The answer to this question depends on the type of material the bathroom mat is made from and how we care for them. Bacteria is everywhere and not all of it harmful, so is the bathroom mat any different from other common items in the house?

Why do bathroom mats get mouldy? 


Bathrooms are not the most hygienic places in any building. Bathrooms are a shared space where we shower, bathe, use the toilet, leave damp towels and baths mats. Bacteria, yeast, molds and even viruses need moisture to survive and flourish. Bathrooms have regular water flowing and steam being created, not to mention flushing toilets.

Toilet flushing

There are According to recent research carried out by Harpic, 55% of British people don’t put the seat down when they flush, the result is an aerosolization of bacteria and virus particles that spread around the bathroom, some of these particles will inevitably end up settling on bath and shower mats, where they will gleefully flourish.

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Bacteria love feet

Bacteria live on human feet. The sweat and warm conditions are ideal partners for bacteria. Every time you get in the shower or bath, you transfer these bacteria from your unclean feet onto the bath or shower mat and then add more moisture as you get out.

Traditional washing doesn’t kill all bacteria

Even straight after washing, bath and shower mats are not always completely clean. Cotton and other synthetic fabrics can often only be washed at 40 degrees without shrinking or damaging in some way. 40 degrees is not adequate kill many common types of bacteria.

So yes, traditional fabric bath mats are prone to being full of bacteria.

It’s worth noting that bacteria are not all dangerous and is very much part of a functioning world, we cannot nor should we want to create completely sterile environments or our bodies simply wouldn’t be able to cope when we encountered them.

That said, the traditional fabric bath mat is highly flawed and bacteria growth and odours are one of the prominent reasons for this.

What is the alternative?

Natural earth stone bath mats are a new alternative to fabric. They are made of a unique stone composition that feels warm to the touch and absorbs up to 5 times its own weight while appearing dry on the outside. The retained water quickly evaporates meaning bacteria, yeast and moulds have no moisture to aid their survival.

To find out more about Natural Step bath mats please visit the website

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How to keep fabric bath mats hygienic?

The best way to keep your mats clean is

1. Wash and dry them regularly, ideally using an anti-microbial detergent and drying in direct sunlight.

2. Don't leave them on the floor, after each use, hang them to dry so they ventilate fully.

3. Avoid stepping on them as you enter the shower with unclean feet

4. Close your toilet lid when flushing to prevent spread of bacteria.

5. Open windows

6. Make sure your extractor fan is in good working order to remove excess moisture from your bathroom.