The Right Way to Wash Bath Mats

Don't let mold and bacteria take up residence underfoot in your bathroom! Here's how often you should wash your bath mat, and how to get the job done without ruining it.
Savannah Sher Avatar
how to wash bath mats

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Bath mats absorb moisture by design, making them a potential breeding ground for bacteria if they’re not washed frequently. As a general rule, bath mats should be cleaned about once a week. If a mat is used so frequently that it doesn’t have the opportunity to dry completely between uses, it’s best to clean it twice per week to prevent mold or bacteria development of mold and bacteria. It’s important to note that bath mats typically need to be replaced every 2 years since they are subject to so much regular wear and tear.

The below two methods for how to wash bath mats include instructions for both machine washing and hand-washing, depending on a bath mat’s care instructions.

How to Wash Bath Mats in a Washing Machine

The easiest way to wash a bath mat is in the washing machine. Most bathroom floor mats are machine washable, but it’s important to check the care instructions before washing them for the first time.


Washing machine
Stain remover
Laundry detergent
Drying rack 

STEP 1: Shake out the bath mat to remove any debris. 

Before throwing a machine washable bathtub mat into your washing machine, it’s important to first remove any debris from the mat. Take the mat outside and shake it out so that dirt, hair, and dust fall away.

how to wash bath mats

STEP 2: Remove any stains using a stain remover.

Bath mats are rarely stained, but it’s important to treat any stains before machine washing if they’re present. Apply a stain remover to the affected area and leave it on the mat for as long as is recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions.

RELATED: Helpful Hints for Cleaning Bathtubs

STEP 3: Put the the bath mat and gentle detergent in the washing machine. 

Once any stains have been treated, it’s time to put the bath mat in the washing machine. Use a cold water cycle, especially if the bath mat is made from a colorful material since hot water causes colors to fade more quickly. Add a gentle laundry detergent to the washer.

how to wash bath mats detergent

STEP 4: Allow the mat to air dry on a clothing rack. 

Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the bath mat from the washing machine. While some bath and toilet mats can be tumble-dried, most should be air-dried. (Bath mats usually have a nonslip plastic backing that can be damaged by heat.) Whether there’s a plastic backing or not, your best course of action is to lay the mat flat to dry on a drying rack.

How to Wash a Bath Mat by Hand

Bath mats that are made of delicate materials need to be cleaned by hand, and again the best way to know whether your mat qualifies as delicate is to read the care instructions on the tag. Here are the steps involved in washing a bath mat without .


Stain remover
Laundry detergent
Drying rack

STEP 1: Shake off any excess dirt and debris. 

Bath mats can easily become dirty, especially when a bathroom is a high-traffic area. Be sure to remove any excess dirt particles by shaking the mat outdoors. If the mat is stained, follow the below stain removal instructions.

RELATED: How To: Clean a Shower Curtain

STEP 2: Remove bath mat stains using a stain remover.

Bath mats may not often become stained, but treat any stains that are present with a stain remover before washing. Following the stain removal product’s instructions, apply the stain remover to the soiled area(s) and allow it to absorb.

STEP 2: Fill your bathtub with warm water and add a few drops of mild detergent. 

The easiest place to hand-wash a bath mat is typically in the bathtub. If your bathroom doesn’t have a tub, a large sink or bucket will work just as well. Fill the tub with warm water and add several drops of mild laundry detergent to the water. Submerge the entire bath mat in the soapy water and gently rub it with your hands or a washcloth.

how to wash bath mats

STEP 3: Rinse off the detergent using cold water. 

After the bath mat is clean, it’s time to clear away the detergent from the mat. Rinse the mat thoroughly with clean, cold water until all of the detergent is removed and no residue remains. If any residue is left behind, it can affect how the mat feels and looks.

RELATED: How to Clean a Shower the Right Way

STEP 4: Hang or lay the bath mat flat to dry. 

Wet bath mats can be heavy and drip water wherever they are carried, so set up a drying rack or clothesline before removing the bath mat from the tub. Wring out any excess water from the bath mat, which will help it to air dry more quickly. Then, lay it flat to dry on a clothes drying rack or hang it to dry on a clothesline.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read this guide you are well-equipped with the knowledge of how to wash a bath mat. Whether your bath mat is machine washable or needs to be washed by hand, these two methods will have you covered.