How to Properly Clean a Yoga Mat
Yoga mats are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. You’ll probably sweat a lot if you practice a more energetic style like power vinyasa or Bikram. When sweat spills onto your mat, it can cause bacterial growth and unpleasant odors.
It’s worth taking the time to wipe off your yoga mat after each session and give it a deep clean every month. Cleaning will not kill germs; however, it removes them and dirt and pollutants from the surface.
In this article, you will learn how to remove dirt and the buildup of sweat which can help keep your mat sticky and enhance its life.
What Can You Use to Clean Your Yoga Mat Regularly?
It’s a good idea to clean off your mat after each session, whether you have a thick or thin mat. You can use a commercial yoga mater cleaner or make a DIY cleaning solution at home by following these steps.
- Mix witch hazel and warm water in equal parts in a spray bottle.
- Add a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil. These oils are antifungal and antibacterial, but only use a few drops at a time—too much will reduce your mat’s natural stickiness, causing you to slip.
- Cap your bottle and shake lightly to blend.
- Spray the cleaner on a microfiber towel (or any clean towel) and wipe off the entire surface of the mat in circular motions. Make sure to clean both sides down before rolling up your mat at the end of practice,
- Allow your mat to dry unfolded before cleaning the opposite side in the same way.
- If feasible, hang your yoga mat to dry for 12 hours over the back of a chair or a porch railing.
- Once your mat is fully dry, roll it up tightly and store it until you need to use it.
Using White Vinegar
Yoga practitioners often sanitize their mats using white vinegar due to its antibacterial characteristics. Just combine equal amounts of white vinegar and water, spritz both sides of the mat, then wipe it clean carefully.
However, make sure you check the mat’s instructions before applying white vinegar. Some brands don’t recommend using vinegar-based treatments, while others discourage using essential oils in high doses.
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How to Deep Clean Your Yoga Mat
When you see more dirt and grime on your mat, it’s time to give it a more thorough cleaning. Look for discolored or soiled areas. Yogis who live in hotter climates or practice in heated areas should deep clean their mats more often.
If you have an open-cell mat, you should clean it once a month by submerging it in soapy water. On the other hand, thinner, closed-cell mats break down when submerged in hot water, so spot clean them instead.
If the packaging on your yoga mat doesn’t say it’s machine-washable, don’t put it in there. Also, avoid drying the mat in the dryer; the thick rubber can catch fire in a hot dryer.
Here are some specific instructions on deep cleaning your open-cell yoga mat and a closed-cell mat.
Deep Cleaning an Open-Cell Mat
- Place the yoga mat in a basin or bathtub halfway with warm water and dish soap. You only need one spoonful of soap for every gallon of water. (Avoid using hot water as it could damage the mat.)
- Once the mat is submerged in water, let it soak for 5 minutes. Then scrub lightly with a soft cloth.
- Rinse your mat with clean water to eliminate any soap residue.
- Shake out your mat once it has been washed. After that, let it air dry for as long as it takes for it to be moisture-free.
Deep Cleaning a Closed-Cell Yoga Mat
- Place your mat on a flat surface.
- Combine warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a basin (be careful not to overdo it with the soap.)
- Dip the rag into the soapy water, then wipe the mat in a circular motion from top to bottom, focusing on dirty spots.
- wipe the mat clean with a towel,
- Allow at least 30 minutes for air drying.
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