How can I reuse or recycle an old doormat?

We’ve had an email from Chrissy asking what to do with an old doormat:

The bristly kind. Compost it?

The bristly ones are usually made from coir – coconut fibre – so a natural material that will compost — but it can apparently takes many years to decompose. That’s a good thing really – we’d have to replace our doormats more often if they rotted every six months – and it probably would rot down quicker in a warm, moist compost bin than on the doorstep, but possibly one for a long term compost bin rather than a quick turn around one. (Also, be careful if it has rubber or synthetic backing – you might not want that breaking down in your compost bin at all.)

In her short and sweet email, Chrissy doesn’t say why she’s getting rid of it but depending on its condition, it might be reusable in the same or another capacity – if I had a spare doormat right now, no matter how tatty, it would go outside the door to our chicken run so I could wipe my feet on the way out before traipsing back up the garden. Or, I made a wellie stand a few weeks ago and it could easily be fitted out with some stripes of bristly coir to help clean the mud off them first.

Any other reuse suggestions?

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6 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle an old doormat?”

  1. Miranda says:

    If it were mine, I would salvage as much of it as possible- I would cut the bristly parts off using a nice knife… then use the backing to recreate a floor mat- like this.


    Then if the bristles were a natural fiber… compost ’em.

    Another alternative… depending on the mat, maybe it could be cut in pieces and the bristly side could be used as a scrubber brush for cleaning hard surfaces. If you have the right tools, a handle could be attached.

  2. Bobbie says:

    This one is way outside the box, but I was thinking that you could put it in your flowerbed, then plant it with seeds and it would make a really cool flower carpet. Matter of fact if mine ever wears out I’ll try it!

    • louisa says:

      On the Wikipedia article about coir, it mentions that the leftover fibres not long enough for making into coir items are used for mulch. Could mats without a waterproof backing be used like that to hold moisture?

  3. i wouldn’t know where to start when recycling these. perhaps a smaller mat or a toy for a pet or something, or cut them up to smaller sizes to use as brushes for your shoes when they are very muddy

  4. Alice says:

    Yeah, I think however bad a state it’s in it’d probably still do for my allotment – both to get muddy wellies a bit cleaner, and to deal with certain small bits of path which either need weed suppression or turn into slippery puddles in the rain.

  5. Les says:

    worms love em

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