How to Clean Shower and Bathtub Mats

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A shower or bathtub mat is one of those unassuming pieces of fabrics sitting in your bathroom, slowly accumulating germs on a daily basis until you clean them. Ideally, bath mats should be regularly cleaned to remove the buildup of oil and other bathroom products that tend to leave a slippery layer on the surface of the bath mat.

The environment in your bathroom plays a huge role in how frequently you will need to clean your bath mat. The bathroom is a humid environment that has high moisture and heat in the air. Even with an exhaust fan, the bathroom does not get enough airflow to prevent mold from growing. This leads to the buildup of mold on porous surfaces and fabrics like bath mats.


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Types of Shower Bath Mats

There are two common types of shower mats available in the market: rubber, which is usually placed on areas where the floors are constantly wet, and fabric bath mats, which may have a fabric or rubber backing to prevent slippages. 

Rubber bath mats are great at providing a firm ground in otherwise slippery areas like showers and bathtubs;  while fabric bath mats are comfortable on the bare feet, and can dry feet after baths. Based on the type of shower or bath mat you’re using, the type of cleaning method you need to employ will be different as well.


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How to Clean Fabric Bath Mat

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How to Clean Fabric Bath Mat by Laundry Machine

For bath mats that are made from fabric all throughout, washing them in the laundry machine may be your best bet in cleaning out every fibre of dirt, debris, and mold. You may include your bath mat with your next load of laundry as well to save on water and electricity. Make sure to check on the manufacturer’s label if your bath mat can be cleaned in the laundry machine.

  1. Inspect your bath mat for any stains that should be removed before placing in the washing machine. Check the label if the fabric material can be washed, and whether it can be washed with other articles.
  2. For fabrics that can be washed in a hot setting, fill your laundry machine with water until half full. Add the recommended amount of laundry detergent, and toss in your load, including the fabric bath mat. 
  3. Wash as normal on the hot setting. Remove the bath mat after the cycle has finished and let air dry on the laundry rack.
  4. For fabrics that can only be washed on the cold setting, add ½ cup of baking soda or vinegar to kill mold stains, and wash as you normally would. Air dry after the cycle has finished.


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How to Clean Fabric Bath Mat by Hand

Fabric bath mats that have rubber backing may not be suitable for the laundry machine, as the pressure from water cycling may warp, stretch, or disintegrate the rubber. As such, cleaning a rubber-backed bath mat should be done by hand. Fabric bath mats with no rubber backing can also be cleaned by hand if you prefer not to use the laundry machine.

  1. Mix together a solution of baking soda, salt, and a few drops of detergent. Use the mixture to scrub out the stains from your bath mats.
  2. For heavier stains, leave the solution to dry on the stain, then scrub off using a soft-bristled brush. 
  3. Fill a basin with warm water and some mild soap. Submerge the bath mat into the soapy water, and lightly scrub to get rid of loose dirt and dust. Make sure to scrub the rubber backing as well.
  4. Change the soapy water when it gets grey, and rinse the bath mat until the water is clear.
  5. Hang the bath mat to dry. 


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How to Clean Rubber Bath Mats

Rubber bath mats are delicate, as exposure to heat and moisture can weaken the material. The water cycling in a laundry machine may warp a rubber mat, particularly if the mat is not new or has been exposed to heat. Thankfully, there are other methods to clean a rubber bath mat, here are two of them:


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The Bathtub Method

  1. Lift the mat off the floor of your bathroom and place it on the floor of your bathtub.
  2. Use some warm water to fill the tub.
  3. After wearing a pair of rubber gloves, add two cups of chloride bleach to the warm water.
  4. Now you can use the water and cleaning liquid to clean your bath mat. A bristly brush will be useful to scrub the bath mat surface.
  5. After you finish scrubbing the entire top layer of the bath mat, turn the face of the mat and begin to scrub the bottom surface.
  6. Once you’re done cleaning the mat entirely, you can drain the water out from the tub.
  7. Rinse the tub and mat thoroughly.
Pro tip: If your math has any mildew forming on its surface or is emitting any unpleasant smells, you can let the mat sit in the solution for a few hours before cleaning it. Make sure to keep the bathroom well ventilated when using bleach solutions.

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The Spray Method

A good, quick way of maintaining the cleanliness of your rubber bath mat is to use a spray solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Vinegar kills mold spores, and clears out the rubber material of your bath mat for easy cleaning.

  1. Fill a clean spray bottle with equal amounts of distilled water and white vinegar. Give it a good shake to incorporate the ingredients together. 
  2. Give the rubber bath mat a good spray, making sure to get into the nooks and crevices of the bath mat design.
  3. Leave the solution for 10-15 minutes, then scrub the bath mat with a clean cloth or a soft-bristled brush.
  4. Rinse and repeat if needed.


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Alternative Bath Mat Cleaners

Not into commercial or chemical cleaners? Here are a few safe and effective homemade cleaners you can use to clean, sanitize, and deodorize your bath mats:

  • Mix enough vinegar and baking soda to form a paste, leave on stained areas until dry before scrubbing off. Works best for spot cleaning.
  • Dishwashing detergent works well in removing oils and grease from your bath maths. Bath mats can get scum from oily lotions, conditioners, and even body oils. 
  • Use a wet and dry vacuum to deep clean your bath mats - particularly useful for large bath mats that may take a while to air dry.
  • Use baking soda dry and apply to your bath mat, working in the powder until it sets into the material. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the baking soda. This method cleans and deodorizes your bath mat.
  • Use a steam mop to disinfect your bath mat. Set your steam mop on the fabric setting and use it to clean your bath mat. 


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Keeping a Clean Bathtub Mat

Your bath mat or shower mat is meant to be your friend in the bathroom in order to prevent any slippages and allow you to get out of the shower in a clean and dry fashion. If you ignore your friend long enough though, it can quickly transform into a foul-smelling and slippery foe, thereby becoming a hazard in the bathroom.

We’re hopeful that our guide offered ample tips to help you clean bath mats. If you’re looking for more such handy guides, make sure to visit our blog today.

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