The Beginners DIY Guide To Wash Your Dream Car Mats


Car mats are the one thing in your car that you can’t actually keep clean. Although clean mats can are satisfying, they don’t stand that way for a long time. So, the best thing to do is wash the accumulated dirt once every two weeks. This may seem too much but washing car mats is easy enough, here is: How to wash car mats by hand and in the washing machine?

Rubber car mats are cleaned with soapy water and rinsed with a garden hose. Cloth car mats are cleaned by hand with a cleaner spray or in the washing machine. 

Follow this guide for easy car mat cleaning. I will explain each method step-by-step, follow the ones for the types of mat you have.

Washing Rubber Car Floor Mats

Washing Rubber Car Floor Mats

Rubber floor mats are really easy to clean, everyone can do it. All you need is a water hose, a high-pressure hose is preferred.

Although these don’t look as good as cloth mats, they have better protection. They won’t get damaged from the snow and the road salt. Stubborn stains are easier to remove.

  1. Remove the mats carefully.
    Just take out the mats from the car. Be careful to not spread dirt all over the carpet floor. If you do so, vacuum the carpet floor before adding the mats again. To avoid spreading dirt, just fold the car mat once like paper.
  2. Hit the mat against a hard surface to remove surface dirt.
    You don’t want to damage the rubber with the abrasive dirt while you are scrubbing. So, it’s best to remove surface dirt. To do that, just smack the mat against a hard surface twice. Be careful to not inhale the dirt or get it all over your clothes.
  3. Rinse with a high-pressure garden hose.
    In an area where the water won’t cause problems, rinse the mat. This is another step to remove abrasive dirt before scrubbing. Just give it a nice rinse with a high-pressure hose.
  4. Dilute dish soap with warm water.
    Any liquid soap will do, the rubber mat won’t get damaged if you removed the dirt before. Or, you can use a rubber car mat cleaner and protectant. This will revive the mat to its original brand-new look.
  5. Apply soapy water and scrub with a sponge or a soft brush.
    You can get creative here, use what you have. The cleaning solution can be applied with a spray bottle too, then scrub with a soft brush or a clean towel rag. Or, you can just soak the sponge in the soap and get scrubbing. This way you are polluting the water though, it’s best if you wash with clean water.
  6. Rinse again.
    Just repeat Step 3.
  7. Let the mat dry thoroughly.
    It’s best to add the car mat once it’s dried completely. While it’s moist, more dirt sticks to it. Before you know it, there’s dirt buildup again. Also, the mat will have water spots.
  8. Make sure the carpet floor is clean before adding the car mat again.

Washing Cloth Car Floor Mats By Hand

Now, cloth mats are harder to maintain clean. Cloth stains easily, so any spills will leave a stain. Dirt penetrates the surface, so you need to deal with lifting dirt particles. Cleaning them is easy enough though, here is the handwashing method.

  1. Remove the mats. 
    Again, be careful to not spread dirt. If you do so, vacuum the car carpet floor.
  2. Vacuum the cloth mats. 
    This is an important step, do not skip this one. Even if the mats are looking relatively clean. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of that loose dirt. It can damage the cloth when you are scrubbing. Vacuum both sides.
  3. Remove stains with baking soda.
    Neglected cloth mats will have a bad smell and a lot of heavy stains. Baking soda will get rid of the foul odor and the stains. Do not skip this step too, your mat will have an even worse musky smell after adding the detergent. Just add baking soda and spill some warm water on it. Let it react and then scrub with a soft brush. For those heavy stains, you may have to use a harder brush.
  4. Clean with laundry detergent or a spray cleaner.
    You have your options here. One way to go is to mix laundry detergent with baby shampoo. Two tablespoons for each. Add hot water to make a soapy mixture. Apply it with a carpet brush, a stiff brush is recommended. Scrub against the mat thoroughly. Another way to go is to use a spray cleaner. Follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
  5. Rinse with clean water.
    You can use a garden hose, you don’t need high pressure. Or, rinse in the bathroom using the shower.
  6. Vacuum using a water vacuum.
    This is optional, not everyone has a vacuum cleaner that can absorb moisture. It helps to remove the scrubbed dirt off the mat.
  7. Dry thoroughly.
    Do not add the cloth floor mat until it’s dried completely.

Cleaning Cloth Car Mats In The Washing Machine

Cleaning Cloth Car Mats In The Washing Machine

The easier way to wash cloth car mats is to use a washing machine or a steam cleaner. You can avoid scrubbing with a steam vacuum cleaner or a washing machine.

  1. Remove the car mats.
  2. Vacuum the mats. 
  3. Add a spray stain remover. 
    Each cleaning product is different, so I highly recommend just following the instructions on the bottle.
  4. Put in the washing machine.
    You can use almost any wash cycle. Check the mats if there is a tag with washing instructions. Use a regular laundry detergent.
  5. Optional: Vacuum using a water vacuum.
  6. Dry completely.

Using A Steam Cleaning Vacuum

You don’t have to wait for a whole wash cycle. If you have one, just use a steam cleaner, for instance, a shop-vac. Vacuum the mats thoroughly, these will both get rid of surface dirt and dirt particles.

Also, you can use a power washer. You don’t have to have one at home. You can probably find one in a car wash place. Usually, the self-serve car wash places have a power washer available.

How To Remove Road Salt From Car Carpet

How To Remove Road Salt From Car Carpet

Those living in a colder climate know how irritating it is to deal with road salt combined with road grime. This can ruin both the car mats and the carpet floor. Any road salt inside the car should be dealt with, here is how.

  1. Loosen up the dirt with a brush and a wet-dry vacuum.
    This is a prepping step, it’s easier to clean the mat if it’s not full of dirt. Dissolve the salt with a brush and then vacuum it.
  2. Mix white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the carpet and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Rub down with a damp cloth.
  5. Vacuum with a shop-vac again or use paper towels to absorb the salt.
  6. Let the mat dry completely.

This method will dissolve the salt and stop it from damaging the carpet. You can also try using a steam vacuum cleaner.

If the salt left any stains on your carpet, mix two tablespoons of dish soap and warm water. Scrub the floor with the mixture using a bristle brush.

How To Remove Oil Stains From Car Carpet

The nastiest stain you can have on your carpet floor mats is an oil stain. It’s really hard to get rid of. I have a way for it, try it if you are dealing with an oil stain. Remember, oil stains should be cleaned immediately after spilling.

  1. Add baking soda to the carpet.
    If the stain is still moist, just add the baking soda. If it’s dry, add hot water to the baking soda.
  2. Let the baking soda sit overnight.
    As I said, oil stains are hard to get rid of. Allow for 24 hours to pass, just to make sure the soda absorbs everything.
  3. Vacuum or wipe away the baking soda.
    Before you move on you need to vacuum the soda. Make sure you do not stick it against the carpet, a vacuum cleaner is recommended.
  4. Add the same amount of white vinegar and warm water to a spray bottle.
  5. Spray the carpet and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Scrub with soapy water and a brush.
  7. Rinse with water.
  8. Repeat if Step 1-7 the stain persists.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Can You Put Car Mats In The Washing Machine

It depends on the type of car mats you have. Rubber car mats can’t be placed in the washing machine. Cloth car mats can be cleaned in the washing machine using a regular laundry detergent.

What Is The Best Cleaner For Rubber Car Mats

The best homemade solution for cleaning rubber car mats is a mixture of liquid dish soap and warm water. I recommend using a dedicated rubber car mat spray cleaner to revive the mat and protect it.

How To Restore Rubber Car Mats

To restore rubber car mats rinse them first. Locate the heavy stains and add a degreaser. Once you removed the stains, use a spray cleaner to restore the mat’s color and protect it from fading.

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