How to Clean Desk Mats: (ULTIMATE GUIDE)

Desk mats are the part of our desk setups that we most touch during the day, and therefore they tend to get very dirty over time.

Let’s review the best ways to clean or wash your desk pad.



How To Clean Desk Mats

To clean your desk mat, fill your sink or bathtub with cold water and some soap or mild detergent, submerge the desk mat in the water, scrub the entire surface with foam or brush, rinse it thoroughly, and let it air dry for 24 hours.


Now, let’s go more into details about cleaning different types of desk mats and also review some tips to prevent them from getting dirty.


What kind of Desk Mat Do You Have?

Based on different materials and washability, I have categorized all desk mats into three groups:

  1. All soft desk mats except Leather and Suede
  2. Leather and Suede Desk Mats
  3. Hard Desk Mats
  4. RGB Desk Mats


Hard Desk Pad


Now, let’s go into the instructions for cleaning/washing each type.


1. How to Clean Soft Desk Mats: Except Leather and Suede

Most soft desk pads are made of cloth, fabrics, felt, polyester, and rubber.

Unlike leather and suede desk pads, these desk mats are the most practical and much easier to clean and wash.


A. Washing Desk Mats by Hand(Recommended):

  1. Fill the sink or bathtub with cold to warm water, don’t use hot water; hot water can damage the fibers.
  2. Add some soap or mild detergent to the water.
  3. Submerge your desk mat into the water and let it stay there for a few minutes.
  4. using a soft brush, foam, or even your hand, scrub both surfaces thoroughly.
  5. Rinse the desk mat. Make sure all the soap is removed.
  6. Let it air dry for 24 hours, and you’re good to go!


When the desk mat is completely dry, in some cases it might become curled and un even. To flatten the desk mat like before, you can follow the instructions in this article: 8 Methods to Flatten a Mousepad

  • NOTE: DO NOT let your desk mat dry in direct sunlight; it damages your desk mat and may change its color.


B. Washing Desk Mats using Washing Machine:

The first method is pretty simple, and I personally recommend it, but still, you might be wondering if you could put your desk mat in the washing machine? If it’s not leather or a suede desk mat, you can put it in the washing machine. 

Here are the steps to clean your desk mat in the washing machine:

  1. put the desk mat inside the machine
  2. use mild detergent
  3. Choose the lightest setting of your washing machine and make sure that it’s a cold cycle.
  4. after the cycle is done, let your desk mat air dry for 24 hours


  • NOTE: DO NOT use the dryer or sunlight to dry your desk mat; they can damage it.


2. How to Clean Leather Desk Mats

Whether genuine or faux, a leather desk mat should not go into the washing machine. Experts highly advise that you don’t hand wash it too.

Instead,  leather desk pads should only be wiped and spot cleaned. However, if wiping isn’t enough, a professional cleaner is the safes option for your expensive desk mat.


Leather Desk Pad



let’s review the steps for cleaning a leather or suede desk mat:

  1. Fill a bowl with a water-soap solution.
  2. Dip a microfiber cloth into the water-soap solution.
  3. Softly wipe down the dirty areas of your desk mat with circular motions.
  4. Use another cloth or the dry part of the previous cloth to remove the extra soap and water from the leather.
  5. Let it air dry for 24 hours, and you’re good to go!


  • NOTE: DO NOT let your leather desk mat dry in direct sunlight; it cracks the leather fabrics.


3. How to Clean Hard Desk Mats

Hard desk pads are pretty easy to clean; most hard desk mats are made of hard plastic, wood, and even glass.



Minimal Desk Setup


So just like other surfaces like your desk itself, you can easily use water and cleaners if needed:

  1. First, use a dry rag to wipe down all the dust particles.
  2. Now, use water or spray a cleaner on the desk, then start wiping it clean with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Use a dry cloth to remove the extra water and cleaner from the mouse pad.


4. How to Clean RGB Desk Mats

RGB desk pads have electronic parts that SHOULD NOT get close to water or other cleaning liquids. However, you can still clean the non-RGB parts following the steps below:

  1. Unplug your RGB mouse pad or desk pad.
  2. Grab a soft sponge and rinse it with water
  3. then add some hand soap to the sponge
  4. Start scrubbing the desk mat with the sponge, be careful not to get too close to the edges and the RGB module.
  5. After scrubbing it enough, use a wet rag or a wet towel to remove the soap from the desk pad.
  6. Then switch to a dry rag or a dry towel and wipe out all the remaining water and soap.
  7. Let it air dry for 24 hours, and it’s done.


  • NOTE: DO NOT let your desk mat dry in direct sunlight; it damages your desk mat and may change its color.


For a more detailed guide on cleaning RGB desk mats, please check out this article:
How To Clean RGB Mousepads

Also, if you prefer watching to reading, check out this video:

How to Test if Desk Mats Are Dirty?

First of all, If you’ve just spilled your coffee on the desk, you don’t need to test anything, just go back up and follow the steps for your desk pad : )

On the other hand, if you’re thinking:

“dude, why should I wash it? I’ve had it for years, and it’s spotless!” 

-Well, is it? 

Most of us use black or dark color desk pads; these desk pads can get very dirty and show no signs. So, how exactly can you tell if they are clean or dirty?

You can use your nails (Note that this method only works for the first group of desk mats).

Just try to scratch different areas on your desk pad using your nails; if nothing happens, then it is clean. But if it starts to lift up, the dust and dirt and scratch lines are visible; it needs to be cleaned.



How Often Should You Clean Your Desk Mat?

As I said earlier, desk mats, especially dark ones, don’t show dirt signs, but they absorb a lot of dust and dirt over time. So, my recommendation for most people using hard desk mats or cloth and rubber desk mats is to wash them every two or three months.

On the other hand, if you are using leather or suede, try to keep it as clean as possible; leather is not really water-friendly, so use water only if necessary.

Now that all cleaning methods are discussed,

let’s talk about ways you can keep your desk mat clean.



How to Keep Desk Mats Clean

All kinds of desk mats, at some point, need to be cleaned. However, it’s much easier for you to keep them clean than washing them every week, especially if you’re using a leather desk pad.

So here are three simple ways you can keep your desk mat dust-free:


Keep Your Overall Setup Clean

To keep your desk mat clean, you must retain all your setup surfaces and electronics clean. So every other day, try to dust your setup and wipe off any accumulated dust.

For this purpose, I highly recommend reading this article: How to Keep Your Desk Dust Free;

following the methods mentioned in the article, you’ll be able to maintain a much cleaner setup and, as a result, a cleaner desk mat.


Clean Desk Setup


Avoid Spilling Drinks

Hot coffee? Cold soda? Water? you name it; I’ve done it all 🙂
However, I’m not going to stop drinking water or coffee at my desk just because it may spill out.

Instead, I’ve become much more careful with my drinks on the desk;

for example:

  • I never let my water bottle lid open when I don’t need it.
  • Also, I always keep my coffee far from the keyboard on the opposite side of the mouse to make sure I don’t accidentally spill it.


Keep Your Pets Off The Desk

Your beloved dog or cat can be partially responsible for the dust on your desk mat; the ideal solution is to keep your pets out of the room far from the workstation.

But still, if you want your pets beside you while working, you must groom them more frequently to minimize the dust.





if you’re wondering how to clean your desk mat, you can follow the steps provided for each material and desk mat type to make it perfectly clean.

just to summarize the article, and since most of us use cloth desk mats:

Five steps to clean your desk mat:

  1. Fill the sink or bathtub with water-soap solution
  2. Submerge your desk mat into the water and let it stay there for a few minutes.
  3. using a soft brush, foam, or even your hand, scrub both surfaces thoroughly.
  4. Rinse the desk mat. Make sure all the soap is removed.
  5. use a towel to remove the extra water and let it air dry for 24 hours.


I hope by now, you have a thorough understanding of how to clean your desk mat and also how to keep it clean.

However, if you are using a special or unique desk pad that I haven’t included, I’d suggest you find your desk mat company website and contact them directly for more specific details.

Or if you’re tired of cleaning your deskmats every week, you can check this article the covers 11 mousepad alternatives.