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Your vehicle might have come with rubber mats, or you might have swapped out your regular mats for rubber ones. If you currently have rubber mats in your car, then you know just how valuable they are. From protecting your interior against mud and dirt to allowing snow to melt without seeping into the carpet below, rubber mats provide a protective barrier between you and the floor.
But, that does come at a cost (albeit a small one). To keep your rubber mats in shape and have them protect your vehicle, you need to keep them clean.
But don’t worry, cleaning them is a simple process, and this article contains all the information you will need to keep your mats clean and looking new.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Power/pressure washer or garden hose: Rubber mats are durable, and they can stand up to a lot of use. The same is true when you are cleaning them, but that does not mean that you should jump to using a pressure or power washer. Your choice will depend on the soil level and the state of the mat.
If the mat is new, a pressure washer will be fine as it will not cause additional damage to the mat. If the mat is older and worn, you don’t want to take a chance and use high pressure that could damage it more.
The soil level is important too. You are going to be scrubbing your mat, so you don’t need high pressure to remove dirt unless there are extremely tough stains that you are not going to be able to remove by hand.
For most situations, I would recommend a garden hose with an attachment that allows a jet stream of water.
Soap and water: That will clean most dirt and grime, but a wheel cleaner or car wash solution will give a superior clean. I recommend a spray bottle for when you come to apply the cleaner.
Soft bristle brush: It’s your best friend when it comes to removing tough dirt. Look for one with a handle that is easy to grip and feels good in your hand.
Optional: a protectant and microfiber cloth. If you want to add an extra layer of protection and bring out the rich color of the mat (especially if the color is fading), a protectant will do that for you. You can find a floor mat protectant at most automotive stores. Below are three of our favorites.
Step 2: Prepare Your Area
You wouldn’t clean your dishes in a dirty sink, and you don’t want to clean your car mats on a dirty surface.
The first step (within this step) is to find an area where you can clean your vehicle floor mats. You want a space where you have access to water for your hose, you need a large enough area to clean your mats, and you need an area where water can run off safely.
Once you have selected your space, you need to wash it down (a solid area is best—such as a concrete driveway). Use your hose (or pressure washer) to spray down the area until the loose dirt is removed.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you have enough space for washing all of your floor mats at the same time.
Step 3: Prepare Your Mats
I like to wash all four of my floor mats at the same time, and this makes the process easy and saves a lot of time. Take all of your mats from your vehicle and, away from your clean work area, knock any loose dirt off them.
When the dirt is removed, lay them all face-up in your work area.
Step 4: Clean Your Mats
Let’s break this down into stages.
Spray the mats: Take your power washer or hose and spray all four mats, working in the same direction so that the dirt is pushed away from the mats and not onto any of the other. When spraying them, try not to let the water pool on the mats, and if it does, lift the mat to shake off any excess water.
Apply the cleaner: Spray the cleaner onto all of the mats, and let it soak in for a few moments so it can start working on any dirt and stains.
Use your brush: Use the soft-bristled brush to work the cleaner into the floor mats, paying particular attention to any stains or stubborn dirt. Don’t forget to brush from different angles to really attack the dirt.
Rinse the mats: Use your hose to rinse the dirty cleaning solution from the mats and check the mats to see if they are clean.
Repeat if necessary: If your mats are still dirty, repeat the above steps to clean them.
The underside of the mats: Once the tops of the mats are clean, flip them over and repeat the above steps if the undersides need to be cleaned too.
Allow the mats to dry: Air drying is fine for this unless you are in a rush to be done.
Optional – add a protectant: This step is optional, but I do recommend it. A protectant will add a layer of protection to your mats, which will add extra durability, and it will bring out the richness of the mat—helping them to look newer and remove any fading.
Spray the protectant onto the mats and use a microfiber cloth to work it into every area, making sure to get it into ridges and valleys.
Pro Tip: Be sure to use your cloth to remove excess protectant so that the mat does not slip when put back in the car.
Step 5: Place The Mats Back in Your Car
Once the mats are clean and dry, it is time to replace them in your vehicle. Put them back where they go, and sit in the seat to make sure they do not slip under your feet. If they do, you might have to go over them with your microfiber cloth to remove excess protectant or cleaner.
When To Wash Your Rubber Car Floor Mats
The main indicator that it is time to wash your rubber floor mats is when they are exceptionally dirty. I would recommend going by soil level, but it doesn’t hurt to clean them every six months even if they are not getting dirty.
You don’t want to wash them too often, but you don’t want to leave them too long either. Wash your car rubber floor mats every six months, or sooner if they need it.