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How to Wash Bath Mats

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How often do you wash your bath mats and rugs? A lot of people can’t remember the last time they got a good cleaning.

Let’s look at how to get your bath mats clean and why it’s important.

The Dirty Reality

hink about how often you stand on or walk across your bathroom rug or mat. It’s likely at least once or twice a day for each person in the house. The dog or cat may also take a stroll on occasion.

That’s a lot of dirt. And every time you step out of the tub or shower, you are putting your clean feet down into that dirt.

The dirt isn’t the only thing making your bath mat unpleasant. Germs are another culprit. Germs love warm, moist places with plenty of food available. An unwashed bath mat offers all three.

Mold and mildew are often frequent residents of bath mats as well. They thrive in the moisture, heat, and food-rich environment that bacteria love.

Don’t forget about the odors an unwashed rug can harbor. Pick up your bath mat and have a good sniff. You may be surprised at the odor it puts off.

Cleaning your rug on a regular basis will ensure it remains free of bacteria, mold, mildew, odors, and dirt. Your clean feet will appreciate it.

Before You Wash Anything

When it comes to adding a protective barrier to the bathroom, people have a couple of options. They can go with an absorbent cotton mat or a fluffy rubber-backed rug. Let’s look at the best way to clean both.

No matter what rug or mat you have, there’s one thing you need to do before you try to clean it.

Read the manufacturer’s care label. It will tell you the best way to wash the mat, providing key information like water temperature, cleaning products, and drying instructions.

If the rug doesn’t have a care label attached, the best option is to hand wash it in cold water and let it air dry.

Pre-Steps For How to Wash Bath Mats

Let’s go over the steps to wash a bath mat.

Shake, Shake, Shake

Take the rug outside and give it a good shake. That means holding it by two parallel corners and shaking it vigorously up and down.

You should see a lot of dirt, dander, hair, and other particles flying out. Keep shaking it until nothing else is flying off.

Then, turn the rug over and shake it some more. When both sides are no longer flinging particles, it’s time to take the next step.

Wipe It Down and Vacuum It Up

If the rug has a rubber backing, you need to wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Any dirt or fuzz clinging to it will come off in the fibers of the cloth.

Use a handheld vacuum or the wand of an upright vacuum to clean the rug surface. Hairs and other debris can cling to the rug fibers, even if you give it a vigorous shake.

Clean It with a Washing Machine

A washing machine makes it easy to get your bath rugs and mats clean. If the care instructions allow for washing machine use, you can use either a front-loading or top-loading washing machine. Front loading models don’t have the agitator arm that takes up space.

You should add bath towels to balance out the load. If you are washing one rug, add at least two towels. If you are washing two rugs, add at least one. On the first wash of any rug, however, use old towels to prevent color bleeding on your good towels.

  • Place the rug into the washer.
  • Set the washer to the delicate cycle. (The rugs can sustain damage in a full-power wash cycle.)
  • Use a small amount of detergent, especially with thick rugs. (Too much detergent can stick in the dense forest of fibers.)
  • Set the water temperature to cold. (The rubber backing on some rugs are held with glue, which can melt in high temperatures.)
  • Run the washer.


Cleaning It By Hand

All washable rugs can be cleaned by hand. Here are instructions on how to get the job done:

  • Fill a container with equal parts of warm water and detergent.
  • Dip a colorfast microfiber cloth into the soap solution.
  • Dab the rug to loosen the dirt.
  • Continue dabbing the top of the rug until the entire surface is clean
  • Turn the rug over
  • Repeat the dabbing process until the back of the rug is clean

If the rug has areas of heavy dirt or staining, you need to use a stiff toothbrush to scrub the area.

  • Dip the brush into the warm water/detergent solution.
  • Shake off any excess water.
  • Firmly press the bristles of the brush into the stained area.
  • Move the brush in a clockwise motion to scrub the area

Drying Your Bath Mats and Rugs

Ideally, you should dry your rugs outside on a sunny day. This prevents damage that can be caused by a hot air dryer cycle. It also helps deodorize the rugs.

Place the rug flat on the ground or hang it from a clothes line. Let it dry. If it’s on the ground, turn it over after a couple of hours.

Sometime, drying outside isn’t possible or ideal. If you need to use a dryer to get the rugs dry, use an air dry cycle or the tumble dry at the lowest heat setting. Remove after 15 to 20 minutes. If the rug is still damp, run it again for 10 minutes. Check for dampness, and repeat as needed.

Don’t put the bath mat back into place until it’s fully dry.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

It’s a good idea to wash your bath mats once a week. This will keep them clean and free of dirt and bacteria. If the rug has a rubber backing, you might be able to stretch that to two weeks, if it’s not frequently used.

After someone takes a bath or shower, hang the bath mat up to dry. This helps to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and germs.

Now’s the time to get your bath mats clean and ready for your next shower or soak. The process isn’t difficult, but it’s something that you cannot forget. Get it done today!

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