How to Take Care of Your Yoga Mat
How to take care of your yoga mat: yoga mat care 101
Right. Let’s be honest. When was the last time you cleaned your yoga mat? Yeah… maybe don’t say that out loud. This article will explore how to clean and take care of your yoga mat, from salt scrubs to DIY antibacterial sprays.
Is it okay to wash a yoga mat?
Okay? It’s essential.
Imagine if you never cleaned your yoga clothes after class. Not only would you start to smell funky, but you’d be spawning germs like there’s no tomorrow.
Thanks to the sea of sanitiser sprays in studios, it's pretty hard to forget to wipe your mat after class. And, if that doesn’t shake you from your post-Savasana daze, a few suspicious side-eyes will no doubt coerce you into some vigorous scrubbing.
At home, who’s there to guilt-trip glare you into cleaning? Left unwashed, your yoga mat becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Yes, your divine yoga mat of love and wisdom will host a whole colony of teeny, tiny microscopic creatures. And, let us tell you, they have an absolute rave every time you avoid your mat spray.
Also… you’re putting your face where your sweaty back, legs, and feet have roamed. If you don’t clean off the signs of your labour, the remnants will head straight for your pores.
Suddenly the mat doesn't feel like such a safe space anymore. *BRB crying while cleaning my mat*
How to clean your yoga mat
Enjoy your yoga mat for longer with these simple but necessary steps.
How often should you clean your yoga mat?
You should clean your yoga mat after every practice. A little dab with an antiseptic wipe will be enough to wipe off some of the germs lodging on the surface. Equally, a homemade spray with antibacterial agents, essential oils and water should do the trick.
What can I use to clean my yoga mat?
You can find lots of DIY Yoga Mat Spray Recipes online. Make sure to check what oils or ingredients your mat does NOT like. For example, some cork or bamboo mats don’t react well to different cleaning agents as they strip the fabric, making the texture rough and bumpy. Likewise, others dislike oil as it impacts the grip.
Most quality yoga mats come with a cleaning disclaimer and short guidelines on maintenance, so don’t throw those away with the packaging. Cheap yoga mats may be more prone to wear and tear and come without cleaning instructions.
Can I clean my yoga mat with alcohol?
Similar to above. For some mats, alcohol is like kryptonite to superman. Harsh disinfectants, like bleach and alcohol, have the potential to degrade your yoga mat over time. Likewise, if you choose a disinfectant containing alcohol, be sure it won't harm your skin on contact.
How to deep clean your yoga mat
You’ll want to deep clean your mat frequently if you practise daily or a few times a week. A monthly deep clean should suffice for those who only roll out their yoga mat once or twice a week.
Sanitise your mat
Properly sanitising your mat can help kill germs, bacteria, and fungus—including those that cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts, and ringworm. Yep! They could be living (and thriving if you’ve not cleansed your mat for decades) on your magic yogi carpet.
Wash both sides
For a deep clean, wash BOTH sides of your mat with a shop-bought solution or a combination of water, white vinegar and tea tree oil (both of which house antibacterial properties).
Let it dry
Allow the mat to air-dry for about 10 minutes. A moist yoga mat is the ideal host environment for mould and bacteria growth. Delightful.
Yoga Mat Cleaning Tips
- Remember, a gentle wipe-down of your mat and yoga blocks after every practice will help to keep germs at bay and avoid any unsavoury odours.
- Keep your mat out of direct sunlight - this can cause the colour to fade and the texture to become more brittle.
- Be sure your yoga mat is fully dry before you roll it up and store it away.
- Try sprinkling and rubbing baking soda or salt onto your mat to eliminate odours and absorb excess oils. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes, then brush or vacuum off any remaining crystals.
Love your mat as much as you love your practice! Keep it clean and fresh to make the most of your holistic self-care sessions.
Sophie Heatley (she/her) is a Content Writer and Yoga Instructor based in London. She has been teaching at various studios, on retreat and online since 2018. On the side, Sophie creates online and editorial content for clients within diverse industries, from the arts, to wellness, to financial law. Discover where she's teaching and what she's writing by following her on social media @sophieheatley_