please explain to me the purpose of bath mats?
July 27, 2017 11:16 AM   Subscribe

My spouse frequently grumbles at me that I 'spill water everywhere' when exiting the shower, which I usually find confusing--unless I've made some sort of error with the shower curtain, there's never water anywhere but the bath mat. I towel dry to the calves before leaving the tub, like a normal person. Today I learned that they have been complaining because they believe that one should towel dry one's feet, including between one's toes, before exiting the shower. Who is right?
posted by sciatrix to Human Relations (95 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: you
posted by mullacc at 11:17 AM on July 27, 2017 [115 favorites]

I've never done that feet-drying business! Will watch this thread to find out who the outlier is!
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:19 AM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Definitely you... I think it's odd to do any towel-drying in the shower itself. You get out first, then you dry.
posted by brainmouse at 11:20 AM on July 27, 2017 [22 favorites]

If your feet are dry when you leave the shower, what's the purpose of the bath mat?

You're right, your spouse is wrong, DTMFA*.

* I kid.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:21 AM on July 27, 2017 [19 favorites]

Best answer: You are the normal one and your spouse is a pod person (not that there's anything wrong with that).
posted by theodolite at 11:21 AM on July 27, 2017 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Isn't the purpose of a bathmat to capture the water that escapes between when you step out and when you towel off? You win.
posted by anya32 at 11:22 AM on July 27, 2017 [15 favorites]

Best answer: I step out, drip on the mat, dry off, then hang up the mat to dry. Most people I know leave the bath mat down, but that makes for a wet place to step. Is that the real reason they're pushing for this? I hate it when I'm walking in socks and step on a wet mat.
posted by Pacrand at 11:23 AM on July 27, 2017 [12 favorites]

Best answer: I do more or less what you do. My SO steps out of the shower and stands on the bathmat before reaching for the towel, and that leaves the bath mat a soaking mess..
posted by k5.user at 11:23 AM on July 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

There's no contest here, you are right.
posted by mumimor at 11:24 AM on July 27, 2017

You are right, your spouse is weird and needs to get up earlier and take the first shower if he's grossed out by a wet bathmat.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:25 AM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I drip dry a little bit before getting out of the shower, but towel dry myself while standing on a bathmat. Like a normal person.
posted by sacrifix at 11:27 AM on July 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: I step out, drip on the mat, dry off, then hang up the mat to dry. Most people I know leave the bath mat down, but that makes for a wet place to step. Is that the real reason they're pushing for this? I hate it when I'm walking in socks and step on a wet mat.

Yes; they claim that stepping on wet bathmats is disgusting. I've never known them to hang the mat, though, and it's always dry within an hour or two...

(I always take first shower because frankly I have a very short attention span and will not leave for work on time otherwise.)
posted by sciatrix at 11:28 AM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh for heaven's sakes. Are none of you people the second showererer????

Scenario 1: You live alone

Do whatever you want, you win.

Scenario 2: You live with another human
You towel off and towel each foot briefly before you step on the mat. Mandatory toweling between your toes is nutso, though. Then when your other human comes to take a shower, they ALSO have a pleasant place to exit, and don't have to step out of the shower onto a frigid sopping wet footprint shaped puddle of someone else's old shower water.

Have some concern for your fellow shower-users, folks!
posted by telepanda at 11:28 AM on July 27, 2017 [62 favorites]

Best answer: You are right, but if it'll increase domestic harmony you can get some unbacked bath mats and put one out on top of the rug for showering purposes and then hang it over something to dry.

(I will confess, I love our memory foam bathroom rug/mats but they do stay quite wet for a while and I creep myself out sometimes going in later and stepping in my wet footprints.)
posted by Lyn Never at 11:28 AM on July 27, 2017 [12 favorites]

I try to avoid standing on one foot in the shower, which is pretty much what you need to do to wipe off the bottoms of your feet with a towel, so I think you're right.
posted by Mouse Army at 11:29 AM on July 27, 2017 [13 favorites]

You are right. Some people don't even towel off in the shower and wait until they are on the bath mat. This is also acceptable.
posted by Toddles at 11:30 AM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

To add though, in deference to your spouse, after using the shower, you may consider hanging the bath mat up to dry.
posted by Toddles at 11:32 AM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

I refuse to weigh in, but instead encourage you to get a towel-style bathmat like you see in hotels, because you can wash them every week and drape them over the tub and they get SO MUCH LESS GROSS and dry faster, so it basically doesn't matter who is dripping where.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 11:32 AM on July 27, 2017 [18 favorites]

You towel off and towel each foot briefly before you step on the mat.

I would fall down and die. Nobody should be standing on one foot in a wet shower.

If this is a huge problem, the compromise solution is more than one bathmat, so they can be switched out between bathers, not people risking a slip and fall injury.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:34 AM on July 27, 2017 [56 favorites]

Best answer: Put a towel on the floor, use towel to dry feet, hang up towel. Designate one towel as the foot and floor towel.

Bath mats are supposed to be for wet feet in theory, but they do get disgusting and no one ever properly dries them. Towels are the way to go! Stop supporting the bathmat industrial complex!!
posted by katypickle at 11:39 AM on July 27, 2017 [18 favorites]

Best answer: I dry off as you do, but my husband leaps out of the shower and splashes water everywhere. We typically shower at very different times so it isn't a problem, but I have noticed he leaves a very squashy mat.

But, your situation is the kind of situation where it would be totally okay to have two bathmats! We can treat ourselves to these small luxuries to smooth along our domestic living arrangements.

One bath mat on the floor and one on a hook or rod. Who ever showers first picks up the wet bath mat and trades with with the dry one from the hook. Bliss and dry mats for everyone.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:39 AM on July 27, 2017 [18 favorites]

Came here looking for something like the Great Shower Facing Controversy, am disappointed.

You are right, but ONLY because you towel most of your body off in the shower, so the only thing that is wet is your feet and thus should not leave puddles of water on the bathmat. A soaking wet bathmat is gross and unpleasant to step on later.
posted by Illuminated Clocks at 11:41 AM on July 27, 2017 [14 favorites]

> the compromise solution is more than one bathmat

This is what I was going to say. Spring for another bathmat; presto, everyone's happy!
posted by languagehat at 11:50 AM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are actually two different types of bathmats, for the two different answers to your question.

1. "Bath mat is for my dry feet to luxuriate in.": this type of bathmat looks like a huge shag carpet. If your feet are dry, it feels awesome. If your feet are wet, it mushes together, looks visibly wet, and takes a long time to dry.

2. "Bath mat is a towel for my wet feet.": this type of bathmat looks like, and is, a towel. It's a big stiffer than a bath towel, so that it stays put. If your feet are wet, the towel absorbs the water and disperses it across its surface, letting it evaporate more quickly. It's wet for a few minutes, then damp-ish, then dry.

So if you and your partner have conflicting views on the subject, you need to find a compromising bath mat. You want your feet dry. If she doesn't really care about luxuriating, and just wants a dry mat, get yourselves a wicking towel. If she wants soft luxury, try to find a padded mat with a towel-top. If she wants a carpet style mat and you want the mat to dry your feet, you two were not meant to be and it's time to move on.

Source: I made all of this up just now.
posted by hammurderer at 11:58 AM on July 27, 2017 [57 favorites]

I am the second showerer in the house, and we have both a shag-carpet-style bath mat and a towel-style bath mat (we rotate them, but not between showers, just when we wash them). I've just confirmed that my husband does not dry his feet before stepping out. I've never once thought "ew, wet bath mat". Like, seriously, that's what bath mats are for. (That and to make sure you don't slip across the floor on your wet feet when you get out of the shower.)
posted by okayokayigive at 12:01 PM on July 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, nthing that your spouse may not actually have strong feelings about foot drying, and they may just want a nice bathmat. How we have solved this problem at our house is by having multiple bathmat towels, so people (mostly me) can just swap out for a fresh bathmat when we want.

They may be wrong about the feet, but you love them, so solving this by the purchase of an extra towel is often a win rather than solving it by missing someone's comfort.
posted by corb at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Y'all telling me you only drip dry directly onto the bathmat, and no water gets anywhere else. What is this, a Filter for ants?! I am side eyeing all of you. Dry off in the shower stall as much as possible before stepping onto your bathmat.
posted by shalom at 12:05 PM on July 27, 2017 [21 favorites]

It sounds downright dangerous to stand on one foot and dry the other. I get out and hoist each leg onto the counter for drying purposes. As for doing any drying off in the shower, I can't reach the towel from there.

I agree that those rubber-backed bath mats never dry. I use the kind that's just like the towels, only a little bit thicker, and after getting dry I hang it over the side of the tub, or the top of the shower door when there was no tub. The floor is kept dry, and the mat is dry by the next shower -- when there is a second showerer, it is damp, yes, but not enough to signify.
posted by JanetLand at 12:08 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am a "step dripping out of the shower onto the bathmat" person because I can't reach the towels from inside the shower enclosure at our house, but at the gym I put a towel down outside the door of the shower to drip onto and then pick it up afterward. Maybe that would be a solution for you?
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 12:10 PM on July 27, 2017

The bathmat is to stand on while you dry. Though I come from Australia where bathroom floors have drains in so no one cares. The whole US no drains in the floor thing is weird to me. But use a bathmat get dry, dry floor with bathmat hang bathmat to dry or throw it in the wash & get another one. There is no room in a shower for me to dry myself safely and so many slip & fall accidents happen in the tub I'd be scared to start faffing around with one foot up in the air trying to dry it in there.
posted by wwax at 12:12 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a shower stall that is not very big at all in the apartment I otherwise love. (Technically I have a whole second bathroom with a tub but that one is on the complete other side of my apartment from my bedroom and I try not to use that one regularly so I don't have to keep cleaning it for guests.) I can't picture trying to towel off inside of it--there's barely room for the actual showering. Obviously I shower when I get out. But look, as a general thing, would it actually be a ton of extra trouble for you guys to keep two bath mats? I'm not sure I'd want to be stepping onto a damp one before getting into the shower, but that doesn't mean that the only solution is that one must be dry before exiting. I don't even own a proper bath mat, I just use my less-nice towels for that, and they hang up easily.
posted by Sequence at 12:14 PM on July 27, 2017

Best answer: I use bathmats to catch my dripping water, but I am also the only one in my house to use an actual bathmat. (This I wash regularly, as a bathmat that's been lying around wet for days does gross me out.) Everyone else throws a towel on the floor. We have only white towels so they get bleached all the time, so they're pretty much like those hotel-style bathmats anyway.

I have always wanted to try one of these, as an alternative to the constant towel and bathmat rotation on my bathroom floor, but so far have been too cheap to spring for one.
posted by Crystal Fox at 12:17 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: No, you are wrong. Dry your feet before you step out or the water on your feet will cause cat hair/dust/assorted crud to stick to your feet (unless you vacuum your bathmat every day!) You also minimize slipping potential if your feet are dry before you leave the shower. The shower enclosure is for wet people, the bathroom is for almost-dry people.

Dry top to bottom, and do one foot--step out of the shower -- dry the other foot--step out of the shower. The bathmat is there to catch excess water that the towel didn't get, to prevent slips on a floor that might have condensation, and to prevent your warm feet from stepping on a miserably cold floor.

If you soak the bathmat, you're being careless and inconsiderate to the next shower user. Stepping a cold, wet bathmat is gross. Damp is fine and unavoidable, but you need to minimize the water you are bringing out of the shower with you.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:18 PM on July 27, 2017 [13 favorites]

For those who are concerned about standing on one foot while drying the other, you can hold your towel such that you step on the corner of it as you get out of the tub. You don't have to wipe every microliter of water off your foot, a cursory swipe is plenty to prevent soggy footprints.

At my childhood home, where you generally can't reach the towels from inside the bathtub, when I enter the shower I leave the towel on the floor so I can grab it before getting out.

But if you have an unsolvable culture clash here an extra bathmat is probably the best way to address your problems.
posted by telepanda at 12:30 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: So, I kind of do a mixture of what you and your spouse do.

The shower in question is a full-size bathtub with a shower head. Towel bar is directly across from the tub, well within grabbing range.

When my shower has (sadly) ended, I open the shower curtain and grab towel #1 for my hair. I haven't stepped out of the tub at this point.

When my hair is contained in that wrappy-turban-like thing, I grab towel #2 for the rest of me. I dry from my face down to my behind. Then I put one foot up on the edge of the tub and dry that leg and top of the foot. I don't slip in the tub because the tub has built-in grabby patches like god intended. I then step out of the tub, turn around and put my other leg up on the edge and repeat my patented leg drying method.

The bathmat gets slightly wet because the bottoms of my feet are wet, but it gets hung up to dry after each shower. Why, you ask? Because humans of the penis-having persuasion live in my home and use the toilet in my bathroom, which is quite close to the shower and if the bathmat lived on the floor at all times, it would get urine splashes on it and NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.*

* yes the penis-havers in question stand to urinate and i am not happy about it but the compromise is that they are the bathroom cleaners. if they sat? i'd clean. otherwise, it's their mess i'm cleaning up and NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
posted by cooker girl at 12:32 PM on July 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

files thread under MefiWiki > YouWHAT > In The Bathroom
posted by zamboni at 12:37 PM on July 27, 2017 [14 favorites]

Best answer: You're right, but just get a second bathmat that you put out for them after hanging your used one up. If they ever shower first and fail to do this for you after all this megillah, they must be subjected to the Procession of Shame.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:43 PM on July 27, 2017 [9 favorites]

This was a thought exercise at a marriage retreat I went to. The answer is "Your spouse needs to shower first." If they don't want to wake up earlier, then they get to stand on a wet bathmat.
posted by Etrigan at 12:46 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bath mats aren't supposed to get wet. That's what towels are for, and hence they can be washed and dried. While you're still in the shower you can dry yourself down to the rude bits. Then hold one end of the towel and lay the other end on the floor where you intend to get out, and step on to the end of the towel. You can then dry the lower half. Presto, no dampness anywhere (except on the towel), no scruffy or damp stinky bath mat. Towel can go in the laundry after as many uses as you're personally comfortable with.
posted by tillsbury at 12:47 PM on July 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I am of the 'bathmats are for drying wet feet' crowd, but I've also found that those nylon/synthetic shaggy pile mats with the rubber back are terrible for the job. Actual cotton towel-style mats, or a microfiber mat (which is what I use) handle this job much better.
posted by Aleyn at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

You're right, but I'd probably just get a second bath mat and flop it over the top, then hang it somewhere when done so as to not listen to the silliness.
posted by cnc at 1:00 PM on July 27, 2017

Best answer: The method in my house growing up (I think because my brother and I were terrible about dripping everywhere and it drove my mom crazy) was: fuzzy mat on the floor all the time, towel like mat was put down prior to shower, dripped on, and then hung up afterwards. The towel mat got washed once a week, the fuzzy one was normally just vacuumed like any other area rug. This would let you both keep doing your thing - you can drip on towel mat and hang it up and he can dry his feet in the shower and have a dry fuzzy mat.
posted by Sabby at 1:04 PM on July 27, 2017

Hate stepping onto a saturated mushy bath mat. I am with your spouse on this one. Dry as much as possible in the shower.
posted by Whatifyoufly at 1:04 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Because I am basically hairless, I can use the webbing between my index finger and thumb to squeegee off most of the water on my body, then exit the shower. I am also pretty flexible, so I can basically dry off from my ankles up. The towel is for the last 20%.

On the other hand, my partner is hairy, and the hand squeegee doesn't work for him, so he gets the floor wet and leaves a much wetter towel.

We don't have a bath mat.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:08 PM on July 27, 2017

Best answer: I am your spouse. I dry my feet so I don't have to step in wet soppy bathmat for the rest of the day. Those two seconds of inconvenience is worth not stepping in gross wet moldy bathmat all day or in the middle of the night. The purpose of the bathmat is so I don't have to step on cold tile, or slip on tile in the case there's water. I don't see the point of unnecessarily getting it sopping wet and to possibly mold everyday.
posted by monologish at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I don't dry a goddamn thing before I exit the shower. I burst forth in all my wet, naked glory, water pouring off my body like a modern-day swamp thing as I traipse across the bathroom to retrieve my terrycloth robe and towel. I wrap my hair in the towel, put the robe on my wet form and let it absorb the water from my upper body. Legs and feet are dried by the dual efforts of the air and the bedroom carpet as I emerge from my bath like a frumpy Venus exiting the sea.

*I have my own bathroom, I do what I want!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:10 PM on July 27, 2017 [58 favorites]

Best answer: You are right.


As a keeper and collector of small children, I can advise owning several bathmats (or thick textured towels) does fix a lot of problems. Bathmats you can launder also makes this simple. They just go in hamper.
posted by French Fry at 1:28 PM on July 27, 2017

This is SUCH a funny question and is going to be one of those controversial "habit a vs habit b" posts again, sciatrix.

I dry my feet before I leave the shower. Bath mats hold onto so much moisture, I thought they were just to make sure that your feet don't have to touch cold tile and send a shock through your body.
posted by yueliang at 1:29 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am a bit confused by all the reports of mats that don't dry. The problem has been solved - there exist quick drying mats that are nice and soft under foot but still absorbent and that will dry quickly. Mine goes in the wash at regular intervals and then either goes in the drier or I hang it up to dry. Even after washing the mat it dries in a couple of hrs.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:30 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I towel-dry completely before stepping out of the tub. Never considered doing it any other way. A damp bath mat is fine, but who wants a soaking-wet one lying around for the next person?

As for standing on one foot while you're drying the other, it only takes a few seconds, and you have your non-towel-holding hand to hold yourself up with. I'm the clumsiest person I know, and I've never slipped whiledrying off in the tub.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:44 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've never really understood the "bath mats" that are more like a rug... They feel gross under wet feet and seem harder to clean. I'm all about the absorbent cotton or microfiber bath mat that gets washed once a week. They dry pretty quickly.

If your spouse hates this that much, get multiple bath mats and swap them out between showers.

Probably doesn't need to be said, but I'm Team Dry Your Feet Outside the Shower.
posted by purple_bird at 1:46 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Everyone's doin' it wrong. The answer is: use your hands to quickly squeegee the water off your body and then you barely need to use a towel at all. Eliminates soaking wet bathmats, grossly wet towels, etc.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I shake my whole body like a dog, while still in the shower, then bound out and grab a towel. Bathmat gets very damp as does mostly everything in the bathroom. Is not a problem however becaise we live in the desert. Everything dries in 10 mins anyway.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:07 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I get out still wet as I have mobility/balance issues and need a stool to properly dry my lower half.

I cannot recommend cork bath mats highly enough - they get wet but don't stay wet long, so there's no damp grossness underfoot, unlike towel/fabric ones.
posted by terretu at 2:08 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Who wants to stumble around like a confused flamingo in the tub trying to dry each foot before exiting? That's insane. Downright dangerous! Bath mats are definitely for standing on while you dry off.
posted by windykites at 2:11 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also you are supposed to drape the bathmat over the side of the tub to dry. It doesn't take that long!
posted by windykites at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I use the towel-style bath mats which hang over the side of the tub when no shower is occurring because leaving mats on the floor is super unappealing.

I towel dry about as far down as you and then step on it. We have 3 morning showerers and the last hangs it up - but, this is important, we have four of them and if one is very wet, that one gets hung on the hooks with the towels and a nice dry one can go down.

So: more mats.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why have a bath mat at all if not to drip on?
posted by forforf at 2:21 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could also get one of the wooden mats, then the water would fall through and not be damp. But yea, no way am I doing gymnastics to dry in the shower. The mat is for getting wet. And wet ones don't really bother me. (Towel style.)
posted by dame at 2:33 PM on July 27, 2017

So we have the typical rubber-backed bath mat, and before we get in the shower, we lay a not-rubber-backed, towel-like bath mat over that one, which we hang up afterwards to dry. The towelly one absorbs almost all the water, keeping the regular one 99% dry and serving the purpose of keeping our feet warm when using the bathroom. That was my mom's invention and it has been how it's done ever since I can remember, continuing on into my own life.

I used to babysit the youngest in a family of 5. The older kids were teenagers. A lot of times in the morning, I'd use the restroom and, forgetting about it, would step on their "regular" bath mat, thus resulting in my socks getting completely soaked and me being entirely grossed out.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:52 PM on July 27, 2017

Why not get a wooden/bamboo/cork mat?

Also, I have to say, my bathroom is the size of a thumbnail, but I can count the number of times I've accidentally stepped on the bathmat on two hands and have fingers left over. How is this happening to people with normal, American-sized bathrooms?
posted by praemunire at 2:56 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a wooden mat and none of these problems. I have dated some Delicate Flowers who's feet found the wooden mat uncomfortable, but I prefer it to a wet bath mat. Because ew. And also drying off my feet in advance of stepping out of the tub seems logistically complicated.

So, wooden mat. Bonus, no washer/dryer needed. I just rinse it off periodically when I move it to mop.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 2:58 PM on July 27, 2017

My mom taught me you dry one foot at a time on the side of the shower, then step out. Then, when you're done in the bathroom, you hang up the mat for the next person. My husband was not taught any of this, and not only is the whole bathroom soaked after he showers, but the bathmat gets mildewy really quickly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:14 PM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have a confession to make. I don't have a bath mat. I don't even dry with a bath towel (because they are ridiculously large).

I use a hand towel, dry everything but feet in the shower, then throw the towel on the floor and walk out on that. Then everything goes into the laundry basket. A bath mat that just sits there and lingers in its own wetness in a bathroom indefinitely sounds kind of funky smelling.

I guess I'm some sort of monster.
posted by The arrows are too fast at 3:17 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

1. Use towel as towel. Use second towel as bath mat.
2. Today's towel becomes tomorrow's bath mat.
3. Towel off in the tub because dripping on the floor is not a very good idea. The whole point of a bath mat is to protect the floor from getting wet.
4. Sop up any spilled water with floor towel and put in laundry.
5. Repeat 2-4 each day.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:43 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

6. For multiple users, step 4 occurs after everyone is done showering.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:44 PM on July 27, 2017

I use the towel to dry the bottom of each foot, including quickly between toes, before stepping that foot out onto the bath mat.

I do this because: damp things are gross.

(a) The less wet you get the bath mat, the less disgusting and stinky it gets.
(b) The more dry you get your feet, the less disgusting and stinky they get.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:46 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Everyone's doin' it wrong. The answer is: use your hands to quickly squeegee the water off your body and then you barely need to use a towel at all. Eliminates soaking wet bathmats, grossly wet towels, etc.

rachelfaith has it!! This is called "strigiling" and Ancient Romans and Greeks did it with a tool called a strigil after they bathed in oil, but you can just use your hands. No one will know.
posted by sockermom at 4:07 PM on July 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

I believe this needs further investigation. So far all we've heard about are your partner's complaints and beliefs regarding appropriate drying rituals, but what about their own post-shower regimen? If they were the first showerer, would they make sure to dry between their toes or would they just leave you with a moist bath mat and go about their day blissfully unaware? How long after you shower do they shower? Is there really that much moisture left on the mat by that point? I'm seeing some big red flags here.

Ask yourself, "Self, why does my partner expect me to do all the emotional labor of figuring out a solution to the issue of modest dampness on the jointly-owned, multi-user, communal floor coverings in our bathroom?!" If your sister or friend told you that their partner said they got water everywhere when they really just put their ever-so-slightly damp feet on a bathmat, you would probably recognize how incompatible their love languages are. Reflect on whether this is also true in your own relationship. In short, I'm not sure that even couples counseling can save this relationship.

Or just do the two bathmats thing. Y'know, whatever.

Personally, I've got one of those microfiber mats that Aleyn linked up above and it's pretty good about not retaining water and drying quickly even though it gets left on the floor. (You could get two of them!) It gets washed when the towels get washed.

I tried one of the bamboo mats and holy shit I almost died because it was slipperier than the inside of the tub under my wet foot. (Don't get two of them. Don't even get one of them.) You also have to make sure the rubber feet don't fall off because that's another good way to end up doing the splits of death. Plus, it's more annoying to keep them clean because you can't just throw them in the washer. I suspected that the bamboo mat would eventually succeed in its attempts to murder me so now it lives in the closet next to the cat litter.
posted by i feel possessed at 7:01 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Your spouse is wrong.

That said, in my house leaving a damp bathmat on the floor is an invitation for a random cat to add their own liquid contribution. Therefore, I have this, which gets hung on a towel bar in between use and tossed in the washer/dryer with the rest of the towels on laundry day.
posted by jamaro at 8:19 PM on July 27, 2017

ok but also the fact that some people just don't ever wash their bath mats at all is as horrifying to me as finding out that some people stand up to wipe their butts
posted by poffin boffin at 8:52 PM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

This may change as I get older and less steady, but I prefer dry my feet before I step out. Like batter_my_heart, rachelfaith, and sockermom, I like to squeegee myself down to the ankles with my hand, do a second pass over my body with a cotton handkerchief, then dry one foot, step out onto it, and dry the other.

I do not, however, dry between my toes. That is the compulsion of a deeply troubled soul. Has your spouse considered therapy?
posted by d. z. wang at 8:53 PM on July 27, 2017

Everyone's doin' it wrong. The answer is: use your hands to quickly squeegee the water off your body and then you barely need to use a towel at all. Eliminates soaking wet bathmats, grossly wet towels, etc.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:50 PM on July 27

Dammit, I didn't invent this? :) This method really cut down on our towel laundry load and was welcomed by my impressed housemate.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 9:44 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Dry your feet so that you don't carry an excess of water out of the shower. The bathmat then takes care of the little bit left when you step back down on the shower pan/bathtub.

There is something very unpleasant about walking into the bathroom in bare feet only to step into a cold, mushy puddle of a bathmat -- especially if you're going to take a shower, because it won't be dry by the time you get out, so your feet will actually get wetter when you step out!

This is truly the toilet seat up/down question of the month.
posted by davejay at 11:18 PM on July 27, 2017

If you have money to throw at the problem, these diatomaceous earth bath mats are all the rage here in Japan. Yeah, sure, they're not soft to step on, but they won't get sopped up with water and they avoid the towel/mat problem entirely. The future is now. (Cheaper link)
posted by lesser weasel at 11:56 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

wow, this has just never been a problem at my house and I never dry off in the shower (formerly a narrow claw foot tub/death trap). I don't towel dry at all. While dripping wet, I put scented oil all over (tmi?), then towel dry my hair, then wrap up in a bath sheet and my flip flops are a step away. If I'm ambitious, I lean in and squeegee down the walls standing outside the stall before put on the oil.

So I just showered and checked the bath mat, it's virtually dry. It's freaking me out a little because, does the water just evaporate before it hits the mat? The mat is nothing special. It's probably this one from IKEA, microfiber loops (but I assumed it was cotton; it is soft). Seriously, it is not even damp.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2017

I always mostly dry off in the shower because I really don't like being cold and wet when I step out. Sometimes I'll dry my feet, but that depends on the shower. Hotel showers always have a little bench or grab bar to make this easily, but it's really kind of pointless IMO because you're probably going to put that foot right back down on the wet shower floor before exiting.

I'll only step wet onto a bathmat designed to be wet [the towel kind], then hang it up afterward.
posted by chazlarson at 10:57 AM on July 28, 2017

One is bewildered, perchance disturbed, by a quantity of answers to this most obvious of questions. It is true that one makes generous allowance for those responses produced by cousins in the Western Colonies, but it does lend greater weight to the suspicion that the literature concerning domestic etiquette was lost overboard from the Mayflower on its voyage.

The correct response is, of course, that one must exit the shower or bath before one's valet (or, if one is of a lower fiscal standing, one's butler) removes moistness from one. Otherwise, said valet or butler would have to enter the shower or bathing region to dry one, which would indeed be a peculiar state of affairs!

To detail; the process is thus:

1. One completes the process of showering or bathing.
2. One steps out of the showering or bathing area, onto a mat or cotton towel.
3. One's valet or butler thrice gently applies cotton toweling, of a high thread count, to all regions of one's body.
4. One is robed, preferably in velvet or silk.
5. One retires to the drawing room, where a well-lit fire and a prepared pot of tea have been appointed to continue warming one.

Any significant deviation from the aforementioned routine draws the risk of one being viewed as uncouth, perhaps of a lower order, within society as a whole.

One trusts this clarifies the situation at hand, and the issue can be deemed to have been respectfully resolved.
posted by Wordshore at 11:56 AM on July 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

I usually use the tilsbury technique: dry off most of the skin while I'm in the shower stall, then step onto a fold in the towel to finish up, although I sometimes like to air dry by running around the back yard naked. Mrs. mule is indifferent to my tactics, so long as I don't leave wet footprints on the wooden areas of our floors.

I don't see a right or wrong in your situation, but I kind of get it that stepping on a wet bath mat can be off-putting. Anyhow, this doesn't seem to be one of those things where a referee is going to help your case.
posted by mule98J at 12:46 PM on July 28, 2017

I completely towel dry before stepping onto the bath mat, because I like the feeling of a soft, dry mat underfoot. Have always thought folks who left wet footprints on the mat were uncouth or didn't know any better...
Worldview duly adjusted; thanks Metafilter.
posted by scrubjay at 12:47 PM on July 28, 2017

As mentioned several times above, those carpet-like rubber-backed mats are ridiculous and useless. With more than one shower user, they get sopping wet and cold, they don't dry, and then you step on it and you're all just "WHAT. THE. FUCK. MAT?!"

Get cotton towel mats instead.
posted by Kabanos at 2:44 PM on July 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

I grab the (large) towel from the rail whilst still in the shower, stand on one end of it, and let the towel absorb the majority of the feet wetness whilst drying off my legs, then I stand away from the towel onto the floor whilst still holding on to it (don't have a bathmat) and dry the rest of myself.

However, I'm weird and you are right.
posted by Jabberwocky at 2:53 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm still Team "dry your feet before you leave the shower." I'm gonna start asking the people in my life about what they do...
posted by yueliang at 4:29 PM on July 28, 2017

Bathroom rugs/mats should not exist because they encourage people to leave fabric on the floor, thereby providing a place for all kinds of nastiness to thrive.

As others have noted, every shower requires two towels. The details are up to you. I generally prefer the hand towel/bath towel combo, where the hand towel serves as a bathmat, and I hang both when I leave the bathroom. However, in the heat/humidity of summer when I might take a couple of showers per day, yesterday's towel becomes today's bathmat—and I do an insane amount of wash, justifying the waste/environment impact by thinking that I'm simply cashing in some of my environmental karma points earned by not having a car.
posted by she's not there at 3:51 AM on July 29, 2017

Ignore the above from me.

Jabberwocky's method is superior.
posted by she's not there at 3:56 AM on July 29, 2017

I don't even pick up my towel until I've stepped out of the tub -- we have a claw-foot tub surrounded bu shower curtains, so you just can't dry off in the tub because the curtains get in the way, and there is nothing worse than wet shower curtains clinging to wet skin.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:14 PM on July 29, 2017

Towel off starting with face and hair and moving down to torso and limbs, then place end of towel on edge of tub. Place one foot on the towel and dry. Move dry foot to bathroom floor. Repeat with other foot.
posted by bunderful at 5:51 AM on July 30, 2017

[Searches for "athlete's foot" and "fungus"; is disappointed to see no one mentioning it as a factor.]

I once had an id reaction—i.e., a massive red rash over much of my body—in response to what turned out to be athlete's foot. Apparently sometimes this sort of sympathetic reaction occurs. The way to combat it: Treat the athlete's foot, which can take months, always wear socks and/or shoes in the house, and do all sock- and foot-related laundry separately. As someone who's been through all that while living in an apartment where 1. I paid to do laundry and 2. I did laundry outside of the apartment, I can tell you that anything that places a towel you might reuse in contact with your feet every day is just bonkers. It's wholly impractical and can contribute to spreading fungus.

The solution is to wear shower shoes for foot isolation and traction and dry off in the shower (minus touching one's feet). And don't use a bath mat at all; they're gross, regardless of whether they're wet or damp or whatever.
posted by limeonaire at 7:04 PM on July 30, 2017

Wait, why do people think the rug-style bath mats are hard to clean? I wash mine at the same frequency as the rest of my towels. It just goes in the washer. The one I have is even ok to put through the dryer (on low), but you don't even have to because it air-dries pretty fast.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:00 PM on July 31, 2017

I prefer to air dry. So I get out of the shower wet and step on the bathmat. I wrap myself in a towel but don't rub myself down with it or anything. I wring my hear out over the bathtub and put it in a towel so it doesn't drip. (I have a towel shaped like a shower cap and use that). I do other things while wrapped in the towel until I'm dry enough to get dressed. Usually my feet get dry enough from standing on the bathmat to leave the bathmat, but if they're not dry and I want to go somewhere that I don't want to drip, then I sort of shuffle my feet so as to take the bathmat with me.

Your spouse would have divorced me by now, surely.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:46 PM on August 4, 2017

Thanks to all this I ejected my bathmat from my bathroom after looking at it after taking a shower and thinking about this thread, and germs, and foot fungus, etc... and find I no longer want to use a bathmat at all...
posted by Crystal Fox at 7:35 AM on August 5, 2017

I have one of those indoor sky diving tunnels by the shower, I just get straight out of the shower into the wind tunnel and am blow dried in seconds!

Seriously though, keeping as much water as possible inside the shower cubicle or bath makes a lot of sense. Shaking off or strigiling as much as possible before employing a towel, or similar, makes towel drying quicker and easier. Squeegeeing or sponging down the shower cubicle after each shower also gives you more time to drip dry and means the shower area stays cleaner. I am one of the people who dries a foot, steps out onto the mat and dries the other.

Wooden mats tend to get moldy and create a dank, moist micro climate between themselves and the floor, in my experience.

All this is moot in countries where there are no shower curtains, of course. If the whole bathroom is a shower cubicle, with a drain in the tiled floor, there is nowhere to put a bath mat.
posted by asok at 1:48 AM on August 11, 2017

What you really need is a cat that thinks bathmats are acceptable pee or random upchuk targets and that will teach you to hang it on the tub at all times when you are not actively showering. It's always dry or nearly so.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:49 PM on August 17, 2017

I can't help but feel that Lifehacker pilfered the idea for their latest article from this thread. Kind of lame since they always used to cite AskMe for inspiration.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:43 AM on August 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

D'oh. I've just been informed the article actually does link to the thread directly (albeit not by name). I humbly and sheepishly apologize, Lifehacker folks! You're good people.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:58 PM on August 23, 2017

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