Nothing disrupts the calm, meditative benefits of yoga like the thought of practicing your poses on an icky mat. Thankfully, sweat, odors, dust, and dirt can all be removed with pretty much just a wipe — some mats are even machine washable. Here are the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab’s best tips for keeping your mat in great shape.
How Often to Clean a Yoga Mat
Depending on the intensity of your sessions, you can usually go a week or so before your mat needs a good wipe down. If you sweat a lot or the mat retains an odor, clean it more often, though some mats caution that over-cleaning can cause them to wear out more quickly.
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How to Regularly Clean a Yoga Mat
This is easy! Spot clean both sides of your mat with either a yoga mat cleaner (some mat makers sell these cleaners, too) or a mix of a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid and two cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Spritz the solution onto the mat and wipe the surfaces clean with a soft cloth. Rinse the mat with a damp cloth that you’ve dipped in clear water and wrung well. Lay the mat flat or hang it over a shower rod to dry fully before rolling it back up.
How to Deep Clean a Yoga Mat
If your mat is stained or smelly, it will need more attention. But before using anything harsher than the mild dish liquid solution, check your mat’s cleaning recommendations, usually on the website.
Some mats are hand-washable in cold water and mild soap, while others can be cleaned in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle. Make sure they are well-rinsed and always air dry a yoga mat — never put it in the dryer. If your mat can’t be soaked, try wiping it with a mild mix of one part white vinegar to three parts water. Rinse it with a clean, damp cloth and let dry.
More Yoga Mat Cleaning Tips
- Keep them out of direct sunlight. They can fade and become brittle.
- Avoid using harsh cleaners and solvents. For rubber mats, skip products containing essential oils.
- Allow a mat to dry fully before rolling it up and storing it away.
- Don’t apply skin creams or oils before using your mat because they can transfer to and stain the mat.
- To help eliminate odors and absorb oils from a less-than-grippy mat, sprinkle and rub on baking soda. Let sit 15 to 30 minutes, then brush or vacuum off the excess.