The Neighborhood

Doormats 101

The Complete 411 on all Things Doormats

Our Intro to Let You Know

Well, hello there friend and welcome to The Neighborhood, our series of guides and resources about all things doormats and floor coverings! Odds are if you’re reading this article, you’re on a journey to find the perfect doormat that best fits your needs whether that be based on style, performance, or budget. Trust us, we want everyone in the world to buy a Matterly doormat because we’re slightly partial and we think everything we do is really awesome, but the reality is we may not be what you’re looking for. With that said, we want to give you the information and resources so you can make the right choice for your home; whether that’s a Matterly mat or someone else.

So, a few things to give you a little comfort in what you’re reading and the information we’re providing. Matterly doormats being made at one of their Georgia factories.Although the Matterly story is still young, our history is deeply rooted in matting; like 6 decades deep. We’re not some fly-by-night operation or a private equity group that’s just a marketing front for an overseas importer. From where we sit, as we type out this article, there are thousands of floor mats being made every day. Rubber is being made, fibers are being extruded, foam is being cured, and it’s all assembled right here in America. 

Now, let’s talk doormats!

The Gateway to Your Home Starts with a Doormat

Your home's first impression begins at the doorstep, and it's an opportunity to make a statement that blends style with functionality. Doormats, or door mats, once mere practical accessories, have evolved into a key design element for modern homes. Beyond their utilitarian role of trapping dirt and debris, doormats now serve as a canvas for personal expression, offering a warm welcome to guests and setting the tone for the entire living space.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the diverse world of doormats, exploring not only their practical benefits but also the exciting design trends that can transform your entryway. From choosing the right material to navigating seasonal considerations, we'll navigate through every aspect to help you find the perfect doormat that complements your lifestyle and enhances your home's aesthetic.

Join us on a journey through the intersection of style and function, where the humble doormat becomes a powerful accessory in creating a welcoming and visually appealing home entrance.

Doormat or Door Rug – Is it Semantics?

Believe it or not, we frequently get the question “What is the difference between a door mat and a door rug?” Sometimes it’s just a simple habit of calling everything on the floor a rug; like Southerners calling all soft drinks Coke, but there are some subtle differences when talking about a mat versus a rug.

We’ll talk about those differences in a different article, so for the purpose of this writing, we’re going to refer to door rugs as doormats being one and the same.

More than Just a Pretty Face: The Functionality of Doormats

We get it. The first thing that draws you to a doormat is the design on top. Nobody wants an ugly doormat, but don’t overlook the importance of functionality and what a good doormat will do for you and your home. Understanding the practical features can make all the difference. Functional doormats are engineered to address specific needs, making them indispensable in maintaining a clean and safe home.

Water & Moisture Control

Snow boots and snow on outdoor all weather charcoal colored doormat

When choosing a doormat, pay close attention to its ability to trap and contain moisture effectively. Mats crafted from materials like recycled PET trap water while other mats made from fiber like nylon absorb water.

Scraping Action Against Dirt

Functional doormats go beyond merely absorbing moisture; they excel at scraping off dirt and debris from footwear. Coarser materials or textured designs effectively trap particles, preventing them from entering your home and preserving the cleanliness of your indoor spaces.

Traction = Safety

No feature is more important when it comes to safety than the backing of a doormat; specifically, the material used and the amount of traction it provides while staying in place. Rubber materials provide a secure grip on various surfaces, ensuring stability even during wet conditions. This feature is especially crucial in high-traffic areas.

Durable Materials for Longevity

Just like with any other item, the quality of materials used in making a doormat directly affects durability and performance. The longevity of a doormat often hinges on its construction materials. Robust materials like rubber, PET polyester, nylon, or polypropylene withstand daily wear and tear, making them ideal for entrances that see a constant barrage of heavy foot and paw traffic. 

Understanding these functional aspects allows homeowners to make informed choices based on their specific needs. Think about the above as it pertains to your situation and what’s important to you. Whether combating rain-soaked shoes, ensuring a secure footing, or withstanding heavy foot traffic, a functional doormat proves itself as a practical solution to enhance the cleanliness and safety of your home entrance.

The Art of Construction: Choosing the Right Build

Selecting the perfect doormat goes beyond appearances; it's about understanding the art of construction. The build of a doormat plays a crucial role in its performance and longevity, influencing factors from durability to functionality.

On the Surface 

Different fibers have different purposes! Doormats made with fibers like cotton, coir, and nylon are hygroscopic and absorb water. While they are soft to the touch, they take longer to dry out and are susceptible to mold and mildew. Closed-cell fibers like recycled PET and polypropylene dissipate water rather than absorb it, which is a fancy way of saying they trap water and spread it out which allows for quick evaporation. Closed-cell fiber mats typically dry faster and are resistant to mold and mildew.

All About the Texture

Close up of WaterHog Luxe outdoor doormat that features recycled PET fibers.

The weave or texture of a doormat determines its ability to trap dirt and debris effectively. Mats with a bi-level design, like the WaterHog Luxe, have a coarse weave and textured pattern that excel at scraping off debris and moisture from footwear, preventing them from being tracked indoors.

Backing Matters

Trust tree here: we make our own rubber and are huge advocates of rubber being the primary material used in the backing of all mats, not just door mats. You will find other materials like vinyl and PVC used in many imported mat backings, and while they are more cost-effective, they do not provide the same level of durability and traction as rubber-backed mats.

Thicker isn’t Always Better

The thickness of a doormat doesn’t always relate to moisture capacity. Thicker mats made with absorbent materials like cotton may appear to excel at soaking up moisture but are only able to absorb so much before the fibers become over-saturated. Once over-saturated, you’ll notice puddles and access moisture, which takes a considerable amount of time to dry.

Consider Your Profile

A lower profile mat may be a better fit for your home depending on your door swing height, so make sure to measure before you buy. Thicker mats may prohibit a door from opening smoothly, especially thick coco mats. Lower profile doormats also promote easier transition for those who use walking aids and/or wheelchairs than thicker mats.

Size Matters

When considering what doormat is right for your entryway, don’t forget about the size! We’ve come a long way from accepting whatever small coco mat is available on the shelf at your local big box store. Larger doors require larger doormats. There are doormats made for double doors in multiple styles and constructions, so don’t settle for a doormat that doesn’t fit your door.

Where’s It Going
We often get questions like “What type of doormat is best for inside?”, and “What’s the best material for an outside doormat?” and these are really great questions to ask yourself when looking for a doormat. Outdoor doormats experience different factors than indoor door mats, so certain materials should be considered based on doormat placement.


Understanding the nuances of construction allows homeowners to align their doormat choice with specific needs. Whether prioritizing scraping action, higher traction, or thickness, the right build ensures your doormat not only looks good but also performs optimally in your unique environment.

Location, Location, Location

We like to compare the high-traffic areas of your home like your front door, indoor entryways, and back porch to prime real estate. They’re in beautiful, often visited, and highly desirable areas, but you have to plan for measures to keep them looking in top shape. Not all doormats are created equal, and understanding where to place them can significantly impact their effectiveness. Tailoring your choice to specific areas ensures optimal functionality and longevity.

Front Door Personality

The front door is the gateway to your home, and here, a doormat serves as both a practical necessity and a style statement to reflect your personality. Choose a front door mat that complements your home's exterior, focusing on aesthetics while maintaining functionality. Most importantly, don’t settle for a boring doormat!  There are higher-end luxury front doormats that emphasize style and performance, and personalized door mats immediately elevate the look of your home’s entryway.

Back Door Practicality 

The back door often experiences less foot traffic but as we all know that traffic can be the wettest, muddiest, and down-right nastiest your floors will see. Consider a sturdy, all-weather doormat, especially if it leads to a garden, patio, or other outdoor areas. Rubber-backed mats are excellent choices for back doors, offering durability and easy maintenance.

Just Inside the Front Door 

Something that is often overlooked when thinking about doormats and how to protect your floors and enhance safety is the addition of an indoor door mat or interior door rug. When you add a doormat just inside your front door, you’re creating a two-mat system that will trap moisture and scrape dirt and debris before it makes it inside your home. What type of doormat is best for inside your home will depend on preference. Some will opt for two scraper or wiper mats, while others may opt for a plush doormat for the inside of the door, while others may prefer a low-pile doormat or no-pile door rug. We still highly recommend any mat or floor covering placed at your front door be rubber-backed.

Homely Rush Hour: High-Traffic Areas

This one is simple, areas with high foot traffic demand durability. Sometimes called high-traffic entryway rugs, you’ll want to look for materials like recycled PET, nylon, and rubber that can withstand constant movement. These mats are perfect for entryways and thresholds leading directly from busy areas like garages and mudrooms and are ideal for trapping dirt and mud.

Outdoor Wet Areas Resilience

Sometimes you just have areas that are more susceptible to rain and moisture than others. Outdoor areas with floors of concrete or tile can become very slippery when exposed to water. The best outdoor doormat for wet areas will provide stable surface to step and increase foot traction in wet conditions. Rubber-backed mats work best in these areas.

Just Because We Call It Doormat…

Technically, we have to classify everything we make and just because we call our doormats well, doormats, that doesn’t mean they don’t excel in other areas of the home. Doormats can make great kitchen mats to protect your floors from grease and drips. They can also make the ideal rubber-backed bath mat if placed outside the shower or tub. The reality is that doormats, whether used inside or outside, can be an ideal solution in so many areas of the home.

Circle all weather low profile outdoor doormat on stenciled back patio

So, remember not all doormats and rugs are created equal. By tailoring your doormat choices to specific locations, you ensure they not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also meet the unique demands of each area, contributing to a clean, safe, and stylish home.


Adapt to the Elements

As the seasons change, so do the challenges your doormat faces. Adapting to the elements ensures your doormat remains not only functional but also a reliable barrier against the forces of nature.

Rain Ready Doormats

Moisture is public enemy #1 as it relates to floor protection and safety. For areas prone to rain, a doormat with excellent water resistance is essential. Opt for materials like rubber or polyester that trap and contain moisture effectively, preventing rainwater from being tracked indoors.

Get the Yuck Outta Here

Woman wiping dirty boots on all-Weather WaterHog doormat at front door during snowy weather

High-traffic areas, especially during rainy seasons, are susceptible to dirt and mud. The nasty stew of grime and dirt that often track on the bottom of boots and shoes can cause considerable problems for your beautiful floors. Choose a doormat with a coarse texture or a patterned design that effectively scrapes off dirt and mud, preventing it from entering your home.

Leave the Sand at the Beach

If you're fortunate enough to live near the beach, a doormat that handles sand with ease is crucial. Look for mats with a bi-level design that are capable of scraping and filtering sand from the bottom of feet and flip-flops. WaterHog mats are great for this purpose.

Let it Snow

Winter brings its own challenges, with snow and slush making an unwelcome entrance. Select a doormat that’s capable of scraping and trapping snow. Remember, snow melts, so try to avoid mats that absorb melted snow and ice as this will create more moisture that will track on your floors. Mats with raised textures are best at trapping snow. Also, for colder environments, avoid vinyl-backed mats and PVC-backed mats as these materials do not hold up as well in cold conditions.

All-Weather, All the Time

Consider all-season doormats that can adapt to a variety of conditions. Mats made from durable commercial-grade materials like rubber or outdoor carpet made from PET are versatile enough to handle rain, dirt, mud, sand, and snow throughout the year. Doormats like the WaterHog Luxe are ideal all-weather doormats.

Think about the weather patterns your home experiences most and choose a doormat that specifically addresses the seasonal elements unique to your location.  You will not only ensure its longevity but also maintain a clean and welcoming entrance, regardless of the weather.

Closeup of WaterHog Luxe In Vein Rugged Doormat wiping snow from the bottom of a boot.

Make Your Doormat Yours

We’ve said it once, and we’ll keep saying it: Don’t settle for a boring doormat. With so many unique doormat options just a few clicks away, you’re settling by purchasing whatever is in a bin at your local big box store. Elevate your entrance from ordinary to exceptional by embracing the world of personalized doormats. Personalization not only adds a unique touch but also makes a lasting impression on your guests.

Monogram, Initials, & Numbers

Personalized Matterly doormat with house number placed at covered front door.

Infuse a sense of identity into your entrance with monogrammed doormats. Featuring your initials or family name, these doormats are a classic and elegant way to personalize your space. Monogrammed doormats also make for unique gifts for weddings and birthdays!

Is this the Right Place?

Leave no room for doubt and let your guests know they are indeed in the right place with a personalized doormat that showcases your house or apartment number. Most custom doormats allow for street and unit numbers to be placed instead of letters.

Welcome Messages

Express a warm greeting right at your doorstep with custom doormats that display friendly messages. Whether it's a simple "Welcome" or a personalized phrase, these mats set a positive tone for anyone entering your home. Shameless plug: our personalized doormats can be made with your favorite greeting instead of your name.

‘Tis the Season

Embrace the changing seasons with custom doormats that reflect the time of year. Whether it's autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, or spring flowers, a seasonal touch adds a dynamic and festive element to your entrance.

Save the Date

Commemorate significant locations or dates by featuring coordinates or special anniversaries on your doormat. It's a subtle yet meaningful way to make your entrance uniquely yours.

It’s Your Brand

Extend personalization to commercial spaces by incorporating special sayings or taglines that mean something to you and your guests into custom doormats. It's a professional and inviting way to welcome clients and guests.

Investing in a custom doormat allows you to make a statement, leaving a lasting impression on those who cross your threshold. Whether it's a reflection of your family, your style, or your business, a personalized doormat transforms your entrance into a personalized and welcoming space.

Low profile monogrammed double door doormat personalized with your initial

The Secret to Long Life

When it comes to doormats, care and maintenance are often overlooked. Quality doormats are absolute workhorses when it comes to protecting your floors and providing that certain aesthetic that compliments your decorating style. When cared for properly will last for many years, it just takes a little know-how and attention. Below are just a few thought starters to ensure you get the most out of your doormat.

Close up of colorful Matterly doormat that scraped snow and debris from boots.

On the Reg

Try to get on a regular schedule when it comes to cleaning your doormat. We find it’s easier to do when combined with other reoccurring tasks like mowing the grass, raking leaves, or washing the family dog.

Keep it Simple

Basic methods like shaking out your outdoor door mat or vacuuming your indoor doormat while tending to the rest of your floors go a long way in maintaining its functionality.

Spot Clean

Even though most outdoor doormats and indoor door mats made with PET and polyester are stain-resistant, it’s still good practice to address stains with a prompt cleaning. We always recommend spot-treating deep stains with a mild detergent or sodium percarbonate (fancy way to say OxiClean), follow the instructions, and rinse thoroughly. Always allow your doormat or indoor door rug to air dry completely before placing it back on your floor.

The Deep Clean

Sometimes your doormat is going to need a good old-fashioned deep clean. Start by shaking out loose dirt and debris. Next, you’ll want to utilize your favorite textile cleaner or mild detergent and apply to the surface of your mat and rinse. Feel free to use a soft-bristled brush to get a truly deep clean going, but keep in mind you’ll need to thoroughly rinse to flush all the cleaning agent. Allow to completely air dry before putting back on your floor.

Under Pressure

And in the extreme case of owning the dirtiest mat in the neighborhood, you can actually pressure wash your doormat. Apply a mild detergent, utilize a 40° nozzle (the white one), and do not exceed 2000 psi. While washing make sure to keep the nozzle 8 inches or further away from the surface you are cleaning. Allow to completely air dry before placing back on your floor and enjoy a like-new-looking doormat.

Full disclosure: we do not recommend this for any other mats other than Matterly doormats and outdoor mats to include WaterHog, WaterHog Luxe, and Neighburly doormats. Coir mats, coco mats, and cotton mats are not suitable for this type of cleaning method as they will likely fall apart.

Sunny Side Up

It’s always good to note the amount of sunlight and direct exposure your doormat will receive. While mats like the WaterHog will not fade in direct sunlight, printed mats and coco mats will fade over time. Fading will accelerate and materials may weaken if the sunlight is intense. For printed and sublimated door mats, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Follow Their Lead

Different materials require different maintenance approaches. Be mindful of your doormat's material, whether it's coir, rubber, or indoor carpet, and follow the manufacturer's specific care guidelines.

By establishing a maintenance and care routine for your indoor and outdoor doormats, you not only prolong their lifespan but also ensure they continue to effectively fulfill their role in keeping your home clean and welcoming.

Eco-Friendly Options

The doormat industry has come a long way in the eyes of sustainability and eco-friendly options. We can’t speak for other manufacturers, but we are constantly searching out greener materials and more environmentally friendly ways to manufacture our products. We’ve outlined some eco-friendly options and considerations to look for when trying to align to a commitment to sustainable living.

Natural and Biodegradable Materials

These are doormats crafted from natural and biodegradable materials. Coir (aka coco), jute, or hemp are popular fiber choices. These materials break down naturally, minimizing environmental impact.

Full disclosure: coir and coco mats are our biggest competitors when it comes to doormats. While we believe our mats are so much better with regards to performance, style, and durability, we know many people love and adore coco mats and we respect that.

Recycle & Upcycled

Choose doormats made from recycled or upcycled materials. Repurposed materials like old tires, plastic bottles, or reclaimed rubber create durable and functional doormats with a lower environmental footprint.

Shameless Plug: The recycled content of Matterly WaterHog doormats is 90% for the fiber surface and 20% recycled rubber for the backing. For Neighburly outdoor mats it’s 80% for the fiber surface and 20% for the rubber backing.

Longevity and Durability

A durable choice is also a sustainable choice. Think about it, the longer the doormat lasts, the less you’ll have to buy, hence the less you’ll throw away. Opt for doormats with a long lifespan, reducing the frequency of replacements and, consequently, the overall environmental impact associated with manufacturing and disposal.

Domestic vs Imported

Regardless of material composition, the farther a doormat has to travel to get to you, the less environmentally friendly it actually is. Imported mats often travel thousands of miles via trucks, ships, and rail that have large carbon footprints. And that’s just to get it to a warehouse in the United States.

Carbon Offset

In addition to utilizing recycled and sustainable materials, more companies are utilizing carbon offset programs to help reduce their environmental impact. Check with your doormat manufacturer to see what environmentally-friendly programs they are actively participating in. Here’s a link to the environmental initiatives that Matterly is currently supporting = We Are Committed.

Check the Packaging

Consider the packaging of your doormat. Eco-friendly options often feature minimal or recyclable packaging, reducing the overall environmental impact. Look for brands that prioritize sustainability in their packaging practices.

Embracing eco-friendly doormats is a small but meaningful step toward sustainable living. By making informed choices, you contribute to a greener future while still enjoying a functional and stylish entrance to your home.

Matterly utilizes recycled materials throughout our collections and actively participate in programs to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Let’s Close this Out

We know that was a lot of information to try and take in all at once, so if you made all the way through, you’re a trooper!

That was a long journey through the various facets of doormats, from their functional roles to the diverse materials and designs, it becomes evident that the choice of a doormat goes beyond mere utility. It's an opportunity to make a statement, to extend a warm welcome, and to showcase your unique personality.

Whether you opt for a robust doormat with all-weather capabilities, a custom creation that adds a personal touch, or an eco-friendly option that aligns with sustainable values, each choice reflects your priorities and enhances the overall appeal of your home entrance.

As you consider the ideal doormat for your space, keep in mind the specific needs of different areas, the seasonal challenges your entrance may face, and the longevity that comes with proper care. Whether it's a classic coir mat, a personalized masterpiece, or an eco-conscious choice, the perfect doormat is the one that not only meets your practical requirements but also resonates with your sense of style.

So, as you step into the world beyond your doorstep, let your doormat be the ambassador of your home, making that first impression a lasting one. From rain to snow, dirt to sand, let your doormat be the silent guardian that keeps your space clean, inviting, and uniquely yours.


December 07, 2023 — Bobby DeBardeleben