Bath mats will inevitably attract bacteria and mould because they are moist environments. Plus, lots of general dirt from around the home manages to find its way onto these mats. So, bath mats can be quite unhygienic if they’re not washed frequently.
However, if you clean and dry your bath mats correctly, and you do all that you can to make sure the mats are free from germs and mildew.
Read on to discover how to wash your bath mat both by hand or in the washing machine.
Should You Wash Your Bath Mat in the Washing Machine or By Hand?
Bath mats can be hand or machine washed depending on the materials they are made from and what condition they are in.
Follow the steps below to decide whether to hand or machine wash your bath mat:
- Pick your bath mat up and examine it for damage first. If your bath mat has started to break down, for example if the anti-slip backing is cracking, hand wash it or replace it instead of washing this mat in a washing machine.
- Vacuum clean your bath mat so any large chunks of debris and hair come off the mat before it gets washed. Clumps of hair and dirt can clog up washing machines, so don’t skip this step.
- Check the tag on your mat to see how it should be cleaned – hand wash or machine wash.
- Skip to the appropriate step.
How to Wash Bath Mats in the Washing Machine
Here’s how to wash a bath mat in a washing machine. This method will work for both front-loaders and top-loaders.
- Choose the correct temperature and cycle on the washing machine (as per the information on the tag – usually cold and gentle cycles as they help to protect rubber-backed mats and colourful bath mats).
- Add detergent.
- Start the wash.
- Dry the bath mat on the line or in the tumble dryer, if the material permits.
How to Wash a Bath Mat by Hand
Follow the steps below to hand wash a bath mat:
- Fill a large bucket up with water (see the tag for temperature guidance).
- Add a suitable detergent to the water (put your regular amount in).
- Pop some gloves on.
- Make the water sudsy by swishing it around.
- Add your dirty bath mat to the water – make sure it is submerged.
- Start moving the bath mat around in the water and massage the detergent into the material.
- Leave the bath mat alone in the water for two to three hours.
- Pull the bath mat out of the water.
- Inspect the bath mat.
- Carefully agitate the bath mat in the water if the mat is still a little dirty.
- Drain the water away.
- Rinse the bath mat under cold water.
- Hold the bath mat under the water until the water runs clean and clear.
- Make sure you squeeze excess water out of the bath mat.
- Dry the bath mat according to the instructions on the tag – line dry or tumble dry.
How to Dry a Bath Mats
If you need to dry your bath mat in between showers/baths, just hang the mat up, open the bathroom window and leave plenty of air into the room.
If possible, allow sunlight to enter the bathroom to aid the drying process. This kind of light will also act as a disinfectant too.
If you need to dry your bath mat after washing it, simply hang it up to air dry naturally or use a tumble dryer, if the material permits this.
It’s worth pointing out that if your mat has a rubber backing, you should avoid putting it in the tumble dryer. The intense temperature from the dryer may cause irreparable damage to the rubber.
Is a Bath Mat the Same as a Shower Mat?
A bath mat is typically made from a soft material, is placed outside of the bath/shower, and is there for you to stand on when you get out of the bath/shower.
Its main purposes are to stop you from slipping on the bathroom floor when you exit the tub, and to catch the water droplets that fall off your body as you dry.
A shower mat, on the other hand, is an anti-slip, rubber/plastic-feeling mat that you put on the bath/shower cubicle floor. And its purpose is to stop you from slipping around in the tub as you wash yourself.
Like a bath mat, a shower mat also needs to be kept clean on a regular basis so that it doesn’t start going black and mouldy.
Can You Use a Towel as a Bath Mat?
Yes and no.
Bath mats usually come with a non-slip rubber/textured backing, which prevents the mat from moving around on the bathroom floor. The backing also helps to trap moisture in the mat, so the water doesn’t pour out over the floor as you stand on the surface to dry yourself.
A towel can act in a similar way, in the sense that it can catch the water droplets coming off your body, and can limit how much water gets onto the bathroom floor. However, a towel doesn’t have a textured back, so it can slip around on the floor.
If you’re going to use a towel instead of a bath mat be very careful, and try to weigh the towel down to stop it from moving around on the floor when you stand on it.
And remember that if you do use a towel, you will need to lift the towel off the floor and dry it properly when you’re done, otherwise a musty smell will fill the bathroom.
FAQs on Washing Bath Mats
How do you keep bath mats fresh?
The easiest way to keep bath mats fresh is to wash them on a regular basis, and to make sure they are dried properly in between uses.
Can you put bath mats in the washing machine?
Yes, you can clean most bath mats in the washing machine. However, before you do this check the tag on your bath mat to make sure this cleaning method is safe for the material.
Why do bath mats sometimes smell after washing?
If your bath mat smells after you’ve washed it, perhaps you need to clean the mat again. Maybe a second cycle in the washing machine will remove all the stinky mould from the material and will leave it smelling fresh.
In addition to this, your mat might smell because you didn’t allow it to dry properly after its wash. So, water droplets have started to collect and mildew has set in again.
Or perhaps, your bath mat is just so dirty that no amount of cleaning can get rid of the musty smell. In this case, a new bath mat might be the answer.
What should you wash bath mats with?
You can wash most bath mats with regular laundry detergent, unless the tag says otherwise.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!