How to Clean a Yoga Mat: Keep Your Workouts Tranquil and Germ-Free
Remove dirt and bacteria using these simple disinfecting and cleaning techniques
When you exercise on a yoga mat, you leave behind sweat, skin, and hair. If left unchecked, this organic residue can lead to the development of bacteria and fungi over time. That’s why it’s essential to regularly clean workout gear, whether you exercise at home or the gym. Yoga mats and other equipment need to be cleaned and sanitized at frequent intervals to keep your exercises clean and distraction-free.
It’s best practice to spot clean or sanitize a yoga mat after every use. If you use your yoga mat daily, it should be deep-cleaned every two weeks, and those who practice hot yoga should deep clean their mats even more frequently. If you use your mat less frequently, it can be cleaned once a month. Luckily, cleaning a yoga mat is easy. Read on to learn how to deep-clean a yoga mat and sanitize it at home.
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How to Disinfect a Yoga Mat After Each Use
Cleaning a yoga mat after each use prevents the buildup of potentially harmful bacteria. If you’re using a shared mat at a gym or yoga studio, also consider disinfecting the mat before you use it in case the person who used it before you failed to do so. There are several types of disinfecting solutions available, and some can easily be made at home.
3 Effective Disinfecting Solutions
- Antibacterial wipes: Standard antibacterial wipes work well for disinfecting yoga mats and are convenient to bring to a group exercise class. Opt for wipes that are skin-safe.
- Commercial yoga mat cleaner: Many brands produce yoga mat cleaners like this one from Lululemon. They’re formulated to sanitize the porous surface of a yoga mat.
- Homemade vinegar yoga mat cleaner: A simple DIY solution is to mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. White vinegar is an all-natural disinfectant, and you probably already have some in your cupboard.
STEP 1: Choose the disinfection solution that works best for you.
The first step is to purchase skin-safe antibacterial wipes or a commercial yoga mat cleaner. Alternatively, you can mix a DIY solution at home. Once you have your disinfectant, ensure it’s in a bottle that is small and convenient enough to bring with you to your session if you practice in a gym or studio.
STEP 2: Wipe or spray the mat at the end of your session.
When you’ve finished your final savasana, spray or wipe down both sides of the mat thoroughly. While the top of the mat came into contact with your skin, the bottom was exposed to all of the dirt and bacteria on the studio floor. Ensure that the disinfectant is applied to every inch of the mat.
STEP 3: Use a towel to rub the product into the mat.
Use a clean towel and rub the product into the surface of the mat using circular motions. This will ensure that the disinfectant saturates the mat’s porous material. This step is not necessary if you’re using an antibacterial wipe rather than a spray.
How to Clean a Yoga Mat
When it comes time to deep clean your yoga mat, a more thorough process is needed. Before deciding how to clean a yoga mat, first check to see if the mat comes with any specific cleaning instructions. Since yoga mats are made with a variety of materials, some can only be cleaned with certain products. This method, however, uses a gentle cleanser that should be suitable for most yoga mats. It only requires materials that are found in most households.
- Dish soap
- Warm water
- Microfiber cloth
STEP 1: Fill a bathtub or large container with soap and water.
Start by filling your bathtub with warm water. If your home doesn’t have a bathtub, use any container that’s large enough to fit your yoga mat. Then, add dish soap, using a ratio of 1 tablespoon of dish soap for each gallon of water. Don’t worry if your measurements aren’t perfect—they don’t need to be precise to get a clean yoga mat.
STEP 2: Put the yoga mat into the tub and let it soak.
Once the tub is full, put the yoga mat into the water and ensure it’s completely submerged. Use a clean microfiber cloth to rub the soapy water into the mat’s surface. Allow it to soak for at least 5 minutes. Drain the tub and use the showerhead to rinse the mat with cool water until no soapy residue remains.
STEP 3: Hang the mat and allow it to dry completely.
Once the mat is clean, hang it to allow it to dry. It should ideally be hung in a warm, dry location where it’s able to dry out as quickly as possible. Hang it outdoors in the sun if that’s an option. Since the sun has natural antibacterial qualities, this final step will help kill any germs that remain on the mat.
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FAQ About Cleaning a Yoga Mat
While you’ve now learned more about how to clean a yoga mat at home, you might still have some additional questions. These answers address some of the most frequently asked questions about how to wash a yoga mat.
Q. Can you put a yoga mat in the washing machine?
Most yoga mats are not machine washable and should not be cleaned in the washing machine.
Q. Can you use disinfecting wipes to clean a yoga mat?
While you can use disinfecting wipes as a yoga mat cleaner, it’s important to choose a product that’s designed to be used on skin rather than a household cleaning product.
Q. How often should a yoga mat be cleaned?
A yoga mat should be cleaned after every use and deep cleaned every two to four weeks.