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5 Best Antimicrobial Bath Mats—and Why You Need One, According to a Germ Expert

Your bath mat could be the dirtiest item in your bathroom. Here's why switching to an antimicrobial bath mat is a must for cleanliness, health, and sustainability.

antimicrobial bath mats
Written by
Calin Van Paris
are where we go to clean up. And from practiced (and sustainable) skincare routines to sudsy soaks, your want of a
spa session
can be easily carried off at home.
For these reasons and more, ensuring that the bathroom itself is as hygienic as possible is the first step toward feeling our best. Perhaps the biggest offender in this pursuit is also fairly universal: that damp, disgusting bath mat. The solution? Replacing the outdated rug with an antimicrobial option.

The Problem With Bath Mats

"Bath mats tend to have high surface area, retain wetness, and are filled with all sorts of organic material making them a haven for bacteria and fungi," says microbiologist 
Jason Tetro
, author of 
The Germ Files
. "Based on studies in
the UK
, there are usually hundreds of thousands of bacteria and fungi in a standard plush bathmat."
According to Tetro, you should be cleaning your bath mat as often as you clean your toilet: about once a week. Though feasible (and necessary), this
constant cleaning
increases the water and electrical footprint of your home—just one load of laundry requires
15 to 45 gallons of water
And though more severe conditions, like gastrointestinal infection, are possible should your nose or mouth get close to a dirty bath mat (something parents would do well to consider), the main risk is the potential for fungal infection of the toes and feet.
Fortunately, there's a cleaner, sleeker, and all-around healthier option. Say hello to antimicrobial bath mats.

What Is an Antimicrobial Bath Mat?

antimicrobial bath mats
An antimicrobial bath mat is a rug made from materials that discourage the cultivation of bacteria.
Stone mats
made from
diatomaceous earth
(a highly absorbent material made from the fossils of tiny aquatic organisms), wood-slatted mats that naturally repel water, or even options made from quick-drying organic cotton all qualify as antimicrobial—and make your step out of the shower a cleaner one. And while all bath mats require cleaning and sanitizing, these iterations make the process easier and more effective.
Interested in making the switch? Here are five antimicrobial bath mats to make your bathroom a more sustainable and sanitary place.

5 Best Sustainable Antimicrobial Bath Mats

1. Terra Stone Bath Mat, $50

Made with high-quality diatomaceous earth, this non-slip bath mat provides maximum comfort and safety for you and your family. The unique properties of diatomaceous earth make it extremely absorbent, ensuring that excess water is quickly wicked away and your bathroom stays dry and clean.
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2. The Citizenry Hinoki Wood Bath Mat, $155

Transform your bathroom into a zen space with this wooden bathmat. Not only is hinoki wood aromatic, it's also easy to clean and imbued with natural anti-bacterial properties.
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3. Ruggable Bain Checkered Black & White Bath Mat, $129

Ruggable's bath mats come in a two-piece system, allowing you to toss the decorative cover into a standard washing machine for easy cleaning. Plus, the brand's material is absorbent and quick-drying, eliminating the potential for mildew.
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4. Coyuchi Air Weight® Organic Twill Bath Mat, $38

Coyuchi's organic twill is designed to speed up drying time, minimizing bacteria breed time and maximizing your bathroom's clean, understated style. Plus, it's made with Fair Trade and GOTS'Certified cotton and is machine washable.
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antimicrobial bath mats

5. Adela Teak Shower Mat, $95

Made from FSC-certified teak, this bath mat's naturally high oil content makes it impervious to dampness and the bacteria that come with it.
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