How can I reuse or recycle an old bath mat?

bathmatWe’ve had an email from Adele:

What can I do with some old bath mats? I have two in pale blue which I don’t want to use in the bathroom any more because they’re discoloured but I can’t bleach them because they’re blue. Any ideas?

If it’s just a case of things being discoloured, depending what they’re made of, you might be able to dye them a darker colour to hide the murk. I can’t say I’ve looked that closely but I’m pretty sure most mats I’ve seen are, like towels, 100% cotton to cope with super-hot cleaning – and pure cotton is usually reasonably easy to dye. Maybe take them to a mid or dark blue instead?

Aside from that and depending on the thickness, you might be able to use them for the same things as old towels. If they’re flat mats, like heavy towels, they would work well as soles on towel slippers; conversely, the big loopy kind would be fun as uppers on the same slippers. You could use the non-discoloured parts of the mat for the visible bits, and the discoloured parts for the hidden sections.

Any other suggestions?

(Stock photo by konr4d)

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10 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle an old bath mat?”

  1. Bellen says:

    I’d put them in the car to use when weather is wet – keeps the stuff out of the car.
    Also outside the door to hold muddy/wet shoes or boots.
    Can be tacked over the door of the dog house to keep weather & wind out. Can also be used just as bedding the pets.
    Tack it to a cardboard tube from carpeting and you have a scratching post for the cat

  2. Kacy says:

    Because my old one was the kind with the nonslip rubber underneath, I put it under a rug in my kitchen for traction.

  3. Tricia says:

    You can also donate such items as rugs, towels and old blankets to your local animal shelter or rescue group. Critters don’t care what color it is, or even if it’s a little worn out.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Roll tightly and secure with rubber bands (or anything) and use as draft stoppers by door cracks.

  5. Gina says:

    Go ahead and bleach them. They will just be a lighter tint. It is easy to dye things in the washing machine, too, but they would have to be washed separately forever after, because it is almost impossible to set dyes at home. Also if you do dye them, run the washer through a couple of cycles to get all of the shaded water out of the machine or the next few loads of clothes will be somewhat blue.

  6. When I worked at the Shaftesbury YOUTH CLUB on an eco fashion project, we turned quite a few very hairy bath rugs into funky bags and one lad even turned into a pillow! Sadly all had to be sewn by hand as they were too thick for the sewing machine.

    My mother in law dyes her bath mats frequently to great effect.

  7. Geminiromany says:

    If it’s cotton it will bleach fine. As posted above, might not go white but a paler blue, but you can give it a go! You could always use them to towel down the dogs after a walk in the wet (assuming you have any) or cut into dusters!

  8. Susan says:

    I’d use them between rows in the garden to keep down weeds.

    If you really want to keep them as rugs, though, why not try dying/bleaching a pattern into them? Dots or stripes should be doable even with a thick pile rug.

  9. David Reeves says:


    How about soda crystals? I’m finding that these are actually as good as my granny said they were! Cheap and Green too. I’m using these as a prewash and it’s working for me on towels and bath robes – so maybe worth giving it a good wash in soda crystals and then (perhaps) bleach after this if it’s not white enough? Please let us all know if you try this and it and how you get on.

  10. Ruti says:

    We put ours ( which is ok but the fibres are stiff not soft now) by the kitchen sink for washing up, as the tile floor is cold. Also useful when opening the gunge hole for the washing machine or defrosting a freezer or cleaning out the fridge as it stops the water going under much better than a towel.

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