How to Clean a Bath Mat After a Toilet Overflow

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

Heather says

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. 

The University of Kentucky’s County Cooperative Extension says:


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.

Have fun?

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Related Posts:

The differences: Organize, Clean, Sanitary, and Sterile

Cleaning Up After a Toilet Overflow

Bathroom Cleaning 101


  1. says

    What if you have a load sensing machine? We can’t set the amount of water that goes into ours and there is a warming to not even wash anything like a bath mat in it.

    • says

      In that case, I would use a large bucket or a tote in the bathtub. You can use a broom handle to agitate. I suppose the only comforting words I have here, are at least you can do it indoors and you don’t have to haul the water from the creek?

      Modern inconveniences?

      • says

        Haha! We actually have a creek in our back yard… hmmm I guess in my case the best way would be prevention and convincing my kids that no they do not have to use a whole roll of toilet paper every time they poop.

    • says

      Thank you, Christy. It’s been a long year, I’m scared to say, hey I’m getting my feet under me, because every time I do lately, some new and exciting misadventure decides to drop in and play. So don’t tell anyone, I’m not really here. Shhh.

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