How to Clean Bath Mats with Suction Cups

Bath mats with suction cups are a genius invention. Rubber shower mats help all of us avoid injury slipping in the shower. However, they require a little bit of extra attention when it comes to cleaning.

A incandescent rubber bath mat with suction cups stuck to the side of the shower wall hang drying after being cleaned.

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Cleaning Bathroom Mats is a Necessity to Avoid Growth of Mold or Mildew

A non-slip mat is an absolute necessity when you add smooth surfaces like a tub floor and water together.

But even with drainage holes, a plastic mat in damp environments is guaranteed to be a breeding ground for germs. Especially when you’re dealing with any type of bath mat that has hiding spots like suction cups.

Maintaining a regular cleaning routine is an important thing to do to avoid black mold from taking up residence in your shower or bath.

The good news is it’s easy to learn how to machine and hand wash bath mats made from different types of materials like rubber, plastic, and memory foam.

The Easiest Way to Clean a Shower Mat

The details of how to clean a shower mat will vary slightly depending on the material. Regular cleaning is a good rule for rubber and fabric bath mats, as well as shower curtains and rugs. Unless you don’t mind soap scum and mold, which is a potential hazard in more than one way.

Supplies to Clean All Types of Shower Mats & Bath Rugs

For general cleaning of bathroom mats and rugs, always follow the care instructions on the mat in question if there are any.

There are many different ways to successfully clean your bathroom mats and rugs, which include hand washing and machine washing of most types of bath mats.

White Distilled Vinegar, Baking Soda, a measuring cup, and a soft bristle scrub brush.
How to Clean Bath Mats With Suction Cups Supplies – Baking Soda, White Distilled Vinegar, a Measuring Cup, and a Soft Bristle Scrub Brush sitting on the side of my tub waiting to get to work.

For these methods, you’ll want to grab:

A Word of Caution: Always use gloves when using chlorine bleach to clean anything by hand.

How to Clean Bath Mats With Suction Cups

Follow these cleaning tips to rid your rubber bath mats of soap scum, mold, bath oils, or even built-up hair products. For the best results, clean all your bathroom mats on a regular basis.

  1. First thing, detach or peel off the rubber mat with suction cups from the floor of the shower or bath.
  2. Lay it flat facing suction cups up.
  3. Then fill the tub up with enough warm to hot water to cover the mat.
  4. Sprinkle in a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar, or a cup of Hydrogen Peroxide. Another option is to use an amount of bleach (1 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon of bleach per gallon).
  5. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. For the dirtiest items or those that have stubborn stains, allow them to soak for 1-2 hours.
  6. Scrub with a soft bristle brush. Scrub in circular patterns so the bristles get all around the suction cups. For getting into the details an old toothbrush is a good idea.
  7. For extra hard water stains, I employed a brillo pad and magic eraser in certain spots.
  8. Rinse with water and allow it to air dry before reattaching it to the shower or tub floor.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that can definitely make your mat white again.

Bright incandescent bath mat with suction cups after the entire tub and mat had been scrubbed clean with vinegar and baking soda.
The finished bath mat after being cleaned and rinsed thoroughly. The bathtub still needs to be cleaned.

How to Handwash Bath Mats and Rugs

For bath mats and rugs that are made of natural fibers like bamboo, jute, or other fragile types of materials, it’s best to hand wash.

For hand washing your bath mats and rugs, follow these steps.

  1. Carefully fold your bath mats and rugs and take them outside to shake any loose dirt off.
  2. Combine 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of warm water, and 2 tablespoons of dawn dish soap in a spray bottle.
  3. Treat any visible stains and scrub them with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Fill your bathtub with a few inches of warm water and a few tablespoons of mild laundry detergent.
  5. With gloves on mix the water and use it to scrub your mat gently with a soft bristle brush. Be sure to avoid completely submerging mats made of bamboo.
  6. Rinse with fresh clean water.
  7. Hang outside to dry.
  8. Make sure to sweep or vacuum up loose dirt on the bathroom floor before putting clean mats and rugs back down.

How to Machine Wash Bath Mats

There are some bath mats that can be thrown into the washing machine without a second thought. Rugs that are typically machine washable will be made of cotton, polyester, and nylon. Always remember to follow care instructions on any tags.

For general cleaning you’ll:

  1. Carefully fold up the mat and shake the excess dirt off, either outside or in your tub.
  2. Fold the rug in half.
  3. Place it in the washing machine and wash it with hot water to kill germs.
  4. The best practice is to wash the rug with other rugs or towels. These will actually help facilitate more thorough cleaning of the rug or mat.
  5. If you feel it’s safe, dry your damp rugs in a dryer. If you’re unsure if you can always hang it out to dry.

Fabrics unsafe for tumble drying include:

  • Shag
  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Bamboo
  • Other natural fibers
  • Mats with non-slip rubber backing

Best Ways to Clean Plastic Bath Mats

For plastic bath mats, the type of cleaning products you use will depend on if it is all plastic or plastic-backed.

The gentlest method would be to wash by hand in the bathtub with bleach. Bleach is a strong disinfectant that can remove black mold in the shower and gets stains out of rubber.

Handwashing is a gentle way to clean all types of materials, especially if you plan on washing the items frequently.

How to Clean Plastic or Rubber-Backed Bath Mats

For a deeper clean, plastic-backed mats are completely safe to throw in the washer. However, if it just needs a quick cleaning you can follow these steps.

  1. Carefully fold up the mat and shake the excess dirt off, either outside or in your tub.
  2. Combine 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of warm water, and 2 tablespoons of dawn dish soap in a spray bottle.
  3. Turn the rug around and spray the back with straight vinegar.
  4. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Scrub the entire plastic backing with a soft bristle brush and a drop of dawn dish soap.
  6. With a damp cloth wipe off any residual suds until the soap is completely gone. Leftover soap could potentially make it slippery.
  7. Hang the mat outside to air dry.

How to Clean a Solid Plastic Bath Mat

Plastic Bath Mats aren’t safe from bacteria and germs. So, to keep them healthy for the feet stepping on them make sure to clean them regularly. Also, consider giving them a disinfectant soap every now and then between washes.

  1. Place the mat in the tub.
  2. Completely cover it in cold water.
  3. Add a cup of Hydrogen Peroxide or a mixture of Baking Soda and Vinegar.
  4. Allow it to soak for 1-2 hours.
  5. Scrub it with a soft bristle scrub brush on both sides.
  6. Drain the tub and rinse the mat thoroughly.
  7. Hang it to air dry.

Note: Never machine dry rubber. Heat ruins the material and causes cracking to a slip-resistant rubber backing. Hang the mats (rubber or fabric) to air dry.


Add just enough hot water to cover your detached bath mat. Add 1 Tbsp of vinegar per gallon of water. Let the mat soak for 1-2 hours. Then scrub the tub mat and rinse well. Clean the bottom of the tub or shower floor before reattaching.

Follow care instructions on your bathroom mats.

For easy cleaning put machine washable bathroom mats or bathroom rugs in a washing machine. Use hot water, a gentle cycle setting, and gentle laundry detergent. Air dry any rubber mat or mat with a rubber backing to avoid heat damage.

Add enough warm water to your tub to cover the detached mat. Add 1 cup of a mixture of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda solution. Soak 1-2 hours. Then scrub the bath mat and tub with a cleaning brush and rinse well. Allow the mat to air dry.

No. There are many different types of cleaners you can use. A few other options are a cup of White Vinegar and Baking Soda Paste, Hydrogen Peroxide, Lemon Juice mixed with Vinegar, various soaps like Castile, or a simple solution of soapy water and a little elbow grease.

A dishwasher is safe for rubber shower mats, drain plugs, shower caddies, showerheads, and even soap holders. Place the mat on the top rack and run the washer on a full cycle. Use dishwashing detergent or straight white vinegar in the soap dispenser. Always air dry afterward.

The best way is to soak them in the bathtub with warm water, two tablespoons of laundry detergent, and a cup of vinegar.

  1. Fill the bathtub halfway.
  2. Add the curtain and laundry detergent.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Then rinse with cold water.
  5. Hang to Air dry.
  • 1 Tbsp of Castile Soap
  • 1 C of Distilled White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Lemon Juice (optional)
  • Amber Glass Spray Bottle
  • Essential Oils (optional)

Shake to combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray the bathroom surface. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Wipe the surface down with a sponge or soft bristle brush. Repeat as needed.

Hydrogen Peroxide or Vinegar in hot water can get rid of bacteria and mildew.

For rubber bath mats with mildew or smells foul

  1. Soak 1-2 hours in hot water + 1 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide or Vinegar.
  2. Scrub with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush.
  3. Rinse well.
  4. Hang dry.

Memory foam bath mats are machine washable. Just follow these simple guidelines:

  • Set the washing machine to delicate.
  • Use a mild detergent
  • Wash with cold water.
  • Never use bleach.
  • Hang to air dry. Never in the dryer.

Mix one part water and three parts baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste to your bath mat, and scrub with a soft bristle brush. Rinse with water and allow the mat to air dry.

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope I have given you all the information you need to keep bacteria, grime, and hard water from making your bathroom feel uninviting.



Meet the Author

Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→


  1. I am a little horrified every time I lift up the kids bath mat! Thank you for this! It seems silly but I always forget about peroxide for situations like this!

    1. It’s not silly! I often have to remind myself of what a powerful cleaner it is, too! I’m used to just using it on wounds lol. But we also use it to keep our toothbrushes clean as well.

  2. I don’t have a bathtub in which my long suction cup mats can soak. Can I fold them and soak them in laundry room sink? shower floor? What do you suggest?

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