Believe it or not, it is a fact that most moms seldom know the right way to wash and take good of their toddler nap mats. It's quite common that you see these moms who just toss their nap mats to the washing machine, along with tons of other toddler's clothes, sprinkle it with the stronger powder, then tumble dry set to high. Good luck to that. If you do this always, your mats with have lumps of those pillow fibers making it a little bit uncomfortable for your child to sleep. And if you continue doing so, you'll definitely shorten the life of your toddler mat.
We recently just purchased a Toddler Mat for my four year old, it was actually bought online, and my son specifically wanted the Cowboy Nap Mat by Wildkin and he was more than thrilled when he got the package. I had to buy a new one because my son did not want to use her older sister's pink strawberry designed nap mat. Anyhow, he proudly married his cowboy mat by Wildkin to school, since they were asked bring one to use for nap time. I could see his little eyes light up with joy and pride as he showed it off to his classmates.
If you're asking how I made my older daughter's mat last for 9 years, the answer is simple. You just have to know the right way to wash it. Washing you mat is a very important process that will determine its life span. Of course, the type of material it's made of, would matter as well. But, if you do not know how to take care of it the right way, a nap mat made of high quality materials would last shorter than those cheap nap mats but taken care of properly.
If your mat is machine washable, make sure you wash it along with soft sheets to avoid anything getting snagged in the mat fabric. Make sure that your detergent is just mild and not so harsh on colors as well. It is best if you use cool water and wash it in low setting. You could also tumble it dry in low, but if you ask me, air drying is best. Drying it in high settings will make your mat fibers form small bulbs, which are not really good for napping. I always air dry my toddler mats, but do not put it under the heat of the sun, if you are in a sunny climate. Do not forget to use fabric conditioner as well, to help keep the colors intact. With proper care, your mats will last as long as you want to use, and who knows, your grand children might still be able to use it!