How to Clean a Desk Mat

How often do you even remember to clean your desk mat? It’s just there, doing nothing special, and it’s so easy to forget. Many of us simply overlook it during a typical cleaning routine.

But on the other hand, the desk mat is where all the dirt, crumbs, and dust will eventually end up, so keeping it clean is essential if you want a hygienic workspace.

This article will discuss this often neglected office desk element and how to clean it properly.

How to Clean a Desk Mat

The desirable desk mat cleaning method usually depends on the material that the mat is made of. A plastic, leather, or rubber mat should be cleaned with a damp cloth, or a cleaning wipe, although there’s some additional care needed for a leather mat.

On the other hand, if you have a fabric or cloth mat, you can expect the work to be a bit more tedious. Some fabric or cloth mats are probably washable in the machine. However, if you wash them like that, there’s always a risk of damage. To minimize the risk of damage, we strongly recommend to hand-clean the mat.

Shake the Dust Out

Before you begin with any other work on the desk mat, just shake the dust or any other crumbly contents out from it. You can also clean that with a vacuum cleaner if it’s easier for you.

Wash the Mat

After removing the dust and crumbs, it’s mat washing time! But before you jump to that, try to find out whether the manufacturer recommends it (although, in most cases, it’s perfectly fine). 

If the mat is washable, here are step-by-step instructions on what you should do.

Place the Mat in Water

Put the desk mat in a bowl with water. Best if it’s at least slightly warm. However, hot water is not recommended as it can cause damage to the mat, especially if it’s made of synthetics. 

Add Soap

You can use either dish soap or clothes detergent and put a small dose into the bowl. Stir it up a bit to dissolve. You can let it sit for ten to twenty minutes, and then it’s time for a more intense treatment.

Scrub off Dirt

Take a cleaning brush or other cleaning tool and scrub your mat gently. Remove any stains or dirt that you can find on the fabric.

Rinse the Mat

If satisfied with the results, rinse the mat and remove any soap and residual dirt in the water.

Dry the Mat

Use a soft towel to gently dry your mat and remove as much water as possible. When you’re done, hang it up to dry. You can also leave it outside to dry if it’s nice weather out. However, try to avoid direct sun exposure because it can deform or damage the material.

Before putting the mat back on the desk, ensure it’s fully dry because even a slightly damp mat can cause damage to a desk, especially a wooden one.

Can I Wash My Mat in a Washing Machine?

In most cases, putting a mat into the washing machine is not a problem. In other words, if your desk mat is made of one of the following materials, it’s safe to wash it in a washing machine:

  1. Polyurethane
  2. Acetate
  3. Microfiber
  4. Foam
  5. Acrylic
  6. Polyester
  7. Rubber
  8. Nylon

Of course, if possible, check what the manufacturer of the mat recommends when it comes to machine washing, just to be sure that you’re not doing any harm to it.

However, even if the manufacturer states that it’s safe to wash the mat in your washing machine, it’s good to take some precautionary measures. Use only mild detergents, wash at low temperatures, avoid softeners, bleach, and similar harsh products that can deform the mat, and always use a low spin cycle.

Do not put your mat in the dryer machine because it will get destroyed. Simply hang it up to dry somewhere.

How to Clean a Leather Desk Mat?

A desk mat made of leather requires a somewhat different procedure, as leather shouldn’t be washed in a washing machine nor soaked in water. Therefore, cleaning a leather mat is best done with a simple damp cloth.

There are also special leather conditioners you can resort to from time to time, and it’s even recommended because it prevents leather drying and cracking.

How Often Should I Clean My Desk Mat?

There’s no simple answer to this question, as it all depends on how you use it. If you often eat around your desk mat and spill crumbs or liquids, how often do you even use the mat, is it exposed to a lot of dust, etc.

A general recommendation would be to clean it every 3-4 months, which amounts to 3-4 times a year if you don’t use it too often. On the other hand, if there’s a large stain, lots of crumbs around, or lots of dust, don’t let it pile up, and clean the mat right away.

If you use it daily, you can also wipe it every few days, which will probably reduce the number of necessary washes during the year.

If other people use the same desk and mat as you, it’s probably best to wipe it every day.


Desk mats are quite simple to maintain most of the time. The nature of care will depend mostly on the material that the mat is made of, with leather requiring only simple wiping and occasional treatment with a conditioner. In contrast, the other materials are usually water-soaking and washing machine-friendly.

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