Sweat, dust, dirt, body oil and other debris can pile up with regular use of your yoga mat. Here's how to keep your mat fresh and clean so that your next child's pose is a pleasant one.
If you find yourself in child’s pose and smell something funky during your yoga practice, it might be your yoga mat. Yes, it’s true. Regular use combined with sweat, dust, dirt, body oil, bacteria, and other debris can really pile up, leaving an odor on your mat that you would probably like to avoid. After all, you are standing on it with your bare feet.
Never fear. There are solutions available on how to clean your yoga mat for the most busy or lazy among us. Depending on what style of yoga you practice, you may not need to clean your mat after every session, but you should try to clean it once a week. Regular cleaning will keep odors at bay and prolong the life of your mat.
The Natural Approach
You can easily make a DIY cleaner solution of 50/50 water and vinegar. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for added effect and easy breathing. I prefer lemon and lavender oil.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 to 3 drops each of essential oils like eucalyptus, lemon, lavender, mint, or tea tree
Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle. Spray your yoga mat cleaner liberally over the surface of your mat. If your mat seems especially dirty, let the cleanser sit and soak in a bit before rubbing it off.
Wipe the yoga mat with a microfiber towel or cotton cloth. Now repeat on the other side.
Allow your mat to air dry, which should take only about 5 to 10 minutes. If it takes longer, try rubbing your mat down one more time with a dry microfiber or cotton cloth to remove the excess water and speed up the drying time.
If making your own solution isn’t appealing, try ready-made sprays or wipes. Many mat manufacturers, retailers, and consumer brands now offer several mat cleaner options.
Keep in mind that using baby wipes to clean your yoga mat may be too soapy to be effective and may dry out your mat over time.
Really pressed for time? Just throw your mat in the washing machine by itself without soap once a month and then toss it into the dryer on medium or let it air dry—not in the sun. It will hold up.
Word to the wise: Clean your yoga mat on a regular basis and your next child’s pose or down dog will be a pleasant one.
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