After a relaxing shower or bath, stepping onto a plush bath mat brings comfort. But when it comes time to clean your bath mat, can it be tossed in the dryer like other laundry? The impact of heat drying depends greatly on the mat’s material composition. We’ll examine how various bath mat fabrics handle the dryer to help you clean your bath linens properly.

Benefits of Drying Bath Mats

In certain cases, drying bath mats offers advantages:

Quick & Convenient

Machine drying provides faster, easier drying than air drying which can take many hours. No need to hang mats.


The high heat of dryers kills mold, bacteria, and dust mites that may colonize damp bath mats.

Restore Fluffiness

Tumbles in the dryer help re-fluff matted down bath rugs and restore thickness.

Prevent Mildew

Dryers thoroughly dry out bath mat fibers to discourage mildew growth common with humidity.

Freshen Odors

Heated drying helps remove musty odors that damp bath mats tend to acquire.


Dryers can help re-soften cotton bath mats with fabric softener products added.

When possible, machine drying provides greater convenience and hygiene for bath mats.

Risks of Drying Certain Bath Mats

However, not all bath mat materials and constructions fare well in dryers:

Rubber Backing

Adhesive holding rubber backing can melt in high heat. Stick-on appliqués may also peel off.

PVC Backing

PVC or vinyl backing on mats can warp, shrink or develop holes when machine dried.

Natural Rubber

Pure natural rubber becomes stiff and cracked when machine dried due to loss of elasticity.


The coarse natural fibers of jute and sisal easily tangle and knot when machine dried.

Braided Styles

Braided, looped and shaggy bath mat textures tend to snarl and unravel in the dryer.

Latex Foam Layers

Foam latex layers for cushioning lose pliability and start crumbling with repeated high heat.

Skid-Resistant Designs

Special textured surfaces for traction and skid-resistance may degrade over time in the dryer.

Heat drying clearly presents risks for certain bath mat materials and constructions.

Fabrics That Can Go in the Dryer

Taking into account those cautions, these are bath mat fabrics safely dried:

100% Cotton

All-cotton bath mats can withstand very high dryer heat settings like the Cottons or High setting.


Polyester dries quickly and holds its shape well when machine dried.

Olefin Fabric Blends

Rugs labeled 100% olefin or olefin-polyester blends do well in the dryer.


Microfiber bath mats without rubber backing dry well without excess shrinkage on Medium or Low.


Standard terrycloth cotton bath mats retain absorbency and thickness after machine drying.


Bamboo has excellent strength and stability retaining softness through dryer heat.


Durable and resilient, nylon bath mat fibers dry fast and emerge unscathed.

100% natural or synthetic bath mats typically handle heat drying without issue.

Fabrics to Air Dry Instead

When uncertain about how your bath mat will react to heat, air dry to be safe:

  • Rubber, latex, PVC or vinyl-backed mats
  • Braided, looped, shaggy or berber styles
  • Natural fibers like jute, sisal, bamboo
  • Blends containing spandex, linen, silk
  • Dense memory foam mats
  • Metallic threads or appliqués
  • Colored designs prone to bleed

When in doubt, skip the dryer and allow bath mats to air dry to prevent damage.

Tips for Drying Bath Mats

Follow these tips when machine drying bath mats:

  • Shake vigorously before drying to remove trapped hair and dirt
  • Wash similar colors together – don’t mix towels, robes, mats to prevent lint transfer
  • Use the Low or Delicate setting for gentler tumbling
  • Remove promptly when cycle ends to decrease wrinkling
  • Periodically re-wash mats alone to clear lint and soap buildup
  • Turn mats over halfway through drying to ensure even drying
  • Use dryer balls/sheets to prevent knotting or tangling
  • Fluff and hang immediately after drying to retain shape

With some added care, your bath mats can emerge from the dryer fluffy and fresh.

Should You Dry Clean Bath Mats?

Dry cleaning is not recommended for most bath mats and towels:

  • Chemical solvents can strip cotton and microfiber of absorbency
  • Excess heat in dry cleaning can melt rubber backings
  • Agitation motion can tangle looped or braided styles
  • Harsh chemicals fade colors over time through repeated cleaning
  • Costly compared to washing and drying at home
  • Long turn-around time with drop-off service
  • Still requires occasional machine washing to disinfect fully

Stick to home laundering for cleaning bath linens rather than dry cleaning.

Bath Mat Laundry FAQs

Here are some other common questions about washing and drying bath linens:

How often should you wash bath mats?

1-2 times per week is ideal, or immediately after use by guests. Bacteria accumulate quickly on damp floors.

Should you wash bath mats separately?

Yes, the dirt, hair, and dead skin cells that collect on mats can transfer to other laundry.

What’s the best washing machine setting?

Use the Hot/Sanitize or Bulky cycles for maximum agitation and heat to kill bacteria. Add chlorine bleach as needed against mildew.

How can you soften stiff natural fiber bath mats?

Add 1-2 tablespoons of hair conditioner or 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash cycle to naturally soften fibers.

Is it better to hand wash or machine wash bath mats?

Machine washing provides necessary agitation for deep cleaning. Hand wash only delicate vintage or decorative mats.

Can bath mats be bleached?

Bleach is fine on white cotton mats but will discolor dyed mats. Check labels for bleach instructions.

Why do bath mats get stiff after washing?

Insufficient rinsing leaves soap residues that coat fibers causing stiffness. Extra rinse cycles prevent this.

Give your bath mats that plush, cozy feel again! Bring dingy, worn out bath mats into Laundry Pile in Austin, TX. Our gigantic commercial washers and dryers thoroughly deep clean and soften even the heaviest soiled linens. We safely lift stains, remove odors, and restore fluffiness to revive your bath mats. Our experts can also inspect mat materials and recommend drying or air drying based on what’s safest.

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