how to wash car mats

How to Clean Car Mats Without a Washer

Wondering how to clean car mats at home? From rubber to fabric, our expert guide outlines everything you need for washing 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.

Mud, sand, gravel, tar, chewing gum, dog poop: The bottom of your shoes track a lot nasty things into your car mats and they need a regular wash to keep them clean. 

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! 


Can You Wash Car Mats in the Washer?

You may wonder if you can simply toss a car mat in the washer, but first, be aware of the material and whether it’s washer-friendly.

  • Rubber Car Mats: Never ever put rubber mats in your washing machine.  These types of car mats aren't machine washable (nor can they be put in your dryer)!
  • Plastic Car Mats: Like rubber mats, these should never be put in a washing machine or dryer.
  • Fabric Car Mats: For lightweight carpet 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.

Can You Wash Car Mats with Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergents are generally formulated to clean fabric and clothing, so they can work on fabric mats. However, for carpet mats, use a cleaner specifically made for that surface, such as our Carpet Spot Remover.

How to Clean Rubber & Plastic Car Mats

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

  • Remove Mats & Shake Them 

To clean 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 and wash the mat.

  • Break out the Hose

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

  • 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, clean sponge, or a soft-bristled cleaning brush into the solution and get to scrubbing to wash.

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.

  • 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 to wash.

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

How to Clean Fabric Car Mats

Fabrics 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.

  • Remove & Shake Car Mat

Just like with rubber mats, remove your 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.

  • Vacuum 

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.

  • Treat 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.

How to Clean Carpet Car Mats

If you have a car mat made of carpet, follow these steps to dislodge stains and get a thorough, deep clean.

  • Beat the Carpet

Remove the floor mats from the vehicule and thoroughly shake and beat them to remove dirt, grime, and dust particles.

  • Vacuum

Go over the mats thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner.

  • Treat Stains

If you're targeting specific stains, use our Carpet Spot Remover, allowing it to sit overnight for particularly tough stains.

  • Do a Deep Clean

If your mats need a deep clean, use our Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo to a mixture of warm water in a bucket. Saturate a clean cloth and gently agitate the carpet with the mixture. Repeat this using water and a clean towel until all the cleaner is rinsed from the carpet.

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

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 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!

How Do I Remove Odors from Car Mats?

If you're dealing with a funky odor on your mats, here are some solutions for tackling them at their source.

  • Everyday Surface Cleaner

If an odor is coming from food, dirt, or waste, our Everyday Surface Cleaner works on vinyl, leather, rubber, and plastic. Spritz it on and use a microfiber towel to clean it off.

  • Pet Stain & Odor Remover

If your pet made a mess on your car mats, tackle it with our easy, no-rinse Pet Stain & Odor Remover. Spray the affected area and gently agitate it with a soft brush or damp towel. Then let it sit for up to 8 minutes (for new odors) or up to 8 hours (for old odors).

From Your Home to Your Car, Puracy Keeps It Clean

Once you know how to wash your 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!