How to Clean a Yoga Mat: Washing, Drying & Cleaning Options

How to Clean a Yoga Mat: Washing, Drying & Cleaning Options

Whether you’re new to yoga or not, you’ve likely thought about the cleanliness of your mat. Perhaps it was that moment in your hot yoga class when sweat was dripping onto it or when laying prone with your face on the place your feet just were. Cleaning your mat might seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. You just need a little know-how. It’s also an essential aspect of owning a yoga mat for a few reasons. 

  • Your yoga mat absorbs all the fluids, germs, and gunk that come into contact with it. Left to fester, and you have a recipe for a dirty mat. 

  • Yoga is a practice of mindfulness that should extend to caring for the tools that help you practice. It’s recommended to, at minimum, wipe down your mat after every practice. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about how to clean a yoga mat in various ways so you can choose which method is best for you. If you can’t remember when or if you’ve cleaned your mat lately (or ever), it’s time to give a solid scrub down. 

Are yoga mats machine washable? Can you put a yoga mat in the washing machine?

These are the two most popular questions customers like you ask when it comes to how to clean yoga mat. People appreciate convenience in this fast-paced world. So let’s take a look at the answer. 


Can you put a yoga mat in the washing machine? 

Making your yoga mat washable in the washing machine isn’t a simple answer. Some people say yes, and some say no. To ensure your yoga mat is machine washable, one thing you can do is to read the label or contact the company that made it. 


For some yoga mats, washing machine use might be ok if you choose cold water and a delicate cycle. Eco-friendly detergents will likely be gentler on that mat. Once the cycle is done, hang your mat up to dry. Putting your yoga mat in the dryer isn’t recommended as the heat may damage the mat. 

yoga mat machine washable

 

The people against putting yoga mats in washing machines argue that it could damage the mat and the washing machine, which could become quite expensive when there are safer methods to clean your mat. Putting your yoga mat in the washing machine could age it faster, breaking down the materials it’s made from. 

Clean & Disinfect Your Yoga Mat Regularly

You should clean and disinfect your yoga mat regularly unless you like swimming in a bacteria-infested soup. Most yoga studios will have a spray bottle with a variety of mat sanitizing solutions. Of course, this isn’t going to sanitize your mat thoroughly, but it’s an excellent choice for helping keep it a little bit clean.

In this section, you’ll learn about why you should clean your yoga mat and how often for routine and deep cleaning. 

how to clean a yoga mat


Why should I clean my yoga mat?

It’s important to clean your yoga mat to remove the buildup of sweat and dirt, and other things tracked across your mat. Hygiene is a major reason for cleaning it, but it also extends the life of the mat and keeps it grippy so you can practice safely. 

prevent yoga mat slipping

While microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even microscopic mites might appear on an uncleaned yoga mat, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll ever get sick, even if you never clean your mat. 

How often should you clean your yoga mat?

You’d clean your yoga mat every time you practiced on it in an ideal world. Deep cleans aren’t necessarily as important that often, but more power to you if that’s your jam! A routine clean for a yoga mat might involve wiping it down or spraying it down after a session, and a deep clean for your yoga mat might take place once a month, where you spend a little more time making sure it’s grime-free. 

Routine Cleaning

It’s easy to create your own yoga mat cleaning solution. We’ll share a few below. If you’re on the go and don’t want soap on your mat, you can mix equal parts water, vinegar, and a splash of tea tree oil with helping disinfect your yoga mat. As we’ll mention later, the best way to clean a yoga mat is to follow basic steps of cleanliness: spray it down, wipe it down, and let it dry before you roll it up. If you roll it up wet, mildew and mold could start to form a new colony in a place you don’t want it.

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning a yoga mat sometimes takes a little more effort, as is the case when you get into the nitty-gritty of any type of cleaning. How often you deep clean a yoga mat is dependent on how often you use it and what types of movement. If you’re only doing yin classes every other week, once every few months is probably fine. If you’re dripping sweat in hot yoga classes several times a week, you might want to wash it more regularly. 


Best Yoga Mat Cleaning Solutions

The best yoga mat cleaning solutions are the ones that will be safe for the mat materials (i.e., they won’t destroy the artwork or break down the fabrics and materials). Below, you’ll learn what to use to clean a yoga mat, how much of it to use, and when to use it.

Soap & Water

Soap and water are probably one of the most effective ways to clean a yoga mat. You wash your hands with soap and water, and you can usually wash your mat with soap and water. Typically, you’ll only add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of warm water because a little goes a long way. This is more of a spot treatment to keep your mat relatively clean in between sessions. 


Yoga Mat Cleaners

Plenty of yoga mat cleaners exist on the market, from homemade DIY solutions (vinegar, water and essential oils like citrus) that still get the job done. Some of these yoga mat cleaners come in a spray bottle. They can double as antibacterial disinfectants, so all you have to do is spray your mat down, let it dry, and off you go. 

manduka yoga mat refresh

Yoga Mat Towel

A yoga mat towel has multiple uses. You can use it if you get hot and sweaty in class to help prevent slipping. Lay the towel over your mat while you practice for extra grip. It also acts as a protector against a dirty mat that you didn’t have time to wash. Once you’re done, you can usually toss it in the wash with a mild detergent on a delicate cycle to keep it clean between uses. 

       

 

Step-by-Step: Cleaning a Yoga Mat

Your yoga session is complete, and you’re ready to clean your yoga mat. For some people, this can feel daunting. How do you clean a yoga mat? Won’t it take forever? Simply put, it won’t take forever, and it’ll be worth it. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide for cleaning a yoga mat. You’ll be a pro in no time. 

Step 1: Gather your materials

It’s time to wash your yoga mat for the first time, and you’re unsure what to do. Step 1 is getting what you need and making cleaning as convenient as possible so that you’ll do it more often. You might use a spray solution, towels, dish soap, etc. Collect your items and get ready to disinfect your yoga mat. 

how to wash yoga mat

Step 2: Wash your yoga mat

If you’re going for the deep clean, you can fill a bathtub with water and a little bit of dish soap. Your yoga mat is getting its very own bubble bath. Submerge the mat entirely for about 5 minutes and then gently scrub in circular motions along the top of the mat. 

how to clean a yoga mat

For routine cleaning, spray your mat down, or fill a bowl with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Dip a cloth in water and gently scrub in circular motions, starting with the dirtiest parts of the yoga mat. 

Step 3: Rinse your yoga mat

Now it’s time for the rinsing. Whether deep or routine cleaning, you want to rinse the soapy residue off the mat. You can do this in a variety of ways. Rinse the mat in the shower with clean water. Wipe it down with a bowl of clean water. Or spray it off with a water hose. Rinsing it will make sure it’s nice and clean for your next yoga class. 

rinse your yoga mat

Step: Dry your yoga mat

This is an important step, so don’t leave it out. Once you’ve washed your yoga mat, you want to let it dry. You should allow your mat to dry even if you didn’t wash it and it’s sweaty from practicing. A wet mat can create an environment where mold, mildew, and bacteria can grow. 

how to dry yoga mat

You can hang your mat up to dry over a shower curtain, towel rod, or the back of a chair. If you let it dry outdoors, make sure it’s not for a prolonged period or in the sun, as this can damage a lot of rubber mats over time. Give the towel at least an hour to dry if it’s not very wet, or up to two days if you deep clean it. 

Final Step: Properly Storing Your Yoga Mat

Now it’s time to put away your newly cleaned yoga mat — yay! Once your mat is dry, you have plenty of storage options. If you’re at home, you can lay your mat out flat in a place that won’t have animals or kids climbing on it. You can also put it in a yoga mat bag, rolled up in a basket full of yoga props, or adequately stored with yoga straps. 

yoga mat basket

Prolong the life and quality of your mat by taking the time to keep it clean and properly stored. It might take a few extra minutes, but that’s what yoga is all about — mindfulness. 

Sam Milam

AUTHOR

Sam Milam

Sam Milam is a writer for Evolve and other yoga publications. Shes a photographer, and yoga teacher and mother of two in Portland, OR.

Sam is passionate about educating herself and others about attachment parenting, social justice, and living an authentic, empowered life. When she isn't working, she can be found exploring the Pacific Northwest with her two kiddos.


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