The more you sweat, the better the work out - but the worse off your yoga mat is. Despite being full of languid and intentional movements, the resistance strain you put on your body while doing yoga can make some serious sweat and grime that'll build up on your yoga mat really quickly. And with your body pressed so close to your mat, you can take comfort in knowing that there are a number of DIY yoga mat cleaners devoid of harsh chemicals that you can make at home.
Use Baking Soda to Clean Right Away
If you're someone who sweats a lot and/or has an oily complexion, then you probably come away from every session with a glistening mat. Instead of waiting a week or two to clean it properly, try using baking soda to soak up some of that oil.
Here's how you can use baking soda on your yoga mat post-practice:
- Take a ¼ cup of baking soda and sprinkle it across your mat like you're flouring a mound of dough.
- Using your hands, rub the baking soda into the mat. Don't grind it in, just rub it in enough to latch onto the oils.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Vacuum up the excess or take it outside and brush it off.
- If you feel like there's still some residue left, take a damp microfiber towel and wipe off the leftover baking soda.
Vinegar and Water Yoga Mat Spray
A quick mixture you can put together at home using pantry ingredients is a vinegar and water spray. Follow these directions to make your own:
- Mix ¼ cup of distilled vinegar to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
- Add two drops of your favorite essential oil to ward off any lingering vinegar smell.
- Spray your entire yoga mat with the mixture, making sure not to soak it, as it'll likely absorb into the mat.
- Wipe it down with a clean towel.
- Once dry, do the same for the other side of your mat.
- Let completely dry for a day before using it again.
If you're not a fan of vinegar, you can substitute witch hazel or add it to the mixture for a powerful at-home cleaner.
Soapy Water Is a Great DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner
If soap and water's good for your face, it's good enough for your yoga mats. All you need is some dish soap, warm water, and a washcloth.
- In a bowl, put a few cups of warm water and a couple of drops of dish soap.
- Agitate the soap using your finger to make some suds.
- Put your yoga mat onto a tile or linoleum floor, or the bottom of your tub.
- Dip your washcloth into the mixture and scrub it into the mat. Once you're complete with one side, you can flip it over and tackle the other.
- Rinse the mat off with some clean water (only submerging it or using a shower head/faucet if the label says it's okay).
- Using a clean towel, press out any excess moisture.
- Leave it out or hang to dry.
If you don't have any dish soap on hand, you can substitute Castile soap.
How Often Should I Clean a Yoga Mat?
Just like your bedsheets, you probably aren't washing your yoga mat as frequently as you should. If you're practicing yoga every day or a few times a week, you should wash your mat once a week. Add it to your household chores list or your weekend clean-up routine to make sure that you don't forget.
Is It Safe to Put Your Yoga Mat in the Washing Machine?
Technically, there's nothing stopping you from putting a yoga mat into your washing machine - though it's an ill-advised adventure. Since yoga mats are supposed to be bouncy and supportive, they're usually made of absorbent foam material. Now you see how putting it into a giant bin full of water for 30 minutes might not be a great idea. That is, unless you have an industry press or pavement roller you can use to squish out all of that soaked up water.
Always Check the Label Before Washing Anything
Labels exist for a reason, no matter how annoying they are. Not only will they tell you what materials your yoga mats are made out of, but they should include care and cleaning information. For example, the label should tell you if your mat can be put through a washing machine cycle or is safe to be submerged in water.
While spot testing is a surefire way to see if there's going to be a chemical reaction, it won't always show the lasting damage that's to come. Don't ruin your yoga mat; check the tags before cleaning them with any homemade or store-bought sprays.
Cleanse Your Body and Your Mat
Yoga is a popular practice that works on strengthening the body through deliberate poses and movements with no equipment other than a mat. Your yoga mat is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, so you should make sure you clean it every week or so. Don't stress about finding the best over-the-counter products. Turn to these easy DIY yoga mat cleaners, instead.