You already know that yoga helps you attain a clear state of mind when you start your day and recuperate after a long day at work. But did you know that not properly cleaning your yoga mat exposes your body to more bacteria than a toilet seat, cell phone, and aircraft seat combined?
Moreover, it is critical to clean the surfaces with which you come into daily touch, including your home gym equipment such as workout and yoga mats. “The rule is, the sweatier or dirtier your mat gets, the more crucial it is to clean it after every practice,” says Lauren Porat, yoga instructor, and creator of YogaSpark.
How to clean your yoga mat
Cleaning yoga mats properly is 4 step process. Each stage serves a distinct purpose, so don’t skip any of them.
Stage 1 – Disinfection
Killing germs, bacteria, and fungus—including the types that cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts, and ringworm, which could all be residing on your yoga mat—is essential for sterilizing its surface. This is what spray bottles, towels, and antibacterial wipes are for in a studio.
Yoga mats may be disinfected at home using the same solution that most studios use: Water, white vinegar, and tea tree oil, both of which have antibacterial qualities, should be combined. To clean your yoga mat quickly, make a 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. Allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area or outside in fresh air.
If you are not comfortable making your own cleaning solution, you can purchase a pre-made yoga mat cleaning spray online.
The frequency with which you should disinfect your yoga mat is determined by how frequently you practice at home. But we recommend sanitizing at least once a week if no one in your vicinity is sick. If you’re returning to a studio, make sure to sanitize your mat before and after each use.
Stage 2 – Cleaning
You may clean your yoga mat with water and dish soap, in the same manner, you would your hands. Another good idea is soaking your mat in the bathtub or shower and scrubbing and rinsing it well.
The stickiness of a yoga mat diminishes with time and use. One of the greatest remedies is to use baby powder or baking soda to absorb the oils and water and eliminate the slip-slide effects. Wipe your mat clean with a clean, dry towel after lightly sprinkling it with baby powder or baking soda. A small amount of powder may remain in the grooves of your mat, which is OK; I find that this preserves the clean scent longer and helps me stick to my mat. If you don’t want to deal with the extra powder, simply shake your mat out in a large open location, ideally outside.
A good general rule of thumb is to clean your yoga mat every other session (or every practice if it gets super sweaty).
Stage 3 – Drying
Let it air dry and then roll it up that a yoga towel can help protect your mat from becoming too dirty/sweaty in the first place.
Finding a chair or other bar outside to throw it over for optimum airflow is ideal, but if the weather is too chilly, indoors would suffice—you just want to create as much surface area as possible. Also, avoid hanging your mat in the shower or over the bathtub (unless you aren’t planning on showering soon), as humidity will impede the drying process. Follow these simple guidelines, and your mat will be ick-free and ready for your asana practice.
Stage 4 – Storing
The most convenient way to pack your mat is to roll it up lengthwise when on the go. Back in your place, though, the best approach is to let clothing hang or lay flat.
An empty corner of the room where your mat may spread out, away from pets, nosy children, or roommates with sticky hands, would suffice.
Now you can continue reading our guide for choosing the Right Yoga Mat