Doormats do more than make your home’s entryway look sharp. They play an important role in keeping your home clean and, also, healthy.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve given your doormats much thought, it’s time to start taking them seriously. Especially if you or members of your family are sensitive to dust and allergens.
Fortunately, cleaning doormats is one of the easier chores around the home. Save yourself time and energy by cleaning doormats the right way. To help, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to make this simple chore even easier!
Why it’s Important to Clean Your Doormats
The simple doormat has an important job. In addition to trapping and collecting dirt and debris that enters your home, it also prevents moisture from rain and mud from getting onto your floors.
This is important for 2 reasons.
- It keeps your floors safe. Dirt and grit can lead to scratches on certain floor types, such as wood. By keeping dirt and grit off your flooring, you can cut down on cleaning and extend your floor’s lifespan.
- Keeping dust and pollen out of your home’s living spaces can dramatically help to cut down on respiratory issues. Dust and pollen are serious issues for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. Keeping as much of this out of your home as possible can help prevent respiratory infections, asthmatic flare-ups, and allergy issues.
Regularly cleaning your doormats gets rid of the collections of dirt, dust, and grime from your home. It also helps to keep your doormat from wearing down before its time, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon.
Basic Doormat Cleaning
For all types of doormats, the initial step in the cleaning process is the same. The very first thing you’ll need to do is remove the loose dirt and debris.
Take the doormat outside, if it’s an inside doormat, and shake it out vigorously. Use a stick or broom to help shake loose any debris caught up in the fibers.
Use the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner to draw out the smaller, finer particles that may be trapped within it.
With the doormat off the floor, take a moment to sweep the area of the floor where the doormat sits. This helps keep more dirt from working its way into the doormat before the next cleaning. Plus, dirt trapped underneath the rug can lead to scratching on your floors as the doormat gets walked on and these particles become ground into the floor.
This is safe for all types and materials, whether they’re inside or outside doormats.
This step by itself is good to do every now and then, even if you don’t plan on doing a deeper, more intensive clean.
How to Clean Inside Doormats
Indoor doormats are often made of woven materials and fabrics. They can be cotton or synthetic and often have a rubber backing to prevent slipping.
After you’ve gotten rid of the loose particles, check the manufacturer’s instructions. Many indoor doormats can be tossed into the washing machine for cleaning.
For those that aren’t, use a mild detergent and water should do the trick. Spot test a small corner of the doormat first to see how it responds. Allow it to air dry. If it holds up to the cleaning, it’s time to get started.
Mix detergent and warm water to create a sudsy mixture. Dip a brush into the solution and scrub the doormat with it. Flip the doormat over to get both sides.
Rinse the doormat with clean water. This is best done outside or in a bathtub to prevent excess moisture from getting onto your floors. When you’re done, wring the doormat out with your hands and take it outside to dry. Hang it over a fence or piece of outdoor furniture and allow it to dry completely before bringing it back inside.
How to Clean Outside Doormats
Outside doormats tend to be made of tougher stuff than the indoor variety, such as rubber, coir, and polyester.
How to Clean Coir Doormats
Coir doormats are the coarse; typically brown, doormats often seen on the front porches of homes.
Coir doormats have short, tough, bristles, made of natural materials such as coconut, which makes them perfect to catch dirt before it can enter your home.
Once you’ve shaken out your doormat to eliminate the loose dirt, salt, and organic debris, it’s time to give it a thorough clean.
Use water and a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the doormat clean of lingering mud and grime. You don’t need to worry about soaps and cleansers. Those may actually damage the fibers, so stick to just water.
Once the mat is clean, hang it outside to dry. Don’t leave it lying down, as this allows water to get trapped underneath it, which can lead to mold growth.
Use this method not only for coir, but any doormat made of natural materials such as sisal and jute.
How to Clean Rubber Doormats
Rubber doormats are built to last and withstand heavy foot traffic. Often made from recycled tires, you may often see these doormats with a woven design, specifically to help trap in dirt and loose debris.
Wash these mats with water, using a brush to help dislodge any loose particles or to scrub away any areas of stubborn grime. You can use a little dish soap if your doormat is especially dirty. Make sure to rinse it off well and hang it out to dry in the sun.
How to Clean Polyester Doormats
Polyester is a surprisingly durable material. These rugs usually come with a rubber backing.
Once the rug is free of loose debris, use warm soapy water and a scrub brush to wash the doormat on both sides.
Rinse the doormat with clean water and hang to dry.
How to Deodorize Your Doormat
Doormats don’t just trap in particles, they can also hold onto odors. If your doormat can’t be washed, consider deodorizing it to prevent unwanted smells.
Sprinkle baking soda over the dry doormat and leave it to sit for a few hours. Vacuum up the baking soda with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner or shake it out manually. The baking soda will absorb all the smells and leave your doormat smelling fresh and clean.
Stain Treatment for Doormats
Stains mar the pretty aesthetic of your doormat. Depending on the type of doormat you have, there are several options for eliminating these eyesores.
Stains on fabric doormats aren’t uncommon. From mud to spills, fabric stains fairly easily. Fortunately, it’s nearly as easy to remove them.
Since most fabric doormats are machine washable, you can use a commercial stain remover on the affected area before tossing the doormat into the wash.
Don’t feel like doing laundry? Another easy method is to give the area a quick scrub with some warm soapy water and let it air dry.
White vinegar is a great natural stain remover due to its acidic nature. Blot some onto the area to gently remove the stain.
Natural Fiber Doormats
Natural fiber doormats are easily damaged by harsh cleansers and cleaning agents. If you notice areas of tough stuck-on dirt or stains, you’ll have to rely on water to remove them.
Dampen the area and use a coarse-bristled brush to scrub the area until the stain or discoloration is gone. Allow the area to air dry in the sunlight.
Rubber and nylon doormats can hold up to most cleansers, but the easiest and most cost-effective method for removing stains is with a simple solution of white vinegar and water.
Mix the vinegar and water in equal parts and apply it to the stain. You can either pour it onto the stained area, or fill a spray bottle with the solution and spray it on.
Leave it to sit for about 15 minutes before wiping the area clean with a damp sponge.
Set the doormat out in direct sunlight to dry.
Special Considerations for Mold
Mold isn’t just an eyesore; it’s a potential health problem.
Mold is attracted to damp, warm, and dark places and a damp doormat can quickly become an accommodating surface for mold spores.
When doormats become wet and are left to sit, mold can easily grow underneath them where the sunlight can’t reach them. This is one of the reasons regular cleaning is so important, it allows you an opportunity to ensure mold can’t spread by checking underneath them frequently.
Mold isn’t healthy for anybody, but it’s particularly problematic for those with respiratory conditions.
When dealing with mold, protect yourself with glasses, a mask, and gloves. Mold isn’t safe to inhale and it’s important to keep it away from your eyes and skin.
No matter what type of doormat you have, if you detect mold, the first thing you’ll need to do is take the doormat outside, and away from the house. This helps to prevent loose spores from getting into your home.
Brush away the mold with a coarse-bristled brush, making sure to remove as much as you can. Now you can treat the area, depending on the type of doormat you have:
Fabric and Synthetic Doormats
Simply washing these doormats isn’t enough. You’ll need to kill the mold spores first.
Mix white vinegar and water in equal parts in a spray bottle and saturate the affected area. Leave the doormat to sit in the sunshine for at least an hour before rinsing it off. At this point you can wash your fabric doormat in your washing machine.
For synthetic doormats simply rinse away the vinegar solution and allow the doormat to air dry.
Don’t have vinegar handy? Lemon juice is also acidic and works just as well.
Natural Fiber Doormats
Most natural fiber doormats are inherently resistant to mold, but the rubber or synthetic backing underneath isn’t.
If you encounter mold growing underneath your doormat on the synthetic surface, treat the area with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution, being careful not to get any of the vinegar onto the natural fibers.
Leave the vinegar and water to sit for several hours in the sun before rinsing it away with clean water. Leave the doormat in the sun to dry.
Sunlight, all by itself, is an effective mold killer. If you don’t want to take the chance of accidentally getting vinegar on your doormat, simply place it in direct sunlight and leave it there all day. Wipe the area clean with a brush and repeat the next day if needed.
How Often Should You Clean Your Doormats
Establishing a cleaning schedule is a helpful way to remind yourself to take care of your doormats, which are often easy to forget about.
Shake out your doormats weekly to get rid of the loose debris. Sweep underneath them to get rid of the accumulation of dirt underneath.
Clean your doormats monthly, or as needed depending on the amount of foot traffic they see.
When It’s Time to Replace Your Doormat
A good rule of thumb for replacing doormats is to swap them out for new ones every six months; of course, there are several factors you should consider first.
Indoor doormats can last considerably longer with routine care and cleaning. Look for signs of fraying, deterioration, and wear. If your doormat is still structurally intact and has no major issues after six months, there is no reason to replace it until it does. Unless you just want a change of style or color.
Outside doormats are subjected to the elements and can break down quicker than their indoor counterparts, especially those that aren’t protected by an overhang. The sun itself can cause fading and damage over time.
Assess your doormat after six months. If you find signs of wear, areas where the fibers are coming free, stains that won’t come up, its time to think about replacing it with a new one.