Yoga sessions are a time of peaceful serenity, but how peaceful can you really be if you’ve got the smell of old sweat lingering in your nostrils? And don’t forget that it’s not just you who’s affected by the smell of your yoga mat – it’s your yoga mates, too.
To help enhance everyone’s yoga experience, take just a few minutes after each session to spray down your yoga mat and remove the dirt and oils while they’re still fresh, and don’t forget to give a thorough clean every once in a while too – it takes no time at all, but can make a huge difference.
Check your mat for instructions first; otherwise, here are some options for safely cleaning your mat:
Take your mat outside and hose it down with water. Use a mild soap detergent and sponge to clean your mat. Rinse and allow it to air dry. Getting your mat to completely dry may take up to twenty-four hours (or more, depending on the outside temperature). Plan accordingly, or have a backup mat.
Maybe it’s winter time or too cold outside and hosing your mat down is not practical. Soak and clean your mat in your bathtub instead. You can either hang dry your mat over the shower railing or on an indoor drying rack. Keep in mind that your mat will be soaking wet, so place something beneath it to soak up the dripping water. Indoor temperature may vary but, again, your safest bet is to give it at least twenty-four hours or more to dry.
If you don’t have time for the first two tips, create your own cleaning solution with water and white vinegar (equal parts), or water and a couple of drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Vinegar and tea tree oil contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Spray and wipe down your mat with a soft cloth or paper towel. You can even bring your cleaning solution with you and clean your mat after each use.
Okay, maybe you prefer not to make your own cleaning solution. There are many yoga mat washes available online for purchase. They might even be for sale at your local yoga studio.
Hosing, soaking, spray bottle cleaning solutions… perhaps that just isn’t your thing, and you’re wondering if you can simply stick your mat in the washing machine. This is another question that I often get. The answer all depends on the type of mat you own. Some are not designed to withstand the agitation of the washing machine. Some companies clearly say “do not place in the washing machine,” while others mention nothing at all.