Home » I Tried The Powered Toilet Brush Hack To Clean My Car’s Floor Mats

I Tried The Powered Toilet Brush Hack To Clean My Car’s Floor Mats

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Cleaning your car’s floor mats can be a pain. Sometimes, you spend ages vacuuming and you just can’t seem to get everything off. Often, little bits of plant matter or grit get tangled in the fibers and even a powerful vacuum won’t suck them up. Sure, you could spend ages plucking at your floor mats with a pair of tweezers, but who has the time? Surely, there’s a better way, right?

Enter the powered toilet brush. Shared widely on TikTok and Twitter, the concept is simple. You cut off a toilet brush so that its handle is a short stub, and you put it in the chuck of a power drill. Then, all you have to do is pull the trigger and drag the toilet brush across the mats until they’re clean.

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Having seen this, I had to try it for myself. I’ve spent ages trying to clean floor mats with all kinds of methods. I’ve tried soap and water and lots of scrubbing, I’ve tried my home vacuums, and I’ve used those giant ones at the DIY car wash, too. Nothing does a very good job of freeing up all the tiny little bits of debris. None of these methods has proven very successful. I figured I’d head out, buy a toilet brush, and give this method a whirl.

The results look amazing, right? Clean floor mats in minutes, and you don’t even need a vacuum cleaner.

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Building your own is pretty easy to do. Ideally, you’d spend $2 on a cheap toilet brush, but I got stuck spending $15 of the King’s Dollars because Australian supermarkets suck. Anyway, I then set about hacking it shorter with a Stanley knife before I whittled down the handle small enough to fit in the 13 mm chuck of my Ryobi brushless drill.

So far, so good. I now had something that looked like a prop from a deleted scene in an Austin Powers movie. All I needed now was a set of dirty floor mats.

There was just one problem. In recent years, I’ve been inspired by my friend Alexei. He fastidiously cares for his vehicles, never leaving so much as an errant receipt floating around the footwell. He’s also a dab hand at restoring vintage motorcycles and has such an eye for detail that he repairs watches for fun. Following his grand example, I have started taking better care of my automobiles. Thus, my floormats were pretty clean. There’s an easy solution to that, of course.

With the floormats nice and filthy, I went ahead and tried vacuuming them clean. My vacuum isn’t hugely powerful, but it’s the kind of thing a lot of people have when they live in an apartment or smaller home. It does an okay job, but it really takes its time to clear an area. In contrast, the toilet brush is just a monster. For soil and random bits of leaf or tree, the brush just kicks them out of dodge. It’s like a kinetic weapon specifically designed for smacking errant particles out of a hard-wearing automotive carpet.

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The toilet brush isn’t the be-all and end-all though. For the usual detritus that pollutes my floor mats, it’s killer. However, I also tried it with the very fine dust underlying the gravel on my driveway. For this material, the toilet brush did an alright job at bringing it to the surface while also generating a great cloud of dust. But, to a degree, it was also spreading it around the mat without removing all of it. Doing a second pass with the vacuum cleaner helped remove this one type of material; for everything else, the toilet brush alone was pretty much enough to do the job.

It’s worth noting that some vacuums would work to clean a floor mat in a similar way, too. That is because some units have a powered spinning brush head that does exactly what the toilet brush is doing—using plastic bristles to literally knock dirt out of the fabric. However, those powered brush heads often have limited reach and penetration, and can’t deliver the raw power of a modern cordless drill. This thing is effectively pounding the mat, vibrating it and smacking out dirt and debris with great efficiency.

Ultimately, I reckon the toilet brush is now the gold standard for DIY cleaning your floor mats. If you’re not brushgitating (brush-agitating) your mats, you’re not seriously in the game. Give it a try and let me know what you reckon. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Image credits: Trinity G Francis via Twitter screenshot, Lewin Day

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Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 month ago

Or you could be a real cheap ass and use a used one 😀

121gwats
121gwats
1 month ago

I dont think you know how vacuums work, they’re literally the brushy thingy *and* suction. I have a feeling you’re comparing it to just the suction vacuums. Get yourself a garage upright, it’ll change your life.

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
1 month ago

FYI – this method also works really well on bathroom tile, showers, and tubs. Saves a lot of time spent scrubbing with a sponge. You just need to be careful to make sure you aren’t removing more than dirt.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  Erik Hancock

Did you not see my comment? 😀

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago

I tried this on my toilet just now. It did an amazing job removing the stains, but now I’ve got shit all over my walls and I really need a shower.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

I loled pretty hard at that

AC2DE
AC2DE
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Maybe the 20,000 RPM die grinder was the wrong choice…

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
1 month ago

I have brushes designed for use in a drill so I use that.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
1 month ago
Reply to  JaredTheGeek

This. No point hacking up a toilet brush when for a couple bucks more you can get something that was designed for the job from the start.

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