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How to Clean a Moldy Bath Mat

How to Clean a Moldy Bath Mat

Mold is a common occurrence in bathrooms due to damp and warm conditions. Therefore, keeping your bath mat clean and free from mold is great for sanitary and aesthetic purposes. 

A bath mat absorbs water when you’re getting out of the tub or shower; however, if it’s constantly wet, it creates a perfect environment for mold spores to form. It’s best to understand that a mold buildup can be dangerous, especially for people with respiratory conditions. This is because mold produces allergens, irritants, and sometimes toxic substances. 

You can keep your bath mats looking new by avoiding leaving damp ones on the floor. Instead, regularly wash and dry them to prevent mold from growing.

Here’s how you can clean a moldy bath mat and prevent mold growth on your bath mat:

Machine Washable Bath Mats

It’s best to determine if your bath mat is machine washable by reading the care instruction label on the mat. 

Most bath mats are machine washable, whether with a fuzzy floor bath mat or a plastic shower bath mat. However, be careful with mats with rubber backing or a high-shag surface because they might deteriorate or break down during wash or high-heat dry cycles.

You can follow these steps if your moldy bath mat is machine washable:

  • First, fill the washing machine with water and adjust the cycle to use the hottest water possible because high temperatures kill mold spores.
  • Pour laundry detergent and add a cup of distilled white vinegar to clean and sanitize. 
  • Put the moldy bath mat in the vinegar water and shut the lid to start the cycle. 
  • Remove the bath mat from the washing machine. 
  • Dry the bath mat in the clothes dryer in a low-heat setting. Alternatively, hang it up and let it drip dry if the mat has a rubber backing to prevent cracking or peeling. 

Non-Machine Washable Bath Mats

You can hand-wash bath mats that aren’t machine washable or extend the life of the bath mat. Also, hand washing is gentler on frequently washed items such as bath mats because it doesn’t break down the fibers and back over time.

Here’s how to hand wash a moldy bath mat:

What You Need:

  • White vinegar
  • Laundry detergent
  • Scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket


  • Put the bath mat in the sink or a large bucket of water.
  • Put on the rubber gloves and pour a small cupful of laundry detergent into the water.
  • Scrub the bath mat with a scrub brush on both the front and back. 
  • Inspect the bath mat for mold areas that did not come clean, such as discoloration or residue buildup.
  • Scrub these areas with white vinegar to sanitize and clean the mold. 
  • Let the bath mat dry by hanging it in the laundry room or outside on a clothesline in the shade to prevent discoloration by the sun. 
  • Place the clean bath mat in the bathroom when it’s fully dry. 

Preventing a Moldy Bath Mat

Between the ick of stepping into a moldy bath mat and the potential side effects of exposure, preventing a moldy bath mat should be high on the list of bathroom chores. 

The best thing is that you can do little work to avoid having a moldy bath mat. 

You can do the following to avoid having a moldy bath mat:

Dry the Bath Mat Out

Bath mats absorb water; however, they create an open invitation for mold growth if they’re constantly wet. 

After you get out of the shower, hang up your bath mat so it can thoroughly dry after use. You can use a towel rack to ensure this mat is completely dry. 

Place the bath mat back down when you or your family is ready for a shower or bath. However, remember that it takes at least twenty-four hours for the mold spore to begin growing; therefore, the goal is to dry the mat within that time frame completely.

Keep Your Bath Mat Clean

Washing your bath mat at least once a week with an effective cleaning product can help keep mold at bay. 

You can also use a HEPA vacuum cleaner on your bath mat to remove any particles or rogue spores on the surface. 

Maintain Low Indoor Humidity

Removing moist air from the bathroom is crucial in helping to avoid mold growth. Moisture can lead to a moldy bath mat because it prevents it from drying out completely or triggers condensation that a mold spore can use for growth. Additionally, wet air, in general, can provide just enough moisture for a mold spore to survive. 

You can reduce mold growth opportunities by maintaining the EPA’s suggested humidity level of 30 to 50 degrees at all times. Additionally, you can achieve drier air by using the exhaust fan every time the bathroom is in use and focusing on air circulation by opening a window or cracking the bathroom door. 

Replace Your Bath Mat on Schedule

A well-worn bath mat can lead to cleaning and drying difficulties, an extended invitation for mold growth. You can prevent this issue by replacing your bath mat with a new one when the time arises.

The good news is that replacing bath mats is relatively inexpensive because you can wait for at least two years before getting a new one. However, the more frequently you replace, the better. 

Create an Anti-Mold Growth Bathroom Atmosphere

You can avoid moldy bath mats by creating an anti-mold growth bathroom atmosphere. You can do this by frequently cleaning, immediately drying any frequent wet items like towels, wiping up puddled water, and turning on the exhaust fan while showering. 

These things aim to limit the amount of water and food that any spore can use to start growing. Remember that once mold starts growing in the bathroom, the chance of having a moldy problem in another location, such as the bath mat, increases. 

You can prevent mold growth on your bath mats by washing and drying them at least once a week or more. Remember that mold thrives in damp and warm conditions; therefore, you can keep your bathroom well-ventilated to prevent mold growth. 

You can also opt for a bath mat made from wood, cork, or bamboo because these are more resistant to mold growth. They are also easier to maintain and require less frequent washings.