Cleaning Your Yoga Mat
If you are a yoga lover, chances are you have your favorite yoga mat. But the last thing you need as you go into your balasana is an off-putting stain right under your nose and even the neatest lotus position shouldn’t come with a nasty stale smell. Before you go off in spin to search for a new mat, how about reading our tips on how to give your old yoga mat a good clean?
How Often Should You Clean Your Yoga Mat
Based on the duration of the workouts, you could typically go a week or two before your mat needs a really good wash. If you exercise a lot or the mat retains an odor you will want a fast easy way to clean it more frequently. However, some mat manufacturers advise caution since over-cleaning can cause them to wear out much faster. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your mat pristine and in top form for your daily yoga workout.
It’s simple and spot cleaning is an effective way to keep your mat fresh even with regular use. You can spot clean the heavy use areas with a specialist yoga mat cleaner available at most gyms or online or as an alternative, use a homemade solution made with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to two cups of hot water. Spritz the water onto the mat and dab off with a towel then wipe off the excess with a damp rag. Before using the mat again, leave it flat to completely dry out.
More intense cleaning is needed when your mat is particularly dirty or smelly. This can happen faster if you workout outdoors. But before using something harsher than a dish liquid solution, check out the mat manufacturer’s cleaning guide. These kinds of details are normally on a label but if not, check out the manufacturer’s website. Some mats can only be washed by hand in cool water using a soft soap, while others are more robust and designed to be put through a warm wash cycle in the washing machine. Either way, make sure the yoga mat is rinsed thoroughly and always leave it out to properly air dry on both sides.
Wash Down With A Hose
This is an effective heavy duty cleaning method. Put your mat flat and soak it through with water using a garden hose then use laundry detergent in a warm solution and a soft brush to deep clean. Rinse well in cold water and hang it so that the mat can drip and dry out fully. This could take as long as twenty-four hours.
Wash It In The Tub
If it is too cold outdoors or hosing your mat down is not feasible, wash the mat through in your bathtub. Leave it to hang over the side to dry out. A soaking wet mat is going to be heavy and it could take quite a while for it to dry off completely. You will also need to put something under it to catch the water dripping off.
Your Own Cleaning Solution
You can always make a detergent suitable for daily use from water, white vinegar (equal measures) and a few drops of tea tree oil. Both the vinegar and the tea tree oil have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Apply the solution using the mist setting on a spray bottle then dry off with a soft cloth or paper towel.
Whether you spot clean your mat or choose to soak it through these are the easiest ways to clean your yoga mat at home but there are other things to consider that can help keep your mat clean and fresh. For example,
- Your mat will last longer if it is stored away from strong sunlight that causes the rubber and fabric to deteriorate.
- Avoiding chemical cleaners, oils and solvents, especially on rubber-backed mats, will stop the fabric discoloring to look dirty and stained.
- Mould and mildew can be prevented if you exercise outside by allowing the mat to dry out front and back before rolling it up and putting it away especially if you keep it where it is warm and dark like the trunk of your car
- Keep odors and stains at bay without resorting to soaking and scrubbing by sprinkling on baking soda and brushing it in. Vacuum it off after 15 minutes. This will help keep fibers intact.
You wouldn’t go weeks without washing your yoga shirt, so you can hardly expect the same for your mat. For sure, there are mats that are cheap enough to bin and replace but where is the eco sense in doing that? But if you have taken the trouble to invest in quality equipment, you want it to last but no amount of being careful will keep it smelling and feeling fresh forever. It doesn’t take much for airborne dust and grit to work in and become ingrained and if left, this will destroy the padding and backing. Whether you tackle the problem yourself with a homemade solution or use a commercial product designed for the job, you’ll feel much better as you go into adho mukha svanasana and don’t have something nasty interrupting your pose.