Can You Wash Car Mats in the Washer? – Ask The Experts

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For such a simple product, many vehicle owners are still not clear on whether you can put your car mats through the washer.

This is unsurprising, given that there is no clear-cut answer either way.

The truth is that is depends entirely upon the specific type and design of the car mat that you’re using.

Read ahead to find out more.

Carpeted car mats

Carpeted car mats are inevitably going to get stained, as they don’t have the same liquid or dirt repellent properties as their rubber counterparts. 

Fortunately, they are easy to clean. In fact, one of the main advantages of carpeted car mats is that they can be put through the washer, whereas rubber mats cannot. 

However, it’s important to know exactly what type of mat designs this applies to.

Machine washing

As mentioned above, carpeted car mats can be put through the washing machine.

That said, it’s always recommended to check the label or instructions belonging to a specific mat to avoid confusion or potential damage.

If you’re unsure, as a rule, you should avoid machine washing any car mat that has rubber or plastic parts, as these could melt or deform in the wash, particularly at hot temperatures.

Hand washing

This takes more manual exertion than simply running your carpet through the washer, but maybe your only alternative. It can, however, be more effective.

Start by vacuuming or shaking out any loose dirt and debris. If there are patches of hard, dried mud, you might have some success slapping the reverse side of the mat.

Next, use upholstery cleaner designed specifically for vehicle interiors if you can, but laundry detergent would be acceptable if it’s all that you have.

Using a soft-bristled brush, daub the cleaning product onto the mat ensuring that it is wet, and then vigorously scrub the stains out.

Unlike rubber mats, you can leave your carpeted car mats out in the sun to dry without fear of cracking, though you may still see faster color fade as a result.

This can be avoided by putting them through the drier – if the manufacturer recommends it – or by leaving them in the shade to dry.

Rubber car mats

Rubber car mats typically repel stains much better than carpeted car mats, as very little in the way of dirt or liquids easily adheres to the rubber material.

However, the grooved design on many mats means that they can easily trap and hold onto dirt, even if they do not absorb it. When it comes to cleaning rubber car mats, you have 2 different means available to you.

Simply applying soapy water gets the job done. But if your rubber car floor mats require some scrubbing, you can use a microfiber wash mitt. em and the sidewalk or driveway.

Hand washing

Much like with carpeted car mats, you should be aiming to use a relatively light, gentle detergent for your rubber car mats, avoiding anything containing bleach or other harsh cleaning products that could strip the color from your mats, or cause your car to smell of strong chemicals.

You should also use less force to scrub your mats when using a bristled brush, as being too tough on the rubber could result in tearing.

Pressure washing

If you choose a hose that has relatively low to mid-range pressure, or one with a wide-angled nozzle, then you can use a pressure washer hose to clean the dirt and debris from your rubber car mats.

However, be sure not to spray them on the ground, as the pressure could cause tears on the reverse of the mats if enough friction is generated between them and the sidewalk or driveway.

pressure washer

Car Carpet Cleaning Products

There are many viable options when looking for a soap to use when cleaning car carpets. Some of them include regular detergent, laundry soap, and regular shampoo. Automotive-specific carpet cleaners are a good choice, as well as do-it-yourself concoctions. Here are some recommendations:

Automotive carpet cleaners come in a spray bottle, and you can buy them at most automotive shops near you.  

  1. Blue Coral DC22 cleaner has a Dri-Clean plus feature that grabs dug-in dirt particles and debris. It also uses technology that eliminates bad odor and has an integrated brush cap.
  2. CarGuys premium super cleaner: This formula removes debris without leaving any unpleasant smell or residue behind.
  3. Turtle Wax upholstery cleaner has odor-eliminating technology, built-in soil-repellent, and a detachable scrub brush.  

DIY carpet cleaner: This recipe involves mixing soap in a bowl until it dissolves completely and becomes foamy. Put a stiff brush in the mix and scrub it into the car carpet. Here are the measurements:

  • Grated soap – 3 tablespoons
  • Borax – 2 tablespoons
  • Hot water – 2 cups

How to Maintain a Clean Car Carpet Mat 

Your carpet mats will get dirty again despite how well you clean them. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent your carpet floor mats from becoming dirty again, but you can prolong the period before your next wash.

Let’s look at a few ways that can help keep your car mats clean.

  • Prevent dirt from getting in the car

You can achieve this by limiting how much dirt gets in the car’s interior. Ensure your shoes are clean before getting in the car or carry a spare change of shoes to change into if your shoes become dirty.

  • Cover the floor mat with cling film

Covering the carpet floor mats in cling film helps to keep them clean. Cling film has a clear appearance that helps to maintain the car’s look, but the surface may become slippery.

  • Placing paper in the footwell

This keeps the interior clean, especially the carpet and floor mats. The paper accumulates dirt as people get in and out of the car.

Bottom line

In summary, carpet car mats can be put through the washing machine if they have no plastic or rubber parts in their design.

If you don’t have a power washer at home, you can usually find them at car washes, and you could power wash your floor mats there

However, rubber floor mats should never be placed into the washer, or the drier.

Fortunately, there are quick and easy methods of cleaning both types of mat that typically have better results anyway.