Cleaning your yoga mat should be one of the rituals you bring into your yoga practice. A plethora of bacteria, viruses and microbes are being transported on to the floor of your beautiful yoga studio daily, and lying face down in Child's Pose with all those cooties is going to have you contract a cold at some point — if not worse.
Plus, there's also the physical dirt from your hands and feet that are transferred to your mat each time you practice. Over time, they build up and might even create a layer of visible grime, which you will then be practicing in. Think about how many poses involve putting your face on the mat!
Protect yourself this cold and flu season and keep your mat pristine and clean by taking a minute after class to hang your mat and wipe it down with some warm water and one of these combos depending on the fabric your mat is made from:
Shared Yoga Mats
If your using a rental or borrowing a mat from your gym or studio always use a strong antibiotic/ anti viral/ anti microbial cleaner so that you don’t contract any viruses or bacterial infections from previous users. The establishment should have their preferred mat cleaner available to you, just ask.
Foam Yoga Mats
Foam mats can be cleaned with pretty much anything at all. However, be aware that shoving it into the washing machine may break up the foam. Perhaps just stick to a quick rinse in the shower or a spray down with a mixture of water and a few drops of lemon verbena essential oils.
Rubber Yoga Mats
If your mat is rubber you will want to avoid the shower as the rubber cells will fill up with water and become heavy and blocked up. Also avoid using essential oils too often as they may break down the materials.
Stick to a salt-water spray. Some rubber mats even suggest a salt-water scrub now and then. For a more seldom and thorough clean up, you can blend a little baking soda in warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon and wipe the entire mat down before hanging to dry.
Polyurethane-Rubber Yoga Mats
If you have a polyurethane-rubber blend mat, stick to a moist towel wipe-down and hang dry after each practice to avoid moisture buildup. Occasionally, you can use the baking soda mix from above to do a deep clean.
These mats are usually anti-microbial in nature so you need not worry about any kind of fungus growing on it if it gets sweaty, but both soaking the mat and using essential oils on it will detract from the stickiness of your mat over time.
Cork Yoga Mats
Cork mats are said to be self-cleaning, but I'm not sure how they reach their little arms out and wipe off a dirty foot print. So rather than depend on the self-cleaning properties, use a damp cloth to wipe and clean it (instead of waiting for a magical cleaning elf to sprout from the cork).
A great way to keep yourself healthy this cold and flu season (and beyond) is by regularly cleaning your yoga mat after every practice. Again, these are just some of the ways you can clean different types of yoga mats. How do you clean yours?