How to clean a doormat – to keep mud, and illness, out

It's your doormat's busiest time of the year, so show it some love, and keep the mess outside, with these clever cleaning tips

Doormat with shoes on
(Image credit: Alamy)

How do you clean your doormat? A quick shake every now and then? Us too. But at this time of year, it's important to keep it neat because, not only could muck left behind on your shoes continually be tracked in, it could also be laden with germs that can be spread around your home, and family. 

But how you clean yours does depend on the material it's made from. Get it wrong and you'll either ruin it or do a poor job.

So whether you are looking for general cleaning tips, are cleaning your porch anyway, or giving your entryway a spruce, discover this professional tips for cleaning a doormat, thoroughly.

How to clean a doormat – according to an expert

'A shocking number of people do not ever clean their doormat,' says Richard O’Connor at First Mats, 'which can lead to not only a dirty home but can also introduce germs and viruses which could make your family ill.' 

Here, we share Richard’s tips on how to clean your door mat the professional way.

1. Shake the doormat off

Whatever kind of door mat you have, you should get into the habit of shaking it out once a week and vacuuming it to remove dirt and debris which can be trampled into your home. 

How to clean fabric and fiber mats

If your mat is made from fiber or fabric (either natural or synthetic), you may be able to put it into the washing machine. Your mat should have a label with laundry symbols which will tell you if this is an option. 

If there is no label, you could try a cool, gentle wash, but if you want to avoid putting it through a wash, which may shrink it, a doormat is one of those things you can clean with baking soda. Simple sprinkle it liberally with a mixture of baking soda and cornstarch and then leave it for an hour or so before vacuuming and wiping it down with a damp cloth.

How to clean coconut or coir mats

These doormats are made of stiff bristles made from coconut husks and need to be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or by hand. You can do this by using the same corn starch/baking soda mix as above or by using a commercial carpet cleaner – this is Amazon's top buy

These mats should not, however, be cleaned using detergent as this can lead to staining and discoloration which can ruin your mat.

How to clean rubber mats

Although you can’t put your rubber mat in the washing machine, these are still really easy to keep clean. All you need to clean your rubber mat is a cloth or scrubbing brush and some dish soap and hot water. 

Place your mat in the kitchen sink and give it a good scrub with a dish soap and water mix before rinsing and drying it with a tea towel.

How to clean pet hair off doormats

We are a nation of pet lovers and, while cats and dogs make great companions, they can leave their mark on your doormat in the form of fur and hair which can often become tangled in the bristles.

Before vacuuming (we recommend a pet hair vacuum for best results), drag your feet across the mat wearing trainers or rubber-soled shoes to loosen the hair to make it easier to pick up.

Can you wash a doormat?

Some doormats, particularly those made from fabric, can be washed, but always check the wash label first, and avoid putting them in the dryer. Rubber mats can be spray hosed to get them clean. For fiber and coir mats, it is always better to shake off your mat (outside, over a flowerbed), then sprinkle it liberally with baking soda. Let it sit then use a stiff brush to rub it into the mat. After an hour, shake off the baking soda and vacuum the mat again. It should look as good as new.

How do you take care of a doormat

To take care of a doormat, give it a weekly shake over a flowerbed, followed by a vacuum. Once a month, especially if the doormat is an indoor one, and it can't go in the washer, sprinkle it with baking soda, let it work is magic for an hour or so, then shake it off and vacuum – this will get rid of any unwelcome odors. Don't let your doormat sit in the sunlight for long periods or it will fade, don't allow it to stay wet for too long or it will smell musty, don't put it in the dryer or it will undoubtedly shrink, and don't fold the doormat or it may not go back flat.

How do you refresh your doormat?

It's easy to refresh a doormat simply by shaking it off, vacuuming it, sprinkling it with baking soda, leaving it for an hour, shaking it off again then vacuuming again. This should ensure it doesn't need washing more than once a month.

How often should doormats be cleaned?

According to mat expert Richard O’Connor at First Mats, doormats should be cleaned once a month, though in fall, you may want to consider a weekly clean to keep grime and germs out of the house.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.