Are You Washing Your Bath Mat Often Enough?
It's easy to forget about your bath mat when you clean your bathroom. After all, most of the contact you have with this essential comes after you're fresh out of the shower, which means you might not think it needs as much attention as the more frequently touched surfaces and towels of your wash room do. What you may not realize is that this essential can actually be a magnet for mold, mildew, and bacteria, and that's exactly why our experts say keeping this simple piece clean and learning how to wash bath mats is key.
The answer to how often you need to wash your bath mat will depend on several factors, including how many people live in your house, the number of bathrooms you have, and your airflow situation (a space without proper ventilation may be more humid, making everything inside it more prone to mildew). However, April Sargies, the founder of Cloth Bristle and owner of The Neat Nest, says a good rule of thumb is to wash your bath mat at least every two weeks. If you see or smell signs of dirt or mildew, it may be time for this piece to take a spin in your washing machine, says Sargies. Another common sign? When it simply won't stay in place. Failing to clean this bathroom staple, she adds, may actually put your health at risk. "Harmful mold and mildew and bacteria will grow," says Sargies.
Mind the Mat's Materials when Laundering
When it comes to washing your mat, its materials should determine the method.
How to wash cloth bath mats
Many cloth pieces are machine washable, which means you can safely clean them by tossing them into a load with like items. Just be sure to double-check the laundering instructions, since not all cloth mats are washer safe. To deodorize and clean machine-washable mats, Cassity Kmetzch of Remodelaholic says to add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle the next time you drop it into the appliance.
If your mat comes with a non-slip gripping layer, opt to line dry it, since high heat can dry out the rubber or plastic backing that helps it stick to the floor.
How to wash plastic, wood, and bamboo mats
"For plastic, use disinfectant cleaner," says Sargies. "For wooden and bamboo, use a vinegar-based or natural product." Sargies suggests flipping non-cloth bath mats over so that you can scrub all of the crevices, nooks, and crannies on the bottom, as well. "Let them dry in a well-ventilated area or outdoors after cleaning," Sargies adds.