Cleaning your yoga mat is quite simple, but there are certain things that should be kept in mind if you want to get the best life from your mat. The most obvious thing is to read the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully. This is of course common sense for any item of clothing since different materials require different approaches. The problem for some is that they lost the original washing instructions. The best course of action is to make use of non-abrasive cleaning methods.
Washing your yoga mat is very important. Hygiene is always a big concern and dirty mats give bacteria chance to grow. Furthermore, never share your mat. Sharing your mat with a sweating partner can result in an unwanted fungal or bacterial infection.
Using your mat on the floor, or outdoors cause it to become dirty. Also, some yoga sessions can lead to excessive sweating, which are absorbed by some yoga mats. Most people simply wash their yoga mats themselves and hang them in the sun to dry. Others prefer to send their mats to the dry cleaner. Most sticky mats are made of rubber and therefore, quite easy to clean. If it is slightly soiled, simply use a spray bottle and lightly damp your mat. Use a simple soapy solution of three cups of lukewarm water and four drops of dishwashing liquid.
Wipe the mat and let it dry thoroughly. For tougher stains, simply wash them with soapy water and a soft brush, similar to washing your car mats. Sometimes it may be necessary to soak the mat in a solution of warm water and mild soap. Just be careful. Do not use too much soap, since it can cause problems. Even if you thoroughly dry your yoga mat, using too much soap can cause an invisible residue that makes the yoga mat extremely slippery when you start perspiring. Rinse the mat well to remove soap and hang in the sun to dry. You can also roll your mat in a large towel and leave overnight before hanging to wind dry.
Some people claim that the following can be used instead of soap to clean your yoga mat: (1) mixing 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of baking soda, (2) hydrogen peroxide, (3) a few drops of tea tree oil with water and my favorite (4) a 1/2 teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap in a bowl of water. It smells great.
Cotton yoga mats can easily be cleaned by throwing it into the washing machine, or wash it by hand. When using a washing machine, remember to remove it before the spins cycle since this can damage the shape of certain mats. Furthermore, do not tumble-dry your cotton mats, since the heat can damage the fibers. Rather let it dry out naturally in the sun or wind.
Prevention is always better than cure. Carry a handy spray bottle and some wipes with you to class. A very effective all-natural mat cleaning spray can easily be made yourself. Add three drops of tea tree oil, two drops of peppermint oil, and two drops of lavender oil and mix it thoroughly with water in a spray bottle. After each workout, quickly spray your mat and wipe it down. Avoid using any wipes that are alcohol based, rather choose natural wipes.
Sometimes, not matter how well you look after your yoga mat, cleaning it is no longer feasible. It would simply be better to throw it out and buy yourself a new mat. These quick cleanings will decrease the need for heavy cleanings dramatically. Always consider the condition of your yoga mats carefully. At times it may be best to discard your mat and rather buy a new one.
With these tips, you can however make the best of your yoga mat and keep it in pristine condition for many months to come.