how to wash car mats

Cleaning 101: How to Wash Car Mats

Wondering how to clean car mats at home? From rubber to fabric, our expert guide outlines everything you need for washing car mats.
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Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

Mud, sand, gravel, tar, chewing gum, dog poop: The bottom of your shoes track a lot nasty things into your car.

You've already mastered cleaning car upholstery, but if you want to learn how to wash car mats, our cleaning experts are here to help! 

How to Clean Rubber & Plastic Car Mats

can you wash car mats

We recommend plastic and rubber car mats in all vehicles. They catch dirt and debris extremely well and you can rinse them off easily. 

1. Remove Mats & Shake Them 

To clean car floor mats, pull them out of your vehicle. Shake each one separately. We like whacking them against a driveway/asphalt to loosen debris. If anything is stuck to the surface, use a soft-bristled cleaning brush, rubber spatula, or a plastic ice scraper to remove debris.

2. Break out the Hose

washing car mats

A decent water pressure from a hose should help to dislodge any remaining dirt or grime that’s stuck to the mat.

3. Wash with Soap

Still spot dirt and debris? In a bucket, mix one ounce of Puracy Natural Dish Soap to 3 gallons of warm water. Dip a clean cloth or a soft-bristled cleaning brush into the solution and get to scrubbing.

Pro Tip: Microfiber towels are perfect for pretty much everything – except sandy and gritty surfaces. Sharp particles get trapped in the fibers and can scratch paint & electronics screens.

4. Rinse & Dry 

Use the hose to remove any remaining soap suds. Shake off water off and rest your car mats at an angle against your house, garage, recycling bin, or over a fence. Make sure that they're completely dry before replacing them.

Pro Tip: Don't leave them on top of your car to dry. They're easy to forget!

Can You Wash Rubber Car Mats in the Washer?

can you put car mats in the washer

Never ever put rubber or plastic car mats in your washing machine. These types of car mats aren't machine washable (nor can they be put in your dryer)!

For lightweight carpet car mats, check your owner’s manual or consult the manufacturer to see if they can go in the washer. Because they're rigid, you'll want them to soak in water while sitting upright. Use a standard top-loading washing machine (not a front-loader). 

Set your machine on a delicate setting, agitate, then press "pause" for an hour to soak. Follow with a pre-rinse cycle and an extra rinse. Once finished, lay the mats flat in the sun to dry. Never place them in the dryer, as this can ruin the adhesives that hold the mat together.

How to Clean Carpet Car Mats

how to wash carpet car mats

Fabric and carpet soak up liquids. That means plenty of stains and smells. Though they aren't as easy to clean as rubber or plastic, our simple cleaning steps will make them look brand new.

1. Remove & Shake Car Mat

Just like with rubber mats, remove your car mats before cleaning them. Shake each mat gently to loosen any debris and/or hit the rubber backside of the mat against a tree, driveway, or stone wall.

2. Vacuum 

vacuuming car mats

Vacuum both sides of your mat using the upholstery brush attachment (if your vacuum cleaner has one). In a pinch, air compressors with a blow gun attachment are excellent substitutes.

3. Treat Stains

how to remove car stains

Apply our Natural Stain Remover and let it sit for at least one hour (though the longer you wait, the better). It’s the only natural stain remover on the market that includes all six plant-based enzymes. This means that it can dislodge thousands of substances, smudges, and smells.

The Best Methods for Cleaning Fabric Car Mats

No matter what appliance you've got (or if you're washing carpet car mats by hand), there's a simple method for everyone.

Using a Steam Cleaner

We typically recommend using a steam cleaner instead of a carpet shampooer. It only uses water and – when done properly – is extremely effective. A steam cleaner also sanitizes home surfaces and cleans everything from dirty grout to your living room without any cleaning products. 

Using a Carpet Cleaning Machine

Most auto detailing professionals prefer carpet cleaning machines for car floor mats. Rest them on clean, flat surfaces so when you hit it from multiple angles, you'll avoid lifting the mat off the ground. 

Cleaning Car Mats by Hand

car upholstery shampoo

If you don’t own a steam cleaner or carpet cleaning machine – and you don’t have time to rent one – clean fabric floor mats the same way that you clean carpets in your house.

  1. In a bucket, mix lukewarm water and Natural Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo according to the label directions. 
  2. Soak a clean cloth in the cleaning solution. Rub the damp rag across the entire surface of each mat using a gentle back and forth motion. Re-wet the cloth as necessary.
  3. To remove remaining carpet shampoo, soak a clean cloth in warm water and rub it across the car mats. Regularly dip and wring your cloth in warm water throughout the process. 
  4. Let damp spots dry naturally (preferably in the sun) before replacing them. If any stains remain, repeat the process a second time!

From Your Home to Your Car, Puracy Keeps It Clean

how to clean fabric car mats

Once you know how to wash your car mats you won't panic when someone tracks in mud or has a "little accident" in the backseat. And Puracy products are here every step (and mile) of the way!