Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Get Mud Off Car Carpet

remove mud from vehicle

It’s expected that the floor mats in your car are going to get dirty, especially if you have animals or kids. If you have floor mats in your car that are carpeted instead of rubber or vinyl, they can be much more difficult to keep clean. But they are important to maintain regularly since floor mats protect a vehicle’s more permanent interior floor surfaces from dirt, weathering, liquids, and everyday wear-and-tear.

If mud happens to get on your vehicle’s carpeted floor mats, it’s not the end of the world. With a little patience and a few simple household cleaning products, you can clean mud from your car’s floor mats, avoid stains, and restore them without having to buy new ones. Follow the steps below to learn how to clean your vehicle’s carpeted floor mats.

Method 1 of 1: Use a combination of everyday household items and optional tools

Always clean your car mats outside, not in the garage. It’s a messy business and it will save you further cleanup.

Materials Needed

  • Carpet cleaner
  • Clean towels (at least two)
  • Detergent (liquid)
  • Eye goggles (optional)
  • Extension cord (optional)
  • Industrial vacuum
  • Power washer (optional)
  • Scrubbing brush

dirty mats laying in grass

Step 1: Remove car mats. Always remove the muddy floor mats from your car before cleaning; you don’t want to spread the mess elsewhere in your vehicle.

If the mud is still wet, be patient and wait for it to dry completely. If the mud is not dry and you try to clean it, you will most likely spread it deeper into the carpet fibers, and/or expand its surface area, making the mess harder or impossible to clean.

  • Tip: If you are unsure whether or not the mud is completely dry, it’s best not to test it. Lay the mats in the sun to dry and proceed to the next step when you are 100% sure the mud is dried and ready to crack off.

person scrubbing dirty mat

Step 2: Scrub off dried mud. Now that the mud is completely dry, use a scrubbing brush to begin breaking the dried mud from the carpet fibers.

Scrub the muddy areas gently and as much as you can, until no more dust is coming off. Hit the mats against something durable and sturdy, such as a pole or railing, to get the dust particles free from the carpet fiber.

You might want to wear goggles and a breathing mask while you’re doing this so you don’t get dust in your eyes or breathe it in.

  • Tip: If your situation allows for it, prop the floor mats up against a wall, fence, pillar, or other vertical surface and hold it up with one hand while working with the brush in the other hand to allow the dirt and mud flakes to fall to the ground rather than having them remain in the carpet fibers.

person vacuuming mats outside

Step 3: Vacuum the mats. Use an industrial strength vacuum, such as a shop vac, to suck up any of the finer dust particles left behind, or those stuck deep within the fabric.

If you don’t have an industrial strength vacuum, a regular household vacuum will do. Regardless of what type of vacuum you use, you might need an extension cord to be able to plug in the vacuum and use it from outside.

Be very thorough with your vacuuming. Dust particles can be very small and impossible to see. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Depending on how much mud there is, you might want to vacuum up the mess that was left behind from Step 2.

Step 4: Wash with soap and water. Prepare soapy water with a strong detergent soap, such as dishwashing liquid.

If you don’t have access to a strong detergent, regular soap will work. Just use more of it than you would a stronger detergent soap when you go to mix it with water.

Use a clean rag or the scrubbing brush (after you’ve cleaned it from Step 2, of course), and work at any dirty part of the floor mats. Begin scrubbing lightly and, as you go, scrub more vigorously to get to the deeper reaches of the carpet fibers.

person power washing floor mat

Step 5: Power wash the mats. When you’re finished scrubbing the mats with the rag or the scrubbing brush, use a power washer to blast the soap and dirt out of the carpet fibers.

If you do not have access to a power washer, a regular garden hose will work. If you have a nozzle attachment for the hose, use the setting for a thick, strong stream and spray the soap and dirt out of the floor mats.

Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 as necessary until the floor mats are as clean as you can get them.

  • Warning: Power washers are very strong. If you are using one, do not point the nozzle too close to the carpet fibers or risk ruining/tearing the carpet fiber.

Step 6: Dry the mats. Using a clean, dry towel, dry the floor mats as much as you can.

If you can still see a stain in the carpet after you’ve dried them a little bit, use a foam spray carpet cleaner and follow the directions on the bottle for best results. Otherwise, continue to dry the mats as much as you can.

They must be completely dry before reinstalling them in your car to prevent mold growth, which will require you to replace them completely and which might spread to other areas in your car. If you do not have the power of the sun, set them to dry in a safe place in your house or garage until they are completely dry.

Always remember that you must have patience to make sure the mud dries completely before you begin the cleaning process. This is the first and most important step to ensuring that your vehicle’s carpeting comes out clean. With a little patience and elbow grease, you can have floor mats that make your car a much cleaner place to be. Ask a Mechanic for quick and detailed advice if you have any questions about the process.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...

Related questions

Q: What should I know about the positive retention floor mats?

Your floor mats provide protection for the carpeting under your feet, and the mats used in your vehicle have a special design. They’re what are called positive retention floor mats. They use a hook system to keep them in place...

Q: Advice on washing a car

It depends how dirty it gets. Now as for waxing your car--it's a good idea to wax your car once every three months or sometime every season. So you might get it to a habit of, for example, waxing the...

Q: How do I secure the floor mats in place?

Certain floor mats are designed to be used on specific models. They should be secured in place so they don’t move around. Attach the floor mat by putting the retaining hooks into the eyelets on the floor mats. To...