Have you ever wondered how to clean a yoga mat? I’m guessing if you’re reading this then you are on the same search I was on recently.

For me this search arose out of necessity and surprisingly there are very few reviews out there to help point you in the right direction. If your in a bit of a rush our top picks are here in our 10 second review:

How to Clean yoga mats - 10 Seconds Review

Best Wipes Yoga Mat Cleaner

Best Spray Yoga Mat Cleaner

I was out of town for work and in-between meetings and I felt the need to unwind and distress. The front desk of the hotel was happy to oblige and handed me one of their loaner mats so I could workout in my room.

It wasn’t long before I found myself in the child’s pose when suddenly I was confronted with a smell that sent my imagination into overdrive.

  • Who was on this yoga mat before me? 
  • When did they clean this Yoga Mat last? Or worse still
  • Has this Yoga mat ever been cleaned!?

How Often Should I Clean My Yoga Mat?

This will vary depending on how active you are during your weeks and the kind of yoga you partake in.  

For example high users yogis (who work out daily) a quick daily wipe down will keep things at bay.

I can’t stress enough though, how important having a weekly routine of purposefully cleaning down your mat. This will not only keep the bacteria in check but it will also prolong the life of your mat.

How often you clean your yoga mat, if you are a yogi who loves Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) is doubly important as you tend to sweat much more. 

Because the environment your in is warm which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Recently there has been a massive shift away from synthetic materials being used in the production of yoga mats (which we love by the way). Because of this there are a couple of things to be aware of with natural products. 

They are more porous which makes it easier for bacteria to find places to live and grow. The other thing is they generally won’t stand up so well to being cleaned with harsh chemicals or being exposed uv light (Sun).

We know it can be a bit of a hassle however, where possible we recommend cleaning your mat weekly.

How To Clean A Yoga Mat If I Borrow One?

How to Clean Yoga Mats

With loaner mats you don’t have a lot of control over who’s gone before you.  

Yoga nationally is experiencing rapid growth. With more and more people taking it up for the positive health benefits it offers. The downside to this is, from a statistical point of view, if your sharing mats it increases your chances of being infected.

Diseases are easily spread when you are in direct contact with a surface that is contaminated by a person who is infected. This is no different with yoga mats and it’s really easy to see how this can happen.

Long poses where the mat is compressed, a semi porous surface and of course if you’re doing it right, sweat.This makes it easy for nasties to transfer from a person to the mat. Where believe it or not , they can continue to live on the surface for several hours or even days.

Considering that you will touch different parts of your body several times during the session, the chances of contracting and transferring disease causing organisms is very high.

Whats the Best Way To Avoid Infection?

We know that sometimes having to lug your mat around can be a bother and there are times where this simply not practical. Broadly speaking if you’re purely looking at risk of contracting an infection. Investing in a great mat yourself is the safest bet.

If you’re looking to buy our two current favorites are the Maduka Pro lite  as an all-round mat or the best yoga mat for hot yoga is the liforme. Either of which are exceptional options and well worth your consideration.

What If Its Not Practical To Own A Mat?

If this is the case, then purpose built wipes are your best defense against contracting an illness from someone who has used the mat before you.

Designed to be tucked away in your gym bag and can be easily accessed. By quickly wiping over your loaner mat it will deal to any nasties that might be lingering.

After my last experience on a loaner mat these accompany me on all my trips out of town whether it’s a business trip or a weekend way. Especially where taking my own mat is impractical.

How To Clean A Yoga Mat and Keep It Clean?

Spray or wipe? The easy answer is you should use both.

In my opinion carrying around a spray bottle in my gym bag isn't practical where as a small packet of wipes is. So as far as sprays go I keep mine at home. 

How to clean yoga mats

 Manduka’s Mat Wash Spray  is a cleaning solution with essential oils specially formulated to keep your yoga mat clean and smelling fresh.

It can be used as a daily cleaner, after your practice simply spray the Mat Wash onto the surface and wipe down mat with a damp cloth. Air dry before rolling or using.

Religiously on a Friday night I lay it out on the garage floor or sometimes the kitchen if its cold outside. I'll first wipe it down with a cloth and hot water to get the dirt off it. 

Then once it's clean I give it a good spray and allow that to soak in before hanging it over night to dry properly. In the morning I roll it up ready for my week ahead. That simple 🙂

The Jo-Sha Wipes are our favorite as they contain no alcohol or harsh chemicals, so they won’t dry out skin or other surfaces.  

These natural cleansing wipes will actually preserve the life of your equipment. They also dry quickly and evaporate completely, leaving no slippery residue.

This is how I clean yoga mats if I'm on my own mat or on a loaner at a studio. I always have packet of these on hand or tucked away in my bag. 

Because I'm mad on hot yoga. My workouts often end in a sweaty mess.

With a quick wipe over before I roll it up I know I'm not going to offend anyone with a bad smell when I'm next at class and nothing nasty will be taking refuge in my mat. 

The added bonus to this is it also means at the end of the week the mat isn't filthy and the weekly clean is quick.

The same goes if I'm heading away for work. I know the chances are I'll be having to use a loaner mat at the hotel or for longer stays where I may be heading along to a studio. Both have their uses but only you will know which works for you best for you.

The cool thing is neither will break the bank so you can get both and figure it out from there.

Washing Yoga Mat In A Front Loader? ​

Best way to clean a yoga mat

Rule of Thumb is Please don't do it !! 

However if your still wondering how to clean a yoga mat in washing machine here are the steps :

  1. Check the instructions on the manufactures label, as most of the mats made using natural materials are only meant to be washed by hand.
  2. Choose a gentle washing detergent.
  3. Set the washing machine to the gentlest cycle possible. One that allows you to use cool water with a slow spin .
  4. Once washed, remove the mat (do this carefully as it will still be very wet) and lay it out over a towel.
  5. Tightly roll your mat and the towel together. Pressing down as you go to get as much of the excess water out of the mat.
  6. The mat should be hung in open air to dry. Remember that excess heat from the sun is likely to damage the mat.

NOTE : Even though it is very tempting, the tumble dryer is likely to damage them permanently and space heaters and radiators should also be avoided because of their potential to damage mats.

Keeping Your Yoga Mat Clean

Prevention is the key 🙂 Whats most important is that you maintain a healthy space to do you workouts. Getting sick from working out kinda defeats the purpose. The frequency of cleaning your mat will depend on how often you use it and the environments where you use it.

Try not to leave it in your warm car after a workout where moisture and warmth can do its thing. Instead make some time to hang it in open air between sessions instead of folding and packing it away.

Avoid sharing your mat as much as possible. Remember that keeping the mat clean will extend its life.

It also enables you to have a healthy and satisfying yoga session knowing that it is all clean.

THANK YOU !

I hope that this has been a little bit helpful and you now know the two yoga mat cleaners we recommend when it comes to answering the question : how to clean a yoga mat or how to clean yoga mats if your having to use studio/hotel supplied yoga mats. 

If this has been helpful please leave a comment or tell us what you use 🙂

xo Trish