One of the most common things people fail to clean often enough is the bathmat. Positioned in a room where moisture can create mildew and bacteria, it’s imperative to keep this free of potential health hazards. But, you have to know how to clean it so you don’t destroy your mat, especially if it has a rubber backing.
We’ll show you how to wash bath mats with rubber backing. Ensuring you clean it once a week, you have several methods from which to choose. It involves three simple steps that include hand washing, machine washing and creating your own cleaners for it.
The main thing you want to keep in mind, though, is to pay attention to the backing and its materials along with the age of the mat. This is because any misstep could result in the backing completely falling apart, complete with shredding and shedding all over your house.
1. Before You Begin
Prior to washing your bathmat, you have to inspect it. Read the label and see what the manufacturer’s care instructions are. Specifically look for something that says, “machine safe” or “hand wash only.”
In the case, it says “machine safe,” inspect the bathmat itself and consider its age. If you have an old mat that has noticeable signs of damage and decay, don’t put it in the washing machine. But, for those bathmats you know are fairly new, you should be fine to toss it in the washer.
Also, no matter how you choose to wash your bathmat, ensure you do a patch test with whatever cleaner you’re looking to use. Check for colorfastness and that the substance doesn’t breakdown the fabric or rubber backing. If you notice damage at any point during cleaning, stop immediately.
2. Shake Out; Beat the Rug
Go outside and remove as much dust, debris and dirt as possible from the bathmat. Hold it by two corners so the long end hangs. Then, vigorously shake it back and forth as well as up and down. Sometimes, a good violent jolt up and down will do the trick.
However, you could also use the back of a dustpan, a broom or some other object to beat the mat. This will force any crumbs and other particles embedded within the mat’s fabric. It may also be advisable to use a lint brush or tape roll to remove pet hair and general fuzz.
3. Select an Appropriate Cleaning Method
There are several ways in which to clean a bathmat with rubber backing. Review the possibilities below and select the right one for your situation and circumstances. Always go for the safest option to start until you understand what your mat can withstand and which one will be most effective.
If your bathmat isn’t terribly dirty, just give it a quick shake and beat out all the debris. Take a lint brush or tape roll to finish lifting any excess fuzz. Then, turn the mat upside down on a clean, flat surface and use a microfiber cloth to clean the rubber backing.
Simple Spot Cleaner
If you don’t have time to clean your mat but want to take care of a few nasty stains, use a little hydrogen peroxide. You can do this with a clean spray bottle filled with hydrogen peroxide, a cloth saturated in hydrogen peroxide or you can pour it directly onto the affected areas.
Of course, you should start by removing debris, dust and dirt. However, for direct pouring, make sure your rug will be able to tolerate it, especially the rubber backing. Rinse it out in the bathtub or with a hose outside. Squeeze out the water and let it air dry.
When you know your bathmat will be safe enough to handle a washing machine, you can throw it in with a load of towels. Ensure you use detergents and a setting that will sufficiently remove odors while providing proper sanitation. Things like Borax and Oxyclean are ideal to achieve this.
Avoid using harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach. This is because they have the potential to breakdown the rubber backing, causing it to shed, break, tear and peel. Also, do not use extremely hot water as this will weaken the fibers of the rubber.
Washing by Hand
If you opt for washing by hand, you will not only have to shake/beat out of the mat, but also vacuum it prior to cleaning. Additionally, you will require a bucket, toothbrush (or other soft-bristle scrub brush) and laundry soap.
Once you’ve removed and cleared debris, dust, hair and such from the bathmat, fill a bucket full of warm water and mix in about one cup of your preferred detergent. Use a clean lint-free cloth and dab the material of the mat along with its rubber backing to begin loosening dirt and moistening the mat.
Use the soft-bristled scrub brush to remove stubborn stains and discoloration. Press firmly but not too hard, especially on the rubber backing. With a clean, wet sponge, do another dab to absorb excess detergent and then hang the bathmat to dry in a well-ventilated area.
Baking Soda; Vinegar Hand Wash
Baking soda and vinegar are the best dynamic duo for bath mats when you plan to wash them by hand. They clean, deodorize and sterilize along with killing germs, bacteria, mold and mildew. If your bathmat is particularly gross and you can put it in the washer, doing a baking soda hand wash would be an excellent pretreatment.
You simply take a clean and sterile spray bottle. Fill it with three tablespoons of baking soda along with one tablespoon of white vinegar. If you don’t like the smell you can add fresh citrus juice or one of your favorite essential oils. Then, top it off with warm water until full. Spray it on the worst and most affected areas of the bathmat.
With a rag or other clean cloth, scrub in counterclockwise spiral motions. When you get to the rubber backing, be very careful so as not to damage it. Rinse the rug in your tub, squeeze out the excess water and hang it to dry in a place with adequate ventilation.
Hand Washing with Dish Soap
If you spilled oil onto your bathmat or if it comprises something like wool, standard liquid dish soap is ideal. It’s also good in a pinch when you’re low on cleaning supplies. What’s great is that it won’t ruin your rug and it’s effective enough to kill germs.
In a bucket or your kitchen sink, add some soap to the warmer end of lukewarm water. Make sure there’s a nice bubble forming and let the bathmat soak for about an hour. Rinse the rug well, squeeze out excess water and let it hang outside to dry.
For Memory Foam Bathmats
A bathmat comprising memory foam isn’t quite the same as other kinds of mats. These are super absorbent and they perfectly form to the feet. Therefore, you will want to begin by soaking the mat for about two hours in the same solution as the Baking Soda; Vinegar recipe above.
Follow this with a hand wash of detergent or put it in the washing machine. Regardless of which way you choose to do this, don’t put it in the dryer. Squeeze out the excess moisture and let it hang dry outside or in front of a fan.
Super Strength Bathmat Cleaner
If you have a funky bathmat chalk full of gunk, grime and mildew with mold developing, you have to use this most powerful method to clean it. However, you will need oxygenated and color-safe bleach for this. Do not use regular chlorine bleach as this will destroy the mat, as discussed earlier.
However, make sure the care label indicates the mat can withstand bleach and do a test patch. If there’s any discoloration, avoid using bleach. Consider the steps below to proceed if everything’s good to go:
- Remove as much debris and dirt as you possibly can, as instructed above.
- Then, in a well-ventilated space along with wearing a pair of rubber gloves, use a capful of the oxygenated bleach and mix it in a gallon of lukewarm water (on the warmer side).
- Dunk the entire rug into the bucket and let it sit there for an hour. Check it after this time to see if it needs further soaking. If so, don’t let it sit there for more than two hours.
- Fill the bathtub with warm water and pour in the same recipe for Baking Soda ; Vinegar but double or triple the amount.
- Put the bath mat in the water and use a soft-bristled brush to scrub out stains on the surface of the mat and on its rubber backing. Let this soak for another hour.
- Drain the tub, rinse the mat well with cool water and allow it to hang dry in front of a fan or outdoors.