How to Clean Car Floor Mats

Car mats are one of the most overlooked auto accessories. The rug is the first thing you step on when you get in or out of your car. Each time you hop into your vehicle, you track in dirt, sand, gravel, and tar from your shoes. In some cases, you might even bring in some foul odors if the last thing you stepped on was your dog’s mess. That said, without frequent cleaning, your car interior is bound to pile up with germs from mud, dust, and debris. Not only would your car start to smell bad, but you could also spread debris across the gas pedal and seats. Therefore, to prevent dealing with dirty car mats, here are few optimal rug cleaning tips.

Supplies and Tools You’ll Need

  • Hose or water bucket
  • Scrub/ brush
  • Soap or dishwashing liquid
  • Vacuum or lint roller
  • Remove the Mat from Your Vehicle

The first step is to remove your mat while ensuring to drag out as much dirt as you can. This will make it easier to vacuum the remaining dust. Besides, it will be much easier to control your cleaning without pouring water onto sensitive components, such as the clutch, gas, and brake pedals. After you’ve laid out your car mat, proceed to use a vacuum to remove any dust and dirt before washing it. This way, you won’t have to scrub off more mud from your rug. If you don’t have a vacuum, a lint roller can work just as fine. Most car mats comprising of nylon fibers can be hard to dust off, which is why a lint roller works well as it will collect all traces of dirt and hair effectively.

Cleaning Techniques for Various Floor Mats

Rubber Car Mats

Rubber floor mats are flexible and generally much easier to clean. They don’t require much effort and all you need is to give it a good whack to remove soil before proceeding to wash it. Use a pressurized water hose or bucket and rinse the car mat thoroughly to dislodge any lingering dirt. Ideally, you’d want to only clean the dirty side of the rug and not the side that sleeps on the floor. Next, begin to apply your soap or cleaning liquid of choice onto the rag and rub until the mat is covered in a nice layer of lather. With this, any grime and oil will seamlessly come off your mat’s rubbery surface. For more persistent stains, you can try using alcohol wipes or baking soda. Proceed to rinse your car mat with a hose or bucket until all the soap is washed away. Have a rug nearby so that you can wipe the mat or hang it out to dry thoroughly on a rail or line before putting it back into your car.

Cloth Floor Mats

Cloth car mats are a bit more delicate than plastic or rubber mats and require you to be gentle when washing them. This is because they comprise of tiny fibers that can snap when brushed roughly. To effectively clean a cloth car mat, make sure that you’ve vacuumed it thoroughly. If your rug has stubborn stains, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to alleviate any grime and foul odors from the mat fibers. Use a brush and gently scrub the mixture across the mat until the stains come off. You can decide to utilize chemical products to achieve the same purpose but avoid bleaching compounds lest you discolor your car mat. Next, apply liquid soap or two tablespoons of wash powder and rub the mixture onto the mat. Use a brush and foam a bubbly lather while scrubbing to effectively ensure the soap cleans the mat’s inner lining and fibers. If dirt persists, apply a spray cleaner onto your mat and let it absorb into your mat’s fabric for about 30 minutes. This will help remove any stubborn dirt traces without brushing too hard and risk damaging your rug. After rinsing, hang your mat to dry under direct sunlight or use a dryer to absorb all moisture to prevent your car from smelling damp.


Keeping your car mat clean and dust-free can be as easy as using soap and water. For an extra clean and refreshing fragrance, consider using laundry detergent on cloth car mats and allow them enough time to dry thoroughly before fitting them back into your car.