The Best Shower Mat – The New York Times

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If your shower or tub floor is at all slippery, a grippy mat might help to prevent falls—and stomach-lurching near misses. We considered a dozen top-rated options and put four to the test over a week of showers and four spins in the washing machine. The Gorilla Grip Bath and Shower Mat outperformed the rest, balancing a comfortable surface with easy cleaning. If you’re looking for an absorbent mat for outside the tub, check out our bath mat guide.
Grippier underfoot than other mats we tested, this model comes in the most colors, including many that make spotting dirt easier. Plus, perforations help with drainage.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $14.
The Gorilla Grip mat is among the grippiest underfoot, and it stays somewhat grippy even when slicked with soap. During our testing, it remained firmly suctioned to the tub, and after four cycles in a washing machine, it showed no signs of wear. Translucent versions of this plastic mat show dirt, a handy reminder that it’s time to clean the mat before clinging debris gets out of control. Thanks to holes in the mat, water won’t pool around your feet (as is the case with totally flat mats), and mold may grow less quickly beneath its surface. Plus, it’s available in nine colors, six of which are semi-transparent.
We spoke to two people who think a lot about how to prevent people from falling at home: Scott Trudeau, manager of the Productive Aging and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice program at the American Occupational Therapy Association, and Lakelyn Hogan, a gerontologist and caregiver advocate for Home Instead Senior Care.
We also checked in with cleaning expert Jolie Kerr, a contributor to The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter) and host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person.
Anyone can slip in the shower, no matter their ability, age, or choice of soap, though households with children or elderly people may particularly benefit from a shower mat. “A rubber mat in the tub goes a long way for preventing slipping,” Scott Trudeau of the American Occupational Therapy Association told us in an interview. If you do slip and take a spill, your landing will be a bit softer on a mat, he added.
The point of a shower mat is to reduce the chance of slipping on a wet surface. Grip—both of the floor and your feet—is paramount. If that sounds obvious, consider the mat that a former roommate of mine bought off Amazon, a small piece of plastic that wound up adrift near the drain each time I bathed. (Note that we’re talking about the mats that go inside showers and tubs; for the cloth mats that catch drips when you step out, see our bathroom rugs and bath mat guide.)
In evaluating shower mats, we prioritized:
We looked at reviews on Amazon and the sites of big-box stores like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond to determine which mats lived up to their job description, and ordered four top-rated mats.
I used each mat for at least three showers, noting how it felt underfoot and whether it became slippery when I applied bar soap directly. Then I ran all the mats through the wash four times to see how they held up to mechanical wear and tear.
Grippier underfoot than other mats we tested, this model comes in the most colors, including many that make spotting dirt easier. Plus, perforations help with drainage.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $14.
Of the mats we tested, the Gorilla Grip Bath and Shower Mat tied for the grippiest underfoot while still being comfortable to stand on rather than uncomfortably bumpy. The optional clear design makes keeping tabs on dirt easy. It comes in a square design for shower stalls, too.
The most important quality in a shower mat is that it stays put and helps your feet stay put. Thanks to large holes throughout, this mat did the best job of draining water, a leading cause of slickness. The holes may also prevent grime from growing as quickly.
Over four cycles in our washing machine, the Gorilla Grip held up swimmingly, though the other three mats we tested did as well.
Among those we tested, this mat comes in the widest variety of colors: six clear and three opaque. The optional translucent design makes it easy to see when the mat is getting dirty.
I have used our pick for more than six months, during which time I’ve subjected it to a host of thick hair conditioners and handmade soaps (substances that are practically designed to make things slick), and found it to be exceptionally grippy. I’ve also discovered that months’ worth of brown scum (built up because I wasn’t cleaning regularly) comes off easily in the wash.
The perforated Gorilla Grip mat wasn’t as soft and squishy underfoot as the mat without holes that we tested. The square version meant for stall showers comes in only two colors (both are translucent). Over six months of use, the clear colorless mat I’ve owned has gotten very slightly yellow in some places; I’d suggest going with one of the five tinted options instead.
“Cleaning the mat should be part of your regular bathroom cleaning routine,” Jolie Kerr, host of the Ask a Clean Person podcast, wrote in an email. To clean a shower mat, Kerr advised removing it from the tub and wiping it down with bathroom cleaner or throwing it in the wash. If you choose the washing machine, “use cold water and a small amount of regular detergent, and allow the mat to air dry or wipe it dry with a towel,” she said.
Hanging the mat up between uses can also keep it from getting gross quickly, as this allows moisture to escape, though you may find (as we did) that un-suctioning it and then re-suctioning it to the shower floor is a pain and not worth the effort.
If you are diligent about regularly cleaning a shower mat, the flat, opaque, unperforated Epica Bath Mat is a bit more comfortable and squishy to stand on than our pick and just as grippy. However, if you’re less diligent about regular cleaning, you’ll have to remember to check the underside of this mat regularly, as mold and dirt beneath its surface will be out of sight. The flat surface also allows water to pool a bit around your feet, which may be an issue in some walk-in showers. Plus, the Epica mat comes in only one color, off-white.
The Tike Smart Extra-Long Bathtub Mat and the Yimobra Bath Tub and Shower Mat are the same mat. In our tests, these perforated mats didn’t suction as firmly as our top pick and allowed water to pool a bit during a shower.
Scott A. Trudeau, manager for the Productive Aging and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice program at the American Occupational Therapy Association, phone interview, March 6, 2018
Lakelyn Hogan, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead Senior Care, phone interview, March 9, 2018
Jolie Kerr, cleaning expert and host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person, email interview, April 30, 2018
Philip Fairey, Subrato Chandra, and Neil Moyer, Mold Growth, Florida Solar Energy Center
Shannon Palus
Shannon Palus is a former Wirecutter senior staff writer. She tested countless health and wellness products from 2016 to 2018.
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Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).
© 2023 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company

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