of this in mind, it is no wonder that the experts advise cleaning bath mats and rugs as often as possible.

How Often Should You Clean Bath Mats?

two white cotton fluffy bath mats on a white background

Now that we’ve established just how dirty and unsanitary bath mats can get, it’s time to determine the frequency of cleaning they require. For this, you need to factor in how often the mats are being used, as well as the amount of foot traffic they see on a daily basis. While some bathrooms may be used by multiple people, others are used sparingly and therefore, stay cleaner for longer periods of time (along with the bath rug, of course). 

You must also observe how quickly the bath mat dries up or whether or not it has enough time to dry up before the next person comes in and wipes their soaked feet on it. As a general rule of thumb, bath mats should be washed once a week if they are being overused on a daily basis (especially by multiple people) while rugs in bathrooms that are used minimally can generally wait up to 3 weeks before they need to be cleaned. 

Tips for Machine-Washing Your Bathroom Mat

person placing blue bath mat into a full white front loader washing machine

First things first; check the mat for a label with washing instructions or care tips. More often than not, everything you need to know about washing a bath mat is mentioned on the label; however, if there are no specific instructions provided, it is unlikely that they need any special care when machine-washing.

Bear in mind that if your bath mat is lined with a rubber or non-slip material, cleaning it in a washing machine is typically not advised unless their washing instructions permit. It is also important to factor in the type of material the bath rug is made from as different fabrics require a specific water temperature, cleaning agent, and so on. 

Here are the basic tips you need to follow when cleaning bathroom mats in a washing machine:

  • Take the bath mat outside and shake off loose dirt and debris
  • Use a soft cleaning brush to remove hair and as much debris as possible
  • If the mat is heavily soiled, dry it completely and then vacuum it thoroughly
  • For dyed bath rugs, perform a colour fastness test to ensure that the fabric does not bleed
  • If your bath rugs pass the colour fastness test, they can be washed together in the same load
  • Don’t wash bath mats along with your regular laundry
  • Refrain from putting your bath mats in the dryer unless their care tag permits

How to Hand-Wash Bath Mats

woman using a white basin filled with soapy water to handwash laundry

For delicate materials that cannot be machine-washed, or bath rugs without a label, hand-washing them is the safest option. You have full control over how gentle the cleaning method needs to be while having the benefit of spot treating stains and observing the results throughout the cleaning process.

Take a look at the simple steps below to safely and effectively wash your bath mat by hand:

  • Fill up a tub or bucket with lukewarm water and mix in 1 cap of liquid laundry detergent. Stir the water to combine the soap and water thoroughly.
  • Place the bath mat inside and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
  • Agitate the fabric’s fibres using a soft cleaning brush. Do this gently at least 2-3 times for about a minute in between soaks. This step is important because merely soaking the bath mat will not necessarily remove dirt and debris trapped within the fibres.
  • When you are satisfied with the scrubbing process, drain the water from the tub/bucket, rinse it out thoroughly, and refill it with fresh water.
  • Dunk the bath mat in the water a couple of times to remove detergent. If needed, use fresh water and repeat the process until the soap residue has been removed.
  • To dry the bath mat, place it flat down on the bathroom floor, roll it up, and gently press down to remove excess water. Avoid wringing the material as this may cause the mat to lose shape. Finish off by draping the bathroom rug over a rack to drip and air dry completely. 

It’s easy to overlook your bath mat until it is visibly dirty and grimy; however, MaidForYou is here to tell you that any bath mat that is used every day requires frequent washing to rid it of bacteria, mould spores, fungi, etc. So, don’t let lack of cleaning take the luxury of stepping out of the shower and onto a plush, sanitary bath mat away from you! Use one of our cleaning guides above to keep your bath mats clean and sanitary from here on out.

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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