How to Clean Car Floor Mats – Detailed Guide for Every Step

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean car floor mats

Car floor mats tend to be some of the dirtiest places in the car interior. Debris and grime from shoes would often get left on them. And anything coming in and out of your car can leave debris on them too.

So car owners must clean their floor mats often. You’ve probably observed that your car floor mats have gotten filthy and are now trying to find out how to clean car floor mats.

It all depends on the type of floor mats, whether they’re rubber or cloth. But generally, it involves removing loose debris, washing, rinsing, and drying.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


Since rubber car floor mats and cloth car floor mats differ in material, they also have differing needs. Just find the needed materials for whatever type of car mats you have below:

1. For Cleaning Rubber Car Floor Mats

Vacuum Cleaner or Scraper

Getting rid of loose dirt on rubber floor mats requires a vacuum cleaner. You can also use a scraper instead of a vacuum.

Pressurized Water Hose or Bucket of Water

A pressurized water hose would work well in getting rid of caked-on debris on rubber mats. If it’s not available, you can use bucket water.

Cleaning Solutions For Rubber Mats

  • Alternative 1: Laundry soap, baking soda, and water. Any liquid soap can be used as a substitute if you don’t have laundry soap or baking soda.
  • Alternative 2: Car Washing Shampoo, Water, and Microfiber Wash Mitt.

Air Compressor

Aside from air drying, an air compressor can also be used for drying floor mats.

2. For Cleaning Cloth Car Floor Mats

Vacuum or Shop Vac

A vacuum would be needed to remove dirt and grime from cloth floor mats. When used with a suction hose, it would also work for sucking in excess water and remaining dirt from the floor mats, but it would be much better if you would use a shop vac, which has a moisture-sucking feature.

Baking Soda, Water, and A Brush with Stiff Bristles

Baking soda can get rid of stains and smells. It can be applied either alone or mixed with water and scrubbed on cloth floor mats with a stiff scrub brush.

Tools for washing cloth mats

Aside from the things above, you need to pick one of the alternatives below for washing cloth mats.

  • Detergent, Shampoo, and Stiff-Bristled Brush

This combination of cleaning materials is another alternative for washing cloth floor mats.

  • Spray Cleaner & Brush

Spray cleaners like a carpet cleaner or commercial cloth floor mat cleaner work wonderfully on cloth floor mats. You can go for either of them if you don’t feel like creating a car floor mat cleaner.

  • Steam Cleaning Vacuum or Power Washer

Another method would require either of these powerful cleaning machines. These can allow you to clean cloth floor mats quicker and with more ease. If you don’t have them at home, you can find any nearby self-serve car washes that provide them.

  • Washing Machine, Detergent, Stain Remover, and Water

In another method, you can use a washing machine, detergent, stain remover, and water. The use of a washing machine also makes washing cloth floor mats a lot easier.

Dryer or Air Compressor

Either of these can aid in drying cloth floor mats.

Step by Step Instructions


Since rubber floor mats and cloth floor mats are made of different materials, the floor mats cleaning process for each of them differs. Follow the steps for whatever car mats type you have for the best way to clean car floor mats.

One thing that both cleaning processes for rubber and cloth floor mats have in common is the first step, which is removing the floor mats first:

First Step for Both Rubber and Cloth Floor Mats:

1. Remove the Floor Mats From the Car


It’s advisable to take the car mats out for cleaning. Cleaning the floor mats inside your car may seem quicker and more convenient, but it can be damaging and dangerous.

Accidental splashes of water and soap can damage your car’s interior. They might also get on the clutch, gas, and brake pedals by the driver’s seat, making them slippery, which might make your foot slip off when you drive.

Cleaning Rubber Floor Mats (Continuation)

2. Remove the Loose Debris From the Rubber Floor Mats

The process of cleaning car floor mats involves gradually removing the debris step after step to be able to do a thorough cleaning. There are three ways you can do this:

  • Shake the loose debris off.
  • Vacuum debris out on both sides of the floor mats.
  • Whack the floor mats against a hard surface like the ground or wall. If some debris has stuck to the mat, use a scraper to get rid of it.

3. Pre-Rinse the Rubber Floor Mats Using a Pressurized Water Hose


Pre-rinsing the rubber mats with a pressurized water hose would help remove some of the caked-on debris that wasn’t removed by shaking, vacuuming, or whacking. Pre-rinse only the dirty side on the upper part of the floor mats. Don’t rinse the side of the mats that touch the floor.

If you don’t have a pressure hose, you can use bucket water instead, but you won’t get the advantage of the debris dislodging pressure. If you wish, you can drive to a self-serve car wash near you and use the pressure hose provided.

4. Wash the Rubber Floor Mats

Usually, simply applying soapy water would do. But if you think your rubber mats could need some scrubbing, then you can also use a microfiber wash mitt.

  • Using Cleaning Solution Only

If you are simply going to wash with a cleaning solution, you could create a cleaner made of laundry soap, baking soda, and water, or you can use any liquid soap if you don’t have laundry soap or baking soda.

The laundry soap, baking soda, and water solution would fizz up and lift all the dirt out. Although the liquid soap doesn’t have the same effect as the former solution, it makes a good alternative. You can apply it either by using a spray bottle or a wet rag.

  • Using a Car Washing Shampoo, Water, and Microfiber Wash Mitt

Mix the shampoo with water and create a lot of suds. Then dip the microfiber wash mitt in the soapy water and wipe over the floor mats. After you’ve finished washing the front, proceed with washing the back.

5. Rinse the Rubber Floor Mats

After you apply the soap or scrub the mats with soap, thoroughly rinse the floor mats. Make sure there is no residue left on either side.

6. Dry the Rubber Floor Mats Completely



Moisture in your car can lead to unpleasant odors and even mold growth. So you need to let the floor mats dry completely before you put them back in place. You can shake off the excess water and hang them to air dry.

An air compressor would also be helpful when drying floor mats. If you are at a car wash or gas station or if you have one at home, you can make use of it to dry them up.

Cleaning Cloth Floor Mats (Continuation)

2. Vacuum the Cloth Floor Mats

Vacuum the mats to get rid of the accumulated dirt and grime on their surface.

3. Apply Baking Soda on the Cloth Floor Mats

Rub some baking soda on the cloth mats or carpet floor mat to get rid of stains and smells. Another way to clean car mats with baking soda is by mixing the baking soda with water and using a stiff-bristled brush to apply the mixture on the floor mats and scrape off the dirt and grime.

4. Wash the Cloth Floor Mats

There are three methods for washing car mats made of cloth:

  • Using a Detergent, Shampoo, and Stiff-Bristled Brush

Create a DIY carpet cleaner with two tablespoons each of washing powder and regular shampoo. With a stiff brush, apply the solution on the carpeted floor mats and scrub the mats hard.

  • Using a Spray Cleaner & Brush

Spray cleaner on the floor mats and let it soak for 30 minutes. You can also use a car floor mat cleaner as per the instructions provided for the product. After soaking the floor mats, scrub the floor mats with a brush.

  • Using a Steam Cleaner Vacuum, or Power Washer

Doing a power wash or steam clean with a steam cleaner vacuum would work well in cleaning car mats. If you don’t have either at home, you can find them at a self-serve car wash.

  • Using a Washing Machine


You can also wash the car carpet mats in the washing machine. For the cleaning solution, use a detergent and stain remover.

5. Rinse the Cloth Floor Mats

After washing with whatever method, rinse the solution from the floor mats.

6. Vacuum the Cloth Floor Mats Again

Use a vacuum with a moisture-sucking feature to remove excess water and remaining dirt particles from the floor mats. If you don’t have it, a vacuum with a suction hose would also work.

7. Dry the Cloth Floor Mats Completely

You wouldn’t want any squishy floor mats in the car that give off an unpleasant damp smell and could possibly develop mold. So let them completely dry first before putting them back in. Hang them to air dry or put them in the dryer.

But if you’re at a car wash or gas station and unable to do that, you can use an air compressor to dry them. That could also be an option if you have an air compressor at home.


As car floor mats can get very dirty, car owners must pay attention to them and properly practice the procedure on how to clean car floor mats. Although these objects are merely a covering on the floor, they also need to be taken care of to maintain the cleanliness of car interiors.

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