Your yoga mat is like your own portable yoga studio. You can take it anywhere and make space for your practice, whether it’s your living room, a park, the beach, or an actual studio. After you’ve taken care of your body and spirit’s housekeeping on the mat, it’s easy to get energized and rush off to the next part of our day. Actual housekeeping of cleaning your mat may get pushed to the wayside. But every time you roll out your mat, you’re probably wearing a different outfit, because you sweat in it right? So it makes sense that the mat you’re sweating on would need regular cleaning as well.
You may be afraid to clean your mat because you’re not sure what to use. I know I was afraid to ruin my mat or to use harsh cleaners it might absorb. Mat care is best tackled from a couple of different angles, so read on for a few different ways to clean your mat and their different benefits!
Everyday Clean—Spray and Wipe
Having a spray on hand at home or on the go makes me feel fancy and also like it completes the yoga ritual. It feels a little out of balance with my yoga practice to leave a yucky mat at the end. You can make your own spray with the classic mat spray recipe: 50% water, 50% white vinegar.
Customize it by adding several drops of essential oil of your choosing to impart a fresh scent. Don’t worry, the vinegar scent does dissipate. At the end of your routine simply spray your mat and wipe it off with a rag or paper towel. Allow it to dry for a moment before rolling it up, and voila!
While you don’t absolutely have to clean your mat each time you use it, there’s something easier about having a routine you stick to. You can purchase a travel spray bottle (I like the blue glass ones Whole Foods has in several sizes. You can get a large one for home and a small one for your yoga bag. The glass is blue to protect sunlight from causing ingredients in the bottle to oxidize).
Deep Clean—Time for a Wash
Treating your mat to a spa day about once a month will help keep your mat deep cleaned, and make it easier to keep up with cleaning with just a spray of mat spray and a wipe of your mat. There are two main ways to accomplish this:
In the Wash
You can wash your yoga mat in the washing machine! Most yoga mats are perfectly fine to toss in your washer every once in a while. Wash the mat by itself on the gentle setting with warm (not hot) water. You can avoid the spin cycle if you’d like. Switch up your detergent for a gentle soap or white vinegar.
If you’d prefer, you can wash your mat in your tub (I don’t have a tub, so I’ve hand washed mine in the shower!) with a gentle soap or vinegar.
What to Avoid
Don’t let your mat dry out in the sun for too long. Of course using your mat dry in the sun is perfectly fine, but don’t let it just bake out there. Your mat can get too dry and develop a crumbly texture.