How often should you clean a bath mat? Ensure your keeping on top of cleaning this dirty bathroom item

When was the last time you washed your fabric bath mat?

A bathroom door open ajar with a bath and toilet in frame
(Image credit: Future)

Hopping out of a warm shower onto a soft bath mat certainly beats the feeling of stepping onto a cold tile floor. But have you ever paused to consider what’s lurking within those plush fibers? 

The truth is that these well-used bathroom items are a breeding ground for moisture, mold, and bacteria. Not only is this unhygienic, but it can also pose a health risk – especially for those with allergies or compromised immune systems. So, giving your bath mat a little TLC is an essential part of cleaning a bathroom.

But how often should you be washing your fabric bath mats? The answer may surprise you... 

How often should you clean a bath mat?

'Bath mats are notoriously unsanitary, and recent studies have even shown that most people will only wash them once or twice a year, leaving them completely covered in bacteria and with the potential to grow mold in the fibers,' says bathroom expert Warren Kinloch from UK-based Bathroom Deal.

How often should you clean your bath mat?

white bathroom with colorful accessories

(Image credit: Dan Duchars/Future)

You probably already know how often to wash towels and why regularly laundering your bathroom textiles is essential if you want to eliminate unpleasant odors, maintain their appearance, and keep them hygienic. But you may not know how often you must clean your bath mat.

Warren Kinloch advises washing your fabric bath mats once or twice weekly to keep them as bacteria-free as possible. Even if you get into the routine of cleaning your bath mats twice weekly, you should also look to replace them every year

If that all sounds rather excessive, you may want to consider purchasing a wooden bath mat, which will last much longer, doesn’t cling onto as much bacteria, and therefore doesn’t need to be cleaned as often.

How to clean a bath mat

Now you know why your fabric bath mat needs washing regularly, it's worth knowing how to wash them too:

  • Start by checking the care label: Your bath mat may have its own cleaning instructions, such as a specific wash cycle or water temperature. Take note of the laundry symbols and follow instructions to keep your mat looking its best. 
  • Shake it: Before cleaning, take your bath mat outside and give it a good shake to remove loose dirt and hair. You may also wish to vacuum your mat using an upholstery attachment to get rid of particularly stubborn debris. 
  • Machine wash or wash by hand: Depending on your care label, you can either hand wash your bath mat with warm water and a mild detergent or pop it in the washing machine. 'When you wash your mat by hand, you can also use a diluted white vinegar solution to really scrub out the dirt,' adds Warren Kinloch.

    Whichever method you choose, you may still have to spot-clean embedded stains. We recommend this Ecover Stain Remover, available at Amazon, as it's tough on stains but is made from renewable plant-based ingredients (and it smells good too). 
  • Dry it: Always allow your bath mat to dry fully before using it again. If it's safe for the dryer, use a low heat setting. Otherwise, reap the benefits of air-drying it outside (away from direct sunlight to prevent fading) or in a well-ventilated indoor space.
  • Finishing touches: Once dry, you may want to give your bath mat another good shake or fluff to restore its plush feel. 

There are several items and places in your bathroom you might be forgetting to clean. Try to establish a cleaning schedule and stick to it to maintain a hygienic space. If you're short on time, you need only commit to a 15-minute bathroom cleaning and organizing routine. 

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.