How to Clean Car Floor Mats Effectively

Floor mats are the first line of defense for your car’s interior. They capture dirt, grime, salt, and debris every time passengers get in. Because of the way they’re designed, floor mats are the first thing to look dirty in your vehicle. Learning how to clean car floor mats will help you keep your car looking fresh. Properly cleaning your floor mats will help keep dirt out of your car’s interior and having clean car mats will actually help prolong the lifespan of your vehicle on the inside.

What you’ll need

Before you clean up your floor mats, there are some supplies you’ll have to get together. You’ll likely have some of these items, but you may have to acquire some of the cleaners before you start. 

  • A powerful vacuum – the stronger the better for a deep clean
  • Bristle brush
  • Spray carpet cleaner (carpet mat)
  • Garden hose (rubber mat)
  • Degreasing all-purpose cleaner (rubber mat)
  • Microfiber cloth (rubber mat)

How to Clean a Cloth Car Mat

When you know the proper steps, and you have the right tools, cleaning carpet floor mats is quick and easy. Follow along through each of these simple steps and you’ll have like-new-looking mats before you know it. 

1. Remove and Shake

Carefully pull out each of the carpet floor mats and shake them off to remove any loose dirt or debris. By shaking the mats outside your vehicle you can remove most of the grime quickly. 

Be careful to unclip your mats if they are secured in place. 

2. Spray and Wait

Apply a fast-drying carpet cleaner directly to the mat from a distance of approximately 12 inches. The best carpet spray to act as a car mat cleaner foams up and dries fast.

3. Scrub

When the cleaner is fully dry you can begin scrubbing the mat using a stiff-bristled brush. Work the cleaner into the mat and loosen all the embedded dirt up using the bristles and a circular motion.

4. Vacuum Clean

Finish cleaning your floor mats by removing any dirt, the carpet cleaner, and loose debris using a powerful vacuum cleaner. Thoroughly vacuum all surfaces until you have clean floor mats. 

If you’ve ever wondered how to clean car floor mats the above steps make achieving clean carpet mats simple and fast. You’ll have to use a slightly different procedure for rubber mats though. Learn the process below. 

How to Clean a Rubber Car Mat

Rubber car mats are more durable than carpet mats and often easier to clean. There are more steps involved in cleaning a rubber mat, but you’ll likely get a rubber mat clean sooner. 

1. Remove and shake

Begin by carefully lifting each rubber mat up and out of your vehicle. Try to avoid spilling the dirt and loose debris off the mat while inside your vehicle. When the mats are removed shake them off to get rid of any loose grime before you begin the real cleaning.

2. Rinse Mat

Next, quickly wash your mat down using a spray nozzle on a garden hose. A quick rinse will get rid of mud and dirt. You don’t have to spend too much time on this step because you’ll scrub off any grime that’s trapped on the mat.

3. Spray with Cleaner

Dilute a degreasing spray to approximately 3 parts water to one part cleaner to keep it from being too soapy. Thoroughly spray the first mat you wish to clean until it’s coated with your diluted cleaner. The degreaser will help cut away any grease and buildup that’s on your rubber car mat.

4. Scrub Thoroughly

Begin rubbing the mat using your stiff bristled brush to work the cleaner into the mat on every surface. Take your time and really scrub the mat to loosen any contaminants off your floor mat. This is the most time-consuming part of cleaning your mat so be thorough here. 

5. Rinse and Dry

Finish up cleaning your floor mat by rinsing off the soap and grime until it looks completely clean. Touch up any locations that are still dirty using your bristle brush and rinse it clean. Dry your mat using microfiber cloths and it should look as good as new.

While these cleaning steps were designed for a rubber floor mat the same steps will work well on plastic mats and liners too.

Now that you know how to clean car mats you can maintain the interior of your vehicle more effectively. Take the time to clean off the seats and the flooring in your car while cleaning the mats and you’ll extend the lifespan of your car interior. 

Buy your floor mat cleaning supplies at AutoZone. With knowledgeable staff and competitive prices for the widest range of parts, accessories, and tools anywhere, you’ll find what you need right here.

If the job is too big for you, seek out one of our Preferred Shops to help you do the job.


How do you clean dirty floor mats?

You clean dirty floor mats by shaking off the grime and scrubbing and vacuuming or rinsing. Vacuum carpet mats and rinse rubber or plastic mats. 

Can floor mats be washed in a washing machine?

No, it’s best to avoid washing floor mats in a washing machine. Instead, hand wash your mats for a good clean. 

How can I make my floor mats look new again?

It’s possible to make some floor mats look new again by thoroughly scrubbing and vacuuming or rinsing the mat off. Some older mats are too worn to ever look brand new.

How do you clean cloth floor mats at home?

Easily clean a cloth floor mat at home by shaking it, scrubbing it with a dry bristle brush, and vacuuming it. 

Can you pressure wash carpet floor mats?

Yes, you can pressure wash rubber and plastic floor mats if you keep the pressure level set to low and spray from several feet away. Be careful to avoid using too much pressure or you could damage the mat. 

Can mats be washed?

Yes, rubber and plastic car mats can be washed by hand and rinsed with a garden hose. 

How do you keep floor mats shiny?

To keep rubber or plastic floor mats shiny you can apply a floor mat protectant after cleaning it. Be careful to only apply a small amount of the protectant or your mat will become slippery. 

How do I make my black floor mats shiny?

Fully wash and rinse your floor mat and coat it with a thin layer of protectant. These rubber preservatives are designed to create a protective coating that makes a mat shiny

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