How to Keep Your Bath Mat *Really* Clean

Photo: Instagram/@Zara
Bath mats have two speeds: Fluffy and amazing or really, really gross. When they’re good, they’re very good, but when they’re bad, they’re awful.

In fact, there are few things in the home that get quite as dingy as a bath mat. Because every time you step out of the shower, it takes a beating. So, even more than other linens, bath mats need the right kind of care in order to function at full capacity.

First things first: Picking out the right mat is key so that it stays in the “fluffy and amazing” category for as long as possible. Memory foam and other fancy materials may look appealing on the shelves at Bed Bath & Beyond, but when it comes to what works best, cotton is king. "You want something that you can easily care for,” says Melissa Maker, cleaning expert and author of the tidying up site Clean My Space. Cotton can easily be tossed in the laundry (more on that momentarily), whereas if you buy these fancier options, you could have a harder time washing them.

Another wellness-friendly material option? Bamboo. According to Jean Calleja of The Eco Laundry Company, these types of wooden mats are naturally anti-microbial, which makes them much easier to maintain than their fabric counterparts. Plus, they're really, really chic.

If your cotton mat starts to stink or look gross—as in: there’s discoloration, mildew, or black mold stains—toss it in the washing machine. Maker suggests adding half of a scoop of baking soda to the load to help get rid of odors and brighten things up. If there’s any major mildew or mold (or, if you just want a little extra freshness), add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to your detergent.

You’ll know it’s time to say goodbye to your trusty, post-shower cushion when it has an odor that lingers after you wash it, or if it’s turned red, pink, green, or black from mildew and mold. Or, says Maker, it’s finally so stained "it offends you."

Shop some healthy bath mats below.

By the way, you should also be paying particularly close attention to how often you wash your sheets and this is how often to wash your bras, too.

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