An Easy Way To Clean Your Patio Mat
I suspect most every RVer reading this carries some form of patio mat with them during their travels.
While many of you spread them on concrete, asphalt, grass, or other relatively clean surfaces, occasionally we deploy them on rather ugly surfaces to make our “patio” (space under the awning) a bit more appealing than the unimproved surface we find in nature.
If you boondock a lot, like my wife and I, you may be rolling your mat out over dirt, tree duff, mud, or maybe even areas where livestock have “done their business” recently. Or if you’re not the boondocking type, maybe a rainstorm brought mud flowing into your space spoiling your clean patio mat. You may have also dirtied your mat using it for roadside repairs like I have shared in the past. Whatever the case, how many of you actually take the time to wash your mat?
Given my preference for out-of-the-way places and boondocking, my patio mat needs a bath on a regular basis. Add the fact that there will now be grandkids crawling/playing on the mat, it has become an even higher priority to keep it clean.
Being that you can’t take your mat to the laundromat, here is what I do when my patio mat needs freshening up.
How to clean your RV patio mat
I have placed two screws into the fascia board at the front of my carport about 16 feet apart that allow me to hang my patio mat lengthwise by two of its corners. It is secured by the stitched loops normally used for staking it down at camp. (Your mat may have grommets, but the principle is the same).
Once hung, I take my garden hose with a spray nozzle attached and give it a good hosing off, starting at the top and working down. Be sure to pay special attention to the creases where the mat folds as the dirt really concentrates there.
The advantage of having it freely hang from my carport allows me to hose down both sides of the mat without remounting/flipping it over. When it is really dirty, I anchor the bottom to something heavy like the equalizing bars from my travel trailer and take the extended handle wash brush I normally use to wash the RV and give it a good scrubbing with soap and water.
For greasy spots, I use a spray or two of Simple Green, let it soak in, then hose it off. Once clean, I leave it hanging in the breeze to dry for a couple of hours. Once it is fully dry, I take it down, fold it up, and put it back in the RV so it is ready for it the next adventure in RVing!
See also: Your RV’s Patio Mat Can Be A Total Lifesaver When Making Repairs
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
I don’t know if this will work with the most common sizes of mats… as the larger mat will get awful heavy with water on it…. which size is best ?….. most seem to favor the 9 x 12…. so you would need a heavy set of hooks to hold that baby up when you hose’ er down…
My pressure washer does it in half the time and does a better job.
John Lockett says
Be careful when using a pressure washer; the high pressure can break down the fabric and shorten the life of your mat
John, as a full timer I only carry one of those low pressure washers. The first year as boondockers, we used those cheap crappy mats like what Camping World sells….we learned real quick that they just don’t hold up to full time use. I now own high quality mats I bought 13 years ago in Quartzsite that are still looking like brand new….and they get pressure washed twice a year. These mats are no longer in production….wish I could find them again.
Sandi O'Regan says
I do not have a carport, but that is a great idea,. What I do, after our trip and if the mat is dirty, is to drape it over two saw horses and hose it off. Hanging it certainly is better, but when that option is not available, the saw horses work fine.
Sam Crabtree says
This suggestion may work for vacation RVers that have a home base – a “sticks and bricks” house. It is not applicable to those of us that go home every night – wherever our home is parked. We can’t even suspend our mat between two trees (the rope holding up the heavy wet mat might damage the tree and/or most RV parks frown on the mud that was on the mat being washed onto their property). Some RV parks, few I’ve been in, have locations where you can wash your RV and I suppose they wouldn’t get bent out of shape too much if you washed your mat.
I just throw it in the trash when it gets too dirty….usually every 6 months or so.
They only cost about 30 bucks .
Great tip! Thank you.
Lorraine A Gehring says
Will have to try this on the 4 ft. by 6 ft. rug by the steps. It gets far dirtier than the larger mat. We’ve always let it dry and used the broom to get off the worst of it, Getting it wet on the ground never really worked for us.
Karen Minard says
Well that idea may be great but it does not work at all for someone who is full-time and has no stick in brick house or carport. So what’s your thinking on that?
Karen—without a sticks and bricks house, you could perhaps take your mat to any local self-service car wash. There you could lay it on the floor of the bay to hose it down, although you would have to flip it over…or use the clips on the walls provided for car mats. Alternately, just lay it across a picnic table and use your hose at the campsite. Works very well.
Karen Minard says
Hi. Thanks for the good ideas.
I read these possibilities and mentioned them to my CFO, where upon she said, almost every housewife in America knows how to clean a carpet. Are you just learning? I’m gonna tell your mother.
Nancy B says
I use the light plastic RV mats, they are very light and easy to clean with broom and RV hose when dirty. We have 2 and each is 10×12
We always put down a plastic Tarp, before we lay down our Patio Mat. This not only helps to keep our Mat clean, it also helps to make it easier and cleaner to roll up. We always try to roll up our mat, instead of folding it. The mat being Made of Poly Plastic fibers, tends to develop “permanent creases” that cause tripping hazards.
Mike STOCKARD says
Whatever you do to clean it, do it as soon as you you are able and dry it completely. They will develop the worst smell you can imagine if you store them wet.