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How to Clean and Care for Your Yoga Mat

How to Clean and Care for Your Yoga Mat

Ever heard the story of the tortoise and the hare and how steady, consistent effort wins the race? Well, maintaining the cleanliness of your yoga mat with various cleaning agents can be seen in a similar light. It may not seem like a thrilling task. Yet, this seemingly mundane chore, much like washing dishes with dish soap, is vital to your overall health if you want to maintain the spring in your sun salutation and keep that zen feeling lasting longer than just your yoga session. This blog post will guide you through steps to clean and care for your yoga mat effectively using a range of cleaning products, ensuring your trusty fitness companion remains in top shape and free from grime for years to come. So, if you are among those yogis who believe hygiene is paramount or those who've noticed a funky smell, much like a washing machine needs cleaning after it's begun to smell, after a particularly sweaty session upon rolling out your mat, then read on!

To care for your yoga mats, it is recommended to wipe down your mat with water or homemade solution after each practice. Also, be sure to check the care instructions specific to your yoga mat before cleaning it with any disinfectant.

To buy a mat from Rest and Digest see our product page here:


Step-by-Step Cleaning of Yoga Mats

Regular cleaning is a must-do task for all yogis who want to keep their yoga mats in top shape. With the accumulation of sweat, dirt, and oils from your skin, not cleaning your mat can lead to bacterial growth, bad odor and even infections. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your yoga mat effectively:

First, place your yoga mat on the floor or any flat surface if cleaning outdoors. Then, mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle, filling it no more than halfway, like you would with your regular cleaning products.

Next, spray the mixture onto the entire surface of the mat. Use enough solution to cover all areas but not so much that it drips off the mat.

After you have sprayed enough solution onto the mat, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe it down. Pay close attention to any particularly dirty or stained areas on your mat. Be sure to get into crevices and between any patterns imprinted on the surface to remove all grime.

While some people like to use a brush to scrub their yoga mats to remove tough stains and dirt from their mats, an abrasive brush may cause damage to the surface. Soft bristle brushes may be effective while also being gentle enough not to hurt your mat.

Once you've wiped down with either a cloth or brush, hang it up away from direct sunlight or lay it flat to air dry completely before rolling it up for storage

Before moving on with any other maintenance tips for natural yoga mats, let's discuss how you can effectively use soap and water, the two ultimate cleaning agents, to clean your mat.

Using Soap and Water Effectively

When it comes to using soap, water, and even baking soda as disinfectants to clean your yoga mats, it's essential to use the right kind of soap. Regular dishwashing soap can strip the natural oils from your rubber or foam mat, which can lead to cracks and a shorter lifespan. Here, we will guide you to clean your  yoga mats effectively with soap, water, and even cleaning wipes for simpler, spot cleaning of surfaces. 

For PVC and TPE mats, start by filling up a container or bathtub deep enough with lukewarm water. The humidity in the bathroom can also aid in loosening grime.

Add a few drops of mild detergent or a specific yoga mat cleaner (free of fragrance and dye) into the water and gently mix it in with your hand.

Avoid using harsh detergents, such as laundry detergent, or fabric softeners that can leave behind residue on your mat or on any accompanying props you might use.

Once you have prepared the cleaning solution, submerge your rubber yoga mats and any other props into the container or bathtub, making sure that they’re entirely covered in the soapy water.

Leave it submerged for 5-10 minutes so that the soap can penetrate the material. Then, use a sponge or brush to rub down at any tough stains gently.

Think about shampooing your hair! The process is quite similar, first applying shampoo then letting it penetrate before rinsing out thoroughly.

Next, drain the soapy water out of the tub and refill it with fresh lukewarm water.

Take out the mat from where it was soaking in soap mixture before rinsing it again in clean water ensuring all foam has washed away completely.

After rinsing, lay your yoga mat on a dry towel flatly and roll up both ends of the towel towards each other like tacos so that they create pressure on top of the mat. Gently press down on the towel to wring excess moisture from the mat.

Lastly, hang your mat up or laid horizontally in a well-ventilated area and let it air dry completely before packing it away.

Do not expose to direct sunlight or high heat since both can damage your yoga mat's surface.

Deep Cleaning with Vinegar

Regular cleaning is essential to maintaining your eco friendly yoga mat, but sometimes a deep clean using natural ingredients can be effective in removing stubborn dirt and odours. One of the most popular natural cleaning agents on yoga mat surfaces is vinegar, which is both inexpensive and easy to use.

To begin, make a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and generously spritz it over the mat. This will disinfect the surface of the mat and get rid of any unpleasant smells.

Vinegar has acetic acid which works as a disinfectant by nature, making it great for killing bacteria and keeping your mat hygienic. It’s also known for its deodorising properties, helping to eliminate even the most stubborn odours.

Once you have sprayed the mat with vinegar solution let it sit for five to ten minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth or mat-specific wipes. Repeat this process one more time if necessary.

While vinegar is an effective natural cleaner, some people may worry that its strong smell or acidic nature could damage their eco-friendly yoga mats like the heat from a dryer might. However, these concerns are largely unfounded as diluted vinegar won’t harm most mats, and when used properly for a thorough wipe-down, it can actually help prolong their lifespan.

Applying practices of mindfulness to your mat care, much akin to meditation, can enhance your experience. Another advantage of using vinegar is that it’s an eco-friendly option that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals commonly found in commercial cleaners. Plus, vinegar is cheaper than most store-bought solutions, making it an affordable alternative for regular maintenance - also likened to how using baking soda can be an inexpensive and natural cleaning method.

After cleaning your yoga mat you need to dry it thoroughly before storing it away to prevent mould or mildew growth, much like ensuring viruses are kept at bay. There are several safe methods for drying your mat without causing any damage, some of them are as effective as UV rays in exterminating bacteria:

Drying Your Yoga Mats Safely

One way is air-drying outside on a sunny day, banking on the power of UV rays. Hang the mat over a clothesline or drape it over a patio railing. The sun helps to kill bacteria and dry out any moisture left on the surface of the mat while giving it a fresh, clean scent.

If you don't have outdoor space, try laying the mat flat in a well-ventilated area inside your home. Make sure there is enough space around the mat to allow good air circulation, which will help it dry faster. Avoid hanging it over heaters or using a hairdryer, as applying direct heat can warp or melt the mat.

Another way to dry your yoga mat is by using an absorbent towel to wick away moisture. This method is especially useful if you need to use your mat again quickly or live in a damp environment. However, be careful not to use too much pressure while drying, as this can damage the surface of some mats.

Finally, you can use a fan or an air conditioner set on low speed to blow air across the surface of your mat. This will help circulate the air and accelerate the drying process.

Remember that proper drying is critical to keeping your yoga mats hygienic and prolonging its lifespan. Leaving your yoga mat wet or damp after use creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and mould. Always make sure your mat is completely bone-dry before rolling it up and storing it away. However, please be mindful of leaving your yoga mats out too long in extreme heat, as this can cause some mats to warp or even fade. Given that jute and rubber mats are biodegradable, excessive sun will be damaging to the fibres. This is especially crucial for people who might leave their mats outdoors post their exercise routine.

Air-Drying and Absorption Tips

You may be tempted to use heat sources such as hairdryers or heaters to speed up the drying process, but be warned that this could harm your yoga mat. The heat could weaken the synthetic fibres that make up many modern-day yoga mats and cause them to degrade over time. This degradation could even lead to bacterial infection from the inevitable buildup of sweat and dirt that occurs during yoga practice.

If you are short on time and need your yoga mats dried quickly, there are other methods such as those mentioned above (although this may not work for more absorbent mats such as cork or natural rubber). However, bear in mind that air-drying is still the most recommended method to ensure your yoga mat stays in excellent condition.

Now that your yoga mat is clean and dry, it's time to think about its regular maintenance, which shares the same benefits as regular exercise in kids and adults.

Regular Maintenance for a Long-Lasting Mat

Consistently practicing yoga on dirty yoga mats can be harmful to your health. Over time, sweat, oils, and bacteria can accumulate, leading to an unpleasant smell and potential infection that doesn't go away with normal cleaning. That's why it's essential to keep up with the proper maintenance of your yoga mat.

Closed-cell mats (made of materials like PVC) are typically much easier to clean because they're less absorbent than open-cell mats (like natural rubber or cork). However, some people prefer open-cell mats because they provide better grip when wet. Regardless of what type of yoga mat you have, always check the manufacturer's label before using any cleaning product. Remember, using the right cleaning ingredient can prevent bacterial buildup, ensuring your health and safety.

At the end of the day, your yoga mat is a surface that needs regular cleaning like any other. Doing so can ward off infection and other health issues.

One of the easiest ways to maintain a clean mat is by wiping it down after every practice. You don't have to use any fancy cleaner - simple soap and water will do the trick. If you sweat more than usual during a session or are practicing outdoors on a dusty surface, you may want to consider cleaning your mat more often.

In addition to wiping your yoga mat down after every practice, there are other measures you can take to prevent wear and tear on your mat and make it last longer.

Overall, proper maintenance can significantly boost the life span of your mat and make for better yoga sessions. So why not start today?

Preventive Measures and Basic Upkeep

Cleaning your yoga mat is essential, but preventive measures and basic upkeep can also keep your mat in top shape. Here are some tips to maintain your mat:

If you use a PVC or TPE mat - a closed cell mat - roll out a towel over your mat during each practice session or use a yoga towel. This not only helps you with slipping but also minimises sweat transferring to the surface of the mat.

If possible, avoid using lotions, oils, or sunscreen before yoga practice. These substances may cause greasy stains that attract dirt and bacteria on the mat.

Always take your shoes off before walking on your yoga mat; outdoor shoes carry germs and dirt that can stick to the surface of the mat.

Apart from preventive measures, let's look at some common problems faced by yoga practitioners and how to deal with them effectively.

Solutions for Common Yoga Mat Issues

If you face issues with slipping, try using a towel or investing in high-quality non-slip yoga mats - these mats have added texture to ensure excellent grip.

Yoga mats are vulnerable to bad odors; just like we freshen our homes by lighting scented candles or using room fresheners, you can use essential oils diluted in water (1:1 ratio) and spray onto your yoga mats after cleaning.

Some people believe washing machines are suitable for cleaning yoga mats, whereas others argue that it may damage or break down their material quicker than handwashing. Our opinion is that most yoga mats require hand wiping or washing as they’re fragile and lose their integrity when exposed to extreme temperature changes and harsh washing conditions.

Lastly, it's essential to read the care instructions for your yoga mat before attempting to clean it. Different mats require other cleaning methods and products, so make sure you know what you're working with before making any moves.

By following preventive measures and basic upkeep techniques, coupled with effective maintenance approaches for typical yoga mat issues, you can enjoy your yoga practice without worrying about the hygiene of your mat.

Dealing with Slipping and Bad Odors.

As anyone who has practiced yoga for any length of time can tell you, slipping on a yoga mat is not only frustrating, it can also be dangerous. If your mat is slippery, you may lose your footing during poses that require balance, such as Tree or Half Moon. Worse yet, if you slip during a pose like Downward Dog or Plank, you risk injury to your wrists, arms, or face. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to prevent slipping on yoga mats.

One common cause of slipping on yoga mats is oil buildup. This can come from skin oils, lotions, or even hair products. Over time, these oils can accumulate on the surface of the mat and create a slick layer that makes it harder to maintain grip. To combat this issue, try washing your hands and feet before practice to remove any excess oils. You should also wipe down your mat with a mild soap solution after each use to remove any residue.

Another effective strategy for combating slipping on a yoga mat is to use a towel or rug over the top of the mat. Towels made specifically for yoga are designed to provide extra grip and absorb moisture, which can help prevent slipping. Some mats also come with built-in towels or rugs that provide extra padding and grip.

While towels and rugs can be helpful for preventing slipping, some people find them distracting during their practice. A towel can bunch up or slide around during certain poses, which can be annoying at best and hazardous at worst. Furthermore, towels and rugs need to be washed regularly in order to prevent bacteria growth and odours. If you prefer to practice without an extra layer on top of your mat, there are other strategies you can try.

One simple trick for increasing grip on your yoga mat is to rub it with a coarse salt, such as kosher salt. The rough texture of the salt can help remove any buildup or residue on the mat, which can improve its traction. After rubbing the mat with salt, wipe it down thoroughly with a damp cloth or sponge and allow it to air dry.

Your yoga mats may build up oils or residue from your skin or products you use during practice. By giving them regular attention and maintenance, you can keep them in top shape and prevent slipping.

In conclusion, slipping on yoga mats is a common issue that many yogis face. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can employ to increase traction and prevent injury. By keeping your mat clean and dry, using towels or rugs when necessary, and using methods like rubbing with salt to improve grip, you can enjoy a safe and effective practice every time. 

categories : Yoga