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What is the Best Way to Clean a Yoga Mat?

Most yoga mats can be washed in the washing machine.
Wipe a mat down with disinfectant wipes when a quick clean up is needed.
There are a number of ways to keep yoga mats clean and sanitary.
Mix a little tea tree oil with water for an organic disinfectant.
Wipes with lavender oil can be used to clean a yoga mat.
Some disinfecting wipes include essential oils to clean yoga mats.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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People who practice yoga may discover that their preferred yoga mat has become soiled. Quite often, the culprit is dirty feet, especially if there are multiple users over the course of a day. Sweat also collects on yoga mats, which can encourage the growth of bacteria and virus if they aren't disinfected regularly. The best way to clean a yoga mat may depend on the mat owner's personal preferences when it comes to organic or chemical cleaning techniques.

Most yoga mats are not made from exotic materials, so they can often be cleaned in a conventional washing machine. The manufacturers often include instructions on how to clean the mat using commercial washing machines and cleaning agents. People who own a standard rubberized or polyvinyl plastic yoga mat should be able to load it into a washing machine, add a very mild detergent, and allow it to run on the cold water/delicates cycle. Thoroughly rinsing off all of the detergent residue is essential, since it can make the mat very slippery. The mat should be air dried on a hanger for 24 to 48 hours.

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Another way to clean a yoga mat is to use special wipes designed specifically for that purpose. Some yoga enthusiasts use over-sized wipes that contain a mixture of a disinfectant and essential oils such as lavender. These wipes can be carried in a gym bag so that they are always available. To use the wipes, a person can lay the mat flat and begin wiping from one end to the other, either before or after a yoga session. He or she should allow a few minutes for the disinfectant to evaporate, then use or store the mat. A more thorough cleaning may be required periodically, but the wipes should keep the mat sanitary enough for use.

Some people who prefer organic cleaning methods suggest using a spray containing water and tea tree oil to clean their yoga mat after each session. Tea tree oil works as a natural disinfectant, and the water will not damage the surface of the mat as harsher chemicals might over time. If a more thorough cleaning is necessary, the yoga mat can be submerged in a tub containing naturally mild detergents and then rinsed several times in clean water. It can be dried by placing it on a large terrycloth towel and rolling them together. Standing on the rolled mat should force out more water. When the towel has absorbed most of the excess water, the mat can be hung up to air dry for at least a day.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 9

@SarahSon-- Throwing the yoga mat in the washing machine when it's dirty is nice but it wears out the mat very quickly.

After doing some research, I've found the easiest and cheapest way to clean my mat which is a couple of drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water. I just spray this on and wipe with some paper towels. This disinfects the mat without wearing it out and it's dry immediately so you don't have to wait.

There are many different ways to clean yoga mats but I think this is the best one. It's effective and efficient.

SteamLouis
Post 8

@bagley79-- That's what I do too, I wipe my yoga mat with wipes after each use. It's definitely easier to keep yoga mats clean than to wait until it gets really dirty and then try to clean it.

I have done that before and I made the horrible horrible mistake of using bleach on my eco yoga mat. I just wanted to make sure I killed all the germs. Not only did my yoga mat turn white from the bleach, but the material was badly damaged. It didn't last too long after that. I think I used it like two more times until it felt apart. Bad idea!

stoneMason
Post 7

Yoga mat cleaning is hard. I do hot yoga religiously so after about five months of use, my yoga mat became disgusting. Hot yoga causes you to sweat more than usual, so my yoga mat was literally soaked with sweat and the odor was unbearable. Not to mention that I started to worry big time about germs.

I tried the disinfectant wipes and sprays. I think that cleaned and sanitized the surface of the yoga mat well but it didn't get rid of the odor. I also didn't want to put my mat in a washing machine.

What I ended up doing was I filled up my bathtub with warm water and added laundry detergent to it. Then I put my yoga mat in and used a little cleaning brush and brushed all around. This worked really well. It took several days for it to dry but it got rid of the odor completely.

SarahSon
Post 6

It took me awhile to find a yoga mat that I really liked. There is a wide range of prices and features to choose from. I bought a skidless yoga mat and this has made a big difference for me.

It is wonderful not to be sliding all over the place when you are on your mat. I also like to have a mat that I can throw in the washing machine. This is the only way I know I will keep it clean on a regular basis.

Once it gets to the point where it looks pretty worn and soiled, it is time for a new one.

honeybees
Post 5

I keep more than one yoga mat around. I have a more expensive extra thick yoga mat that I like to keep at home.

When I take my mat to another place, I travel with one that is lighter weight and easier to transport. The one that I travel with is the one that gets cleaned more often. I figure there are a lot more germs this mat picks up than the one that stays in the same place at home.

I love using the scented yoga mat wipes that have peppermint essential oil in them. This scent is energizing and relaxing at the same time. There are several scents to choose from. I have used eucalyptus, tangerine and lavender, but the peppermint is my favorite.

myharley
Post 4

As far as yoga mat cleaning goes, I like to keep my mat as clean as possible. When I think about how close my face is to the mat, I like to know I am using a clean surface.

Since I use my yoga mat several times a week, I don't keep them around for a long time. Every 6 months or so I like to buy a new yoga mat. I don't buy the most expensive ones out there, and would rather replace it more often than buy an expensive one and keep it around for years.

bagley79
Post 3

My yoga mat gets dirty easily because I am hauling it around with me. Between riding around in my car, using it at the gym and at home, it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.

I keep some of the scented wipes in my gym bag and will clean my mat with those after every session. I see this more as spot cleaning it, and like to give it a thorough cleaning every week in the washing machine.

Hanging it up to air dry is also very important. If I don't take the time to do this, it can have a funny odor.

anon36600
Post 2

Let's see: dirty hands from going to the bathroom and not cleaning properly placed all over a mat where other people's hands, faces and feet will definitely cause sickness!

FireBird
Post 1

A filthy yoga mat shouldn't encourage viral development. Viruses are inanimate and only multiply with the help of their living host organisms. Viruses may collect on yoga mats if many people with colds or flu sneeze on them, but otherwise it's not a worry.

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