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Author: Bargains Online  Date Posted:11 June 2024 

Say goodbye to dirty car mats. This blog shows you how you can save time and effort with three fool-proof car floor mat cleaning methods. Enjoy a fresh, tidy car interior without wasting precious time.

Ever looked down at your car floor and wondered how on earth it got so messy? Crumbs from that quick breakfast, dirt from your kids’ soccer cleats, the occasional coffee spill — our car floor mats really take a beating. As much as you try your best to keep things clean, life happens and the grime builds up faster than you’d like.

Fortunately, dirty car mats don’t have to be your new normal.

In this guide, we’re going to break down three quick and effective solutions for cleaning those stubborn car floor mats. Whether you have rubber or carpet car mats, we’ve got you covered with practical methods that you can easily fit into your busy schedule. 

How to clean car floor mats — 3 time-saving solutions

Ready to tackle those dirty mats once and for all? Here’s how you can keep your car looking and smelling great without wasting hours of your precious time. 

Getting ready — collect your supplies & prep your car

First things first, prep your car for the clean. Start by removing the floor mats from your car. Trust us, trying to clean them while they’re still in the car is a recipe for frustration. 

Give them a good shake outside to dislodge loose dirt and debris. You’d be surprised how much grime comes off with just a simple shake.

Now it’s time to gather everything you’ll need to make this cleaning process smooth and efficient. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

The vacuum gets rid of the fine dust and crumbs while the stiff brush helps scrub off stubborn dirt. The microfibre cloth is perfect for wiping down surfaces, and the bucket holds the water you’ll use to rinse the mats.

Speaking of solutions, here are some options for different types of stains:

Don’t have a commercial cleaner on hand? We get it — it’s not exactly something you reach for every day. Fortunately, you can make your own cleaning solution. Simply mix one part vinegar with one part water and add a few drops of dish soap. 

If you have one, put the mixture in a spray bottle to make application even easier. This mixture is great for tackling most stains and is gentle enough to use regularly.

Solution 1 — a quick clean for rubber mats

Rubber mats are a breeze to clean compared to their carpet counterparts. 

Here’s a quick and effective method:

  • Rinse: Start by rinsing the mats with a hose to remove loose dirt and grime.
  • Scrub: Apply a mild soap or an all-purpose cleaner to the mats. Use a stiff brush to scrub away dirt. Focus on the areas with heavy stains or buildup.
  • Rinse Again: Thoroughly rinse the mats with the hose or the water in your bucket to wash away loosened dirt.
  • Dry: Shake off excess water and hang the mats to air dry. Make sure they’re completely dry before putting them back in your car to prevent mould and mildew.

Rubber mats are durable and designed to withstand harsh cleaning, making them the easiest to maintain. Plus, they dry quickly, so you can get them back in your car in no time.

Solution 2 — a deep clean for carpet mats 

Carpet mats require a bit more effort, but with these steps, you’ll have them looking like new:


  • Vacuum: Thoroughly vacuum the mats to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Pay extra attention to the edges and corners.
  • Apply Cleaner: Spray a carpet cleaner or your DIY vinegar solution generously over the mats. Let it sit for a few minutes to break down stains.
  • Scrub: Use a stiff brush to scrub the mats, working the cleaner into the fibres. Use circular motions to lift dirt.
  • Rinse: Rinse the mats with water. You can use a hose or your bucket of water to remove all the soap.
  • Dry: Press out excess water with a microfibre cloth and hang the mats to air dry. Make sure they’re completely dry before putting them back in your car to avoid unpleasant odours and mould.

Two car floor mats hanging to dry on a metal rack after being washed. The final step in how to clean car floor mats is by drying them, which helps avoid mould.

Solution 3 — baking soda and vinegar magic

Still struggling with tough stains and lingering smells? Baking soda and vinegar are your best friends. 

Here’s how to use them:

  • Sprinkle Baking Soda: Generously sprinkle baking soda over the mats. It’s great for absorbing odours and loosening stains.
  • Spray Vinegar Solution: Mix one part vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. Spray this solution over the baking soda. You’ll see it start to fizz, which means it’s working!
  • Scrub: After the fizzing stops, use a stiff brush to scrub the mixture into the mats. This helps lift stains and deodorise the mats.
  • Rinse: Rinse the mats thoroughly with water to remove the baking soda and vinegar mixture.
  • Dry: Use a microfibre cloth to press out excess water and hang the mats to dry completely.

The best part of this method? Not only is it effective, but it’s convenient and safe. You can tackle stains and stenches with ingredients found in your pantry.

Plus, you can avoid products that contain chemicals you can’t even pronounce. Some of these chemicals have been linked to health concerns like skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, and chemical burns.

The don’ts — 5 common mistakes to avoid when cleaning car floor mats

Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to make mistakes when cleaning car floor mats. Here are some common errors and how to avoid them:

  • Not Vacuuming: Starting the cleaning process without vacuuming first means you’re likely to rub dirt and debris deeper into the mats. Always vacuum thoroughly to remove loose dirt before applying any cleaning solution.
  • Using Harsh Chemicals: It might be tempting to reach for strong cleaners, but they can damage the mats' material, especially carpet ones. Harsh chemicals can also cause discolouration and weaken the fibres. Stick to mild, all-purpose cleaners or DIY solutions like vinegar and baking soda to avoid this.
  • Scrubbing Too Hard: While it’s important to scrub to remove dirt, going overboard can damage the mat’s surface, particularly with carpet mats. Use a gentle yet firm scrubbing technique.
  • Not Drying Mats Properly: Failing to dry your mats thoroughly can lead to mould and mildew growth, resulting in unpleasant smells and potential health issues. Always hang your mats in a well-ventilated area until they are completely dry before placing them back in the car.
  • Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions: Every car mat is different. Ignoring specific care instructions can lead to damage. Always check for any cleaning guidelines provided by the mat’s manufacturer to make sure you don’t do anything wrong.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll keep your car floor mats in great condition for longer.

How often to clean your car floor mats

Keeping your car floor mats clean isn’t a one-off but rather an ongoing process. But how often should you be cleaning them? 

Ideally, you should aim to clean your car floor mats at least once a month. This regular cleaning helps prevent dirt and grime from building up and makes the cleaning process easier each time.

If you use your car frequently or have kids and pets, you might need to clean the mats more often, maybe every two weeks. High traffic means more dirt, spills, and wear. So, a fortnightly cleaning routine can keep your mats looking good and lasting longer.

Living in an area with harsh weather conditions like lots of rain or mud? You might find that your mats need even more frequent attention. In these cases, a quick clean every week can prevent unpleasant smells and damage.

The same goes if you regularly transport heavy items or equipment, or if you often use your car for outdoor activities. A quick shake and spot clean every week can help manage any immediate dirt or debris.

Why clean car floor mats matter

Clean mats make your car look well-kept and inviting. Whether it’s a partner, a friend, or a colleague, no one likes stepping into a car with grimy, stained mats. 

But keeping your car floor mats clean is about more than just aesthetics. Over time, dirt, food crumbs, and spills can create a not-so-nice smell in your car. Regular cleaning keeps things fresh and reduces odours.

Then there’s the wear and tear issue. Dirt and debris can wear down the material of your mats faster. By keeping them clean, you extend their lifespan, which saves you money in the long run.

Dirty mats can also affect your car’s resale value. When it’s time to sell, a well-maintained interior can make a big difference in how much money you get for your vehicle.
Finally, regularly cleaning your car mats is important for your health. One study from Queen Mary University of London found that car interiors actually harbour more germs than a public toilet seat. 

“Most people clean their homes but many are neglecting to clean their cars and are driving around in vehicles which resemble a rubbish bin,” said the study’s head researcher, Dr Ron Cutler.

In short, clean car floor mats make your car look better, smell better, last longer, and even help keep you healthier. What’s not to like?

A person wearing black gloves sprays a cleaning solution on a car floor mat laid on the ground. When it comes to how to clean car floor mats, spraying a mixture of water, vinegar, and dish soap can work wonders.

3 signs it’s time to replace your car floor mats

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your car floor mats just won’t get back to their former glory.

Here are some signs it might be time to replace them:

  • Significant Wear and Tear: Holes, frayed edges, thinning material — unfortunately, cleaning won't fix these issues. Damaged mats can’t protect your car floor properly and can even be a safety hazard. 
  • Persistent Odours: If your mats still stink after a thorough cleaning, that means the odours are likely embedded in the material. This can happen with older mats that have absorbed spills over time.
  • Deep Stains: Some stains just won’t come out, no matter what cleaning solution you use. If your mats have deep, set-in stains that make them look perpetually dirty, it’s time for new ones.


When you decide to buy new car floor mats, look for high-quality options. They’ll last longer and do a better job of protecting your car’s interior. 

Consider mats made from durable materials that are easy to clean. Rubber mats, for example, are great for all-weather protection and are easy to wash. Investing in good mats means less hassle and better protection for your car in the long run.

Keep your car floor mats clean long-term

Keeping your car floor mats clean doesn’t have to be a chore. By following the simple steps we’ve covered, you can keep your car looking and smelling great with minimal effort. 

Regular cleaning and avoiding common mistakes (such as using harsh chemicals, not drying mats properly, and scrubbing too hard) will help your car floor mats stay in good condition long-term. 

It’s also important to recognise when it’s time to replace your mats. Significant wear, persistent odours, and deep stains are clear signs that new mats are needed. Investing in high-quality mats is another key step in keeping your car interior spotless.

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