Your car mats take a lot of abuse every day. It does not take very long for them to start to look dirty. Getting your car detailed can be expensive. If you could wash and dry them, it would save a lot of money. While it may seem easy to wash and dry your car floor mats, there are much better ways to clean them.
If you search online, you will find many people vehemently pleading with you not to put your car floor mats in a dryer. The truth is that, yes, you can put them in the dryer. However, it is not going to have a great result.
Floor mats get knocked around a lot more every day than any damage your dryer can do. And the dryer is built to withstand a lot. It is not a matter of the machine getting broken. It has more to do with what your mats will be like when they come out.
The heat from your dryer can cause the rubber elasticity on the back of your mat to break down. When the drying cycle is complete, your mats may be less flexible, and the rubber may even crack when you bend it. So, if you like your mats now, you should not do it. But you have other options.
If your mats are carpeted, there is nothing to stop you from putting them in your washing machine. Any plastic or rubber components, however, may become damaged. Even worse, they could be harmful to the machine.
If your floor mats have any of those parts, the best way to clean them is to scrub them with some detergent and water and then rinse them with a pressure washer or a hose. Hang them up somewhere to air dry. They should soon be as good as new.
Washing your floor mats is not as simple as dropping them in the machine and hitting the start button. You will have to do some pre-treating by hand to get them as clean as possible.
- Start by shaking as much dirt, grass, and particles loose as you can. You might be able to knock a lot of it loose by hanging it up and hitting the back of it with a broom. You can also lay it on the ground and sweep a good amount of it off.
- Apply stain remover to all the stains you can find and rub it well with a soft brush.
- Put the mat in the washing machine gently and with the water set on cold.
Once the washing machine is finished, take the floor mats outside and lay them flat on the ground. A concrete driveway or asphalt will work perfectly. If you have a wet/dry vac, this is a perfect opportunity to use it. Remove as much of the excess water as you can.
If you do not have a vac, use a broom to brush as much extra water off as you can. Once you can pick them up without a lot of water running off or dripping, you should hang them up somewhere that has good air circulation.
For your floor mats to get dry enough to put them back in the car you should let them hang for 12 hours. Longer if you can. If you take them down and put them back in your car before they are dry they could begin to breed mildew. You will have a swampy smell in your vehicle that will be difficult to get rid of.
Using the washing machine can help you get your floor mats clean. However, it is not the best way to do it. Rinsing your mats with water from a hose or a pressure washer and then treating them with a solution of baking soda and water is the best way to get stains out of them and make them look new again.
While it certainly sounds like you are taking the easy way out by throwing your car floor mats in the washer and dryer, it is not worth it. You can get them cleaner by hand than the washer can. And putting them in the dryer may cause them to not work as well as they did before.
When you are looking for an easy fix, consider that the best way to go about it is good old-fashioned elbow grease.