Bath Mats vs. Bath Rugs: What’s the Difference, Really?

Bath mats and rugs are essential items in any bathroom. They come in handy for seniors and elders who may have difficulty walking or bending. Learn about the different types of bath mats and rugs, their benefits, and where to find them.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Bath Mats vs. Bath Rugs
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Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. 

Falls are one of the most common bathroom accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around 3 million seniors visit the emergency room annually for fall injuries1

Bath mats and rugs serve different purposes to make it easier for seniors and elders to stay safe in the bathroom.

Bath mats keep feet dry and warm, whereas rugs provide traction and cushioning to assist seniors or people with disabilities in standing safely and comfortably.

Which is the best option for you? Continue reading to find out more!

What Are Shower and Bath Mats?

If you’re searching for a new bath mat, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, bath mats are generally washable and easy to clean. They come in a variety of sizes, so pick one that is just right for your bathroom.

Some bath mats also have suction cups that keep them in place while you are in a bath and have a non-skid backing to prevent movement. Bath mats are also resistant to mold and mildew, making them a desirable option for those with allergies or asthma.

bath mats vs. bath rugs rug
Bath rugs are comfortable to stand on and help keep cold out of the floor.

What Are Bath Rugs?

Bath rugs are similar in many ways to bath mats. Still, they are often more comfortable, typically made from a softer material such as wool. They make them more comfortable to stand on and help keep moisture and cold out of the floor.

Bath rugs come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some popular features on bath rugs include ties that allow you to secure them into place while you bathe. Like bath mats, bath rugs are also resistant to mold and mildew, making them a great choice for those with allergies or asthma.

What’s the Difference Between Bath Mats and Rugs?

When deciding between bath mats and rugs, there are a few factors to consider between bath mats and rugs.

Bath mats are usually made of waterproof materials like rubber because they are used in wet areas like the shower or bathtub. They are easy to clean with a damp cloth and are long-lasting enough for daily use.

Rugs are made of various materials and can be used anywhere in the house. They offer more cushioning and warmth than bath mats. They are easier to clean because there’s less area for water to accumulate.

Rugs come in various materials, such as cotton, wool, or silk. If you have hardwood floors, consider choosing a rug over a bath mat to protect them from scratches and stains.

bath mats vs. bath rugs stay safe
Bath mats and bath rugs offer better grip on wet or slippery surfaces.

How Does Each Help Seniors and Elders Stay Safe in the Bathroom?

Bath mats and bath rugs are two excellent options for seniors and elders who require assistance getting to and from the bathtub or shower.

Bath mats are often considered safer for seniors and elders because they are less likely to slip and fall. They also offer better grip when wet or slippery surfaces are present, so there’s less risk of losing. 

Using bath mats in wet areas may not be as long-lasting as rugs. They’re also easier to clean than rugs because water doesn’t tend to accumulate.

Bath rugs can be helpful in various ways – from preventing slips and falls to giving extra comfort during bathtime. They can also be beneficial in protecting surfaces from slipping, making it easier for seniors and elders to stay safe in the bathtub. 

They both have pros and cons, but in the end, it comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer bath rugs because they’re more absorbent and offer better grip when wet or slippery surfaces are present. They can also be used as floor mats to protect floors from water damage. 

On the other hand, bath mats are often less expensive than bath rugs. Still, they may not last as long if not treated properly (for example, being thrown in the washing machine).

So, the decision ultimately comes down to how much you’re willing to spend and how durable you want your rug to be.

Summary and Final Recommendations

Shower mats and rugs use in both the bathtub area and the shower. Both have features specifically designed according to your needs. However, seniors and elders should use a mat because of their inability to grip slippery tiles or move quickly. 

For our specific mat recommendations, see these articles:

If you notice that your loved ones struggle with mobility in the bathroom, try getting them some shower mats. If you want them to feel warm and comfortable about getting out of the shower after a bath, consider getting them bath rugs, so they feel more secure while bathing!

Various products are tailored specifically for this purpose; check out our range and order what suits your needs today!



Keep Reading About Bath and Shower Mats

Bath and Shower Mats Best Material
Best Materials for Shower and Bath Mats (A Full Comparison)
Best Shower Floors for Seniors
Best Non-Slip Surfaces for Shower Floors (Safe Showers for Seniors)
Best Shower Mats for Elderly
Best Shower Mats for Elderly (Protection from Slips and Falls)
Best Bathtub Safety Strips
Best Bathtub Safety Strips for Senior Bathroom Safety
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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