Practicing yoga is supposed to be a relaxing, but looking down at a dirty, stinky mat isn’t. Protect your health and your inner serenity by giving that yoga mat a good scrubbing.
There are two types of solutions you can use to clean your sticky mat by hand: one you make yourself or a prepackaged yoga mat cleaner. You can make your own mat wash pretty easily. All you need is some tap water and dish soap or a gentle detergent, such as Woolite. However, if you make your own cleaning solution, you have to be very diligent about rinsing your mat. Any leftover residue could cause you to slip off and fall during your future yoga practice.
If you do decide to create your own mat cleaner, just mix about a tablespoon of detergent and about a gallon or so of water in a bowl or in the sink. Lukewarm water is fine. It doesn’t have to be scorching hot. If your mat is especially stinky, you can throw in a teaspoon of baking soda.
After you’ve mixed the soap and water, you can either drop your mat into the solution directly and quickly pull it out or apply the soap to the mat with a small spray bottle or a clean kitchen sponge. Don’t use a coarse scrubber or steel wool pad. You shouldn’t need one, and it may damage your mat. You can also use the sponge to gently buff of any dirt spots.
After you’ve wiped down your yoga mat, simply rinse the soap off of it with clean, lukewarm water. Don’t squeeze out your mat as you rinse; just let the soap run off of it naturally.
If you don’t want to spend the time or elbow grease cleaning your yoga mat by hand, it is perfectly fine to drop it in the washing machine. However, make sure that you wash your mat in cold water and remove it from the washer before the spin cycle starts. Again, use a mild detergent, and wash your mat separately from your clothing.
You can put your mat in the dryer on low, but you’ll likely have to air dry it afterwards as well. Once you’ve removed it from the dryer, follow the directions below to dry it the rest of the way.
The best way to dry your yoga mat is to let it air dry on its own. Be sure to leave it unrolled while it dries to avoid moisture becoming trapped between the folds. If you don’t have room to lay it out on the floor you can hang it on your shower curtain rod or towel bar, or even outside if it’s not too hot.
If you insist on rolling it up or don’t have a good place to hang your mat up to dry, place a dry bath towel or beach towel on top of your mat and then roll them up together. The towel should absorb a good deal of the water as it is pressed out. Be aware that this will not completely dry the mat though.
The easiest way to keep your yoga mat clean is to spray it down each time you use it. You can buy a commercial mat-cleaning spray or you can make one with a bottle of water and a few drops of tea tree oil. Just give the front and back of your mat a light spritz after each workout. No need to saturate it with the solution.
Also, if you have mud or grit on the bottom of your feet, wash them off before you step on your mat – especially since you’ll be touching the mat with your hands too, and maybe even your forehead. Pretty gross when you think about it, huh?