A weekend trip with the family can be loads of fun. But it isn’t always a joyride for your car mat.
Not only are they suffering from the dirty shoes, but also accumulating all sorts of scraps and debris from various sources.
So cleaning your car mats in the right way is necessary to keep the vehicle interiors clean. But drying the mat properly after cleaning is equally important.
Is putting your car floor mats in the dryer a good idea?
Yes and no. If the mat is made from rubber or vinyl, putting them in a dryer is a bad idea. On the other hand, cloth mats can be placed in the dryer.
Let’s take a deeper look to find out more.
Can You Put Car Mats in the Washer and Dryer?
Without a doubt, rubber mats are the popular choice for keeping your car interiors clean. Unlike cloth or carpet mats, they do not attract dirt and stains and can be cleaned more easily.
But rubber is not a material that can withstand heat. The thermal degradation of rubber is a major cause behind its breakdown.
To make things more clear, let’s take a look at how a typical dryer works.
Usually, dryers come with a heating element that generates heat to speed up the drying process. In electricity-operated dryers, there are heating coils that generate heat. Gas dryers burn gas to transfer the heat to the air and circulate it over the wet laundry.
In addition, the dryer uses a fan or blower to draw in the fresh air. The moisture-laden air is either pushed out or recirculated after it gets heated.
In short, the main process of drying is based on the generation of heat and making the water evaporate faster from the clothes.
That makes rubber mats unsuitable for any device that uses high temperatures. That also includes mats with rubber edges or any other rubber components.
In addition, plastic or vinyl mats also fall under the same category. High temperatures can deform the material and make the mat unusable.
Remember, both washers and the dryers use heat in their processes. That makes them the wrong choice for rubber mats.
I have to admit, the washer-dryer combination seems like the easiest way to clean car mats. But make sure to read the care label to choose the safest cleaning method.
Honestly, the best option to dry a car mat is good old air drying – place your mats in a well-ventilated and dry space.
Yes, it may take some more time, but you won’t end up damaging the rubber or the fabric in any way. Also, it’s a perfectly environment-friendly way to dry them up without using any power.
That said, cloth mats take more time to dry. So placing them in the dryer is a good option if you are in a hurry.
Even so, make sure that the mat is not damaged before placing them in a washer or a dryer. Tiny pieces of fabric breaking up from the mat can not only reduce its life but can damage the components on the drying machine as well.
Not to forget, putting a wet floor mat in the vehicle can lead to a damp and musty smell. And it is not something that you can mask with an air freshener.
Besides, a semi-dry mat can also lead to the formation of molds or mildew. Not only does that look disgusting, it can also cause health issues.
How to Clean and Dry Car Mats?
Irrespective of the material type, the first step you need to take is to remove the mat from the vehicle. Then, do an initial cleaning by using a vacuum. This will help in removing any loose dirt and dust from the grooves of the mat.
Next comes the fun part.
You need to identify the materials and choose the right cleaning process for them. For cloth mats, you can fasten up the process by using a washer and then a dryer.
For rubber mats, I would suggest hand washing. Quite simply, if you want a thorough cleaning job, nothing beats hand washing.
Other than that, you can also use a high-pressure hose for cleaning car rubber mats. However, I prefer using water pressure for removing the cleaning solution after a hand wash.
No matter the process you use, make sure to choose the right cleaning solution. For machine wash, using a mild laundry cleaner is good enough. For hand cleaning, you can use a mild detergent or a dish soap
Here are the steps that you can take to clean and dry rubber or cloth car mats.
Prepare a solution of dish soap in warm water and spread it thoroughly over the mat. Use a soft-bristled brush or a sponge to work the solution into the mat. Scrub softly or else you might end up damaging the rubber surface.
You can place the cloth floor mat in the washer or steam clean them. For hand cleaning cloth mats, carpet cleaners can be used as well.
Once the cleaning is done, rinse down the mat thoroughly. If there are spots or smudges on the cloth you can use a spot remover or a solution of vinegar and baking soda on it. Make sure to rinse the mat to remove the chemicals. To remove stubborn stains like grease or brake fluid from cloth mats, repeat.
Wipe the mat with a towel or a piece of microfiber cloth. You can also use a wet vac on cloth mats to suck out the excess moisture. This will extract any remaining dirt and will reduce the drying time.
Place the cloth mats in the dryer or hand them under the sun to dry them. Dry the rubber mats in an airy and well-ventilated space. Before placing the mat back in the vehicle, make sure that you have cleaned the floorboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put rubber car mats in the dryer?
No, you cannot put rubber car mats in a dryer. The high temperatures used for drying in a dryer can damage the rubber and deform the mat. However, cloth mats without any rubber component can be placed inside a dryer.
How long does it take a car mat to dry?
The time taken for a car mat to dry up depends on the material of the mat and also on the environment. Rubber mats can dry up within a few hours. Cloth or carpet mats can take anywhere between 12 to 24 hours to dry completely. High temperatures and low humidity will speed up the drying process.
What is the fastest way to dry a wet car carpet?
Carpet or cloth mats can be placed in a dryer to dry them up quickly. You can also use a wet vacuum to extract the moisture from the mat and reduce the drying time.