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What is a Bath Mat?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated: May 16, 2024

A bath mat is a mat used in the bathroom. The two types of bath mats are the kind that is placed inside the bathtub and the kind that is placed just outside the bathtub. The first type is used to prevent slipping in the tub, while the second type absorbs water from the body after the bath or shower and helps prevent slipping as well as water damage to the floor.

The bath mat made to use outside the tub often has a rubber backing to help secure it to the floor. Its surface is usually cut or looped pile that may be quite thick and plush. The color range is wide and shapes vary, but most are rectangular or oblong. A terry towel bath mat may not have a rubber backing and is more like a very thick towel that absorbs the water from the feet and helps keep excess water off the floor. Whether rubber-backed or not, a bath mat should be hung up over the tub or somewhere else after use so that air can circulate underneath the mat to avoid mildew.

The rubber type of bath mat that remains in the tub should be cleaned regularly on the bottom and top to prevent mildew and dirt and soap build-up. These kinds of bath mats are usually excellent in helping to prevent falls in the bathtub. Falls in the tub or shower area can be especially dangerous because it's easy for a person's head to strike a hard surface such as the porcelain tub, the floor or the metal shower tap while falling. Children and older adults are especially susceptible to falls in the bathroom.

Since the cloth bath mat helps absorb water from the feet as well as keep water from spreading onto the bathroom floor, it too helps prevent falls in the bathroom. Both types of bath mats are quite inexpensive yet are invaluable for safety reasons. Bath mats also add a great look to a bathroom if you find a color, texture and style that fit in with your bathroom.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Jun 12, 2014

I understood the importance of having a bath mat outside of the tub after I moved into my own apartment and lived without one for a while. Not only is it dangerous to walk around on a wet bathroom floor, but it's also difficult to clean it every time.

By candyquilt — On Jun 11, 2014

@discographer-- Yes, there are mildew resistant and antibacterial bath mats out there. You might have to look around a little bit, but you will find one.

I should warn you however that it is difficult to make a bath mat mildew resistant if it's sitting in water all the time. So even "mildew resistant" bath mats might need to be hanged up somewhere after each bath or shower to prevent mildew. In that case, there isn't much point buying a mildew resistant one since all bath mats will stay clean if you hang them up after use.

By discographer — On Jun 10, 2014

Is there an inside bathtub mat that doesn't allow the growth of mildew?

I need to buy a mat for the inside of the tub as I almost slipped and fell last time. But I want something that stays clean and that doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

Any recommendations?

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