Car mats are designed to take quite a lot of wear, and are what protect your vehicle’s interior from dirt and debris. Of course, this means they need cleaning fairly regularly.
Short of getting a professional valet service, this means cleaning them yourself. So, can you put car mats in the washing machine?
Can You Put Car Mats in the Washing Machine?
You can’t put car mats in the washing machine, as most have at least some rubber components. This could be as little as a rubber edge or back, although some are made entirely of rubber.
The heat and agitative action of a washing machine can damage rubber, causing it to crack and perish. In a way, rubber should be treated like leather – it’s ok to get it wet, but you should be very gentle when washing or drying it.
Luckily, cleaning car mats doesn’t often involve using water. You can do most of the cleaning with a vacuum cleaner and a stiff brush if they’re carpet.
Below are the easiest ways to clean car mats no matter whether they’re carpet or rubber.
What’s the Best Way to Clean Car Mats?
The best way of cleaning car mats depends on whether they’re made from carpet. For carpet mats, do the following:
- Remove the mats from your car and shake them thoroughly. Hoover them and then use a stiff brush to make sure they’re as clean as possible.
- Wash the carpet with something like Turtle Wax Carpet & Mat Shampoo. Follow the instructions on the bottle, although it’s basically the same as any other shampoo method.
- Dry your car mats by either hanging on a washing line or leaving in the sun for a few hours. Consider turning them over or wiping the rubber back with a towel.
Cleaning rubber mats is arguably much easier. Hoover and shake them out as before, and then hose down.
You can buy specific rubber cleaners, but a bit of mild washing up liquid will also be fine. Scrub them with a sponge, rinse off, and hang to dry.
Tips for Cleaning Car Mats
Cleaning car mats really isn’t difficult. Even so, here are some tips to help you do the best job possible:
- Keep them away from heat (no tumble dryers!). Excessive heat can damage the rubber.
- If you need to remove odours, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) on the mat and leave for up to an hour. Hoover it off and then continue cleaning as normal.
- Any carpet stain remover should be fine for getting stains out of car mats. They’re synthetic fibres, so make sure your chosen cleaner is suitable. If in doubt, go for one labelled specifically as a car interior cleaner.
Although putting car mats in the washing machine would be the most convenient option, cleaning them by hand isn’t too difficult.
If you clean them thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner, you should have very little left to do in terms of washing them. Do it regularly, and the job will be even easier!
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.