This question was raised after a recent yoga class. It is a necessity to clean our mats on a regular basis to keep them smelling nice and looking fresh.
Important tip: Yoga mats have a "stickiness" to them so we don't slip as we practice. To protect the stickiness of our mats we are careful to use mild soaps and other cleaning ingredients. I learned the hard way when I used a yoga mat spray that included Thieves and Purification essential oils. This is a great smelling cleaner. However, after a few uses, I noticed I was slipping during Downward Dog. It turns out, Thieves contains lemon essential oil. The citrus oils are know to affect plastics and rubber. So be careful.
Tip: Yoga mats have evolved over time and are now made with varying textures and materials. What works with one may not with another. Some manufacturers post cleaning instructions on their websites.
So here we go:
1. Gaia.com recommended to spray your mat with a hose or rinsing in a bath tub. Then hang it to dry. Remember the wetter and thicker your mat is, the longer it will take to dry. So plan ahead so you will have your mat for class.
Warning: Avoid hanging your mat in direct sunlight as it may over dry your mat.
2. Some websites recommend washing your mat in a washing machine with mild soap. Be aware some mats may not do well with the agitation. A front load washer may be better. Do not use a clothes dryer.
Great idea to ring out your mat:
Lay your mat on a towel. Roll up the towel and mat. Apply pressure to the roll to squeeze out water.
Unroll mat and hang dry.
3. In a spay bottle mix 2 cups of water and 4 cups of dish soap. Using a damp sponge or terry cloth rag rub soiled areas. Wipe your mat clean with water and rub with a dry terry cloth towel. Hang to dry.
4. Make a solution of water and white vinegar using a 50/50 mix to clean your mat. This mix naturally disinfects. One website said the water/vinegar mix will restore the texture and color of a mat made of natural tree rubber.
5. Make a cleaning solution with essential oils which disinfects, cleans and smells nice.
Ingredients: 3/4 C water
1/4 C alcohol-free Witch Hazel or White Vinegar
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil & 3 drops Tea Tree (Melateuca) Essential Oil*
2 OZ (60 ml) Glass Spray Bottle - tinted preserves essential oils
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Shake until combined.
3. Spray on mat & wipe dry with towel
*Other possible Essential Oils:
Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Globulus, Purification, Thyme, Lemongrass, Peppermint
Please use quality essential oils. Some oils contain added chemicals and perfumes.
I use Young Living Essential Oils.
6. There are manufactured wipes and cleaners for mats. My husband bought some wipes for me at the local dollar store!
I hope this is helpful for you. Please respond with your experiences cleaning your mat!
PS: I used the Essential Oil spray on my blocks too!
I enjoy yoga as it brings peace to my life. Teaching yoga has brought joy to my life and given me a chance to encourage others in learning yoga.