How to Clean Kitchen Mats So They’re As Fresh As New

You've probably mastered the best way to make your kitchen floor sparkle—but don't forget the mats! Here's how to clean kitchen mats so they look like new again.

Picture this: You’ve just cleaned your kitchen from top to bottom. The counters are gleaming, the appliances are free of fingerprints, the floor is absolutely shining. But what’s that? Your neglected kitchen mat is besmirching a freshly washed kitchen. This will not do!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to clean kitchen mats. Then spread the word—no more dirty mats tarnishing our clean kitchens!

Check the Tag for Care Tips

Like most household goods, you should check the tag before you clean it. Kitchen mats are made from all sorts of materials, so first establish which type you’re working with.

  • Anti-fatigue mats: These are not machine-washable. They have a smooth surface that can be wiped clean but pay attention to the type of anti-fatigue mat you own. Most are cushioned with foam or gel, but they come in various types of covers including rubber, vinyl and even leather.
  • Rug fiber kitchen mat with non-slip backing: These are often machine-washable, and can also be spot cleaned. Carpet-style mats like these are usually made from durable polypropylene or nylon fibers.
  • Braided cotton kitchen mat: Braided rugs are often handmade, and must be treated gently when cleaning. Usually, they can only handle a good shake to get rid of dirt and debris, and mild spot cleaning.
  • Bamboo kitchen mat: Flat, flexible bamboo kitchen mats with nonstick backing material can not be machine-washed. Bamboo is naturally water-resistant, but not waterproof. Spills must be wiped up quickly or they can soak in and permanently stain the surface.

Wipe up Spills

For small spills or stains, you can give your kitchen mat a quick spot clean. Before spot cleaning, vacuum or shake the mat outside to get rid of crumbs and debris. Keep in mind the different material care tips as outlined above, but for most mats, we recommend a simple solution of dish soap and water. Harsh cleaners could damage the surface of your mat.

Fill your sink with hot water and add a squirt or two of dish soap. Then using a clean cloth, wipe away or scrub the stains as needed.

Can You Wash Kitchen Mats?

If your rug is machine-washable—then yes! Not all kitchen mats are machine washable, so check out the care tag before throwing it in the washer. Fiber rugs (both tufted and woven) with anti-slip backing are often machine-washable; handmade cotton mats, anti-fatigue mats and bamboo mats are not.

Of course, kitchen mats take a beating, so if you’re shopping for kitchen mats, machine-washable mats make the most sense (no matter how beautiful that vintage wool runner is that you’ve been eyeing).

Some mats can be put in the dryer, but be sure to use the lowest heat setting. High heat can cause rubber-backed mats to crack or melt. To be safe, and to avoid deterioration over time, hang them on the line to dry.

How Often Should You Clean Kitchen Mats?

We recommend cleaning your kitchen mats at least once a week. In between deep cleaning, spot clean the mats as needed. Your mats might require more or less cleaning depending on how much you cook and whether you have kids or pets. There is no hard and fast rule. Here’s a quick tip: If your mats look dirty, clean them! Simple enough, right?

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Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.