How to Properly Clean Your Yoga Mat
Even if you use your yoga mat regularly, you might not think about cleaning it before you put it away. But taking the time to properly wipe it down and disinfect your mat is important, especially since it comes into direct contact with almost every part of your body.
In addition to preventing wear and tear, practicing good yoga mat hygiene also helps wipe out fungi, acne-causing bacteria and odors that can linger after a sweaty workout. Read on for easy tips on how to clean your yoga mat and keep it smelling fresh.
How to Clean Your Yoga Mat
In the same way that you wash your yoga attire after every class, turn cleaning your yoga mat into a regular habit after every practice. It doesn't have to be a labor-intensive endeavor—simply do a quick wipe down on both sides of your mat and let it air dry before you roll it up or use it again.
Keep in mind that different materials may require different care routines so you should know how to wash your yoga mat ahead of time. Check to see what type of yoga mat you have and follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions accordingly.
If it's an absorbent or open-cell mat, you could get away with submerging it in your bathtub or shower. If it's a closed-cell mat, spot clean it and avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or rubbing alcohol, since they can damage and crack the surface.
Yoga Mat Cleaners
You can use a wide range of yoga mat cleaners, depending on your personal preference. Some different cleaning agents include:
- Distilled water and vinegar: Mix equal parts in a glass spray bottle and add a splash of tea tree oil for extra anti-microbial power, or eucalyptus or lavender essential oil for a fresh, clean scent.
- Dishwashing soap and warm water: Add a few drops of soap, mix well and apply with a sponge or cloth.
If the DIY approach(1) doesn't appeal to you, pick up a ready-to-use yoga mat cleaner from the store.
How to Disinfect and Deep Clean Your Yoga Mat
When your mat is ready for a deep clean,(2) you'll need to take a little more time to make sure it's thoroughly disinfected. You could try one of the following cleaning methods, depending on whether it's appropriate for the type of mat you have and the specific care instructions:
For an open-cell yoga mat:
- Soak your yoga mat in a sink or bathtub of warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
- After five minutes, scrub it with a microfiber cloth and rinse well from residue.
- Shake out the mat and let it air dry.
For a closed-cell yoga mat:
- Spot-clean your yoga mat with a wet cloth, warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
- Clean your mat from top to bottom, using circular motions.
- Wipe it with a dry hand towel and leave it flat to air dry.
- Air dry for at least 30 minutes.
How Often Should You Clean and Sanitize Your Yoga Mat?
Ideally, you should take a few seconds to wipe your mat after every practice. You can give it a more thorough deep clean once a month or more often if it starts to look a bit grimy.
Tips for Keeping Your Yoga Mat Clean
Here are some quick tips to make it easier to keep your yoga mat in top shape while extending its overall life span.
1. Use a Yoga Towel
Consider getting a microfiber towel. This yoga essential can be used as a cover for your yoga mat so you're not in direct contact with the mat.
2. Wash Your Hands and Feet Before Practicing
Make sure you step on the mat with clean feet and your hands are free of residue. This will avoid any slippery mishaps or acne breakouts when your face comes into contact with the mat.
3. Replace Your Mat Once You See Wear and Tear
If pieces of the mat are peeling off or sticking to your yoga clothes after a workout, it's time for a new mat.
4. Avoid Using Disinfecting Wipes
Disinfectant wipes may seem like an easy solution, but what you may not know is Clorox®, bleach and other chemicals can be too harsh on your yoga mat's surface, leading it to break down more quickly.
5. Don't Put Your Yoga Mat in the Washing Machine or Dryer.
Many yoga mats will break down if machine washed or put into the dryer, so check the care instructions first.
6. Dry and Store Your Mat Properly
Damp surfaces can breed bacteria, so make sure your mat is completely dry before rolling it up and putting it away.
Knowing how to clean your yoga mat is half the battle when it comes to ensuring a pleasant workout. A consistent cleaning routine will keep your mat as good as new, smelling fresh while keeping bacteria at bay.
1. "DIY Yoga Mat cleaner," Because Health. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.becausehealth.org/diy-yoga-cleaner-2645788828.html
2. "How to Clean a Yoga Mat," Consumer Reports. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.consumerreports.org/yoga-mats/how-to-clean-a-yoga-mat-a7205580591/