can you put a plastic bath mat in the washing machine

Can You Put a Plastic Bath Mat in the Washing Machine?

Bath mats, especially those made of plastic, are common in households due to their affordability, durability, and easy maintenance. However, their cleaning process may not be as straightforward as you might think. Sure, they’re used in the wettest room in the house, but does that mean they can endure the harsh cycles of a washing machine? Let’s explore.

Yes, you can put a plastic bath mat in the washing machine. However, it should be washed on a gentle cycle with cold or warm water, and never placed in the dryer.

Let’s look at this method along with two other methods to clean a plastic bath mat.

Clean a Plastic Bath Mat In The Washing Machine

The washing machine presents a practical solution for cleaning your plastic bath mat. It not only saves time but also ensures a thorough cleanse. Here’s an extended step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Inspect the Mat
Before anything else, inspect the bath mat for any signs of wear and tear. Check the surface and the suction cups for any damage. Ensuring the mat is in good condition will prevent any potential harm during the wash cycle.

Step 2: Pre-clean the Mat
Start the cleaning process by shaking off any excess debris from the mat. You can also run a vacuum cleaner over it to remove any dust particles. This pre-cleaning will help prevent any dirt from washing back onto the mat in the machine.

Step 3: Prepare for Washing
Place the bath mat in the washing machine. To balance the load and prevent the mat from bashing against the walls of the machine during the cycle, add a few other sturdy items, preferably light-colored towels or rags. They also provide a scrubbing action that can help to dislodge any stuck-on dirt.

Step 4: Select the Right Settings
Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle with warm water. Avoid choosing a hot water setting as this could warp or damage the plastic material of the bath mat.

Step 5: Add a Gentle Detergent
Add a mild laundry detergent to the machine. Detergents designed for delicates or sensitive skin are usually a good choice. Avoid using bleach or any harsh cleaning agents that might cause discoloration or degrade the plastic.

Step 6: Consider a Vinegar Rinse
If your bath mat has a mildew smell, consider adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and can help to kill off any remaining bacteria.

Step 7: Start the Wash Cycle
Start the washing machine. Keep an eye on the cycle, if your machine is prone to unbalancing, as the bath mat could cause issues.

Step 8: Remove and Dry the Mat
After the wash cycle is completed, remove the bath mat from the washing machine. Rather than wringing it out, shake the excess water off and then lay it flat or hang it up to dry. Avoid folding the mat as this can cause creases in the plastic.

Remember, a well-maintained bath mat not only adds to the aesthetics of your bathroom but is also a crucial element in maintaining hygiene and safety.

Hand Wash a Plastic Bath Mat

Hand washing your plastic bath mat provides a gentle and thorough cleaning method. It’s particularly suitable for mats that may not endure a machine wash. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to do this.

Step 1: Pre-clean the Mat
Begin by shaking the mat or using a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and loose debris. Pay special attention to the suction cups, as they tend to accumulate grime.

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution
Fill a large basin, sink, or your bathtub with warm water – not too hot as it can damage the mat. Add a mild detergent to the water and mix until you see soapy bubbles. You might consider adding a cup of vinegar to the solution for its disinfecting properties and ability to combat mildew.

Step 3: Soak and Scrub
Submerge the mat completely in the soapy water. Allow it to soak for a few minutes to loosen any tough dirt or grime. After soaking, use a soft brush or a non-abrasive sponge to scrub the surface of the mat, paying extra attention to stained or discolored areas. Remember to scrub both sides and the suction cups.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly
Once you’re satisfied that the mat is clean, drain the soapy water and rinse the mat under warm running water. Ensure that you rinse all the soap suds off. Any residual soap can make the mat slippery when in use.

Step 5: Dry the Mat
After rinsing, shake off excess water from the mat and pat it dry with a clean towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Finally, let it air dry completely before placing it back in the bathroom. You can either lay it flat or hang it up to dry. Make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can cause the plastic to deteriorate.

Step 6: Regular Maintenance
For optimal results and hygiene, repeat this process every two weeks or as needed based on usage. Regular cleaning prevents buildup of bacteria, mold, and mildew, extending the life of your mat and ensuring a safer, cleaner bathroom.

Hand washing may be a bit more labor-intensive than machine washing, but it allows you to give your mat the TLC it deserves, ensuring its longevity and cleanliness.

Spot Cleaning a Plastic Bath Mat

Spot cleaning offers a focused approach for dealing with specific areas of dirt or stains on your plastic bath mat without having to clean the whole thing. This method is perfect when you’re short on time or when the entire mat doesn’t require a full clean. Let’s delve deeper into the process.

Step 1: Identify the Problem Areas
Before you start, identify the areas on the mat that require cleaning. These might be stains, patches of dirt, or areas with mildew growth.

Step 2: Prepare a Cleaning Solution
Prepare a simple cleaning solution in a bowl or bucket. This could be a mixture of warm water and a gentle detergent. If you’re dealing with mildew or mold, a vinegar-based solution can be more effective. Combine one part white vinegar with three parts water for this purpose.

Step 3: Apply the Solution
Using a cloth or a soft brush, apply the cleaning solution to the dirty or stained areas. Gently scrub to lift the dirt. If the stains are stubborn, allow the solution to sit on them for a few minutes before scrubbing.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry
Once you’ve treated all the problem areas, rinse the mat thoroughly to remove the cleaning solution. It’s crucial to rinse well, as any leftover soap or vinegar can make the mat slippery.

Step 5: Pat Dry and Air Dry
After rinsing, shake off the excess water and pat the mat dry with a towel. Make sure you remove as much moisture as possible. Following this, let the mat air dry completely. To do this, you can hang it up or lay it flat. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the plastic to break down over time.

Step 6: Regular Checks
Keep a close eye on your bath mat, particularly in the spots you cleaned. Regular checks help to ensure that stains or mildew do not return, keeping your bath mat in top condition for longer.

Spot cleaning is a great way to maintain your plastic bath mat in between full cleans. This method allows you to target the areas that need attention without having to clean the entire mat, saving you time and effort.


Can you put a plastic bath mat in the dryer?

No, placing a plastic bath mat in the dryer is not advised. The intense heat from the dryer can potentially warp, shrink, or even melt the plastic, damaging the bath mat’s form and function. Instead, air drying is recommended. You can either lay it flat or hang it up in a well-ventilated area. Remember to avoid direct sunlight and heat sources when drying your mat, as these can degrade the plastic over time.

How often should you wash a plastic bath mat?

The frequency of washing your plastic bath mat will largely depend on its usage. For a bath mat used daily, it is advisable to clean it once every two weeks. However, if the bath mat is being used by multiple people in a household or if it becomes visibly dirty or smells musty, it may require more frequent cleaning. Regular cleaning will not only keep your mat looking fresh but will also ensure a hygienic, mold-free environment in your bathroom.

What temperature should you wash a plastic bath mat at?

It is best to wash your plastic bath mat in warm water. High temperatures can cause the plastic to warp, become brittle, or lose its shape. Using warm water, especially when paired with a gentle detergent, is usually sufficient to kill bacteria and remove grime from your mat without causing any damage.

Should you wash a plastic bath mat separately from other laundry?

While it’s not necessary to wash a plastic bath mat separately, it’s often best to do so to avoid cross-contamination with other items. If you do decide to wash it with other items, choose sturdy ones like towels to balance the load and provide a scrubbing action. Avoid washing it with delicate items that may get damaged, or heavily soiled items that may cause the mat to become dirtier.

Can you use fabric softener on a plastic bath mat?

Using fabric softener on a plastic bath mat is not necessary and can be counterproductive. Softeners may leave a filmy residue on the surface of the mat, which could cause it to become slippery and unsafe to use. Stick to a gentle detergent for cleaning, and rinse the mat thoroughly after washing to ensure no slippery residues are left behind.

How do you remove mold and mildew from a plastic bath mat?

To remove mold and mildew from a plastic bath mat, use a vinegar solution, which acts as a natural fungicide. Prepare a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts warm water. Apply this to the moldy or mildewy areas and scrub gently using a soft brush or cloth.

Rinse the mat thoroughly afterwards to remove the vinegar solution and any dislodged mold or mildew. After cleaning, dry the mat completely before its next use to discourage the growth of new spores. Regular cleaning and drying of the bath mat will also help prevent mold and mildew buildup.


There are multiple ways to clean your plastic bath mat, including machine washing, hand washing, and spot cleaning. Each method comes with its own set of steps and considerations. However, never put a plastic bath mat in the dryer, and avoid washing it in hot water to prevent damage. Regular cleaning not only maintains the look of your mat but also ensures a hygienic bathroom environment. Stay clean, stay safe!