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How To Clean a Yoga Mat To Keep It Fresh and Help It Last Longer

March 22, 2024
How To Clean a Yoga Mat To Keep It Fresh and Help It Last Longer

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Zen and Clean: Mastering the Art of How To Clean Yoga Mats the Natural Way


Whether you practice yoga at home or in the studio, the last thing you want on your mind as you’re nose down to your yoga mat is the thought of germs and bacteria.

A smelly, dirty yoga mat can ruin even the best session and may even make you a little sick.

Still, if you only leave your mat to air-dry, even with the best intentions, it won’t save you from whatever is growing on your mat.

BUT there is a wrong way and a right way to clean yoga mats.

In this guide, you won’t just learn how to clean yoga mats, we give you our four tips for effective cleaning and answer your questions about keeping your yoga mat clean as a whistle.

Table of Contents

Do Yoga Mats Need To Be Cleaned?
Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Takes the Guesswork Out of Cleaning Yoga Mats
4 Tips on How To Clean a Yoga Mat
What Not To Do When Cleaning Yoga Mats
Commonly Asked Questions About How To Clean Yoga Mats
Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi: Experience Holistic Fitness Through Our Online and In-Studio Classes

Do Yoga Mats Need To Be Cleaned?


In short, yes, yoga mats need to be cleaned.

Cleaning your yoga mat is especially important if you share mats or props with others at a yoga studio. To avoid cross-contamination, it’s best to clean a yoga mat after every session.

Yoga mats collect germs and bacteria from our sweat and natural body oils, making them a hotbed for illness and infection.

Even if you practice yoga daily at home, giving your yoga mat a quick wipe-down with a cleaning solution can keep your skin and body healthy and clean.

Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Takes the Guesswork Out of Cleaning Yoga Mats


With instructors at over 100 locations nationwide, Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi takes the stress of toting and cleaning your yoga mat off your shoulders.

At most Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi centers, Korean-style built-in mat flooring can reduce the need for personal yoga mats.

This unique design allows you to set up anywhere in the space that draws you.

Plus, we favor using skin and earth-friendly products like white for cleaning, so you can rest assured that you’re doing your part to keep the earth and your body healthy and happy.

Nevertheless, some people prefer a yoga mat in addition to padded flooring, and people take yoga mats wherever they practice, so let’s address the cleaning question.

4 Tips on How To Clean a Yoga Mat


Cleaning your yoga mat may seem pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised how tricky it can become based on several factors.

Here are four general tips on how to clean your yoga mat.

#1: Always Clean Your Mat After Yoga Practice

Avoid germs and the dreaded mat odor by properly cleaning your mat after each practice.

According to Mayo Clinic, viruses that cause colds and the flu can survive on a yoga mat for anywhere between .

can last for months according to many medical sources.

Microbes that can cause and love to wait in warm, moist environments like yoga mats to transfer to the next host, if not cleaned properly.

To kill germs and help prevent the spread of infection, consider disinfecting your mat using an effective disinfectant that’s safe for skin contact.

#2: Be Mindful as You Clean

With that thought in mind, you may rush to vigorously scrub your mat at the beginning and end of your yoga practice.

Instead, we invite you to continue your mindfulness practice by wiping with the deliberate intention of cleaning your sacred practice space and honoring your physical and mental health.

This practice of mindfulness while you clean allows you to come up with more ideas on how you can honor your intentions in other ways throughout the day.

Use the same energy to clean your mat as you’d use to clear your mind during your yoga practice by being present with sincerity, dedication, and gratitude for the moment you are in.

In Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi classes, this kind of cleaning with sincere gratitude is often referred to as “cleaning suhaeng,” a type of meditation.

#3: Use Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products

It’s no coincidence that Earth-friendly cleaning products are typically safer for your body too.

Many use a vinegar-based solution that works as a disinfectant against most active bacteria that cause infection. This cleaning solution also removes odors and is not harsh on your skin.

In addition to white vinegar, you may also want to consider using other natural ingredients like:

• is known for its antimicrobial properties and can be an effective disinfectant against viruses, according to research published by the National Institutes for Health.According to U.S.D.A. research,
• also contains special compounds that fight against bacterial pathogens that can cause strep and staph infections. Also an effective deodorizer, works well with other antibiotics to kill harmful microbes according to U.S. Department of Agriculture research.

We also suggest you clean your mat using a reusable sponge or cloth instead of disposable wipes. Just wash it with very hot water, give it a good rinse, and put it in the microwave or dryer to kill any remaining bacteria when you’re finished.

#4: Be Sure Your Mat Is Dry Before Storing

Mold and some bacteria can thrive in damp, dark places so make sure your yoga mat is completely dry before rolling it up and putting it away.

You can hang your mat outside over a balcony railing, the back of a chair, or even your shower door to dry.

Be sure not to put your yoga mat in the dryer, this can damage or melt your mat completely.

After your yoga mat is completely dry, you can roll it up and store it in a place with good ventilation.

If you don’t use your mat regularly in your practice, be sure to open it up every few weeks to let it breathe.

What Not To Do When Cleaning Yoga Mats


Don’t clean your mat before checking the manufacturer’s label.

Yoga mats can be made of materials like:

• Cork
• Rubber
• Vinyl
• Jute; or
• Cotton

Checking your mat’s manufacturer’s label can help you determine the appropriate cleaning solution for your yoga mat.

Don’t use too much water.

Knowing the material of your yoga mat can also inform you of how much water your mat can take. Soaking an absorbent, porous yoga mat in water can result in a heavy, soggy mat that may not dry properly.

If your mat needs a deep clean you can decide how much water it can take based on the material. Some mats can handle to a good dousing better than others.

Don’t use too much soap.

Good old dish soap can help you clean the dirt and grime off your yoga mat and restore the grippy surface. However, if you use too much soap, it can leave a slippery residue behind and require too much water to rinse off.

Don’t leave your mat in the sun for too long.

that survived the drying process, but leaving your mat in the sun for too long can dry it out.

A dry mat can lose its flexibility and crumble and crack easily, so avoid leaving the mat to dry in the sun for hours at a time.

Commonly Asked Questions About How To Clean Yoga Mats


What Can I Use To Clean My Rubber Yoga Mat?

We suggest using body and Earth-friendly products instead of harsh chemicals to clean your yoga mat.

You can make a solution using natural disinfectants like vinegar, tea tree extract, or witch hazel or, if you’re not the do-it-yourself type, you can buy all-natural yoga mat sprays that are safe for the environment and your skin.

Can I Wash My Yoga Mat in the Washing Machine?

The answer to this question will depend on the material your yoga mat is made of.

We suggest consulting the manufacturer’s label on your mat.

Washing your yoga mat in a washing machine can cause the materials of some mats to break down. Others can be washed in a front-loading washing machine.

Be sure to check the care instructions for your specific mat.

Should I Deep Clean My Yoga Mat?

Deep cleaning your yoga mat by hand may be necessary if it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned it or if you've participated in a seriously sweaty session.

Checking the manufacturer's label on your mat will let you know what it can handle based on the material.

The method of deep cleaning you should use may also depend on whether your yoga mat material is .

Open-cell mats are porous and absorb moisture, making them more grippable when wet.

Follow these steps to deep-clean an open-cell yoga mat:

1. Unroll your mat and spray a good amount of the cleaner on a towel or sponge.
2. Give your mat a gentle scrub.
3. Lightly rinse the mat with warm water.
4. Gently squeeze the mat to get the dirt and water out.
5. Hang it to dry to maximize airflow on either side.
6. Let it dry completely before rolling or storing.

Closed-cell mats repel moisture so the sweat accumulates on the surface making it slippery, but easier to clean.

To clean a closed-cell mat you should:

1. Lay your mat out and spray the cleaner directly on the surface of the mat until it’s visibly wet.
2. Let it sit for a few minutes.
3. Gently scrub your mat with a towel or sponge, focusing on areas with dirt or stains.
4. Continue to spray the cleaner and scrub until it’s clean.
5. Wipe the mat with a clean, damp cloth.
6. Hang it to dry to maximize airflow on either side.
7. Let it dry completely before rolling or storing.

Can I Steam Clean My Yoga Mat?

Consulting the manufacturer’s label to confirm the material of your mat will let you know if steam cleaning your yoga mat is a good idea or not.

If you do opt to use your steam cleaner on your yoga mat the process is pretty simple:

1. Steam the top side of your mat first by placing your mat on a clean, flat surface.
2. Uniformly steam up and down the mat lengthwise, ensuring the entire surface has been steamed.
3. Lay a clean towel down and flip the mat over to repeat on the other side.
4. Hang it to dry to maximize airflow on either side.
5. Let it dry completely before rolling or storing.

Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi: Experience Holistic Fitness Through Our Online and In-Studio Classes


Body and Brain Yoga and Tai Chi instructors offer a variety of online yoga classes to choose from to practice yoga in the comfort of your home.

And with this guide to cleaning your yoga mat, you can confidently press your face against your mat knowing your mat is fresh and clean.

Or you can leave the disinfecting to us by visiting one of the many Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi locations across the country.

Most of our 100+ studios have mat flooring, and we use an all-natural vinegar solution that’s gentle on your skin and the environment.

Whether you enjoy yoga, Tai Chi, breathwork, or meditation, Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi centers offer 50-minute introductory classes where you can learn one-on-one from our experts.

Schedule your first class today.