Best Ways to Clean a Plastic Bath Mat

Plastic bath mats can become a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and pathogens if left unwashed for extended periods of time. Although bath mats perform a vital function in preventing bathroom slips and mishaps, they can present a very serious health risk when left unattended. In this article we’ll provide information on simple, straightforward cleaning methods to ensure your mat is clean and bacteria free.

How to Remove Bacteria From Your Bath Mat

Bacteria is by far the main health risk in leaving a bath mat unwashed. Thriving in warm, wet environments, common bacteria grows in the humid environment that can cause gastrointestinal infections and sickness such as E. Coli, Salmonella and worse. The most effective way to ensure your mat is free from bacterial colonies is by soaking the mat in a tub with one cup of bleach of every gallon of water.

It’s best to use a hand-mixed bleach solution instead of gimmicky disinfectants, as they’re just as effective and far more cost effective. For a natural alternative to harsh chemicals such as bleach, vinegar can be used as a replacement, although it’s not guaranteed to destroy hardier forms of bacteria such as staphylococcus.

Mold, Mildew & Fungus

Bathroom mold colonies on bath mats can present another significant health risk to homeowners. Black mould, also known as stachybotrys, can cause flu or asthma-symptoms, while fungus strains that thrive in bathrooms cause athlete’s foot or toenail fungus, a persistent and undesirable condition. A bleach solution is similarly effective at destroying these pathogens, but for best results a stronger concentration is required.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a 0.5% bleach chlorine solution to remove stubborn mold and fungus, which is easily created by mixing 2 parts 1.25% bleach concentration (commonly available at groceries and drugstores) with three parts water. Applied to the mat with a scrubbing brush and rinsed thoroughly afterwards, this solution ensures your bathroom is free from fungus and mold spores.

Dirt, Grime & Stains

Removing common dirt and grime is relatively simple. Bath mats can be washed in a washing machine after following the above procedures to wash away everyday dirt. When using the washing machine to clean your mat, placing older towels or rags in with the mat provides a coarse scrubbing effect, knocking loose built-up mud and grime. A kitchen dishwasher will also clean dirty mats in a pinch, but ensure you’ve washed the mat with a bleach solution and rinsed it thoroughly before using this method.

Other Cleaning Tips

  • When using strong cleaning chemicals such as bleach, always wear thick plastic gloves and avoid inhaling fumes.
  • When washing mats in a washing machine, use the highest temperature setting to ensure microorganisms are destroyed.
  • Always leave the mats to hang dry for several hours after cleaning.


Regularly cleaning your bath mat is a simple and easy process that helps ensure the long term health of your family. Plastic bath mats should be washed every 2-3 weeks with a strong bleach solution, and replaced at least once yearly. Source:

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