But even though I always bring my own mat, I’ve been kind of clueless about the best way to clean it. At the yoga studio, I’d wipe it down with whatever spray the studio had, but now that I’m using it at home, I haven’t been as diligent about it. I thought it was time to investigate how to properly clean a yoga mat, and I’m sharing my findings today! If you have a go-to method, please share in the comments!
How to Clean Your Yoga Mat At Home
First of all, let’s talk about how dirty our mats really are. In this article, the Laboratory Director at EMSL Analytical swabbed yoga mats to see how much bacteria was on them The results are HORRIFYING. One mat had around 12 million counts of bacteria. Yep, gross. (I mean, some bacteria is good but still.) So with that number in mind, you can imagine how important it is to make sure your workout equipment is clean, especially right now!
From what I researched, the good news about cleaning your mat is that almost everything you need can be found in your house! But, be sure check your mat for cleaning instructions in case your mat needs something different. (You probably don’t still have the packaging so just google it and see what the care instructions are on the website!)
There are three different ways to clean your mat!
Make a disinfectant and spray and wipe your mat down after every use
To make the yoga mat cleaner, use equal parts water and vinegar and then add in a splash of tea tree oil. Add this mixture to a spray bottle and then spray both sides of your yoga mat and wipe down with a soft cloth to dry. This will kill those nasty germs and won’t cause your mat to decay. Do this after EVERY yoga practice or any workout that uses your mat! (This post has ideas for at-home workout apps if you need some ideas!)
Disinfecting your mat won’t do the trick on its own. You’ll need to occasionally wash your yoga mat as well. When your mat starts to get really sticky, you can smell that thing or there are stains that don’t wipe off, it’s time to scrub the mat with soap and water.
Wash your mat, submerging entirely in water
Nothing will beat warm water and dish soap combined with some elbow grease to clean that thing up. Sounds a little like our hand-washing guide right now, huh? You can use a normal dish soap that contains antibacterial ingredients or a mild detergent. If you’re an essential oils lover, add a few drops of lavender or lemon to your cleaning solution.
It’s easiest to do all of this in the bathtub. Fill it with a few inches of warm water and add a few drops of soap. Be sure to only use a few drops of dish soap or laundry detergent since it goes a long way. Then scrub your mat down on both using a wash cloth! Don’t scrub so hard or with anything abrasive that would take off the naturally sticky coating that these mats have, but enough to give it a good lather. Then, drain the bathtub and simply rinse off the mat with warm, clean water (a moveable shower head works great for this!). Let the excess water drip off over the tub and then let it air dry. Hanging your mat to dry is ideal – a bathroom towel rack should work!
Wash your mat 1-2 times a month.
Use a Washing Machine… at your own risk!
This is very widely debated on if the washing machine works to clean your yoga mat. Some experts say to wash your mat on a gentle cycle and then let your mat air dry. Others say it will ruin your mat. I’d refer to your mat’s cleaning instructions. If you feel good about trying this, let me know how it goes! I’m not brave enough to try it, both for my mat’s sake and my washing machine’s sake!! (Of course, washing your yoga towel in the washing machine is totally fine! I can’t wait for the days when I need a yoga towel again for hot yoga!)
Yoga Mat Cleaning Supplies
To make a spray disinfectant to use to wipe down your mat, here’s what you need!
Three Ingredients for Disinfecting Your Yoga Mat
1 – Distilled Water
Add distilled water to your white vinegar/tea tree oil mixture to create a spray.
2 – White Vinegar
White Vinegar has antibacterial properties which work with tea tree oil to kill the bacteria that lives on your yoga mat.
3 – Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an antimicrobial that kills bacteria and fungus that stays on your mat.
Not too bad, right? This is one of those things that I’ve known I needed to do for a while now. Since I’m becoming even more conscious of germs now, I’m trying to learn how to clean everything that I use frequently.
If you have any other tips of tricks for cleaning your yoga mat, please let me know in the comments!
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