How Should I Clean a Yoga Mat?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Most yoga mats are made from rubber, and they are treated to be lightly sticky so that they do not slip during yoga practice. Like all sports equipment, yoga mats can get very dirty, and it is useful to know how to clean a yoga mat. In addition, you should get into the habit of giving your yoga mat a quick cleaning after every use; not only will this keep the mat in good condition, but it will also keep the mat smelling sweet and clean. Try to avoid loaning your yoga mat to anyone else, as you may unwittingly transmit or contract conditions like ringworm.

Sprinkling baking soda on a yoga mat can reduce odor.
Sprinkling baking soda on a yoga mat can reduce odor.

On a daily basis, try giving your yoga mat a quick wipe down with a towel after each use. You can also spray a solution of water and tea tree oil on the yoga mat after use, but remember to wipe it down and hang it to dry. Tea tree oil is naturally antiseptic and antifungal, so it may help keep the yoga mat clean without the use of harsh detergents and chemicals.

Yoga mats are commonly made of rubber and should be wiped down after each use.
Yoga mats are commonly made of rubber and should be wiped down after each use.

If your mat is mildly soiled, you can clean it with a solution of warm water and detergent. When you clean a yoga mat using this technique, you can also add a small amount of baking soda to cut down on odor, which can be an issue for yogis who sweat a great deal. Fill a spray bottle with the water solution and squirt it onto dirty areas of the mat. Wipe these areas clean, hang the yoga mat to dry, and then roll it up for storage.

Yoga mats may be cleaned with antibacterial wipes.
Yoga mats may be cleaned with antibacterial wipes.

A truly soiled or dirty yoga mat requires more intensive care. To clean a yoga mat which has become really dirty, submerge it in cool to warm water in a bathtub with several drops of detergent. Scrub the yoga mat with clean cloths or soft sponges. Drain and refill the bathtub several times to remove dirt and rinse all the detergent from the mat. If you do not have access to a bathtub to clean a yoga mat, you can use a hose outdoors.

Most yoga mats can be washed using a washing machine.
Most yoga mats can be washed using a washing machine.

After a bath, roll a yoga mat up in a big fluffy towel, pressing on it lightly to draw the water out. The sticky mat will retain water for days otherwise. Hang the yoga mat to dry, taking care to keep it away from heaters or bright sunlight, and check it every 12 hours or so for dryness. When the yoga mat is totally dry, you can roll it up for storage.

If you sweat a great deal, you may want to consider purchasing or making a cover for your yoga mat. A cover will make it easier to clean a yoga mat, since the mat will not get so soiled. Covers can also be thrown in the wash when they get dirty, and you can keep a stock to switch things up if you get bored.

A spray that contains tea tree oil can help clean a yoga mat without the need for harsh chemicals.
A spray that contains tea tree oil can help clean a yoga mat without the need for harsh chemicals.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon269256

If you google Tea Tree Oil it says it is a rubber solvent and will dissolve rubber?

anon222934

The easiest, most convenient way to clean your mat is to ask your studio to get a Matsana machine. It uses UV light, takes 20 seconds and it's clinically proven.

I use the one at YogaWorks in Santa Monica, CA. For a buck, and no worries, it's unbelievable!

anon210684

For cleaner yoga mats, UV light is the best way to clean a yoga mat. It takes the smell and odor away as well as kills all the germs, bacteria, and fungus on yoga mats. It even kills cold and flu virus.

anon157630

I am also eager to find out what the ratio is for tea tree oil and water for cleaning a mat. How do we get an answer to this question. Too bad it wasn't included in the initial info. Please help me now!

anon144753

If i were to make a water/tea tree oil solution, what would the ratios be?

Or would it just be water and a few drops of tea tree oil? Thanks!

anon87379

Best to leave it unrolled or better hanging up for a few weeks in a shed or somewhere the odor won't bother anybody. Some of the rubber mats over the past five years have very strong odors and this is one down side of them.

Best Wishes, Dave

anon13041

Hello, I purchased a natural rubber yoga mat and it smells very strongly of rubber. What would you suggest in lightening the odor.

Thanks

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