How to Clean a Car Mat Like a Pro in 7 Easy Steps

2 May 2023
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
Rubber gloves
ShopVac with attachments
Dish Soap
Rubbing alcohol
Nail brush


Car mats are necessary in your vehicle because they protect the interior from dirt, grit, and spills. However, with regular use, they can quickly become grubby, dirty, and stained. The floor of a car is subjected to most of the dirt and grime in a vehicle’s interior. Mostly from the bottom of your shoes, as well as spills from food and drinks.

Cleaning your car mat at home is an easy and affordable way to maintain its appearance and extend its lifespan.

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to clean a car mat using a hack that we have been using in our auto detailing for years.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step One: Remove the mats from your car
The first step is to remove the car mats from your vehicle. This will make it easier to give them a thorough cleaning. Depending on the model of your vehicle, the mats may be held in place by clips, hooks, or simply by laying loose. Gently remove them, being careful not to damage any clips or hooks.

Step Two: Shake the mats
Take the mats outside and give them a vigorous shake to remove any dirt, sand, or debris. This will make the cleaning process easier, as well as more effective.

Step Three: Vacuum the mats

  1. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any residual dirt or debris from the mats. 95% of the soil and dirt in carpets and upholstery is dry dirt, so you want to get it out before introducing moisture. Failure to do this will emulsify the dry soil and create a mud slurry.

    Generally, you will find that when the surface of a mat has a lot of grit and dirt, that typically means the base will also be dirty.

    Place the mat face down on the ground and vacuum for about 30 seconds. Lift the mat to vacuum the loose dirt and grit off the ground.

    Our notes: We use a Kirby vacuum with a rotating mechanical action brush head on it. What this does, is vibrate the soil out of the car mat.

  2. Repeat step one until no more residual dirt is released onto the ground.
  3. Next, turn the mat face up and vacuum, paying close attention to the edges and corners. At this stage, 95% of the dry dirt should be out of the mat.

Step Four: Apply a cleaning solution

  1. Make up your cleaning solution using half a teaspoon of dish soap and 20 ml of rubbing alcohol and add it to your bucket containing two litres of water.
  2. Apply the cleaning solution to the mat with your sponge, making sure that you work it into the carpet fibres.
  3. Allow the solution to dwell for a couple of minutes.

Step Five: Scrub the mats.
Using a small nail brush, brush the solution into the fibres to remove any stubborn stains or dirt. Be careful to work gently and not damage the mat’s surface.

Step Six: Extract the slurry
Use a ShopVac or any wet-dry vacuum with a narrow attachment to vacuum the moisture and dirt out of the rug.

Step Seven: Dry the mats
All you need to do now is allow the mats to fully dry before putting them back in your vehicle. Ensure that they are properly fitted and securely fastened.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your car mats at home is an easy and affordable way to keep your car’s interior looking clean and well-maintained.

Follow the above step-by-step guidelines, and you will have clean car mats in no time, with minimal fuss. Normally, it will take about five minutes to vacuum down a car mat, mix the solution, and extract the slurry.

Remember to clean your car mats regularly, especially if you frequently drive in dirty and dusty environments. This will not only help to maintain their appearance but also extend their lifespan.

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