Selecting, Installing, and Cleaning Car Floor Mats

Look at all the dirt your shoes are tracking onto your car floor mats. On any given day, it could be more than dirt. It could be salt, pollen, snow, mud, or maybe even a present that a dog left behind. You don’t want that on your interior, or your factory mats. Protect your vehicle with durable, stylish floor mats in your car. These interior accessories add a layer of protection and make cleaning easier.

A car floor mat will trap dirt, grime and fluids. While in the car, the extra protection will keep your interior clean, safe, and stylish. Water damage, heard of it? Floor mats can keep you high and dry in a good way. There are a lot of stylish options that are easy to install and simple to maintain. Here, we’ll walk you through it.

Everything You Need to Know About Floor Mats

1. What type of floor mat should I buy?

Floor mats are cut into three sizes or “fit types”: universal fit, trim-to-fit, and custom fit.

Universal Fit mats are designed to fit just about any vehicle. So just take them out of the package and put them in the right place after cleaning the original interior.

Trim-to-Fit mats have extra rubber around the edges that can be trimmed with scissors or a heavier blade to fit your interior more precisley. Put trim-to-fit mats in your interior to see where the best trim mark is, then cut along the appropriate groove. Once it’s cut, go ahead and install as you would an universal fit mat.

Custom Fit mats are designed to exactly fit your interior. You’ll need to enter your year, make, and model on to find the exact product, just like with a hard part. These mats provide maximum protection.

2. What floor mat material should I get?

Rubber and Vinyl mats provide all-weather protection, trapping debris and dirt that could potentially ruin the interior of your car, truck, or SUV. Rubber and Vinyl mats are also the easiest to clean. While vinyl mats will get the job done, rubber ones are made from a higher-quality material, last longer, and usually look better.

Carpet mats look great and are pretty comfortable. Carpet may not be as resistant to moisture as the rubber mats, but their tough, nylon materials are simple to clean and stand up to a moderate level of punishment while still protecting your natural interior and factory mats.

Carpet and rubber hybrid designs give a nice mix of style, comfort, and protection. Some mats, like faux-leather, provide basic protection while making your interior look really cool.

3. How do car floor mats stay in place?

Good floor mats are designed not to move around and stay in place after being installed. This is an important safety feature. To make sure the mat you’re installing will hold secure, just check the back of the mat you’re buying for pegs or holders that will ensure the mat is locked in while you’re getting in, getting out, and driving.

4. What’s a heel pad on a floor mat?

A heel pad provides extra protection where your heel sits while your foot is on the accelerator. This area of your floor mat gets used the most and is the fastest to show wear. If you’ve got a heavy foot, wear particularly thick shoes, or just plan on using the same mats for a while, a heel pad is a feature you’ll want to look for.

5. How to install car floor mats the right way

Let’s walk through how to put the mats inside your car.

  • Remove original mats from the floorboard and make sure the area is vacuumed.
  • Place mats on the ground to examine where the openings are located to latch onto your car. If your vehicle or mats don’t have latches, skip this step and the next one.
  • Align to corresponding openings.
  • Take a step back and double check that the mats are straight and aligned correctly.
  • You did it! Your interior now has an addiotional protective layer.

6. How to clean your car floor mats to look great and last longer

Floor mats will get dirty, but cleaning them is relatively simple. Keeping mats clean will help them last longer, help you enjoy time in your vehicle, and anyone who rides in your car will notice.

Remove the mats from the car and give them a good shake and place them on the ground.

Cleaning carpet floor mats (or carpet sections of a hybrid mat)

  • A vacuum and a stiff bristle brush make this job simple.
  • Remove the mats carefully, not spilling and dirt or debris onto the natural interior or factory mats underneath.
  • Give the mats a good shake to get loose dirt and debris off, then set the mats on the ground.
  • Use the vacuum to to collect any dust or dirt.
  • As you’re vacumming, use the brush to scrape off anything trapped in the carpet and collect it with the vacuum.
  • Double check for remaining dirt or stuck debris.
  • If you see any dirt on the back or front, repeat the first step until it’s gone.
  • Place all mats back inside the car and you’re all set.

How to clean rubber or vinyl floor mats

  • Remove the mats carefully, not spilling any dirt or debris onto the natural interior or factory mats underneath.
  • Give the mats a good shake to get loose dirt and debris off, then set the mats on the ground.
  • The shake should help with removing dirt and debris, but rubber and vinyl mats can also be cleaned with some spray car carpet cleaner, a bristle brush or even a garden hose.
  • If you’ve got a hose, rinse off the mats. This will remove grease and dirt (or whatever else) trapped on the mats.
  • While the mats are wet, spray them with your cleaner. Let the cleaner maneuver through ridges, groves, and grips for a deep clean.
  • Use the bristle brush to scrape off any oil, grime, dirt, or whatever else might be there. Rubber mats are pretty durable so you can put some elbow grease into it if you have to.
  • Rinse the mats and let them air-dry in the shade. If you’re in a rush, use a microfiber towl to dry the mats quickly.
  • Check to make sure the interior under and around the mats is clean. If it’s not, use a vacuum and bristle brush to clean up any dirt or debris. Then install the mats back in your vehicle.

Installing and maintaining floor mats will help keep your vehicle’s interior clean and improve the quality and comfort of your time in the car. To select a floor mat for your vehicle, visit your local AutoZone or

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