How To: Clean Your Yoga Mat

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I get asked allllll the time about the best way to clean one’s yoga mat, so I thought I’d give a little insight on how, why and when to clean your baby…
First things first…Why?
Do I really need to answer this? Cleaning your mat is so important! For starters, your mat accumulates so much bacteria! (Ewwww.) Think about it- you put your mat ON the floor, step all over it with your FEET, and then sweat on it. Then in some poses, you put your face on it. So, please, please, please, clean your mat well and often. Would you re-wear your yoga pants as often without laundering them? (Please say no.) Furthermore, cleaning your mat will keep it in tip-top condition so that it will last longer. Why bother to invest in a quality mat if you are not going to take care of it? Also, keeping it clean will prevent buildup on your mat which could affect your actual poses... like a sticky/slick mat or slipping feet. Has that ever happened to you? It may simply be that your yoga mat has gotten a little yucky. Lastly, you do NOT want to be the one in class with the smelly mat. Am I right? 

When?
Often. Try to make it a routine to clean it after every 2-3 uses, or if you get super sweaty, after every use. It really only takes a couple minutes to wipe it down.

How?
There are some great mat sprays and wipes that you can buy. These are quick and easy! However, before you do anything, first check your yoga mat’s manufacturer’s suggestions (especially if you’ve invested in a quality mat) to make sure these products won’t harm the material. For example, if you have a rubber mat, you will clean it differently than a synthetic mat.

Try to find a regular routine of weekly wipe downs, and maybe incorporate the occasional deep cleaning.

With a synthetic mat, find a suitable mat spray and use a rag to wipe it down every 2-3 uses. For a deep clean, you can just use a teeny tiny bit of mild soap with water. Use a rag to scrub it down to remove any oil, dirt and grime. Rinse it super thoroughly to make sure you remove all of the soap. I have heard many people say they have used the washing machine on a gentle cycle, but try that at your own risk! Some mats may not hold up to the agitation, so I can't say I recommend it.

For a rubber mat, things are a little different. This is directly from the Jade website:
“For regular mat maintenance and routine cleaning, we recommend wiping your mat down with a damp cloth on a weekly basis. If you have a vigorous practice, or are doing hot yoga, we recommend doing so after each use. If you’re looking for a deeper clean, we’ve found that washing your mat with a simple solution of 3 parts water: 1 part white vinegar works great! Just wash the entirety of your mat on both sides with the mixture, rinse the mat with hot water at the end to get rid of any vinegar-y smell, and allow it to air dry…”

For rubber mats (like Jade) anything with alcohol or even a high concentration of essential oils should be avoided since they can dry out the natural rubber and cause your mat to break down faster.

Here’s a tip: roll your mat up with a towel to get as much water out as possible, then hang it up to dry! It can take 1-2 DAYS to dry completely, so keep that in mind before you head off to class with it. Otherwise, you might find yourself practicing yoga on a slip-n-slide.

Where?
A good place to clean your mat is outside, and if you can’t do that, try the shower/bathtub and hang your mat to dry in there. Remember--don’t leave natural rubber mats in direct sunlight, as the rubber can dry out and become brittle.

Finally, if you're curious, my favorite mat is still the Jade Harmony, linked here. {If you're in need of a new mat, read my blog post 8 Tips for Choosing a Yoga Mat for help on that.} The mat wash I use for quick wipe-downs is Asutra 100% Natural & Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner, linked here, and they usually throw in a free microfiber cloth. It comes in 6 really nice scents, and I have tried several. It DOES have a small amount of essential oils in it, so use at your own risk. I have been using it for years on my Jade Harmony and have had no problems with it.

​Love & Light!

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