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How Often to Clean Your Bath Mats

How often to Clean Your Bath Mats

Bath mats are an essential item for any bathroom, but it's likely you don't often give their care much thought. They give you something soft and fluffy to step on when exiting the bath or shower, instead of a cold, slippery floor.

Bath mats also provide some grip to your wet feet, and they absorb the dripping water that would otherwise collect on the floor. A clean and dry bath mat is a simple pleasure after a bath or shower, so how should you best care for these essential towels, and how often should you clean them?

 Whether you own a business, such as a hotel, bed and breakfast, salon or gym, or you're using them at home, here's your guide to all you need to know about bath mats and how to care for them.

What Are Bath Mats?

Not to be confused with bath towels or bath rugs, bath mats are an especially thick, absorbent type of towel generally placed on the floor to use for stepping on after bathing. They serve the important purpose of providing a dry, slip-resistant area for wet feet to step onto while you reach for your bath towel to dry off with.

what are bathmats

Bath mats are different from bath towels and bath rugs in several ways, and they have different care instructions. They are most commonly made from cotton, and in addition to protecting you from slipping after a shower, bath mats also protect the floor or rug from water damage.

The Difference Between Bath Mats and Bath Rugs

First, let's clear up the important differences between bath mats and bath rugs. Many people confuse the two or use the terms interchangeably. Bath mats are usually more towel-like and are something you throw down on the floor to prevent slipping. They can also protect your floors by absorbing excess moisture. Bath rugs are typically a bit fluffier, and they can be made of other materials besides cotton terry cloth, like bath mats and towels usually are. Bath rugs are generally more decorative than functional, although they are often used as a bath mat, too.

When you're stepping out of a bath or shower, either one will be better than stepping onto a cold tile floor. However, a bath mat is the best one for the job. It may even be a good idea to have a bath rug and cover the rug with your bath mat when using the shower. Bath mats are usually easier to wash than bath rugs, and they can even help protect your rug.

While bath rugs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, bath mats are fairly standardized. They look like a smaller bath towel, at about 17 to 21 inches by 24 to 34 inches. Bath rugs sometimes have a rubbery lining on the bottom to help them stay in place on the bathroom floor, but this makes them harder to wash than bath mats. For the best of both worlds, it's best to use both bath rugs and bath mats.

How Often Should You Clean Bath Mats and Bath Rugs?

Whether you use bath rugs, bath mats or both, they should each be cleaned regularly. Just how often these cleanings occur can depend on a few factors:

  • how often should you clean bath matsHow often the bath mat is used. Consider how much use your bathroom gets each day and each week. This can depend on how many people are using the bathroom, and how often each person uses the bath or shower. If you have a large family or frequent guests, it means multiple people are using the bath mat every week. This means more wetness on the mat and an increased likelihood for bacterial growth. You'll want to wash your bath mat and bath rug frequently if this is the case.
  • If a lot of water usually splashes on the floor. Regardless of who is using the bathroom, and how often, if there tends to be excess water splashed out of the bath, the bath mats and bath rugs will have a harder time drying out. This can sometimes be the case in a kid's bathroom, and the wet bath mats should be washed more frequently.
  • If the bath mat or rug has a rubber backing. A rubber backing is more commonly found on bath rugs than bath mats, and they help to keep the rug in place and prevent slipping around. While this is a good thing for safety in the bathroom, it means the rug shouldn't be washed as frequently — maybe only every three to four weeks rather than weekly. The rubbery backing on these types of rugs starts to break down when washed often, ruining the rug. Don't put this type of rug in the dryer, either, as it will deteriorate the backing even faster. A good solution is to use a bath mat on top of your rugs to absorb the moisture and protect the rug.

The bottom line here is that your bath mats and bath rugs should be washed more frequently the more they get used. With average use, bath mats should be washed about once a week, or every three to five uses. Why should you wash bath mats and bath rugs so frequently? Many people might think that it isn't as important because these towels only touch your feet, and like other towels, you only use them when you are already clean. However, when you towel off after a shower or bath, the moisture left behind can still encourage bacterial growth.

Even more important than this is the moisture on the towels. When you dry off and drip water onto the bath mats after showering, the bath mat absorbs and traps the moisture. But this trapped moisture also provides a breeding ground for bacteria to grow. If the mats can't dry out between uses, mildew can also start to grow on the towels. For all of these reasons, it's important to wash your bath rugs and bath mats frequently.

If the bath mats are used commercially, for clients and guests at businesses like hotels, gyms or spas, the bath mats should be washed between each client to prevent the spread of germs.

How to Clean and Care for Bath Mats

Taking care of your bath mats is fairly straightforward and simple. Here are some step-by-step tips for washing your bath mats:


  1. Read the laundry care tags. If your towels came with care tags or any other information, be sure to check there first for any specific tips and instructions on washing and drying your bath mats.
  2. Shake rugs outside. Because bath rugs and bath mats sit on the floor, they catch a lot of dirt, hair and other debris. This extra dust and debris can damage and clog your washing machine, so it's best to shake them out before they go in the machine. Shake the rugs outside if possible so the dirt doesn't remain in your house.
  3. Wash mats and rugs in warm water. Throw all your bath rugs and bath mats in the washing machine. If you have a mixture of colors and are worried about colors running together, you can use a cold water setting. However, warm or hot water is best for killing germs on towels. If you are washing rugs with rubber backings, do not use hot water as this can damage the backing. Use a regular wash setting and a quality, gentle detergent.
  4. Dry your bath mats and bath rugs. Throw any bath mats into your dryer and use a regular setting. Any rugs with rubber backing should not go in the dryer at all, to avoid any damage to the backing. Hang these to dry outside on a clothesline, or inside over a shower door. Alternatively, you can hang all mats and rugs outside to dry and utilize the natural anti-bacterial and odor-neutralizing power of the sun.
  5. Replace the dry bath mats and rugs in the bathroom. Fold any extras for storage in a closet or cabinet, making sure they are fully dry before storing. Damp towels in storage cannot dry out properly and can develop mildew.

Following these easy steps will ensure your bath rugs and bath mats are well-cared for and will last longer. In addition to these steps for washing your bath rugs and bath mats, here are some extra tips for their care:


  • Use your vacuum. As bath mats and bath rugs are on the floor, any time you have your vacuum out, run it over your bath rugs, too. This will help reduce the amount of hair, dust and dirt that collects on the mats between washings. You can also do this instead of shaking out rugs before washing.
  • Hang up wet bath mats. Whenever possible, bath mats should be hung up on a towel bar or over a shower door after use. Rugs can generally stay on the floor, but if they get especially wet, it's best to hang them up to dry. If bath mats sit on the floor wet, it's harder for them to dry thoroughly, and they can harbor bacteria and mildew more easily. Hanging them up gives the towels more air circulation, helping them to dry more quickly.
  • Use a vinegar spray. Simply put plain white vinegar in an empty spray bottle and keep it on hand to occasionally spritz your bath mat. The vinegar smell will dissipate quickly, and the vinegar will help combat bacteria, mildew and bad smells. Use the spray to stretch out the times between washings.
  • Baking soda in the wash can deodorize bath mats. If your bath mats have a damp or mildewy smell, you can use a half scoop of baking soda, right in your wash cycle. This can also help reduce bacteria and keep colors fresh.
  • Avoid fabric softeners. These laundry additives can leave behind heavy residues that affect the absorption level of the bath mats. To keep your mats fluffy and absorbent, just avoid fabric softeners altogether.
  • Essential oils keep bath mats fresh. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil, or your favorite essential oil, to your wash cycle for towels or bath mats. Many of them are naturally antimicrobial and add a light, fresh scent.
  • Have several bath mats on hand. If you only have one bath mat, or one for each bathroom, you'll need to do the laundry more often. Also, if the mat is in the wash, there's nothing to protect the floor of the bathroom. It's best to have several on hand, so you never have to go without.
  • Ensure your bathroom has ventilation. A bathroom without good ventilation generally struggles with moisture problems, and it's harder for any type of towels and rugs to dry fully in this kind of environment. Many bathrooms have built-in ventilation systems in the ceiling — if yours does not, consider installing one, or using additional fans or dehumidifiers to keep moisture under control.

These tips are sure to keep your bath mats and bath rugs fresh and clean and performing their best.

Can You Wash Bathroom Rugs With Towels?

Now that we've covered all of the tips for washing bath mats and bath rugs, the next question is — can you wash them together with other towels? There isn't really a quick and easy answer to this question, and it mostly is a personal preference whether to wash these items together in the same laundry load.

can you wash bathroom rugs with towels

On the one hand, combining towels with bath mats and bathroom rugs can save you time, as well as saving water and electricity by running fewer loads of laundry. Washing one rug at a time seems a waste of resources, and it can cause the machine to spin unevenly, move out of place or make a loud noise. Including a few towels in the load can mitigate this.

However, some people don't like to mix bath mats and rugs in with towels, because the mats and rugs are usually dirtier. While the dirt on the rugs won't transfer to your towels in the wash, it's simply a personal preference. If possible, you could also wash bathroom rugs and bath mats with other household rugs instead of towels.

Stock Affordable Quality Bath Mats for Your Business or Home

Businesses in all sorts of industries need quality bath mats. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, gyms, health clubs and spas all need bath mats for guests to use while showering. Other types of businesses such as pools or car washes can use bath mats to create non-slip areas for employees and guests. Whatever type of business you're in, it's a good idea to have a healthy supply of bath mats on hand. You can also order bath mats in bulk for your home so you always have enough.

shop towels in bulk

Order your bulk bath mat supply at wholesale prices from Towel Super Center. We have the high quality your customers need, and the low prices you want. Check out our durable, quality bath mats, and all of our other towels, too!

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