How To Properly Clean Your Yoga Mat
Your yoga mat is many things: safety, sanctuary, a portal to greater inner peace.
With time, it can also get a little, er, funky.
It’s all too easy to forget to give your mat some TLC after a blissed-out savasana, but germs and bacteria love sweaty places. And the last thing you want is an unpleasant odor distracting you from your practice!
Now more than ever, it’s important to be diligent about cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to keep your mat in good shape. Let’s cover some effective tips for keeping things fresh!
The correct way to clean & sanitize
Did you know saucha, which translates to cleanliness, is a key tenet of yoga? It’s a niyama presented in the Yoga Sutras, and is all about cultivating purity of mind, body and surroundings. The thought is that when things are clean, it paves the way for greater calm and peace.
We’d have to agree with Patanjali that there’s something inherently cleansing about, well, cleansing!
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When it comes to your yoga mat, it’s important to both clean and disinfect. Cleaning means removing germs, while disinfecting goes a step further to kill germs. Generally, it’s a good idea to clean your mat about once a month and disinfect more regularly; perhaps every time you practice, or every few times.
We recommend steering clear of throwing your mat in the washing machine, since it’s possible that both parties will incur damage. The dryer is a definite no-no. It’s also wise to forgo using disinfectant wipes, which contain abrasive chemicals that can affect your mat or even cause skin irritation.
To clean your mat, good old-fashioned dish soap will do the trick. Simply mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle, then gently wash your mat with a microfiber cloth. You’ll want to be conservative with the amount of dish soap you use, since too much could turn into a Slip ‘N Slide. Once you clean both sides, rinse with warm water and allow it to air dry. You can lay it flat to dry, or hang it in the shower.
When it comes to disinfecting, you can either buy pre-made disinfectant or whip up your own mixture for your home practice. All you need to do is combine equal parts water and equal parts white vinegar, plus a sprinkle of tea tree oil for added antibacterial power. Lemon and lavender are also great options. While it’s great to disinfect regularly, you also want to maintain the sticky grip of your mat, so keep things gentle and be careful not to get too overzealous or aggressive with your efforts.
Here’s a few more pro tips:
- Add a few drops of essential oil to your cleaning or disinfecting mixtures.
- Use a yoga towel during your practice to lessen the dirt/grime/sweat build-up in the first place.
- Dealing with a lingering funk? Sprinkle baking soda on your mat and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to neutralize the odor. Then, brush or vacuum it off.
- To allow for some healthy air flow, let your yoga mat dry outside (you can place it on a chair or other bar outside).
- Make sure your mat is fully dry before rolling it back up.
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We would love to see you in one of our safe, social-distanced yoga classes. Check out our group fitness class schedules here!