How to Clean a Yoga Mat: Easy Steps

Dirt and bacteria grow in places we never think of cleaning at all. Even if you are the cleanest person in the world, there are some areas we tend to forget or overlook. Yoga mats are one of those things.

Think about it. Yoga mats absorb all the sweats, oils and grimes you produce while working out. They are probably the most contaminated things in your house. Not taking proper care of your yoga mats can lead to serious health issues.

To keep you yoga mats gunk and fungi free, having a consistent cleaning routine and habit is necessary.

We get it, cleaning is not the most fun thing you can do with your time. But it is necessary. In this article we will talk about some easy ways you can keep your yoga mats clean and refreshed.

When to Clean It:

The first thing you are probably thinking about is, how many times do I have to clean my yoga mats? It depends on the amount of time you use it but on average every couple of months.

Deep cleaning every couple of months ensures there is no buildup of dirt and dust. However, you should lightly clean your yoga mats at least once a week.

If you practice yoga everyday, all the sweats and moisture gets absorbed into the mat. This can create fungi and molds if you don;t take proper care of them.

If you place your mat for outdoor yoga or exercise, it needs more cleanup than indoor mats. If you have soil on your mat, thoroughly wash it before you store it again.

Summary: Deep clean every few months and lightly wash and maintain twice a month.

Products You’ll Need:

You don’t need much products to properly take care of your precious yoga mat. You can use stuff readily available at home.

For a surface level cleanup you can use mild dishwashing liquid and warm water in a spray bottle. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the spray to prevent molds from growing.

You can use vinegar and water solution for your yoga mat as well. If you want to deep clean, regular detergent can do wonders to bring out all the impurities.

Baking soda and lemon is also a good combo for light spray cleaning. If you do not like all the hassles, you can simply use mat wipes to wipe the surface after each use. Regular wiping can extend your mats shelf life.

Summary: You need a mild detergent like dish soap. You can use vinegar, lemon and baking soda as well.

Soaking the Yoga Mat:

If this is the first time you’re going to clean your yoga mat, then it needs to be soaked in warm water for a long time.

Mix warm water and mild detergent in a pot. Submerge your yoga mat and let it absorb the solution really well. Leave the mat like this for 40 minutes.

If this is not the first time you are cleaning your mat, then five to ten minutes of soaking is enough. You can do more if you want to.

Avoid using too much detergent in the water. Using too much detergent does not equate to a cleaner yoga mat. The harsh chemicals can damage or discolor your mat if you are not being careful.

If you choose to use vinegar, be aware of the smell. Vinegar is a really effective solution for killing bacteria and grimes. However, some people cannot stand the smell of it.

Summary: Soak for 40 minutes if you have never deep cleaned your yoga mat before. For others, 10 minutes is just enough.

Handwashing the Mat:

Not all yoga mats are washing machine safe. Be sure to check the level of your mat before you trat cleaning.

If you choose to hand wash it, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Always use a soft cloth to wash the front and back side of the mat. Gently rub the surface to remove the buildup.

Do not be too harsh with the cloth as depending on your mat type, it can damage or decentigate it. The last thing you want is to pull off a huge chunk of your yoga mat while trying to clean it. If your mat is a few years old, it needs more care.

You do not need a lot of bubbles or slip to know the detergent is working. As you have used so little detergent, it will have little to no bubbles.

Summary: Use soft clothes and apply gentle pressure to rub off the dirt and grimes from the mat.  

Rinse in Clean Water:

Drain the soapy water and rinse your yoga mat in clean water. You can use hot or cold water for that. It’s better to use cold water at the last minute as cold water shrinks the mat especially if it’s made out of a rubbery material.

Keep washing the mat until you see clean water at the bottom. It is really important to get rid of all the soap to minimize the risk of having a slippery mat.

Summary: Use cold water to clean your mat. Keep cleaning it until you get rid of all the detergent.

Remove Excess Water and Dry:

After you have cleaned your mat, it is time to dry it properly. For that you have to remove all the excess water first.

You can shake off the mat to get rid of the water droplets or you can hand it somewhere until all the excess water falls off.

Then grab two towels and lay them flat on the mat. Roll the mat with the towels to squeeze out the remaining water from it.

Keep in mind, under no circumstance you are supposed to wring it. Wringing your mat can tear it or cause permanent wrinkles on it.

Always air dry your mat to avoid any accidents. Use pant hangers to hang up your yoga mat. If you have a laundry drying rack, this is the best option as it does not leave any marks on the soft surface of the mat.

Summary: Never use a clothes dryer and always air dry your mat. Do not wring out your mat as it can cause wrapping and tearing

Maintenance Tips for Your Yoga Mat

Now that you know how to clean your yoga mat, here are some tips and tricks for you to maintain the quality of your mat. If you take care of your yoga mat properly, it will last you years and years.

Air It Out:

Do not keep your yoga mat always in the cupboard. As yoga mats gather sweat, oil and other moisture from the air, keeping it in a clustered space can really cause fungus to grow.

Either you use your yoga mat regularly or not, let it hang outside in the air once or twice a week. If you use it everyday, let it hang on the drying rack for half an hour after each use.

Airing it out helps all the sweat evaporate and your yoga mat stays dry. Dry space does not get contaminated as bacteria needs moisture to develop. So it is better to store your mat after you have aired it out for a while.

Don’t Use Excess Soap:

This is an issue we all face. We always assume more is more. When you are trying to take care of something as delicate as a yoga mat, a small mistake can really ruin it.

Use only a tablespoon of dish soap on a gallon of water. This might seem very little but trust us, it’s more than enough.

Yoga mats are not made out of the same material as our clothes. They need different treatment. Too much detergent can ruin the color or the texture of the mat.

Place Towels on Your Mat:

If you are someone who sweats a lot, you might need to take extra care to maintain the stability of your yoga mat.

It is not practical to soak and clean your yoga mat after each use. So to protect it from swat and moisture, place a towel on your mat during practice.

The towel will absorb excess moisture and your mat will stay dry and bacteria free. Don’t forget how slippery it gets when your mat gets wet. This trick not only maintains the quality but also helps to exercise more freely.

Don’t Let It Sunbathe:

If you like to exercise outdoors on the veranda, your mat gets constant UV exposure. UV rays are not only damaging to our skin but also to the majority of the fabrics we use. This includes yoga mats as well.

Don’t let your yoga mat sin under the sun for hours on a regular basis, this will weaken the mat and the color will fade away quicker than expected.

Remove Smell and Odor:

If your yoga mat has a bad smell due to staying inside the cupboard or from sweats, there is a simple solution to this problem.

Lay your mat on a flat surface and apply a layer of baking soda all over it. Let it sit like that for 20 to 30 minutes ten brush off the excess. The baking soda will get rid of the odors and you will end up with a fresh, clean yoga mat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

01. Can you wash a yoga mat in the washing machine?

You definitely can. Most mats hold up after a gentle machine wash once a month. But before you grab your mat and throw it in the machine, check the labels to see if they are washer safe or not. All yoga mats come with a symbol that will tell you how to clean and maintain them.

02. How do you clean a yoga mat naturally?

If you do not want to use any dishwashing liquid and are looking for a natural alternative, you can make your own yoga mat spray. Mix a cup of witch hazel with a few drops of different essential oils like lavender, lemon, peppermint, tea tree and put the mixture in a spray bottle.

This is a really good natural solution for weekly cleanup. Witch hazel has antibacterial properties while the essential oils work as both disinfectants and fragrance!

03. How do you clean a yoga mat with vinegar?

Vinegar works well on rubber mats as it naturally disinfects the surface. Just simply mix 50/50 water and vinegar in a spray bottle and lightly spray on the yoga mat.

Then rub it with a soft cloth to wipe it away. You can apply some sort of essential oil like lavender or eucalyptus to keep it smelling fresh and bacteria free.

04. Can I use Clorox wipes on my yoga mat?

You can but you shouldn’t. Let me explain. Clorex wipes are really handy to clean any surface, your table and my personal favourite, makeup products.

However, they contain harsh chemicals that can damage your yoga mats in the long run. So it is smarter to not use these kinds of high-abrasive options.

05. How do you clean a smelly yoga mat?

There are many available yoga mats spray in the market with lavender or other beautiful fragrances. If you are looking for a diy solution, baking soda and lemon is the most effective option.

The baking soda helps to deodorize the mat. Lemon helps to eliminate the bacteria that was causing the odor in the first place.

Just apply a teaspoon of baking soda and a full lemon juice and apply that mixture on the yoga mat. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse it well. This will remove any smell or odors from your yoga mat.

The Verdict:

Imagine if you are trying the child pose and breath deeply only to get a nasty, unbearable odor right inside your nostrils. Yoga is supposed to be relaxing and comforting but you cannot relax if your mat is dirty and smelly.

Hopefully with our in depth tips on how to clean a yoga mat, now you will be able to take care of your mat without any stress. It’s really easy and simple to do. All you need is some willingness to keep the dirt and bacteria far away from you.

More Related Topics:

Leave a Comment