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Can You Put Car Mats in the Washer?

Can You Put Car Mats in the Washer?

While cleaning our cars, the chances are that we often neglect or forget to clean the mats.

And, no matter how careful we keep our car’s interior clean, the mat will always hold dust, food particles, or even liquids that drop as you drink or eat. 

They also receive a greater percentage of the grime that attaches to the bottom of your shoe.

Like the house carpets, it takes a significant amount of dirt build-up for you to notice that your car mat needs some cleaning. 

How do you clean it fast? Can you put the car mat in a wash?

Some car mats can be put in the washer, while others cannot. Any rubber, plastic, and vinyl mats are not suitable for the wash, as they may break down. The only mats you can put in the washing machine are fabric mats. However, exclude any fabric mat that has rubber edging or parts.

Mats improve the aesthetic appeal of your car’s interior, and you shouldn’t neglect them.

As a rule of the thumb, you should always check for a label attached to the car mat, which indicates if it’s good for a machine wash or not.  

Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Car Mats in the Washer

Before putting your car mats in your washing machine, some important considerations are the materials they’re made of, the size of your washing machine, and how much you value your wash.

Most car mats, especially the fabric ones, are thick and difficult to clean in the washing machines. 

They then end up warping and losing their quality. Additionally, heavy mats tend to unbalance the appliance, as they’re more cumbersome for your washing machine.

You should stop if yours is too small to the extent that you need to force your mats in. 

Also, depending on the material, fabric mats absorb much water and may be heavier than your washing machine’s weight limit.

Consider overloading a washing machine that spins from 800 to 1,600 revolutions per minute. 

The centripetal and centrifugal stresses on the mats can ruin the spin basket bearing or the spider bracket that holds it in place.

The result is that you’ll have to part with $85 to $300 to repair it, depending on the extent of the damage.   

Also, as we’ve seen, it’s best to avoid washing plastic, rubber, and vinyl car mats in the wash as they may break and disintegrate.

The small pieces will block the washing machine’s drain pump or line. 

Car mat

How to Clean Rubber Car Floor Mats

Rubber car mats improve comfort, relieve fatigue, prevent moisture from damaging your car’s floor, and prevent your foot from slipping when driving. 

They’re ideal for wet weather experienced during winters and colder or rainy climates, since they’re easier to clean.

And, as they’re not machine washable, you might be interested in knowing how to clean them.

Here’s how to clean your rubber mats. 

  • Remove the mats from the car floor while ensuring to fold them into two. Folding into two keeps the dirt on the mat so that you don’t dirty your car’s floor.
  • Whack the carpet against the wind or remove all loose debris and dust with a stick. Scrape the mat’s surface if it has soil particles attaching to it. Afterward, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any stubborn dirt on the mat.
  • Next, spray water with a hose to loosen the stuck debris and make it easier for you when scrubbing the rubber. For this, use a rubber floor mat cleaner or a dilute liquid dishwashing soap.
  • Clean the rubber mat with a stiff-bristled brush. It’s important to use a bristled brush, as most rubber car mats have grooves that may be hard to access when using a small-bristled brush.
  • Then, you’ll spray high-pressure water using a pressure hose to rinse and remove the scrubbed dirt from the mat’s surface and grooves. 
  • Next, you can use a microfiber towel to dry the surface further and introduce a rubber treatment product afterward.

    Rubber mats will degrade over time due to the normal wear and tear. And, as most, by design, last the car’s lifetime, it’s important to care for and treat them periodically. 

Cleaning Fabric Car Floor Mats

Cleaning fabric car mats is harder than rubber mats, since they absorb liquids and hide finer particles.

They may even contain stubborn stains that require special chemical detergents to clean. 

Here are steps you should follow in cleaning your fabric car mats.

  • Remove the fabric/cloth mats from the car floor while ensuring to fold them into two. Folding into two, keeps the dirt on the mat so that you don’t dirty your car floor. 
  • Vacuum both sides of the mat to remove all fine dirt particles. 
  • Next, you’ll use a mixture of baking soda and water to remove stains and odors on the mats. Baking soda regulates the pH level of the water, keeping it from being too alkaline or acidic. It also helps to remove stubborn stains from your mats. 
  • Next, you’ll clean your fabric mats using soapy water, spray cleaners, power wash, steam cleaners, or a washing machine. 
  • If you’re satisfied that they’re clean, the next step involves vacuuming the mats to dry them.
  • You can then opt for air-drying to remove all water from your mat. 

The Takeaway to Putting Car Mats in the Washer

Car mats are an essential part of our vehicles, as they keep our soles warm and prevent dirt and water from reaching the car’s floor.

Unfortunately, you may be one of the many people who ignore or forget to clean them as frequently as they clean their seats. 

Most car mats are not able to be put in the washer, as the washer will ruin the mat, or even get damaged itself. It’s safer to hand clean most all mats.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!