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Sink mats are lovely little tools that can help keep your dishes safe in the sink and catch food bits. But they can get pretty gross. This begs the question:
Can you put a sink mat in a dishwasher? For most sink mats, Yes, you can put a sink mat in the dishwasher! Dishwashers can help clean and sanitize sink mats. In fact, dishwashers are much better and cleaning and sanitizing sink mats than handwashing alone.
Not every sink mat is the same however, and there are some that need special care. We did the work for you and compiled a quick and easy place to find much of the info you might need for the care of your sink mat down below!
What Is A Sink Mat?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of caring for a sink mat, let’s look at what they are. A sink mat sits in the bottom of your sink to provide a safer place for dishes to rest as you hand wash them. It also helps in catching food chunks so they don’t go down the drain. A sink mat can protect the sink from heavier dishes being moved about and potentially cracking the porcelain or paint job.
That’s it. They are very simple tools for your kitchen, but they serve a unique and important purpose.
Sink Mat Types
With the growing popularity of sink mats, there are plenty of new options. Most sink mats on the market will be made up of a variety of materials, each with its own pros and cons. These are a few of the types available. Keep reading after this section to see which of these sink mats is best for washing in the dishwasher!
Rubber Sink mats
Hardy and able stand an average to high temperature, rubber sink mats have been around a long time. They do have the downside of possibly leaching chemicals into your dishes or your food. They can eventually get quite raggedy and start leaving little bits of rubber behind, meaning you may have to replace your rubber sink mat in a few years. However, they tend to be pretty cheap and easy to find.
Silicone Sink mats
Silicone sink mats (see Amazon) last the longest and can stand very high heat and plenty of use. Sadly, not many people make silicone sink mats yet. But with some searching, you may be able to find some really cute designs. Unlike rubber, silicone is much better for the environment and won’t leach chemicals into your food or dishes, it will typically last a bit longer as well, and not leave pieces behind.
Plastic Sink mats
While not as common or popular these days, plastic sink mats (see Amazon) are still around. A plastic sink mat will need to be replaced much sooner than the other types and have the chance of breaking if too much weight is placed on them. These are very cheap alternatives to the other sink mat types.
Wooden Sink Mats
You may find some sink mats that are made of wood. But we recommend you stay away from these, as usually wooden objects for your kitchen can harbor bacteria and rot rather quickly.
Should I Wash My Sink Mat In The Dishwasher?
When it comes time to wash your sink mat, your methods should change depending on the type of mat. For most sink mats, it is recommended to wash them in a dishwasher, but always check first.
With most dishwashers, the top rack will not get as hot as the bottom, so you may wish to keep more delicate sink mats on the sides in the top rack. Hot water typically comes from the bottom middle of modern dishwashers, but you should always check your particular dishwasher model to be sure.
If you have a solid plastic sink mat, you should rinse off any remaining food chunks and place the mat in the top rack. If your plastic sink mat is particularly thin it may be best to just hand wash it, otherwise, the sink mat may melt or warp in the dishwasher, even if you place it on the top rack.
A rubber sink mat is much like a silicone mat, but they can get stained and dirty a little quicker. They also react poorly to extreme heat or cold. Another issue with a rubber sink mat is some people have mentioned that they retain certain stains from foods that are highly acidic, like tomatoes. They can be washed in the dishwasher, but be very careful to avoid the hottest part of your dishwasher, and don’t send a rubber sink mat through the ultra-hot drying cycle.
Silicone sink mats can actually withstand higher temperatures than most other mats. Depending on their thickness, they could even be placed in the bottom rack of a dishwasher. Silicone sink mats are not as popular currently, but they are slowly getting there thanks to the durable and more eco-friendly nature of silicone.
Just check the maximum heat of your dishwasher before placing plastic or rubber sink mats inside. It’s really that easy to avoid a catastrophic mat-melting. A silicone sink mat should be just fine in most high heat dishwashers, but be sure to check that sink mat’s particular washing instructions or heat tolerance first.
A sink mat is always a great addition to any home, especially if you want to prolong the life of your fancy dishware and sink. The style and material of the sink mat will determine if it is dishwasher safe. Silicone and rubber sink mats are the safest if placed in the dishwasher, though your thicker plaster sink mat might be okay on the top rack.
How do you clean sink mats?
Depending on your mat, you can fill the sink with a warm water and bleach solution to clean and remove any stains, then rinse and scrub with soapy water. You may run it through the dishwasher, too. Be sure your sink mat no longer smells of bleach when it’s time to start doing the dishes again.
How to clean stains from plastic sink mats?
You need to make a paste using three parts baking soda to one part water. Gently scrub this into the plastic then rinse away. If the stain persists, then do a five to ten-minute soak in a half and half diluted bleach water solution and then scrub again with the baking soda paste. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
To keep your sink mat smelling and looking nice you should wash it once or twice every week. This ensures no bacteria or mildew can grow on it and get you sick.