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Please Stop Buying Cloth Bath Mats. They’re Gross and Weird

Your bath mat is covered in bacteria.

wood bath mats gear patrol lead full

Welcome to Counterpoint, a series in which we challenge commonly held ideas about well-known products. This time: cloth bathmats.

Bath mats are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, according to a study by the American Society for Microbiology. Their location in the dampest room in your home creates a wonderful environment for microorganisms to grow in. The issue lies with the material of the bath mat — usually a cloth fabric that absorbs water with nowhere for it to go. Why not buy a wooden one instead?

Unlike the cloth variety, wooden bath mats will stand up better to water, staining and bacteria. Plus, you won’t need to step onto a sponge after every shower. Wood won’t get as gnarly and is easier to clean than cloth, which require machine washing. Besides being better for you, wooden bath mats are a modern, minimalist and usually inexpensive way to make your bathroom feel more like a calming Japanese onsen. Here are seven good options for your bathroom floor.

World Market Bamboo Bath Mat

The wide-open slats of this mat provide ample breathing room for water to evaporate, and it won't get sopping wet the same way a cloth mat does. The bamboo adds a nice natural touch to your bathroom, and it's also a renewable resource.

Price: $25


Bay Isle Home Weisser Rectangle Bath Rug

This interlocking, lattice weave bath mat allows for adequate air flow so you don't end up with a wet mess. Because the mat lies flat on the floor, it closely resembles the feel of walking on a regular cloth mat.

Price: $29


Honey-Can-Do Bamboo Bath Mat

This simple and affordable bamboo bath mat has widely spaced slats, which make for easy cleaning and open ventilation. Its height off the ground will also allow water to more easily evaporate instead of being trapped under the mat.

Price: $35


ZPirates Natural Bamboo Wood Bath Mat

The lattice design of ZPirate’s bath mat prevents water from pooling on the surface while giving enough ventilation for the water to evaporate. The mat is easy to roll and has silicone rubber pads underneath to prevent slippage. Some may prefer this mat’s lower profile rather than elevated options.

Price: $25


Highland Dunes Williamson Bamboo Bath Rug

Another bamboo option, this one's rubber feet will prevent slippage, and the slats are spaced a little closer together for those who feel like their toes may slip between the planks.

Price: $59


Tosaryu Hinoki Bath Mat

Tosaryu’s bath mats are made of hinoki wood, which is highly resistant to mold and mildew. Tosaryu uses locally-harvested, high quality hinoki cypress, and the brand believes in being respectful to the environment; every part of the hinoki is used from the oil to make soap to the leftover wood flakes to make cutting boards. Hinoki wood has a reputation for releasing a calming aroma when wet, so you might find yourself purposely dampening the mat.

Price: $36+


Okawa Hinoki Workshop Hinoki Wood Bath Mat

The Okawa Hinoki Workshop has been handcrafting furniture for four generations, with an expertise in working with hinoki wood. Its craftspeople’s attention to detail and quality means bath mats take over a week to complete, and the result is a beautifully designed accent piece to all bathrooms. Like the Tosaryu mat, the hinoki wood emits a pleasant, soothing smell once wet.

Price: $155+


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