When was the last time you cleaned your yoga mat or disinfected it? If you can’t remember, or your yoga mat is smelling a bit unpleasant, it’s definitely time to clean it!
Over time, your yoga mat will accumulate sweat and dirt, which isn’t just unhygienic but also decreases its lifespan.
Why is dirt bad for a yoga mat? Your yoga mat is textured and grippy so that you can balance on it properly and this prevents it from moving around during use.
When dirt builds up on it, it can cause your mat to degrade and lose its grippiness. How should you clean your yoga mat?
Here’s an easy tutorial to keep your yoga mat hygienic, free of bacteria, and durable so that it will last you for several years. We’ll also show you how to sanitize and deodorize your yoga mat.
Why You Need To Clean Your Yoga Mat
We’ve already mentioned how dirt, germs, and sweat can accumulate on your yoga mat, but it can also be a popular area for bacteria and fungi to grow.
Exposure to these can lead to health conditions such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, and even staph infections, the latter of which can cause painful blisters on your skin.
Your yoga mat is a moist and warm environment, which is why it’s so attractive to germs and bacteria. By giving it a good clean regularly, you’ll prevent illness and germs from invading your yoga sessions and home.
There’s another good reason to clean your yoga mat. If you’ve recently purchased a new yoga mat, cleaning it before use is a useful way to break it in. This will ensure that the yoga mat isn’t slippery and feels comfortable to use.
How To Clean Your Yoga Mat
What you need
- Dish soap liquid
- Warm water
- Microfiber cloth
- Place your yoga mat in the shower or bathtub as this will ensure you can properly scrub and soak it. Alternatively, wash your yoga mat outside by putting it and your cleaning solution in a large bucket.
- Combine a few drops of dish soap and warm water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the yoga mat with the cleaning solution, then scrub it with a microfiber cloth. Avoid using brushes or scrubbing too hard as this can damage the sticky surface of the yoga mat.
- You might also want to leave the yoga mat to soak in the cleaning solution for 10 minutes to give it a deeper clean.
- Wash both sides of the mat, then rinse it with warm water.
- Put it outside so that it can air dry.
What About Spot-Cleaning Your Yoga Mat?
If your yoga mat is generally clean but it’s got a few spots of sweat or dirt on it that you want to eliminate, you can clean it quickly and easily with a few drops of gentle dishwashing liquid and water.
- Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to two cups of warm water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the cleaning solution to areas of the mat that you wish to clean.
- Use a soft cloth to wipe the mat dry.
How To Disinfect Your Yoga Mat
Cleaning won’t eliminate all the germs that are hiding out in your yoga mat, so you need to disinfect it to really kill them off.
Vinegar is a useful ingredient to kill germs because it contains acetic acid, while tea tree oil contains bacteria-killing compounds.
- Add equal parts water, tea tree oil, and white vinegar to a bottle.
- Spray the cleaning solution over both sides of the mat. Don’t forget to spray the disinfectant solution on the corners of the mat. These can easily get neglected and yet they can be full of germs because of how they come into contact with your floor when you store your mat away.
- Use a towel to wipe off the solution.
How To Remove Odors From Your Yoga Mat
To keep your yoga mat smelling clean and fresh, all you need is a bit of baking soda from your kitchen.
- Sprinkle baking soda all over the mat. Gently rub it with your hands.
- Allow the baking soda to work for 30 minutes.
- When that time is up, vacuum the excess baking soda off the mat.
How To Look After Your Yoga Mat
Cleaning your yoga mat is an important part of maintaining it, but you should follow some other essential tips to keep your yoga mat in excellent condition.
- Never store your yoga mat in direct sunlight. The harsh UV rays will cause your yoga mat’s color to fade and it will break down its materials so that the mat loses its durability. It can even become brittle.
- Never clean your yoga mat with harsh solvents or cleaners. Even essential oils could be damaging to yoga mats that are made out of rubber, so be careful.
- Always ensure that your mat has properly air dried before you roll it up and store it, as this will prevent mold from growing on it as well as unpleasant odors from forming.
- Never wring your yoga mat after washing it. This can cause it to become deformed or it could cause tears and cracks in it.
- Although it might be tempting to do, never dry your yoga mat in the clothes dryer. The high temperatures and vigorous spinning action can both be damaging to your mat.
- When drying your yoga mat after washing it, using pegs to keep it on a washing line could leave behind marks. A better idea is to drape the mat over a laundry drying rack or even a clean wall so that it will dry properly.
- Use your yoga mat when your hands and feet are clean as this will prevent dirt from getting on it. It’s also essential to avoid applying lotions and creams to your skin before coming into contact with the yoga mat, as these can stain or otherwise damage rubber mats.
When To Replace A Yoga Mat
If your mat is showing signs of wear and tear, it’s time to replace it for a new one. Here are some signs that your yoga mat has reached the end of its lifespan.
- Your mat is cracked or missing pieces. This can be dangerous to use because it won’t give you the support you need during yoga.
- Your mat doesn’t have uniform padding. Put your mat on the floor and check its padding on the corners. If these are of different thicknesses, that’s a sign that your mat is breaking down. If you still use the mat in this state, it can reduce your balance.
- Your mat is very slippery. You want your mat to give you enough grippiness. Do a downward dog pose on the mat and check if it’s giving you enough traction. If not, it’s time to replace your yoga mat.
- Your mat smells unpleasant. If you’ve cleaned and sanitized your yoga mat but it still has unpleasant odors, that’s a good reason to throw it away and buy a new one. Not only a sign of bacteria, a smelly yoga mat could also have chemicals in it that could be harmful.
- You feel sore in your joints. When you use your yoga mat, do you find that your joints are sore afterward? This is a huge red flag that your yoga mat isn’t giving you enough support and it’s lost its durability.
How regularly should you wash your yoga mat?
You should wipe down your yoga mat after every time you use it. Give it a deeper clean by following the steps we outlined in this article at least once a month.
Can you wash your yoga mat in the washing machine?
For increased convenience, you might be able to wash your yoga mat in the washing machine. Check your mat’s specific instructions so that you don’t damage it by putting it in the washing machine.
Should you cover your yoga mat with a yoga towel to keep it clean?
Placing a yoga towel on top of your yoga mat can help you reduce how regularly you have to wash your mat. This is because the towel will absorb moisture, sweat, and dirt. It’s also resistant to sliding so it won’t compromise your stability.
If you have to clean your yoga mat, you might be wondering how to go about it. In this article, we’ve provided you with all the information you need to safely clean and sanitize your yoga mat.
We’ve also looked at when it’s time to replace instead of clean your yoga mat so that it continues to be strong and supportive, helping you achieve advanced yoga poses with greater ease.