PSA: You Need To Clean Your Yoga Mat. Here’s How
When you’ve finished your workout and are feeling sweaty and that post-workout snack is calling, it’s totally understandable if the last thing you feel like doing is cleaning your yoga mat, but you should definitely make time for it after you cool down.
Regardless of how sweaty you got or how dirty your shoes or hands are, you never know how much bacteria is hanging around on your mat - and it will only continue to grow between your workouts if you quickly roll it up and store it away.
Here’s how to clean your yoga mat in less than five minutes - easy!
Before you clean your mat
To avoid damaging your mat, it pays to check the care instructions in case there are specific recommendations or any warnings against using certain chemicals on the material. If there’s no label and you’ve already thrown out the packaging, most brands have the care and cleaning instructions available online.
Knowing whether you have an open or closed cell mat will also determine how you should and shouldn’t clean your mat, but we’ll get into more detail on different mat types shortly!
After each use
Following each workout, it’s best to give your mat a quick wipe with a soft cloth or sponge and some multipurpose spray or a yoga mat cleaning solution.
Even if you’re not someone who sweats very much, it’s still a good idea to wipe down your mat to remove any dirt or germs that may have transferred from your skin or shoes. This will not only keep your mat fresh between workouts, but extend its lifespan.
Letting sweat, dust and dirt accumulate (especially if the first thing you do after a session is roll up your mat and store it in a dark place), can lead to odour and bacterial growth which can increase your risk of skin infections such as staph, athlete’s foot and ringworm - no thank you! This is one of the reasons why you should also wash your activewear often.
If you’re into DIY and homemade cleaning products, you can make your own cleaning spray solution with equal parts water and white vinegar, plus a splash of tea tree oil.
Once a month
If you’re using your mat regularly, consider popping a reminder in your phone or diary once a month to give it a deeper clean, too. The best method for this clean will depend on whether you have a closed or open cell mat.
An open cell mat has a textured surface which prevents your hands and feet from slipping, and they’re more porous, meaning they absorb sweat and other moisture. A closed cell mat has a smooth surface, so they don’t absorb moisture and sometimes can be more slippery. These differences in absorbency require different cleaning methods.
For a closed cell mat, you can submerge the entire mat in a bath, sink or bucket full of warm soapy water. Let it soak for five minutes, then lie it flat on a clean surface and scrub it on both sides using a soft cloth or sponge in gentle circular rubbing motions. Finally, rinse the soapy residue off with clean water and hang the mat to air dry over a chair, balcony rail or a clothes line or rack.
For an open cell mat, fully submerging it in water isn’t a good idea as the material is absorbent and you might damage your mat. Instead, fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of dish soap and use a soft cloth or sponge to clean both sides of your mat by hand. Once clean, give it a wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soapy residue before air drying.
With both mat types, it’s important to let the mat dry completely before you roll it up and put it away, otherwise your mat could end up mouldy or smelly.
Can you machine wash a yoga mat?
Although some people do, using a washing machine or a dryer for any part of the cleaning process generally isn’t recommended as it can damage both your mat and your machine.
A mat might not be the most expensive or annoying thing to replace, but a washing machine or dryer on the other hand… Not ideal!
Keeping your yoga mat in good, clean condition doesn’t have to take a long time or require any expensive cleaning products. Pop a bottle of spray in the same place you store your mat or where you workout and you’ll never forget!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.