Can You Tumble Dry A Bath Mat? (advice from experts)
You should always check the care label on your bath mat for the most accurate advice on that particular bath mat. In many cases bath mats can be tumble dried on a low heat setting.
However, if the bath mat is rubber backed, it should be dried naturally and without any added heat. This is because too much heat can cause the rubber to melt or disintegrate.
The Experts Opinion
You might not believe it, but this is one of the hottest contested points by experts when it comes to using the washing machine and tumble dryer.
This is because of the amount of water some bath mats can absorb in the washing machine. Which can lead to the drum having too much of a weight load applied to it.
This can lead to reducing the washing machine’s lifespan. It is estimated that bath mats made from microfibre become 7 times heavier once they have reached full absorption.
Cotton bath mats are even worse, they can absorb up to 27 times their own weight in water.
Which all puts enormous pressure on the washing machine and tumble dryer. Especially when you consider that these machines spin at an average of 1,200 revolutions per minute.
Rubber backed bath mats should never be put in washing machines or tumble dryers. This is because the rubber will break off in the washing machine and clog up the drainage pipes. Whilst the rubber could melt in the tumble dryer.
How Often Should Bath Mats Be Washed & Dried?
This is something all (or nearly all) of the experts agree on. Bath mats should be washed weekly or at the very least, every fortnight.
This is because as they absorb moisture, they become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
Of course this is very much dependent on how many people live in your household and their ages. Children are more likely to walk their muddy shoes into the bathroom than most adults for example.
What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On A Bath Mat
Despite the scientific arguments that are still raging about washing and drying bath mats, there are some manufacturers that advocate drying in a tumble dryer.
You should always check the care label to see which setting (if any) you can tumble dry your bath mat on. Below is a list of all of the symbols that any garment will have in relation to tumble drying.
We’ve included them all for information purposes only as there are only a few which will apply to bath mats. They are;
- Square With White Circle – You can tumble dry
- Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle –This indicates you can dry on normal, low heat. This is the most likely symbol you will find on your bath mat.
- Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle –This indicates you can dry normal, medium heat
- Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle – You can dry normal, high heat
- Square With Black Circle – You can dry normal, with no heat
- Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top – Do not tumble dry. If you see this symbol, you should never risk tumble drying your bath mat. Doing so could ruin much more than the bath mat, it could damage your tumble dryer.
How To Dry A Bath Mat Without A Tumble Dryer
Once you’ve washed your bath mat it will need to be fully dried before placing it back on the bathroom floor. There are several ways to dry a bath mat without using a tumble dryer which include;
Line Drying Your Bath Mat
There’s nothing better than hanging a bath mat on the washing line and letting it dry on a warm, Summer’s breeze. Drying your bath mat in the sunshine will also help to kill any bacteria or germs that remain after washing.
If your bath mat is rubber backed it should be dried in a shady position as the heat from the sun can affect the rubber adversely.
Using A Retractable Washing Line To Dry Your Bath Mat Indoors
If the weather is too bad or you don’t have access to a garden, an indoor retractable washing line might be a good alternative. These retractable lines consist of a wall mounted box with a nylon line.
The line can be extended across a room and the bath mat hung in a similar way to on an outdoor washing line. After the washing is dry, the line can be retracted into the box until it is needed again.
SEE ALSO: Recommended Retractable Washing Lines
Drying Your Bath Mat On A Radiator Rack
As long as your bath mat is not rubber backed, it can be dried on a radiator rack. These are slotted onto the top of the radiator and the bath mat is hung on the rack in front of the radiator.
If you do use a radiator rack it is advisable to keep a window open to allow some of the moisture to escape.
Using an Airer To Dry Your Bath Mat
Airers or clothes horses as they are also known, are metal frames onto which your washing, in this case bath mats, can be hung or laid on.
They allow air to pass through the bath mat and will eventually get it dry.
Using A Heated Airer To Dry Your Bath Mat
Heated airers look exactly the same as standard airers except they can be plugged into a wall socket. The heated airer will then heat up and speed up the drying process.
You should never use a heated airer to dry a rubber backed bath mat as this could damage the rubber.
Reduce The Indoor Drying Time By Using A Dehumidifier
When using any of the above indoor drying methods, the drying time can be reduced by placing a dehumidifier into the same room.
The dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air which will allow the bath mat to dry in a shorter time.
SEE ALSO: Dehumidifiers For Drying Bath Mats
Using An Electric Fan Can Help Reduce Indoor Drying Times For Bath Mats
Placing an electric fan close to the bath mat as it is drying indoors can help to reduce the drying time.
You should open a window to help the moisture to escape when using a fan in this way.
SEE ALSO: Best Bladeless Fans
Drying Your Bath Mat In An Airing Cupboard
If you have an airing cupboard, it is the perfect place to dry your bath mats. Airing cupboards become warm, but never too hot for drying all types of bath mats (consult the care label for more details).
Why You Should Always Read The Wash Care Label On Bath Mats
It’s of vital importance that you read the care label on your bath mat. Let’s face it, if scientists can fall out over the subject, we really should be following their advice, right?
Seriously though, those care labels are there for a reason, and to not follow their guidance could damage your bath mat and your washing machine and tumble dryer.
- Shrinking Bath Mats- Depending on the material your bath mat is made from, it could shrink in the washing machine or tumble dryer. Especially if it is washed and/or dried at too high a temperature.
- Fading Colours – Again this depends on the fabric used to create your bath mat. But some fabrics are likely to bleed their colours at high temperatures. This is especially true in washing machines but could be a problem in the tumble dryer as well.
- Damage To The Washing Machine/Tumble Dryer – Washing machines and tumble dryers are designed and tested to work with certain weight limits. You might think that just because your bath mat fits in the drum, it’s not too heavy. And you’d probably be right, when it’s dry. However, as we saw earlier, some bath mats can become up to 27 times heavier when full of water. This could seriously damage both the washing machine and tumble dryer when spinning at an average of 1,200 revolutions per minute.
- Damage To The Bath Mat – Fading colours and shrinking aside, rubber backed bath mats can melt if subjected to too much heat. This melting rubber will ruin the bath mat and possibly the tumble dryer as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether it is safe to put a bath mat in a tumble dryer depends on the material used to make the bath mat. You should always consult the care label for instructions on how to wash and dry that particular item. As a general rule, as long as the bath mat isn’t made from rubber or is rubber backed, it’s OK to tumble dry on low heat for 20-30 minutes.
If you don’t have a tumble dryer you can dry your bath mat; On a clothesline outdoors, or indoors on a retractable clothesline, on an airer, or a heated airer, on a radiator rack, or in an airing cupboard. Using a dehumidifier will reduce the drying time significantly.
Experts agree that bath mats should be washed every week or every fortnight if the room has a low traffic count. This is because as the bath mat becomes wet it becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs. The more people using the bath mat, the wetter it becomes and the more germs it will harbour.
On average it will take anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes to dry a bath mat in a tumble dryer on low heat which is the recommended setting for bath mats (in most cases).
As towels require a hot wash, and many bath mats can only be washed at cooler temperatures, you should not wash bath mats with towels. Also as some bath mats can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water, you could do serious damage to the washing machine (and tumble dryer) by including bath mats in with towels.