How To Clean A Desk Mat

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When it comes to keeping your desk space, have you considered how to clean a desk mat? You may have already covered some of the obvious ares - your keyboard, your mouse, maybe even your mouse mat. But it's very easy to overlook your desk mat. After all, it just sits there, not really doing a lot. It can be easily overlooked.

But actually, your desk mat has the potential to catch all sorts of crumbs, dust and dirt. And while keeping it clean may not be the first thing that you think about, it's good practice to try to keep your workspace as clean and hygienic as possible. Here's how to clean your desk mat.

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How To Clean A Desk Mat

How you go about cleaning your desk mat will depend on what material your mat is made from. If your mat is made from a material such as leather, rubber or plastic, then cleaning your desk mat using a damp cloth or a cleaning wipe will do the job perfectly well. We'll say a little more about leather mats below.

But if your mat is made from fabric or cloth, then you're probably going to need to do a little bit more work. And while many may be machine washable (more on that later) cleaning by hand will minimise the risk of damage.

Read More: How To Clean A Monitor Screen Without Streaks

Cleaning Your Desk Mat

Before doing anything else, we'd recommend either shaking out any dust and debris that has built up, or using a vacuum to remove as much as possible.

Once you've done that, it's time to give your desk mat a wash. We'll add the caveat here that you should check your manufacturer's care instructions first, to make sure it's ok to be washed. Assuming it is, here's what we suggest:

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  • Place your desk mat in a bowl of warm water. You can also use cold water if you prefer. We don't recommend hot water, as this might damage the mat.
  • Apply a small amount of dish soap to the desk mat. 
  • Then use a cleaning brush and gently scrub your mat. This will help to remove any stains, oil, and other dirt.
  • Once you are happy that you have sufficiently cleaned it, rinse the desk mat to remove any soap.
  • Gently pat your mat dry with a soft towel, removing as much water as possible.
  • Once you’ve done this, leave it to air dry.

Make sure your desk mat is fully dry before putting it back on your desk. Any moisture that's trapped in the mat could encourage mould to grow. And we don't want that. The moisture could also do damage to your desk. And we don't want that either.

how to clean a desk mat
Credit: Harber London

Can You Put a Desk Mat in the Washing Machine?

We said we'd cover washing machines, and unlike a politician, we follow through on our promises. For many people, the convenience of a washing machine will be more valuable than the care and thoroughness of hand washing. And as a general rule, desk mats can be put in a washing machine. As long as they are made of one of the following materials:

  • Rubber
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Foam
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  • Acrylic
  • Acetate
  • Microfibre
  • Polyurethane

As ever, we'd encourage you to check with your desk mat manufacturer to make sure yours will be ok in the washing machine. And even then, we'd recommend that you try to take care of your desk mat by doing the following:

  • Use a mild detergent, and put on a cool wash cycle.
  • Don't use any sort of bleach-based products, or fabric softener.
  • Do use a light spin cycle.

And, like a cat, you should never, ever put it in a tumble dryer. Unless you want to risk destroying it, or setting your home on fire.

Read More: How To Clean An Inkjet Printer

What If My Desk Mat Is Leather?

Leather desk mats need a slightly different approach. We wouldn't advise submerging them in water, or putting them in a washing machine. To look after one of these, usually a wipe with a damp cloth will suffice.

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But we'd also suggest treating it every once in a while with a leather conditioner. This will help to stop it from drying out, which can cause the leather to start cracking.

How Often Should You Clean Your Desk Mat?

How often you need to clean your desk mat doesn't have a definitive answer. It will depend on how much use your desk gets, whether food is consumed at your desk, and that sort of thing.

As a general principle, a deep clean a few times a year would probably be sufficient for most people. But obviously, if your desk mat is starting to look grubby, feels tacky, or you've had a big spill on it, you shouldn't wait. And giving it a quick wipe-down every day or two is a great way to keep on top of it.

And if you share your desk with others, you may want to clean it more frequently than if you are the sole user.