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How to clean your door mat

How to clean your door mat

Richard O’Connor at FirstMats explains how to clean a door mat, and why doing so will keep your home fresh and prevent illness

Many of us take great pride in keeping our homes clean and well maintained. However, a significant number of people give little thought to one essential item—the humble door mat.

While it may not occur to us to give these mats a little love, experts warn that dirty door mats can leave our homes less than fresh and can even harbour germs and viruses passed on from the soles of our shoes. In fact, CDC found that Covid-19 was able to live on the soles of shoes for up to five days. In this article, we’re going to be sharing some of our expert tips on cleaning your door mat to keep your home fresh—and your family healthy—this winter.  

What’s the best kind of door mat? 

When it comes to choosing a doormat, a great many people tend to go for style over substance and, while a pretty mat with a cute slogan may look great, it may not be the most effective option. When we wipe our feet on a door mat, we’re wiping off a huge amount of dirt and debris which may contain a number of icky substances including faeces, germs and bacteria.

"When we wipe our feet on a door mat, we’re wiping off a huge amount of dirt and debris"

Mats with a textured surface are better at scraping dirt and mud from shoes, whereas softer carpeted mats made from cotton are better at soaking up rainwater. Mats made from Coconut Fibres, known as Coir, are incredibly popular thanks to their rustic homely appearance and are also good scrapers, like a sweeping brush for your shoes. These should be placed either on a front porch or directly behind the front door to ensure that shoes can be wiped before entering the house.

The bigger your mat, the more dirt and water it can remove from your shoes. If you have the space, use a mat large enough to be stepped on by both feet twice while walking. A popular size is 90cm x 150cm (3ft x 5ft), but longer runner mats are also popular.

How to clean a doormat

Keeping your door mat clean is essential for keeping nasties out of your home, and cleaning methods vary depending on what kind of mat you have. In this section, we’ll take you through our tips for cleaning different kinds of door mats.  

All door mats 

Whatever kind of doormat you have, regular vacuuming can help to keep dirt off your carpets or hardwood floors. Get into the habit of vacuuming these every time you clean your living room and other areas of the house. Alternatively, take the mat outside and beat it with a heavy brush to remove dirt particles.


Get into the habit of vacuuming your door mat every time you vacuum your living room

A smart hack for dealing with pet hair in your mats is to put on some trainers and wipe your feet vigorously. This pulls the hair out of the fibres leaving it rolled up, making it easier to vacuum or pick up. 

Synthetic door mats 

This type of mat usually has a rubber backing topped with dense or plush fibres similar to carpet pile. Many of these mats are machine washable and, if this is the case, this is the most effective way of removing dirt and bacteria. Check the bottom or the side of the mat for a label which will tell you if it's safe for you to put the item in the washing machine.

If your synthetic mat is not machine washable, you can wash it by hand with soapy water and a sponge or brush. Once washed, make sure that you rinse the mat well and then dry thoroughly either on a radiator or with a hairdryer (or in the sun during the warmer months).  

Coir door mats 

This type of door mat is made from the husks of coconut shells and is widely considered the most effective type of doormat—particularly for those who live in rural areas and, as such, tend to regularly have muddy shoes. Unsuitable for the washing machine, these mats will always need to be cleaned by hand.

Coir door mat

Coir door mats are a good choice for people in rural areas who may come home with muddy shoes

As with other types of mats, start by vacuuming to remove any loose dirt and debris. Next, cover the mat liberally with either a dry cleaning product or equal parts of baking powder and cornstarch, and leave for between 30 minutes and an hour. Finally, vacuum again to remove the powder. Always avoid wet cleaning and detergents such as washing up liquid or other household cleaners as these can discolour your Coir mat and leave unsightly marks.  

Rope door mats 

Like the Coir mat, these mats are designed for heavy-duty use rather than for decoration, and are great for homes in muddy or rural areas. Made from thick coils of rope, these mats are really effective at scraping dirt from shoes.

The good news about rope doormats is that they are resistant to water, mildew and mould so, to clean your mat, simply shake it out to remove loose dirt and then either hose it down outdoors or wipe it down with soap and water. Leave the mat to dry naturally overnight.  

The first defence against dirt 

A good door mat is essential for making sure that, when you welcome visitors to your home, you’re not also inviting in dirt, germs and viruses. Your door mat is your home’s first defence against dirt which can sully your carpets and even make your family ill.

"A good door mat is essential for making sure that you’re not inviting in dirt, germs and viruses"

Always choose a sturdy, good-quality mat and vacuum it and clean it regularly to maintain its effectiveness. Where possible, replace your door mat every two years. 

Learn more at FirstMats.co.uk

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