The surface of a yoga mat that you contact with is a great environment for bacteria, fungus to thrive if you don’t clean it often.
And you’ll be surprised to know that your mat if not often clean can invite more bacteria than the share mat on the studio. Here is the reference article what’s living on your yoga mat.
A dirty mat:
- May distract your practice while you staring at sweat marks on the surface.
- Day-old sweats are like acne on your skin, it decreases the mat performance.
- In the worst case, you might contaminate with germs.
So, it is important to keep your mat clean and germs-free. Wipe the mat at least once a week and give it a deep clean every month to:
- Prevent dirt to build upon your mat, to maintain the sticky nature of your mat.
- Maximizing the performance and lifetime of your mat.
- Keep your body healthy and your sacred practice space clean by getting rid of unwanted bacteria.
Most of the result online has mix results on recommendation on how to clean a yoga mat. So, I set out to fix that.
Keep on reading if you want to find out.
- How often should you clean your mat
- How to make a simple but effective DIY yoga mat cleaner
- Know your mat to give it a proper cleaning routine.
- How to regularly and a deep clean yoga mat.
- And more tips on how to care for your mat.
How often should you clean your mat?
Wipe down your yoga mat every week with a yoga mat cleaner from the manufacture or home-made solution. If you have a sweaty session, clean it after your practice. (Remember, clean too much can affect the performance of the mat).
Give your mat a deep clean every month or so if you practice more often or stay in a hot temperature. See if your mat becomes smelly, dirty, or has a stain it’s time to scrub your mat.
DIY Yoga mat cleaner
If you don’t want to purchase the yoga mat cleaner, you can do it yourself with ingredients available in your kitchen. It is safe, environment friendly and works for most of the type of yoga mat.
A common organic cleaner that also sanitizes surface: Water + Vinegar + Tea tree oil
- Vinegar contains acetic acid that is great to break down dirt and grime. It is gentle enough that won’t break your mat. Vinegar can kill a certain type of bacterial.
- Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties can kill bacterial, viruses, fungi. You want your mat free of bacteria after class.
- Start with a spray bottle. Mix 3 parts of water and 1 part of distilled white vinegar (3:1)
- Add 10 drops of tea tree oil (or mint lavender, lemongrass or any other natural oil that you like)
- Cap the bottle, give it a quick shake, and now you have a DIY yoga mat cleaner.
- Overuse of essential oil, can break down or dry out the mat.
- Use soap can make the mat slippery.
Different mats need to clean differently.
Mats are made from different materials and technologies so you need to treat them differently when you clean.
Open Cell vs Closed Cell Yoga Mat
Open Cell mat absorbs moisture to make the mat grippy even when wet. This means liquid can absorb into the mat, so you should not disinfect an open-cell yoga mat or spray the cleaner directly on the mat surface.
A closed Cell mat, on the other hand, won’t absorb sweat and moisture. It tends to get slippier when wet. It is easier to disinfect and clean a closed-cell mat because it won’t soak liquid.
Different cleaning options from some popular brands.
Be sure to check with the manufacture if they have any specific instructions on how to clean a yoga mat to maintain the quality of the mat.
Quick material and cleaning solution for yoga mat
|Mat||Structure||Material||Cleaner Solution||How often|
|Manduka Pro||Closed-cell||PVC||After every practice|
|Manduka Eko||Closed cell||Natural rubber|
|Manduka GPR||Open-cell||Non-sticky top layer + natural rubber bottom|
|Jade Harmony||Open-cell||Natural rubber||Weekly, or after sweaty practice|
|Lululemon the Reversible Mat||Open-cell||Polyurethane top layer + Natural rubber bottom||After practice, Wipe clean with damp cloth or air dry|
|Liforme||Open-cell||Polyurethane top layer + Natural rubber bottom||Dish wash soap + water||Every 5-10 uses|
|YogiBear Paws yoga mats||Open-cell||Natural rubber||Fresh lemon juice + warm water||Weekly, or after sweaty practice|
You should avoid hanging your mat outside the sun if your mat is made from natural rubber, TPE material.
How to regularly clean yoga mat
To clean an open-cell yoga mat
- Unroll your mat on the flat surface.
- Spray the cleaner on the towel, wipe the entire surface of the mat.
- Flip over, clean the other side.
- Leave it air dry before rolling and storing.
- Disinfect the mat as liquid can absorb into the mat.
- Put cleaner directly on the mat surface because cleaning products can sip into the mat.
To clean a closed-cell yoga mat
- Lay the mat on a flat surface.
- Spray the entire top surface of the mat with the solution.
- Gently wipe down the mat with a damp cloth.
- Clean both sides because micro bacterial transition from the dirty side to the clean side when you roll your mat
- Hang it to dry before rolling or using.
How to deep clean yoga mat
Mat’s odor or stain is a good indicator of when your yoga mat needs a throughout clean.
For deep cleaning, you can use few drops of dish wash soap or the same DIY yoga mat cleaner. And microfiber cloth, soft-sponge to srub your mat.
Most yoga mat manufactures don’t recommend soaking or submerging your mat into the water when you want to clean.
To deep clean an open-cell yoga mat
- Unroll your mat on a bathtub.
- Spray the cleaner on a towel or sponge, give your mat a gently scrub.
- Rinse off your mat with warm water.
- Genty squeeze the mat so the dirt and water come out.
- Hangover a chair to maximize airflow
- Let it dry before rolling or storing
To deep clean a closed-cell yoga mat
- Lay your mat on a flat surface.
- Spray the cleaner on the entire surface of the mat until it is visibly wet, let it sit for few minutes.
- Gently scrub with a microfiber or cloth on areas that have dirt or stains.
- Repeat spraying the cleaner and scrub till it clean.
- Wipe the mat with a clean damp cloth.
- Let the mat dry (in shade area if it is from natural rubber)
Can I wash my yoga mat in the washing machine?
Depend on the mat, some mats can washable but most mats are not. Check again the instruction from the manufacture because some mats will break down if you put them in the wash.
If you want to wash the mat in the washing machine. Use cold water, slow cycle, and mild detergent. Check out this guide for more detail How to deep clean yoga mat in the washing machine.
More tips on how to care for your yoga mat.
- Draping it on a chair to air dry after sweaty class if you don’t have time to clean.
- Never hang your rubber mat under the sun because natural rubber biodegradable.
- Make sure the mat is dry before rolling it.
- Roll your mat with the top surface outside to keep the mat stay flat.
- Open the mat sometimes to allow air circulation if you do not use it frequently.
- Use a yoga towel on top of the mat to help absorb sweat and dirt.
- Do not apply cream or lotion on your skin before practicing, some mats absorb these and become less grippy.
- Don’t put the essential oil on a rubber mat.
- Avoid harsh cleaner or soap.
- If your mat starts to peal off, it’s time to replace it.
The bottom line
Take good care of your mat so you can enjoy your practice in a clean and zen space.
Well, I hope this article has been helpful! If you have any other questions about yoga mats or anything else related to the practice of yoga, please reach out.