How to Clean a Dish Drying Mat

Looking for ideas to clean your dish drying mat? This article will guide you with some pretty simple tips and tricks to get the job done.

wet pot, wine glass, and pitcher on a green dish drying mat on a countertop

When it comes to food preparation and cooking, a kitchen can become messy quickly. A dishwasher tackles the dirty dishes, but what about drying them? Well, that’s when drying mats come in handy. A mat helps you dry dishes and bowls that are too big for racks, or you can place the mat underneath the rack.

But dish drying mats can get dirty and stained very easily, and if not cleaned regularly, can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. So cleaning your dish mats is just as important as keeping your dishes clean.

Read on for our top tips for keeping your dish mats squeaky clean!

What is a dish drying mat and why should I use one?

A dish drying mat is a type of cloth or mat that is used to soak up water and keep dishes from getting wet. They are usually placed below a dish drying rack to catch water runoff after hand washing dishes.

Dish drying mats are typically made of microfiber or a more durable material like silicone or a flexible plastic. Most dish drying racks are either plastic or stainless steel and water runs off the dishes and dish rack onto a dish drying mat, which keeps counters free of standing water that can create mold and harbor bacteria.

Advantages of having a dish drying mat:

  • A dish mat can protect your delicate stemwares and dishes by cushioning.
  • It protects the kitchen countertop from scratches and being damp.
  • It’s a light-weight substitute for a countertop dish rack.
  • When not in use, it can be folded and stored easily.
  • If you have a countertop rack and it doesn’t have a drip tray, you can place a mat underneath to collect/absorb dripped water. This way, your counter will always stay dry and drip-free.

How to clean your dish drying mat

a woman holding a bag of natural cleaning products

Cleaning a greasy, stained mat with a stinky odor and bits of food residue can be frustrating. But with a few tips and techniques, almost anyone can do it easily.

Depending on the material of the mat, the cleaning technique may vary. Generally, textile mats can be washed in washing machines, but silicone mats need to be washed in a dishwasher or by hand. Having said that, every product is different, and you should always check the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning.

Baking soda method

One of the easiest ways to clean a dish drying mat is by using baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the mat. Wet your hands and make a thick paste of the baking soda. Allow the paste to rest for about 20 minutes. Then rinse it with semi-hot water.

Vinegar method

Another popular way to clean a dish drying mat is by using vinegar. Pour white distilled vinegar over the entire surface of the mat. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Wear kitchen gloves and scrub the mat with a sponge under semi-hot water. Rinse with hot water and allow it to dry after draining the solution.

Laundry detergent method

If your dish drying mat is made of cloth or microfiber materials and is machine-washable, you can add laundry detergent to the machine and wash it on a hot setting. But do not use fabric softeners or bleach. They can damage the mat and decrease its lifespan.

Bleach method

If your cloth dish drying mat is machine-washable, you can also add bleach to the machine and wash it on a hot setting. Bleach will clean and disinfect the mat.

Dishwasher method

If your dish drying mat is made of silicone or plastic materials and is labeled as dishwasher-safe, you can add it to the dishwasher and run a hot cycle.

Hot water and detergent method

You can also clean your dish drying mat by hand with hot water and liquid detergent. Wet your hands and create thick suds with the detergent. Rub the suds into the mat and rinse with hot water. Allow it to air dry after draining any excess water.

FAQs about cleaning dish drying mats

How often should I clean my dish drying mat?

Dish drying mats that are made with more durable materials like silicone or plastic can be cleaned 1-2 times a week, especially if they are being used daily to dry dishes and are often filled with standing water. A cloth or microfiber drying mat should be changed out daily to avoid bacteria and mold growth.

How do I clean the water runoff from my dish drying rack?

The easiest way to clean the water runoff from your dish drying rack is to use a dishwashing detergent and hot water. Wet your hands and create thick suds. Rub the suds into the rack and rinse with hot water. Allow it to air dry after draining any excess water.

Are dish drying mats machine washable?

Most dish drying mats are machine washable with similar colors, cold water and with mild detergents, but be sure to check the label before washing. If your mat is not machine-washable, you can clean it with one of the methods listed above.

Can I put my dish drying mat in the dryer?

Dish drying racks that are made of cloth like 100% cotton can be put into the dryer but some materials like certain microfibers can be damaged in high heat, so refer to your mat’s care label to confirm if it can be dried. Plastic or silicone mats should never be put into a dryer.

Can I iron my dish drying mat?

No, you should not iron your dish drying mat. If it is made of cloth, the high heat could damage the fibers. If it is made of silicone or plastic, the heat could cause them to melt.

Do dish drying mats get moldy?

Dish drying mats can grow mold because they often are either holding or soaking up water, which creates a moist and dark environment that is ideal for mold growth. Cleaning the mat regularly can help to prevent the growth of mold.

How do you get mold out of a dish drying mat?

A washing machine may be used to get mold out of dish drying mats. The water temperature must be hot, and add detergent and a glass of vinegar to disinfect it. Read our tips for killing mold on dish mats.

white dishes stack on a blue dish drying mat on a grey countertop

Learn more about keeping your dish mats clean

Cleaning a dish drying mat is an important part of keeping your kitchen clean and sanitary. Looking for more ways to keep your dishes (and dish racks and mats) clean? We’ve got you covered:

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