“Let’s face it; your yoga mat is dirty! But don’t worry, it’s not just you. In fact, most people’s yoga mats are covered in all sorts of bacteria and dirt. Whether it is your mat or a loaner from the yoga studio, all the sweat after a good yoga session, combined with environmental factors like dust and pollen in the air, can create a perfect storm of germs just waiting to invade your body. So, what are the ways in which you can keep your yoga mat clean and kill all those disease-causing germs? Read on!”
Aside from the ick factor, it is essential to clean your yoga mat for two reasons: hygiene and performance. A clean mat will help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria to yourself and others. A dirty mat can be slippery, making it challenging to maintain your poses and leading to skin irritation and it could smell bad.
Ideally, every time you practice, you should clean the mat. However, life can get busy, and sometimes that’s not an option. If you are unable to clean your mat after every practice, change your frequency of washing to once in 7 days. However, this will not be considered as the deep cleaning of your yoga mat. Don’t go overboard; deep cleaning is only needed once a month if you practice yoga daily.
Now getting to the famous dilemma, ‘Is it okay to wash the yoga mat in a washing machine?’ depends on your mat. If you have a yoga mat made from natural fibers (like cotton or jute), then the answer is yes! All you need to do is place it inside the washing machine while keeping the washing strength gentle. Pour some cold water and let it air dry. The answer is no if the yoga mat is made of synthetic substances (latex or PVC). These mats should be cleaned by hand using your hands only.
There are two types of yoga mat cleaners you can use. These are:
You can use any gentle household or all-purpose cleaner to clean your yoga mat. The secret to the effectiveness is your cleaner’s ratio to the amount of dilution with water. The concentration of the liquid should not be too high, as it will slowly destroy the fibers of your yoga. But, avoid making the solution too diluted, or else the cleaning solution will not work.
If this mixture confuses you, investing in yoga mat cleaning sprays is better. Just spray it on your yoga mat and wipe it with a clean cloth. Just make sure that the cleaner is non-toxic and free from harsh chemicals.
You can also create your yoga mat cleaner using substances readily present in your household. For example, a mixture of vinegar and water is a great cleaner. You just mix a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar. Use a bottle with a spray cap, and your yoga mat cleaner is ready!
Another great way to clean your mat is by using a few drops of essential oils and mixing them into water. This cleaner not only cleans your mat but also gives it an excellent aroma! Add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil mixed with lavender or lemongrass oil to a spray bottle of water and shake well. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, while lavender and lemongrass oil have great fragrances.
All you require to do is sprinkle any of the above solutions/mixtures after your yoga class and scrub it clean with a cloth.
When you observe more dirt, grime, or dark spots on your mat, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Yogis who live in hot regions or like practicing yoga in a heated room need to deep clean their mats more often.
Such mats are thin and often disintegrate if submerged in water for too long. This is why it is necessary to be extra careful and only spot clean such mats.
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in 16 ounces of warm water with a few drops of dish soap.
- Using a rag dampened with soapy water, wipe the mat from top to bottom in a circular motion, focusing on dirty regions.
- Wipe the mat and let it dry naturally for 30 minutes.
These yoga mats are thicker in width and can be washed by submerging them into the liquid. Follow these steps:
- Fill a tub with lukewarm water and dish soap. Just 1 tablespoon of soap per gallon of water is enough.
- Let the mat remain in the solution for 5 minutes. Then, using a gentle brush, lightly clean it.
- Remove any soap residue from your mat by rinsing it with clean water.
- After washing, shake out your yoga mat. Next, hang it or lay it flat and let it dry until becomes completely free of moisture.
Follow these suggestions to keep your yoga mat clean regularly:
- Keep your yoga mat in a room full of light to naturally kill the bacteria; however, avoid placing it under direct sunlight.
- Skip products for rubber mats that include oils.
- Let the wet mat dry thoroughly, and then store it.
- Wash your hands and feet before stepping onto the mat to reduce the amount of dirt and sweat.
- Use a yoga towel to minimize sweat on your mat. These towels are anti-skid and soak up most of the moisture.
Regularity is the key to keeping your mat spotless. A daily wipe-down doesn’t take much of your time, and it will significantly prolong the lifespan of your mat. Just remember that different types of mats require different cleaning methods. Ensure the type of mat you own before cleaning it. Follow the instructions closely to avoid any external damage.