So you’ve finally purchased the perfect yoga mat- that representation of YOUR personal yoga space. Depending on where and how you practice your mat can get pretty groody, and you will want to keep it clean to maintain its functionality and make it last as long as possible (as well keep it safe for you). There are as many ways to do this as there are yoga mats, and the method you chose will depend on the material your mat is made from as well as how often you clean your mat and your personal preferences (is it important that it is economical, something you already have at home, natural, etc). Below are some tips and different ways of taking care of your mat. Always be sure to check if your mat comes with any specific directions from the manufacturer.
1. WASHING MACHINE
One of the easiest ways to clean your yoga mat that requires no elbow grease is to throw it in your front loading washing machine. This is perfect for cotton mats, and is a common practice at gyms for public mats. To wash your mat in the washing machine, place the mat in the machine with a mild detergent ( I love Soak and Eucalan that do not require rinsing) and select a cycle that uses cold water (a delicate or hand wash cycle is great for this) and if possible remove the mat before the spin cycle or turn off the spin cycle on the machine. When you remove the mat or the cycle stops, simply hang the mat to air dry on a clothes rack, shower curtain rod, towel bar or your porch railing on a nice day. If you absolutely cannot hang your mat, lay it down, place a large towel or beach towel on top of your mat and roll it up carefully. The towel will help absorb moisture, but the mat may not completely dry this way so you will want to check on it and allow it to dry fully.
2. HAND WASHING
You can also wash your mat by hand with dish soap or a gentle soap. Simply add a few drops of your soap to a cup of water (a measuring cup works great for this) and using a sponge or paper towel give you mat a good scrub, rise it thoroughly so there is no slippery residue, wipe with a dry cloth or paper towel and allow to air dry. This method works great for getting the waxy residue off new mats.
There are lots of commercial sprays available to clean your mat, some from yoga mat companies such as Manduka’s mat sprays to those available at your local Walmart. You can also make your own spray easily at home! Mix a few drops of dish soap or mild detergent in a spray bottle with water and a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender or tea tree oil (these oils have antibacterial properties for extra cleansing power) or for a more natural version combine one part water to three parts vinegar in a spray bottle with or without a few drops of on the essential oils listed above.
A quick and convenient way to clean your mat is with a wipe that is prepared with a cleaning solution. From Clorox wipes to natural versions to those available from yoga companies there are many options to chose from. Wipes come in a variety of packaging from canisters and dispensers to individually wrapped versions that are easy to take to the studio or gym for quick cleanups.