Household Basics: How to Clean a Bath Mat

How to Clean a Bath Mat

Cleaning your bathroom mat takes some attention to detail so that it remains intact while benefiting from a thorough washing.

Your bathroom mat is designed to capture water as you exit the shower or tub. It saves your floor from damage while keeping your feet warm on cool days. Over time, the mat will require some laundering because of its tendency to harbor mildew, mold, and fungi. Discover how to clean a bath mat so that it lasts in any busy household.

1. Focus on Bathroom Usage

Before you learn how to clean a bathroom mat, knowing when it’s appropriate to launder it in the first place is imperative. Every household has unique habits. Busy households with a handful of residents will use the mat more often than single dwellers, for instance.

Ideally, wash rubber-backed mats every three to four weeks. Other mats benefit from biweekly or even weekly washes. If you have a particularly busy home, consider even more frequent cleanings. The mat shouldn’t feel soggy or have a distinct scent at any time between washings.

2. Consider a Weekly Swap

Keeping up with laundry across the entire household can be difficult with work and family responsibilities. If you can’t keep up with cleaning the bathroom mat as often as you like, purchase an identical mat. Each week, swap out the dirty mat with the clean alternative.

You create a week’s worth of time to launder the mat with this strategy. Because you aren’t hurried, it can be washed without any worries about drying times afterward. Many mats meet their demise when they’re haphazardly tossed in the dryer for a quick dry.

3. Refresh With Vinegar Spritz

When you’re concerned about how to clean a bath mat, washing it too frequently is often on your mind. Any material will wear out over time. Try a refresher practice by spraying the mat with vinegar between washes.

The vinegar is acidic, which breaks down microbes that can include mildew, mold, and bacteria. This practice isn’t a substitute for washing, but it’s effective for short-term cleaning. You neutralize the bacteria while giving yourself a few more days without laundering the item.

4. Prep Before Washing

Every bath mat comes with a variety of care instructions. Be sure to read all about your item before it enters the washing machine. Some items require cold or lukewarm water with no bleach, for example.

Follow these instructions as closely as possible. They’re designed to protect the material, which leads to a long lifespan. In rare cases, the mat will mention hand washing. These materials cannot take a spin in the washer, so be aware of what your mat’s design can take on.

5. Use the Washer’s Specialty Settings

Don’t wash the mat in the normal setting. Most washers will be too rough with the material. Look for a delicates option. The washer’s drum should spin at a slow rate, which allows the material to soak in the detergent without damaging it.

Some machines have other options for delicate items. Verify the settings on your machine, or opt to take the mat to a laundromat for professional help.

6. Explore Drying Options

Today’s laundry dryers can be set to delicates or even air fluff. Try these gentler settings with any bath mat. It may be sturdy, but it does break down with friction within the dryer over a long period of time.

As an alternative, consider hanging the mat out to dry. A warm, sunny day is conducive to a quick dry that’s relatively safe for the material. Windy conditions will also improve the drying time.

7. Take Inventory of Your Mats

Before you put your clean mat back into action, take a close look at its structural integrity. Any mat will degrade over time because of moisture and drying stresses. Be sure to throw out any mats that are breaking down.

These mats will release moisture into your floors and degrade even further. Fabric mats might be repaired with needle and thread, but most bath mats today have fixed backs. Depending on the household’s number of residents, mats might last for a calendar year or less.

8. Discover Professional Laundering

You might try a professional laundering service at your local laundromat. These facilities often have employees on hand who launder specialty items for a set price. Drop them off one day, and see your bathroom mat return as a perfectly clean item.

Remember that your mat won’t be available for a day or less in the home, so think about using a spare one otherwise. Professionals can preserve the mat’s integrity while removing microbes that cause degradation.

Most bathroom mats will have a limited lifespan, even when you know how to clean a bath mat. Don’t hesitate to discard an older mat that just won’t take another laundry session. Freshen up the bathroom with a new style, and your family will have a useful tool for safe bathing once again.