Can You Put Car Mats in the Washer? The Ultimate Guide

Unravel the mystery of washing car mats: Washer-friendly or not? Find out in our all-inclusive guide!
Cleaning a car mat
Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to cleaning car mats, many people wonder if they can simply toss them in the washing machine. This article will explore the best ways to clean different types of car mats, with a focus on whether or not you can put car mats in the washer. We will also provide helpful tips for maintaining the appearance and longevity of your mats.

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Understanding Different Types of Car Mats

To determine if you can put car mats in the washing machine, it’s crucial to first understand the various types of mats and their materials. There are two main types of car mats: fabric (carpeted) and rubber or all-weather mats.

  1. Fabric or Carpeted Car Mats: These mats are made from a variety of materials, such as nylon, polyester, or polypropylene. They are designed to provide comfort and a more luxurious feel underfoot.
  2. Rubber or All-Weather Car Mats: These mats are made from durable rubber or thermoplastic materials, designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and protect your vehicle’s floor from dirt, water, and mud.
How to washing rubber vs fabric car mats

So, Can You Put Car Floor Mats in the Washer?

Now that we have a better understanding of the different types of car mats, let’s address the primary question: can you put car floor mats in the washer? The short answer is yes for fabric or carpeted car mats. However, it is generally not recommended to put rubber car mats in the washing machine.

Washing Fabric or Carpeted Car Mats in the Washing Machine

For fabric or carpeted car mats, you can usually put them in the washing machine. Before doing so, follow these steps to ensure proper care:

Fabric rear car mat
  • Check the manufacturer’s care instructions to see if there are any specific recommendations or warnings.
  • Vacuum the mats to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Pre-treat any stains with a mild detergent or carpet cleaner.
  • Place the mats in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them and the washer from potential damage.
  • Use a gentle cycle, cold water, and mild detergent.
  • Avoid using bleach, as it can cause fading or discoloration.
  • After washing, air-dry the mats, avoiding heat or direct sunlight to prevent shrinking and fading.

Can You Put Rubber Car Mats in the Washing Machine?

For rubber or all-weather car mats, it is generally not recommended to put them in the washing machine. The agitation can cause damage to both the mats and the appliance. Instead, follow these cleaning steps:

Power washing car mat
  • Remove the car mats from the vehicle and shake off any loose dirt.
  • Use a hose or pressure washer to rinse the mats thoroughly.
  • Apply a mild detergent or specialized rubber mat cleaner and scrub the mats with a brush.
  • Rinse the car mats again to remove any soap residue.
  • Hang the mats to air-dry or pat dry with a clean towel.

Alternatives and Tips

If you’re not sure whether you can wash car mats in the washing machine or if you prefer alternative methods, consider the following options:

  • Spot cleaning: Use a mild detergent or carpet cleaner to treat stains on fabric car mats. Gently scrub the affected area with a soft brush or cloth, then rinse and air-dry.
  • Steam cleaning: A handheld steam cleaner can effectively clean both fabric and rubber car mats. The high-temperature steam helps remove dirt and sanitize the mats without using harsh chemicals.
  • Professional cleaning: If your car mats are heavily soiled or require special care, consider taking them to a professional cleaner who specializes in auto detailing.

Maintaining the Appearance and Longevity of Your Mats

To keep your car mats looking their best and lasting longer, follow these simple tips:

  • Regularly vacuum your car mats to remove dirt and debris.
  • Clean spills and stains promptly to prevent permanent damage or discoloration.
  • Rotate your car mats periodically to ensure even wear and tear.
  • Use car mat clips or anchors to keep the mats in place and prevent them from bunching up or sliding.
  • Invest in high-quality car mats that are designed for your specific vehicle make and model. This will ensure a proper fit and better protection for your vehicle’s floor.


Cleaning a car mat

In summary, whether you can put car mats in the washer depends on the material of the mats. Fabric or carpeted car mats can generally be washed in the washing machine, following the proper care instructions. However, rubber or all-weather car mats should not be put in the washing machine due to the risk of damage to both the mats and the appliance. Instead, opt for alternative cleaning methods such as spot cleaning, steam cleaning, or professional cleaning.

By understanding the differences between fabric and rubber car mats, following appropriate cleaning methods, and maintaining your mats with regular care, you can keep your car’s interior looking clean and fresh. Remember to always consult the manufacturer’s care instructions for specific recommendations and warnings related to your car mats.

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