Sweat, dirt, germs and grime all make their way onto our yoga and exercise mats so it’s important to know how to get rid of that junk! Whether you’re doing hot or gentle yoga, taking a class at a studio or practicing at home, we recommend wiping down your yoga mat after every practice, and giving it a deep clean every month or so. Let’s learn exactly how to do it!
How to Clean and SanitizeYour Yoga Mat
Yoga mats absorb all the sweat, oil, and grime that they’re exposed to. Some yoga mats are more porous than others; closed-cell mats are thinner and water resistant, and won’t soak in liquid as quickly. Thicker yoga mats tend to have an open-cell construction, which means they can soak up more liquid and may retain more bacteria. Aside from deep cleaning/soaking you can clean both types of yoga mats the same way.
Cleaning your mat gets rid of dirt, dust, and debris, and sanitizing destroys bacteria. Some studios offer natural essential oil based cleaners, others have chemical sprays, so it’s best to bring your own so you know exactly what you’re spraying. Spray one side of your mat until it’s thoroughly wet, let stand for 60 seconds to fend off bacteria, and five minutes to fend off bacteria, viruses, and fungi, then wipe dry with a cloth. Don’t forget to do both sides of your mat. Hang dry or roll your mat with a clean towel until you can hang it up at home.
While vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent, it can break down certain mats and leave a lingering smell; some chemical wipes and sprays will do the same thing. We use natural solutions which are gentle on our mats, our bodies and the environment. We’ve shared our tried and true mat cleaner here that you can easily make at home, or you can purchase a mat cleaner/sanitizer spray.
How Often Should You Clean Your Yoga Mat?
We recommend cleaning and sanitizing your mat after every practice, and doing a deep clean once a month. If you have a thicker open-cell yoga mat, fill a sink or bathtub with enough warm (not hot) water to submerge your mat and add a small amount of natural dish or laundry soap (approx 1 tablespoon per gallon of water). Soak for 5 minutes, then lightly scrub your mat with a soft cloth. Rinse clean and hang to dry until it’s completely moisture-free.
To clean a thinner closed-cell yoga mat, lay it out on a clean surface, mix warm water and soap in a bowl or bucket, dip a rag into the solution and thoroughly wet and scrub the entire mat. Wipe with a clean dry cloth, then lay it on a clean towel and repeat on the other side. Do not submerge or soak these mats in water. Hang until completely dry.
While some mats may claim you can put them in a washing machine, we don’t recommend it. Putting a mat in the wash could not only damage the mat, but also your washing machine. Same for the dryer, it’ll most likely damage your mat and possibly your machine. When deep cleaning your mat, make sure to use a small amount of soap, too much can leave a slippery film on your mat’s surface. Consider washing your hands and feet (I know it sounds weird) before you practice and put a towel on top of your mat if you’re in for a particularly sweaty sesh.
If you don’t have time for a good clean at the studio, you can always do it when you get home, just don’t forget to clean your yoga mat!