How to Clean Rubber-Backed Door Mats

How to Clean Rubber-Backed Door Mats Like a Pro?

Having a doorstep mat is a tradition and helps remove unwanted dirt and debris from your shoes when you enter the house. Rubber-backed doormats are common as they are durable.

Over time, the rubber backing can chip and crack due to wear and tear. Dirt and grime can also build up inside, trapping odors underneath the mat.

You know how frustrating it can be to clean rubber-backed door mats properly. It seems like no matter what you do, they never come clean and get that musty smell again in no time.

Removing that sticky gunk from your rubber-backed door mats can be a hassle. It ruins the mats, hurts your bare feet, and it’s pretty gross. So, how to clean rubber-backed door mats?

The good news is that there are some tricks you can use to make your rubber-backed doormats last longer and keep your house smelling fresh and clean.

What is a Rubber-Backed Door Mat?

A rubber-backed doormat has been manufactured with rubber backing on its underside. The rubber backing prevents the mat from slipping, making it safer for people and pets to walk on.

There are different names for these mats. Some are indoor outdoor mats, some are all-weather doormats, and others are rubber-backed mats.

Doormats with rubber backs tend to be quite durable and withstand various environmental conditions. Because the rubber backing provides a non-skid surface for the mat to rest upon, it will not move about on any given flooring surface or shift when stepped upon.

This added stability and durability make such mats ideal for high-traffic areas and areas where moisture may be present on your home or business floor.

Rubber-backed door mats also tend to be more stain-resistant than other types of mats, making them ideal for use in homes with pets or children, who may track mud and dirt into your home occasionally.

Benefits of Rubber-Backed Door Mats

Rubber-backed doormats are designed to trap dirt, preventing it from being brought into the home. These dirt-trapping mats are especially beneficial during the winter months when snow is on the ground and people walk through your yard regularly.

In addition to keeping dirt and mud out of your house, these doormats can prevent slips by providing excellent traction for feet entering your home.

Rubber-backed door mats can be used on many different surfaces without damaging them. The soft rubber backing will not damage hardwood or laminate floors, and it will not scratch tile or linoleum either.

You may also use these mats on patios without damaging the surface underneath them. The thick rubber backing can withstand wear and tear while remaining soft underfoot, so you don’t slip when walking across.

What Makes Rubber-Backed Door Mats Hard to Clean?

Most rubber-backed door mats are made with absorbent materials like cotton or polypropylene that trap dirt and moisture. The problem is that the rubber backing makes them heavy when wet, making it hard to shake out the dirt or throw them into the washing machine.

In most cases, it’s not the rubber backing that makes these mats challenging to clean. The problem is how they are made.

Rubber-backed mats are designed with a process called tufting. During tufting, the fibers that make up the face of the mat are fed through a needle-like device and sewn into a latex backing material. This process creates a looped surface on one side of the mat and a solid latex backing on the other.

As the rubber threads move through the tufting machine, they become barbed at their edges. These barbs make it easy for dirt and debris to stick to them and hard for you to remove them from the pile of your doormat.

Can You Wash a Rubber-Backed Doormat?

Rubber-backed doormats are popular in many homes, but can you wash a rubber-backed doormat? The answer is yes, provided you take care when doing so.

Even if your mat is made from all natural materials, there’s still a chance that the rubber backing could shrink or become misshapen if it’s exposed to high temperatures.

For this reason, you should always wash a rubber-backed doormat in a cold setting and never use hot water or an automatic dryer.

If you’re concerned about the color of your mat fading over time, you might want to consider buying a mat with polypropylene backing instead of one made from rubber. Polypropylene is much more resistant to UV rays than other plastics and will last for years without losing its color.

How to Clean Rubber-Backed Door Mats?

I’ve tried several methods to clean rubber-backed door mats over the years. Most of them don’t work that well, but I have some tips, which you’ll find below.

1. Vacuum Cleaning to Remove Loose Dirt

When cleaning a rubber-backed doormat, it is vital to use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dirt and other debris.

You may use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a handheld vacuum designed to remove pet hair. These vacuums have strong suction power and can remove embedded dirt that has been ground into the fibers of the doormat.

Many doormats are made with rubber backing to prevent slipping, so care should be taken not to let the vacuum cleaner damage the mat’s fabric by using only the upholstery tool attachment.

If you cannot access a vacuum, use a stiff broom to sweep away any loose debris on top of the mat.

2. Cleaning with Liquid Detergents

A rubber-backed doormat can be cleaned using a liquid detergent such as dish soap. Use warm water and mix two tablespoons of dish soap per gallon.

Once the solution is prepared, use a spray bottle to apply it and scrub the doormat with an old toothbrush. Rinse the doormat with clean water using a hose, allowing it to air dry.

3. Using Commercial Cleaners

Commercial cleaners are specifically designed for cleaning outdoor items like rubber-backed doormats. These cleaners are effective for removing stubborn stains without damaging the rubber backing.

Some cleaners may be unsafe for certain fabrics, so checking the label before applying any commercial cleaner is essential.

4. Cleaning Rubber Backed Door Mats by Hand

You can also clean rubber-backed door mats by hand if you prefer. The beauty of cleaning your rugs by hand is that you can get into all the little nooks and crannies where dirt accumulates over time.

  • Remove the doormat from its place.
  • Turn it upside down and shake it vigorously over a trash bin to remove all loose dirt and debris.
  • Fill a bucket with warm water and add 1/2 cup of mild dish detergent, such as Dawn dish soap.
  • Take the doormat outside if you have an outdoor shower, or wash it in your bathtub with the plug-in to contain the dirty water if you don’t have an outdoor shower area or hose.
  • Soak the doormat in the bucket of soapy water for a few hours to loosen heavy dirt stains, general grime, and any remaining debris from the backing of the rubber mat. If your bathtub doesn’t have a large enough rim to hold water without spilling, put a small towel on either side of the tub and then place the bucket on top so it won’t slip away when you step into it to scrub the doormat.
  • Scrub both sides of the rubber-backed doormat.

5. Machine Wash

Most rubber-backed mats can be machine washed once or twice a year to remove dirt, dust, and grime. Remove it from the door and place it in your washing machine on a delicate cycle with cold water to wash the mat.

Also, you may want to wash any rubber-backed doormats by themselves to be safe, as they could stain other items during the wash cycle.

Add 1/2 cup liquid dishwashing detergent to the wash cycle and run the machine. After washing, let the mat line dry in the sun or dry it on low heat.


Rubber-backed mats might be beautiful, but they are difficult to maintain. Compared to other doormats, rubber-backed ones are troublesome and may pose a few problems while washing.

The risk of water seepage and easy color bleeding can often be faced while cleaning and maintaining these rubber-backed mats. However, keeping these mats clean is not something hard with proper care.

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