To answer the question that I know you are thinking, yes these are really my car mats.
You may think I am disgusting after seeing the floor mats from my mini-van. It’s true, I have four kids that LOVE to spill, spit, and on occasion barf in the car. It’s gross, I agree, but, here is a look into my life on a daily basis. We basically live in the car on some days of the week. Thursdays are especially crazy for us. We simultaneously have dance and cub scouts at the exact same time every Thursday AND, in order to get to dance on time we have to pick up our kids from school in order to make it. If you have kids, I’m sure you can relate.
Here you go here’s the disgusting floor mats from my car: How to clean floor mats in your carBut don’t worry, I have a solution. My friend Liz has a mini-van too {a Honda Odyssey like mine}, and she gave me the advice to just throw the removable floor mats in the washing machine! WHAT?!? It couldn’t be that easy, right?!?
I figured I had nothing to lose because I had tried to clean them before by just spraying them off with a power washer with a little laundry soap, but it didn’t work very well. So, I tried it. But, before I put them in the washer, I sprayed them down with the miracle stain remover that I’ve blogged about before.
And voila, look what happened… How to clean floor mats in your car
The floor mats were a little bleached out when they came out of the washer, but I could care less.
How to clean floor mats in your car How to clean floor mats in your car
I still can’t believe I let the mats get this dirty before I took the bull by the horns.
How to clean floor mats in your car How to clean floor mats in your car
Some of the mats came a little cleaner than others, but believe me I was happy to get them looking this good.
How-to-wash-car-mats How-to-wash-car-mats
So, to break it down in two easy steps in case you missed it:
Step 1: Spray your mats with the best homemade stain remover ever.
Step 2: Throw the mats into the washer (with detergent like you usually do).
Step 3: Lay them out to dry.
The end.


  1. says

    I just through all of my floor mats from my van in my washer… saying a small prayer that I don't ruin the washer. LOL. Um, did you do a regular cycle or a gentle… and what happened during the Spin/draining time. Did your washer get off balance with such a heavy load… Really hoping mine works out well and that i will have super clean mats in a little while. :)

  2. Brooke @ says

    I just asked my hubby about this and he said to mention that we do have high capacity front loaders. I hope that helps. :)

  3. says

    Ok, I seriously need to do this! My floor mats look TERRIBLE! My husband laughs at me because I am so particular about our house being clean…but get in my car…and it's DISGUSTING! He says I live two separate lives. :) OOPS! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Brooke @ says

    I washed the mats in a few separate loads so the washer wasn't full to the max. And I have a front loader so it doesn't have the balancing issue. I also forgot to mention that I add laundry detergent to the washer also. Good Luck!!

  5. Brooke @ says

    I just mix up a spray bottle and store it. I use it a lot with my regular laundry so I go through it pretty quick. But as far as I can tell it works great for a few weeks.

  6. Eloisa Ricarte says

    Is regular setting o.k. or did you put it on gentle? Also, what temperature was the water? Thanks, would love to try this!

  7. Brooke @ says

    I think I just left my settings as normal. So, I think it was on warm/cold. :) And no it was not on gentle. Gentle would probably have not done the trick. As you can see they were GROSS!!!

  8. Brooke @ says

    Patrina! Good luck! I hope you didn't freeze going out that late to get your mats! Mine looked so bad {as you can tell by the pictures} that I was desperate. So, for me it was totally worth trying because I couldn't take it any longer!!

  9. Brooke @ says

    Mandy! Ha! I swear with kids it's impossible to keep anything clean all the time. My husband is also obsessed with having a clean car. Tell Jeff to relax. :)

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing!!! Just did this on my '06 Honda Civic mats (only washed once, like 4 yrs ago, and they didn't get very clean) ….I sprayed them all, and to experiment I only scrubbed one (just lightly to get it sudsy and more into the fabric.)I washed all them together and I did gentle cycle, water temp. HOT, and added detergent–only the one I scrubbed came clean, but it was SPOTLESS, looks brand new.(I took pics, so I could compare, and WOW!) So I took the 2 other mats and did the same thing as the other but did REGULAR cycle, instead of gentle, and they came out SPOTLESS also!!

    Thanks so much!!!!!!! (Now to try this solution on the actual car seat)

  11. says

    I did this tonight and it was a huge pinterest fail for me. I have a front loader HE washer (5 mo. old) and there were suds everywhere (luckily they stayed in the machine). I couldn't even see in the washing machine there were so many suds. I washed just two small mats so I didn't overcrowd the washing machine. My machine tried for 2 hours to get the suds out during the spin cycle (it kept saying it had 8 min. left, but b/c it's a newer load sensing machine it just kept working hard to get all those suds out). FINALLY an uneven symbol came on and unlocked the machine so I could get the mats out and hand wash them.

    I re-read your instructions and did exactly what you did and actually used the solution minimally. I re-read my washing machine manual and it says to only use HE detergent which is what I use, but I think the dawn is what caused the problem. My manual says that if you add non-HE detergent it will cause too many suds. I'm sure that was the problem.

    I am not blaming you, Brooke, as you've given me lots of great advice, but I just wanted to come back with my feedback in case anyone else has a newer LG HE front loader….beware!

    • Kim says

      Same thing is happening to me right now! I have a huge Samsung HE front loader and it’s dying! It looks like a Brady episode inside the drum. I even showed my kids and they were impressed. My computer says that it keeps trying to get rid of suds. Probably was that I had a lot of stains on my carpets and used two full bottles of cleaner. DUH! I should have sprayed them with the hose before putting them in the washer. I can only hope it doesn’t hurt my washer.

  12. Brooke @ says

    Wow Kimberly, I'm speechless. I guess the type of machine you use makes a big difference. I am glad you came back to leave your experience. Maybe it will help someone else who has your type of machine.

    I have front loader HE Kenmore machines and they work like a charm every time. BUT, I don't spray a ton of the solution on the mats, I just spray the stains. So, maybe the amount of dawn solution also impacts the result.

    Thanks again for the feedback.

  13. matt says

    Just cleaned my mats. Maytag front loader

    suds. I knew that adding the dawn was going to get suds everywhere so I put a couple of towels in front of the machine. It did have trouble with the suds, but let it run overnight.

    In the morning I noticed that there was still dirty, extremely dirty water in the bottom of the washer. I did a quick search and found that the pump filter was clogged. I didn’t even know washers had filters. Unscrewed some screws under the front of the machine to get access. When I pulled the filter out all of the water came out with it.

    After using the wet vac to clean up the water I took the mats out back and sprayed them with water to make sure all the suds and dirty water were off and now they are drying. They are tan so I didn’t expect them to look new with all the dark stains, but they look much, much better and I cleaned the washer filter in the process

    • john says

      Just want to comment about cleaning the filter on a front loading washing machine. I had to replace the drum on my machine, which involved removing the filter and plumbing. Unfortunately my setup is stacked, in my kitchen, on hardwood floors. Not good for one gallon of water spilling out. So I took a wet/dry shop vac and place the nozzle at the bottom of the filter. Then I slightly cracked open the filter with the vac on. This will suck all the water into the vac before hitting the floor. It takes a long time, but it’s worth it.

  14. says

    Thanks for your advice. I washed my 2004 Honda Pilot mats and they turned out great.
    I have a front loader but did not put the DAWN in it. As for the sudsy outcome others posted, it might make a difference as to whether they were washing with hard or soft water. That makes a huge difference in the amount of suds one gets from a dish detergent.
    Thanks again.

  15. says

    How do I keep my mats from curling up after I get done cleaning them. I don’t know if it’s good for them, but I used them in a parts washer we have here at work. Please help. Thanks.

    • Brooke says

      Rewet them and try placing them upside down on your driveway and try to apply pressure to get them to straighten out. Maybe even try rolling them up the opposite way of the curl. I hope this helps!

  16. Dorothy says

    This was EXACTLY what I was looking for!!! Your mats are the exact same as mine…except now you have clean ones. Now i know how to clean mine! Thank you1!!

  17. Sandy says

    A big thank you for posting this tip on the internet. My daughter and I were just about to get out the carpet cleaner and start the 2 hour task of cleaning our floor mats for our Honda Odyssey. Since I dread this task so much, it doesn’t get done too often and the floor mats were disgusting! I decided to do a quick search on the internet and your post was the first thing that popped up. We pre-treated the mats with Shout, used a scrub brush to loosen up some of the dirt and put the mats in our top loading whirlpool (with agitator) machine. We split the mats into 2 even loads and used laundry detergent. I washed in warm on the normal cycle. I am so excited, they came out looking brand new. I can’t tell you how happy I am. This saved me several hours (I was able to get some other cleaning done while the mats were in the washing machine). Thank you so much!!!!

  18. Denise says

    Brooke – I can’t tell from your car mat photos but are these the mats with hard rubber nodules on the back (the nodules help the mat not slip on the car carpet)?

    Planning to try this with my 2004 Toyota Sienna mini-van mats for the first time (after 3 kids and 9 years!) but wanted to be sure the mats you washed did have the rubber backing.


  19. Michele says

    I just pulled mine out of the washer and they were ripped to shreds. Most of the back came off. Original mats from my 2010 Toyota Corolla. This was the second time, in 2 years, that I have washed them in the washer. Sorry. Wow, and the washer is full of small pieces of black rubber/plastic whatever that is.

  20. Jay says

    I put my Lexus ES350 trunk mat into the washing machine because some milk leaked on it. The mat”s back was stiff from the rubber beforehand, but when I pulled it out, the mat was completely pliable. In other words, the stiffness is gone. I suspect the sizing must have washed away. At any rate the mat is nice and clean, but I don’t know if I have destroyed it in the process. Anybody have any ideas what happened? Thanks.

  21. AWC says

    Did this today with very soiled mats. The whole group of a 2006 Toyota Sienna in one wash. Sprayed a total of 2 1/2 cups of peroxide and 1 1/4 cup of dawn on the stained areas. I then let it sit for a while and threw it in the wash on the heavy cycle. All was well until the foam started coming out the front of the washer Mr. Mom style. After emptying about 10 medium plastic bins worth I decided it was never going to end so I pulled them all out and sprayed them off extensively with a hose and scrubbed the extra soiled parts with a brush. Then I threw them back in for another cycle. They came out pretty amazingly clean given where they started. The whole ordeal was time consuming however :). All in all I’d recommend but apparently over a cup of dawn in the washer plus a full tray of normal detergent is a bit much.

  22. Wendy says

    I tried this and it was a huge fail. My washer is not a front loader. When I took the mat out it was still gross and my wash machine was just nasty! So, I tried it again, with no better luck. I drive a yukon so the mat is large, wondering if i should put a large towel in to add agitation and balance. I was so disappointed! :-(

  23. Jo says

    I washed mine (2009 Honda Odyssey) today in my Whirlpool Duet front loader. I sprayed VERY sparingly and washed on cold, low spin cycle. I also put some HE detergent into the dispenser. Mine came out SPOTLESS. After five years of abuse from two kids. Thank you!

  24. Kate says

    I am going to try this, but I have a top loader (no agitator) Cabrio and I love my machine.
    I’m going to haul them down to the laundry mat and use theirs. 😀

  25. Sara says

    Laquer Thinner is the greatest thing you can buy for cleaning your car. ANY part of your car. My fella has a car detailing business, and every time we’re at Walmart he buys another can. Trust me, it works wonders. Even on leather seats.

      • Sara says

        Everything. It’s good for tough stains on the carpets. He gets lots of calls involving removing baby puke, and he always asks them if they have lacquer thinner in their garage. You can even use it to wipe off small scratches on the body of the vehicle. Another good tip is using steel wool on the small dents in your windshield. They come right out!

  26. Chrisy says

    Trying this now on my 2013 Optima mats and praying it works. I took my car to get detailed they supposedly cleaned the mats but they are were just soaked! So I took them put and they have been sitting in the driveway for 3-4 weeks and am taking the car to get cleaned again and would really like to get my mats put back in….this time clean and DRY!!!

  27. chrissie says

    OMG! FINALLY! This totally works! I even spilled a bottle of hair color on my passenger carpet about 6 months ago while toting supplies to my salon and it came right out! I used the Great Value version of the blue dawn soap and just did enough to spray the carpets heavily and washed them in 2 loads. Thats all it took. They look awesome and my washer isnt dirty either. I did mine on Heavy, Super Hot, and extra rinse. Getting ready to sell my car and this was my biggest concern. Thank you!

      • Amber says

        They don’t even allow bath mats with rubber backs. Perhaps I will try a different laundromat.


        • Jenny B. says

          I’ve seen people cleaning their floor mats at the car wash. Some (maybe most?) manual car wash bays have clips on the wall where you can attach the mats and then use the sprayer with the soap to wash and then the water to rinse just like you would to wash the outside of the car. Not sure how effective it is, but it would likely help some. I’m just not sure what you’re supposed to do with them once they’re all wet. :) Maybe bring some trash bags to put them in for the drive home?

  28. Amber says

    What about the carpets that are under the car mats?? Mine are so dirty and my interior is beige. Any tips??

  29. Donna B says

    It worked beautifully, in my top loader….just as you instructed.
    I only did the front mats; both in at the same time.
    Thanks much, now my “new” used car looks even better!

  30. Amanda says

    Interesting thought….. I have seen many of us comment that we are “going out to our Honda Odyssey”… That’s what I have too, and my mats are HORRIBLE!!! Coincidence?

  31. Ron Linder says

    I don’t think mats are supposed to go in the washer because they ruin they mat not the washer. Also, if they are this bad, how about investing in a new set.

    • Brooke says

      They are totally fine after washing them in my washer. There’s no need to replace them if they can be washed and revived.

  32. asheslaree says

    Ah, this shredded the back of my mats, the washing machine is fine and the fabric is fine but the rubber on the mats…well it could be worse. they look really clean though! I can repair the shredding rubber well enough, just be warned if you have thin or cheap *cough me* mats they could shred. I knew the risk, but I’m glad I tried becaause they really do look new if you don’t look at the back!

  33. Joy says

    Has anyone tried these on mats that have a felt like back. Our Honda mini-van mats have a felt like back, not a rubber one. They are original to the car.

  34. erika says

    I don’t put them in the washer because no matter how many times I rinse them off with a garen hose there is so much grit and dirt(dirt drive way) that I don’t want to ruin my machine.

  35. Xist says

    How long did your four children need to do that to your floormats? I allowed my ex to drive one of my cars for some months and they looked at least as bad. I had tried different things with a round brush bolted to my cordless screwdriver (power brush!) and everything seemed to work, but you could only tell because the water turned brown! I did not notice the mats getting much better! I tried this, put most of a quart on the mats, scrubbed, allowed to sit, ran through my old top-loading washer with detergent, hosed them off because they felt slimy, and then applied the rest, scrubbed, allowed to sit, and washed without detergent. The bizarre thing was that both time they came out with brown streaks, which seemed to match where I poured on the cleaner, when I wanted more than just a spray. I hosed it off for a while, had it dry, and they look amazing! I put a towel on top of them because I am afraid of getting them dirty!

  36. Yvette says

    Hi Brooke, I’d like to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much for sharing your special homemade stain remover.
    I mixed it like you suggested and it did wonders!!
    It’s the best of all cleaning agents I’ve ever tried!
    I used it on my car mats and the seats which were awfully dirty now they look new. You are GOD sent!! You saved me from spending/ wasting money on a professional.
    Thank you sooo much????


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