Last Updated on January 20, 2023 by The Filtery
Written by Melissa J.
Now more than ever, our bathrooms can be our sanctuary – that special place to soak, to relax, and even to pamper ourselves. That’s why what we don’t want in our mini-spas are toxic, unhealthy materials. Not only can products made from certain materials and dyes be harmful for our own health and that of the environment, but they can also be potentially unhealthy for the people involved in creating them.
We’ve covered several other non-toxic bathroom essentials, including organic bath towels, organic bathrobes, PVC-free shower curtains, the best shampoo brands, and even where to find unbleached toilet paper… And in this guide, we’re talking about the best organic, natural, and non-toxic bath mats.
Whether you’re looking for a rubbery non-slip mat to use inside your bathtub, or an absorbent non-toxic bath mat outside of it, it’s only “natural” that you’d want a quality product. Let’s take a look at what you should look for, as well as some of our favorite options to choose from.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may be paid a commission if you choose to make a purchase. We only make recommendations that are genuine and meet our standards for safety and quality.
Materials to Look For… and Ones to Avoid
Organic cotton, hemp, and linen are obvious choices for a non-toxic bath mat, but a few options might surprise you, such as rubber, wood, and diatomaceous earth.
Organic Cotton, Hemp, & Linen
Materials like organic cotton, hemp, and linen are healthier and more eco-friendly because they are grown without toxic pesticides and herbicides, they require less water, and don’t strip the soil of vital nutrients that are needed to continue growing crops in the future.
Not only that, but hemp and linen are also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, which is an important factor to consider when we’re talking about products that will be getting wet frequently.
Rubber is actually a plant-based alternative to plastic that is a great opton to prevent slipping inside the bathtub. It’s much safer than synthetic rubber, which is actually a petroleum byproduct that often contains several different chemicals that are considered hazardous to indoor air.
What is the Point of a Wooden Bath Mat?
Like fabric bath mats, wooden bath mats provide a non-slip surface to dry off on when you’re finished with your shower. Wooden bath mats might be more appealing than ones made from cotton because they’re more resistant to mold and mildew growth and don’t need to be cleaned as often. Not only is the material itself better at fighting bateria, but the elevated nature of wooden bath mats also encourages evaporation and quick-drying.
On the other hand, wooden bath mats might not be a good fit for eldery people or those with children because, although they’re less slippery than your tub or typical tiled wooden floor, they tend to be more slippery than a bath mat made from fabric.
Some people may also prefer wooden bath mats simply because of their minimalistic and spa-like aesthetic.
Is a PVC Bath Mat Safe?
Due to the fact that it contains toxins like chlorine and phthalates, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) bath mats cannot be considered safe. Sometimes PVC cannot be avoided, but when there are so many great non-toxic alternatives for bath mats, there’s really no reason to use one made from PVC. You can read more about this issue in our guide to PVC-free shower curtains.
What About PEVA and EVA?
As you shop around, you may also come across mats made from polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA).
While these are definitely less toxic than PVC, we don’t necessarily recommend them either simply because there are so many other options that are even better.
What Else To Consider As You Shop
Keep in mind that even if a bath mat is made of 100% natural materials, it’s equally important to choose the natural materials that work best for your situation. Stone or wooden mats certainly evoke that all-important spa mood, but their hard surfaces pose a hazard for children or elderly adults.
On the other hand, if you live in a humid climate and don’t have little ones, those anti-fungal options might be better for you than some of the heavier textiles.
In addition, make sure that an in-tub bath mat made of rubber also has an adequate number of suction cups. If you have a naturally slippery floor outside the tub, mats should have non-skid backing (but only the non-toxic types, of course!).
It’s also important to watch out for any toxic materials that might be joining those natural ones. For example, if a product contains natural linen, it could be colored using carcinogenic azo dyes instead of safer dyes. Or it could be backed with synthetic lining that contains dangerous chemicals like phthalates, which have been linked to organ damage and certain cancers.
One thing you can do to help you choose a bath mat that’s made from safe materials is to look for third-party certifications…
Certifications To Look For
Of course, bath mats aren’t like food products—they rarely list every “ingredient,” especially if some of them are known to be unhealthy or harmful to the environment. That’s why looking for third-party labels can be enormously helpful.
Here’s a brief rundown on some of the certifications you may want to look for:
- GOLS: Why does a Global Organic Latex (GOLS) certificate matter in a bath mat? Well, some bath mats (especially those meant for inside-tub use) are lined with latex rubber, latex foam or similar combinations. For a truly non-toxic bath mat that uses these materials, you’ll want one in which the materials were grown and processed using organic, natural methods. The GOLS certificate ensures this.
- GOTS: A Globa Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification is similar to GOLS, but focuses on cotton instead of latex. A GOTS certification means that the company meets a broad range of environmental and ethical standards, from the growing of the materials used to the processing and manufacturing. It also demands that working conditions meet rigorous standards, and that the company agrees to, and passes, inspections by third-party inspectors.
- MADE SAFE: One of the most strict certifications when it comes to toxins, the MADE SAFE seal shows that American companies who bear it are selling non-toxic products. They use a comprehensive screening process to ensure products are free from a long list of harmful ingredients and materials.
- OEKO-TEX: Companies must guarantee that they don’t use prohibited dyes, formaldehyde, and a long list of other ingredients/materials. The OEKO-TEX certification also takes into account how much contact a product will likely have with the consumer’s body. The more the product comes into contact with the sin, the stricter the certification process is for that product.
- Fair Trade: As its name applies, Fair Trade certified products ensure that those who are involved in a product’s supply chain are paid a living wage and work under safe conditions. In the case of home goods such as bath mats, that means that the cotton, jute, and other materials grown around the world will be paid for based on fair market value figures. There are several separate organizations that certify for fair working conditions, including Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade International, and others.
- FSC: The Forest Sterwardship Council certification means that the company only uses materials that have been harvested from responsibly-managed forests.
- 1% for the Planet: Companies which bear this label have pledged to donate at least 1 percent of their profits to environmental causes.
Most of the bath mat brands we’re featuring below strive to check as many of these boxes as possible.
One More Thing… Are Bath Mats Unsanitary?
Without proper care and cleaning bath mats and rugs can become unsanitary with the buildup of bacteria, mold, and mildew. Most fabric mats can be machine washed and should be every few weeks (using non-toxic laundry detergent, of course!). Mats made from rubber, wood, or other more solid materials can be easily wiped clean every few weeks using a safe all-purpose cleaner like this one from Meliora.
Our Favorite Natural & Organic Bath Mat Brands
When you’re looking for a non-toxic bath mat, it’s helpful to not only find ones made from organic materials, but whose makers provide substantial information about how those materials are grown, processed, and finished.
Not only that, but you also want a high-quality bath mat that fits your bathroom’s aesthetic and functions well based on your specific needs.
So all that being said, here are our favorite brands!
Coyuchi (Best Organic Cotton Bath Mats)
Material: Organic cotton
Price range: $38-$228
Certifications: GOTS, Fairtrade, MADE SAFE, and 1% For the Planet
This California-based home goods company focuses on textiles that are made mostly using soft, 100% organic cotton. The brand has a commitment to pay premiums to the farmers and workers supplying the organically-grown materials.
Their collection of beautiful bath mats and rugs are inspired by the colors and textures of the Northern California coastline. So if earth and sea tones are your thing, you’ll find a range of sand, coral, and blue nature-inspired colors. Textures include diagonal twill, “pebbled” and even shag and they come in a variety of thickness levels. Sizes range from 32” x 19” mats to 30” x 72” runners.
Coyuchi also encourages recycling by offering returning customers discounts to send in their used products, which are then carefully cleaned and offered through their “2nd Home Take Back” section of their Point Reyes Station store.
Under the Canopy (Most Affordable Non-Toxic Bath Rugs)
Materials: Organic cotton and hemp
Price range: $19-$72
Certifications: GOTS, OEKO-TEX
Under the Canopy is one of the best brands for super soft affordable bed and bath products.
They offer classic bath mats that have the softness of carpeting, but the absorbency of plush towels. With simple geometric patterns, Under the Canopy’s bath mats come in natural shades like “lichen,” “smoke,” and “ocean.” The sizes range from small 24” x 17” mats to larger rugs and runners, including the 60” x 24” Luxe Reversible Organic Cotton Bath Runner!
alabatis (Best Linen Bath Mats)
Materials: Linen and cotton
Price range: $25-$55
Named after the Lithuanian goddess of flax, alabatis sells its linen-based mats via Etsy. The natural bath mats all feature alabatis’ specialty: a waffle-weave created in various colors and patterns. Most are outlined with a solid border, inside which you’ll find pleasing waffle-weave patterns in color combinations such as graphic black and white, amber and neutral, or horizontal stripes of alternating red, black and gray.
Jovita Sermuksne, the Lithuanian principal designer and creator of alabatis, notes that linen is not only highly absorbent, but also “easy-care, eco-friendly, antibacterial, and practical: It keeps you warm during cold winter evenings and cools you on a hot summer day.”
Sizes options include 17” x 24” and 21” x 34.”
Minihome (Most Unique Bath Mat)
Materials: Diatomaceous earth, recycled paper
Price range: $110
This “earth stone mat” is primarily made of diatomaceous earth, the powdery material made from sedimentary rock deposits. You may know of “DE” for its applications as a non-toxic deworming additive in pet food, a garden pest solution, and even a natural swimming pool filter ingredient.
In fact, the same reasons that make DE so effective in those situations are also why it also works well as a bath mat material. It is naturally antibacterial and absorbent, among other helpful qualities.
What you might not know is that when mixed with recycled paper, DE forms a hard, ceramic-like material that makes for a striking bath mat. Minhome’s 24” x 15” bath mat is available in a few patterns, including those imprinted with clover or grass shapes. If a natural appearance, quick water evaporation, and resistance to mold and mildew are special concerns, definitely consider Minihome as an unconventional option for your bathroom.
Hevea (Best For Inside the Shower or Tub)
The Hevea natural bath mat is made from plant-based rubber (and some of it is even upcycled). This 13” x 29” inch bath mat features an astonishing 299 suction cups on the bottom, while the surface is made of soft, durable natural rubber. It’s available in three earth tones: granite, sand and marble.
This mom-owned brand promises that their products will be colored using low-impact dyes and will always be free from things like parabens and phthalates.
Avocado (Best Natural Wood Bath Mat)
Material: American beech wood
Price range: $125-$300
Certifications: GREENGUARD, FSC, Climate Neutral, 1% For the Planet
Assembled without any toxic glues or stains, the wooden bath mats are currently available in a standard 24” x 18” mat, and a runner measuring 60” x 22”.
Avocado prides itself on creating one-of-a-kind wooden bath mats and runners; each one is actually individually hand-crafted. Of course, because all of the beechwood mats and runners are made from real wood, they’re free of particle board, veneers, and synthetic laminates. (To read more about the problem with particleboard, a.k.a. engineered wood, check out our bedroom furniture guide.)
West Elm (Best Patterned)
Materials: Organic cotton
Price range: $25-$60 (but sales are frequent)
Certifications: Fair Trade, GOTS, OEKO-TEX
Variety is one of West Elm’s strong suits. You’ll find circle mats, square mats, and rectangular mats and runners in a range of colors, sizes, and details (tassels! scallops!). There are also many types of color-blocked rugs, with perhaps the most vivid hues on this list.
As you may know, not all of West Elm’s products are made from organic, non-toxic, and/or natural materials, but the nice thing is that their website allows you to select filters such as “organic” and “fair trade” so you can easily sort by what’s most important to you. The individual item descriptions also include other guidelines the rug might meet, such as those outlined by GOTS.
Parachute (Best Minimalistic Organic Cotton Bath Rug)
Material: Organic Cotton
Price range: $59
Certifications: GOTS, OEKO-TEX
Available in neutral colors like White, Willow, and Flax, this minimalistic bath rug from Parachute will basically look good in any bathroom! With a soft and naturally “nubby” texture, it’s absorbent yet quick-drying.
Parachute really knows how to make high-quality bedding and home goods, and we’ve been happy to see them expanding their organic collection over the past year!
Other Non-Toxic & Natural Bathroom Accessories & Necessities
Looking for more buying guides for your non-toxic bathroom? Here are some related articles you might find useful:
- Our picks for organic & natural bath towels
- And our favorite hooded towels for baby’s bath time
- PVC-free shower curtains
- The best shampoos without DMDM hydantoin
- And what’s the deal with sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) in shampoo?
- Our favorite non-toxic hemp shampoo
- And non-toxic hemp body wash
- Lastly, don’t forget the non-toxic toilet paper!
The bathroom is a great place to start “detoxing” your home, and this article covered what to look for in a non-toxic bath mat in terms of materials, function, and more. We hope it helped you make the best decision for you and your family so you can feel safe and healthy the next time you step out of the shower!
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