‘I’m a Microbiologist, and Your Bath Mat Is Gross—Here’s What To Replace It With’


Bath mats are gross. “They’ve been recognized as a hotspot for microbial contamination in the home,” says microbiologist Jason Tetro, author of The Germ Files. “Over 40 percent of mats tested in a study revealed enough colonies to potentially cause infection.”

Tetro says you should be cleaning your bath mat as often as you clean your toilet, which he recommends doing about once a week. And while every type of bath mat needs to be properly sanitized, there are certain types that hold up better than others in the germ department.

According to Tetro, antimicrobial bath mats really live up to the hype. “They’re indeed all the rage,” he says. That includes certain wooden bath mats, too: “Some woods can be used to reduce the growth of microbes. But unlike what people may think, definitely not bamboo,” Tetro says, as past research has shown natural bamboo fiber has no natural antibacterial properties. Here are the best antimicrobial bath mats to buy for your own space.

The best antimicrobial bath mats, according to a germ expert

1. Natural Japanese Hinoki Non-Slip Bath Mat, $87

antimicrobial bath mats

This bath mat is a great choice for keeping bacteria and mold away. It’s made from Japanese cypress hinoki wood, which is quick-drying, mold- and mildew-resistant, and has anti-bacterial properties. (That’s why it’s also often used to make cutting boards.) You can clean wooden bath mats by gently scrubbing them with soap and water using a soft, non-abrasive sponge that won’t cause damage.

Shop now: IPPINKA Natural Japanese Hinoki Non-Slip Bath Mat, $87

2. Sasawashi Japanese Bath Mat, $48

antimicrobial bath mats

This bath mat is absorbent, quick-drying, and germ-free thanks the blend of washi paper and kumazasa extract—a Japanese plant that has natural antibacterial properties. To clean it, machine wash it in a garment bag.

Shop now: Sasawashi Japanese Bath Mat, $48

3. Dorai Bath Stone, $69

antimicrobial bath mats

This beautiful bath mat is made with diatomaceous earth, which dries instantly under your feet, prevents mold, and fights off bacteria. Fun fact: Diatomaceous earth kills bacteria by causing it to dry out and die. To clean it, simply wipe it down with a soft cloth or sponge.

Shop now: Dorai Bath Stone, $69

This 10-step bath routine is self-care at its finest:

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