Best Mats and Rugs For in Front of the Kitchen Sink

The area right in front of your kitchen sink is likely to be one of the messiest places in your entire house. I’ve tried lots of different solutions in front of the sink, mats, and rugs alike. I’ve come up with a list of pros and cons of different types of rugs, mats, and vinyl. Hopefully, this will help you find the best solutions for your kitchen floor or other high-traffic areas.

I’ve tried many types of rug material in my kitchen: a wool rug, a cotton rug, a natural fiber rug, foam mats, and a vinyl cloth. They have a drastically different look and require different methods for keeping them clean. Your choice will depend on your specific needs and personal style.

Best Kitchen Mats for Hardwood Floors

If you have hardwood floors a kitchen mat is essential because you need to protect the floor from water. It’s not as important with a hard surface like tile kitchen flooring. I don’t know about you, but I’m not able to cook AND do dishes without getting water on the floor or the inevitable spills of tomato sauce.

best kitchen mat

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The best kitchen mat or rug for hardwood flooring is one that is held in place by a mat or that has a non-slip bottom. My top pick is these rug pads from Overstock and I have them under every rug. They make a huge difference. Don’t use the ones that look like this photo. The rubber backing can leave a sticky residue on your floor after a few months.

Bad rug pad for wood!

The best kitchen rugs if you have wooden floors are the same as any other surface AS LONG AS you have a good pad in place. I personally like either a machine washable rug (see the good and the bad below) or a vinyl cloth or mat.

Vinyl Cloth For Kitchen – Pros and Cons

I recently discovered the vinyl cloth and I’m wondering why. How did I not know about these sooner? A kitchen sink floor mat is a great option for the space in front of your sink because they are water resistant and made of easy-to-clean materials. You can just mop them off. There are so many cute designs, color options, and a variety of sizes. Rugs-Direct.com has the largest selection.

The downside is that they are very thin. I definitely recommend a thick rug pad.

Washable Rugs For Kitchen – Pros and Cons

I’ve tested out a few brands of washable rugs, you can read about my favorite brands here. I’m not a huge fan of washable rugs, especially Ruggable. Ruggable rugs don’t feel like a rug. They are too thin.

The bigger con for me about washable rugs is that you CAN wash them, but mine don’t look clean and they are difficult to fit in the dryer. I would get one with lots of pattern that doesn’t have cream or white areas.

I have a long runner, the Neyland washable runner from Boutique Rugs in a hallway and it’s great. This is the only brand I would buy again.

Cotton Rugs For Kitchen – Pros and Cons

Cotton rugs are a good choice for the kitchen area because they can go right in the washing machine. They come in a wide variety of colors, and different sizes to complement any kitchen decor. They will slip around if you don’t put a rug pad underneath them. Sometimes the corners can start to roll up, this is less of an issue if you get one that is reversible because if a corner starts to roll you can just flip it over and that usually solves the problem.

I found these rugs need to be washed regularly and are not stain resistant. I would get a cotton rug with a darker color palette and not white.

Kitchen Comfort Mats – Pros and Cons

These anti-fatigue mats are really nice underfoot and they absorb small amounts of water. If you spend long periods of time cooking or on your feet, these are a great choice, they provide thick cushioning that just FEELS good. They are usually washable, but they have to be air-dried. I used this one in my home kitchen space over my hard floors for several years. They are also pretty inexpensive.

After about two years in my kitchen, it started to look a little frayed, but that’s quite a long time in a busy kitchen. There are not as many fun choices if you don’t want a solid color mat.

  • This is the one I used for a few years from Ballard.
  • This one on ETSY is customizable. You can choose color, pattern, font and name. The only downside is that it’s pretty small.
  • I like this mat on Wayfair and it’s nice and long.


I feel like my sink is naked without at least a small rug in front of it. After trying lots of different materials, I will only buy something that can go in the washing machine, maybe I’m just too messy.

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  1. My husband is more about the rugs than I am. But he’s also messier. I am definitely using the wrong kind of grip pad underneath the rugs because now my hardwoods are almost “stained” with the little holes showing if that makes sense. I have no idea why it did that, but I can’t get the marks up off the floor. Great info as always Andrea. You have such an informative blog, I love it!

  2. Thanks for this informative post. I love the look of your rug. Great for a kitchen!

  3. In fact, cotton and vinyl both are are good and popular kitchen mats. I think both are washable, non-slip and good for steady placement in a kitchen. However, I like cotton more than vinyl; it is my personal choice.

    1. KMAT,

      I have used cotton too. The reason I prefer vinyl is that it’s easier to clean. I had a black and white mat, but if you cook a lot it is much harder to get out food stains, depending on the color.

      Thanks for your reply!


  4. Finally! An honest review of the best flooring choices for the kitchen. We went back and forth about buying a washable rug but they seem so costly for all the cons that I have read about including the color fading. Our kitchen back door opens into a mudroom space so we are trying to find floor coverings that can handle lots of foot traffic. What would you recommend?

    1. Tonya,

      My answer is probably not what most people say. I find washing a “washable rug” to be a pain. I would much rather spot clean a rug with my little green machine. Way faster. I have a 100% wool rug in my highest-traffic areas, just inside my back door and front door. Both rugs have a pattern to them. I hope this helps you.


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