Dear Home Ec 101,
I found your article on How to Clean Up After a Toilet Overflow useful, but I was wondering if you could tell me how to clean my daughter’s colorful bath mat?
My Cup Overflows With Gratitude
Isn’t adulthood fun?
The good news is that your bath mat is not a table cloth.
If you have a clothes washer, between it, 2 TBSP of household bleach, the dryer, and some sunlight, your bath mat will be more than clean enough to avoid spreading things like e. Coli to the entire house.
First take the bath mat outside and shake it out as much as thoroughly possible. If you can still see some -ahem- organic matter, grab the hose and rinse the bath mat until all visible particles are gone. Wring the bath mat out as thoroughly as possible, while you’re still outside.
Wash the bath mat on the largest load in warm water with regular detergent and then follow that up by adding 2TBSP of household bleach to the rinse cycle.
Brightly colored fabrics that may fade when chlorine bleach is used at higher levels, generally can be successfully sanitized with 2 tablespoons of liquid chlorine bleach per washer load without significant color loss
Dry your bathmat thoroughly in the dryer, on tumble or low. The rubber backing of the mat will disintegrate if you dry it at higher temperatures. Once the bath mat is thoroughly dry allow it to sit in the sunlight for several hours.
At this point, it’s okay to stop worrying. Bath mats are intended for feet and really, when your child plops down on the bath mat with their bare bottom, they are probably adding more germs to the mat than they could possibly pick up.
Remember your home isn’t an operating room and a sterile environment isn’t necessary to maintain good health. Using proper hand washing techniques, getting adequate sleep, and a good diet will do far more for a family’s overall health than spending too much time and energy on trying to rid your home of all potential germs.
Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.