How To Clean Bath Mats With Suction Cups

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Bath mats are among the list of easily neglected household items. They dwell below us, mostly out of sight, and definitely out of mind. If you ignore them long enough, all kinds of smelly bacteria, mold, and mildew taint your tub.

To clean bathmats with suction cups you will need to fill your tub with one gallon of water and one teaspoon of bleach. Then, let your mat soak for one hour. Afterward, scrub off any build-up that remains using a soft brush. Rinse your mat off with hot water and hang it up to dry.

Bath mats with suction cups seem like they would require more maintenance than those without them. But here’s good news: you can clean them just as easily!

Cleaning Your Bath Mat By Hand

If you don’t even want to take the bath mat out of your bathtub, you can clean it right there! Just pull the bath mat’s suction cups away from the floor of the tub. Then soak it in bleach and water, allowing the solution to do most of the job for you.

Don’t try this willy nilly, though. First, there are a few pre-bleach to do’s.

Safety Above All

We’re big fans of bleach around here, but it’s a potentially harmful substance. You’re going to need a few protective items, like thick rubber gloves and possibly goggles.

Gloves will keep bleach where it belongs: away from your skin. If you’re concerned that bleach may splash in your eyes, then grab your goggles.

Next, to protect yourself from bleach fumes, make sure you ventilate your bathroom. Bleach is a vaporous substance, and inhaling too much of it is ill-advised. Keep the bathroom door(s) open, so the air can best circulate; if you can open a window, that’s even better.

Now comes the final safety protocol. Since hot water mixed with bleach endangers you by creating more potent fumes, use only cold water. And when the time comes to make your mix, make sure to add the cold water before adding bleach.

Measuring the Proper Cleaning Solution

Once you have everything prepped, and you’ve got your gloves and goggles on, time to measure your solution! Grab a measuring cup, which features liters (L) and milliliters (mL). If you have an empty gallon for measuring water, that’s even better.

You’ll want to pour 1 gallon of cold water, or 3.8 L, into your tub for a routine clean. Follow that by adding 4.9 mL of bleach (a teaspoon) into the water.

If your bath mat needs a heavier clean, pour five gallons of water in your tub and mix in 240 mL (one cup). Don’t forget to ensure that you’ve lifted the suction cups away from the tub floor first! You can also flip your mat upside down to ensure the areas around the suction cups get cleaned well.

Soak or Scrub Based on Your Mat’s Level of Need

How long you leave your bath mat in the tub depends on how dirty it is. No disrespect to T.L.C., but if your mat has a few mild stains, it may want some scrubs. But seriously, for a quick touch up, scrubbing the bath mat is recommended. A little elbow grease with the rough side of a sponge or Brillo pad will help remove grime.

Afterward, soak the mat in the bleach-and-water solution for a few minutes. Mission accomplished.

If more than a little mildew or mold has developed, you should give the mat a lengthier soak. Three to four hours should be long enough to finish off bacteria and fungi.

Best Drying Practices for Your Newly Clean Bath Mat

Once the bath mat is clean, it’s time to dry it. Your best practice is to let your mat dry outside in the sun. UV light is a natural disinfectant so that it will provide an extra level of cleanliness.

Despite the temptation, do not dry your bath mat in your dryer. The heat will warp the mat. Or, if your dryer is exceptionally strong, it might damage the mat beyond repair.

Wash Your Mat in the Washing Machine

Your life is probably busy enough without worrying about scrubbing your bath mat. If your schedule does not allow time to scrub or soak your mat, there’s still hope! You can wash many bath mats in the washing machine.

First, you’ll want to make sure your mat can handle the wash cycle. You don’t want your bath mat deteriorating in your machine. You’ll have to buy a new mat, not to mention all the extra time wasted cleaning debris from your machine.

So first thing’s first: read the mat’s instruction label. It will tell you whether or not your mat can withstand a machine washing.

Quick Steps to a Successful Machine Wash

Once you’ve determined that your mat can handle a machine wash, load the laundry detergent. Then select a gentle setting. Anything rougher may hurt your mat.

The best temperature to wash your mat will be hot or warm. This higher temp should kill any fungi or bacteria while the gentle setting keeps your mat intact.

Extra Tips for Machine Washing

If your mat is deeply stained and smelly, add 1/2 cup of bleach to the load.

For even better results, add towels and rags as well. That will ensure your mat doesn’t bang around and throw your machine off balance. Towels will also provide a gentle friction against your bath mat. This friction will give your mat an even better clean.

If you’re adding bleach, make sure those towels or rags are white. That way, the bleach won’t stain them.

Remember, Washing Machine -Yes. Dryer – No-Go.

Sure, your bath mat can handle a wash cycle. But, even so, you should still steer clear of the dryer.

Instead, employ the same methods you would use to dry it after giving it a hand wash. Hang or drape the mat to dry, preferably outside in the sun.

How Often Should You Clean Your Bath Mat?

How often you need to clean your mat largely depends on your level of use. The more a bath mat is used, the less time it has to dry between showers. A single person is likely to use his shower less than a family of four.

So if you have a multi-person household, it’s a good rule to clean your mat every one or two weeks. Let’s say you’re a bachelor, and your mat only endures one shower per day. One cleaning every three or four weeks will do.

Related Questions

What If My Mat Still Has Stains?

Sometimes life gets away from you, and you skip a routine cleaning or two (or four). In that time, the suction cups on your mat incur extra tough stains. In that case, mix baking soda in water to create a fast-cleaning mixture. Scrub the problem areas with an old toothbrush or SOS pad. The baking soda paste should finish off leftover stains.

Is There a Good Substitute For Bleach?

If bleach is not an option for you, a mixture of vinegar and water makes a great substitute. Use equal parts of both and soak your mat in your tub, just like you would with bleach. Or, if the bath mat needs a more aggressive approach, mix 1 cup of both vinegar and water in a small container. Then grab a scouring pad and scrub out the stubborn stains.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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