How to Clean Your Yoga Mat at Home and On-the-Go
By Kyle Magin
Plenty of people are picking up yoga mats these days, presumably to practice yoga. These include:
Your local goat population (Finish this, then search ‘Goat Yoga’)
You, since you’re reading this
With so many yoga mats in the world, let’s review how to clean them so they’re germ-free and don't stink up our closets, trunks, and suitcases, both in your typical day-to-day and when you’re on-the-go.
While there are lots of how-tos advising you to spray white vinegar and witch hazel (two ingredients that can cause your typical 3mm perforated mat to disintegrate), we'll stick to some common household goods you probably have laying around now that are safe to use for all types of yoga mats.
The necessary yoga mat-terials
A cleaner spray bottle (travel-size if you want to clean your mat when you’re away from home)
A terry cloth towel
Dish soap (biodegradable cleaners are fine)
A tub or sink (for a very dirty mat)
Option 1: Your yoga mat needs a light cleaning
For a lightly-soiled yoga mat, fill your cleaner spray bottle with water and mix in about a teaspoon of dish soap. Spray the dirty parts of your mat with the solution, and rub it down with the towel to clean. Hang to air-dry.
Option 2: Your yoga mat needs a bath
Ah, if our yoga mats only contacted our lightest sweats.
Unfortunately, some of us are SUPER sweaty, so that and all sorts of other unpleasant bodily fluids and spilled essential oils and who-knows-what-else contacts our mats. Not only can this make a mat unpleasant to practice yoga on, but it can create a safety hazard when we're trying a tricky pose on a mat that isn't absorbent and may have a slick surface.
For a heavily-soiled yoga mat, you need to adopt a more thorough approach.
Run a warm bath or fill a large sink with warm water—you can even fill up a kiddie pool if you have one laying around.
Add a mild detergent. Too much soap creates a cleaning solution that could leave residue and even destroy the integrity of the mat which could cause slipping later. If you're a fan of essential oils, you can also add a couple of drops of your favorite scent into the detergent solution—lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus are popular choices.
Submerge your yoga mat in water and scrub it clean.
Rinse your mat in clean water until it runs clear.
Wring out or shake excess water out of your clean mat.
Lay your yoga mat on a dry towel and roll the two together.
Step on the mat to drain any excess water into the towel.
Unroll, and hang your yoga mat to air dry.
If you happen to live in a sunny area, or you’re in a particularly tropical location, you can also lay your mat outside to dry.
Enjoy your yoga practice
Now you've got a nice clean mat to practice yoga on. Inhale the scent of essential oils without having to inhale your own scents. Revel in a clean surface on which to explore the limits of your flexibility without smelling like a gym.