Knowing how to wash bathroom rugs properly will help you get them clean without destroying them. These practical rugs do need regular laundering. They’re in your bathroom, after all, and depending on their location they collect a lot of hair, moisture, and misfires — especially if you have young boys.
While their rubber-backing makes them safer to use on the tiled flooring typically found in bathrooms, it also means you can’t just throw them in the machine with other items and expect them to last.
How To Wash Bathroom Rugs
1. Look at the care label. Most bathroom rugs are machine-washable, but it’s a good idea to see if yours has special laundering instructions such as heat-free drying.
2. Shake the rug outdoors. Shake the rug outside to get rid of as much hair as possible. It’s also a good idea to shake the rug outside between cleanings.
3. Double up. To keep your washing machine balanced, add two bath rugs at a time. If you don’t have two, add towels to balance the load. If this is the first time you’re laundering your bathroom rugs, use old towels since your rugs might shed fibers or dye.
4. Use the right products. While it’s tempting to bleach white bathroom rugs, it’s not a good idea. Over time, bleach can break down the rubber backing and ruin your rugs. Vinegar is also another no-no since its acidic nature will corrode the rubber backing. Instead, treat stains by adding oxygenated bleach along with your regular laundry detergent. Also add 1/2 cup borax to disinfect and kill both mold and mildew spores.
5. Use the right temperature. Hot water will loosen the glue that holds the carpet fibers to the rubber backing. Eventually, rugs washed in hot water will fall apart as their backings disintegrate. Since you’re using borax to disinfect the load, and oxygenated bleach to deal with stains, your rugs will come out perfectly fine if you use the cold wash and rinse cycle.
6. Air dry when possible. If you can, it’s best to air dry your rugs to preserve their rubber backing and adhesives. Drying them in the sun helps sanitize them, too. When that’s not possible, run them in the dryer for the shortest amount of time possible — usually around 20 minutes — and remove them immediately.
7. Treat them properly. Bath rugs that get wet frequently, like those placed in front of a shower or tub, can easily develop mold and odors. Make a habit of picking these rugs up after bathing and hanging them on the side of the tub or over a towel rack, so they have a chance to dry out.
As for how often you should wash bathroom rugs, it depends on your family’s cleanliness. For those who are toilet-training little ones, or who know a family member has issues aiming, washing at least once a week is recommended. Otherwise, monthly laundering is sufficient. The most important part is knowing how to wash bathroom rugs correctly so you are cleaning and sanitizing them without damage.