You know how sweaty you can get while working out. Thank goodness for your yoga mat, which happily absorbs all the dirt, oil and perspiration – if you have done it the right way, that is!
But there is a downside to this, too. Germs, viruses and bacteria are all game to sweaty places. And it can be really bad if you use shared mats provided by gyms or yoga studios. It’s always more hygienic using your own mat, as long as you know how to keep it clean.
If the thought of cleaning and sanitizing your yoga mat has never dawned on you, it is time to “Please stand up!” and just follow one of the methods below to sanitize your mat and keep it stink-free.
We tested four methods that will clean, disinfect and deodorize your yoga mat without much hassle. You should deep clean yoga mat once every week during the hot summer and at least once a month during cooler seasons.
Note: Before you proceed with any of the methods, do a patch test to make sure the cleaning agent doesn’t damage your mat. Also, always wipe the mat dry as well as hang it up to finish air-drying after cleaning. Performing yoga on a slippery mat can be dangerous.
Here are 4 simple methods to clean a yoga mat.
- Method 1: Vinegar
- Method 2: Liquid Dish Soap
- Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol
- Method 4: Baking Soda Sanitizing Solution
Method 1: Vinegar
If your yoga mat is made of tree rubber, good old vinegar diluted with water is an inexpensive solution that can deodorize and restore the rubbery texture of your mat.
You can also add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice to cover up the strong vinegar odor. It will also make your mat smell great, especially when you curl up in the Child’s Pose and get a whiff from your mat.
Things you’ll need:
- White vinegar (deodorizing cleaning agent)
- Lavender essential oil (optional)
Step 1. Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle
- Fill a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar.
- Fill up the rest with water.
- Optionally, add 3 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil.
- Put the cap on the bottle and shake it well to mix all the ingredients.
Step 2. Spray the solution on the mat and wipe it down
- Liberally spray the vinegar solution on the yoga mat.
- Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then soak up the solution using paper towels. The dirt and gunk will come off with the solution.
- Repeat the process if necessary, then hang up the mat to air-dry before you roll it up.
Method 2: Liquid Dish Soap
Using regular liquid dish soap with warm water is a safe route to take to keep your yoga mat dirt- and odor-free. However, do not use any harsh scrubber or steel wool to scrub the mat, as it can damage the surface.
Things you’ll need:
- Warm water – 2 cups
- Liquid dish soap (cleaning agent) – 1 tablespoon
- Cotton towel
Step 1. Prepare the soap solution in a spray bottle
- Pour 2 cups of warm water into a spray bottle.
- Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap.
- Put the cap on the bottle and shake it well to mix the soap into the water.
Step 2. Spray the soap solution on the mat and wipe it clean
- Spray the soap solution on the mat, covering all the sweat spots and stains, if any.
- Wipe the mat down with a clean, dry cotton towel. Do not rub too hard, as it can damage the mat.
- Repeat the process if the mat needs more cleaning.
- If there is any soapy residue, spray some warm water on the mat, then wipe it off.
- Once the mat is completely soap-free, hang it on the shower rod and allow it to air-dry.
If the mat is extremely soiled, prepare a greater quantity of the soap solution using the same proportions. Soak the mat completely in the solution for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse it off and let it air-dry.
Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol
You can also use diluted rubbing alcohol to clean your funky yoga mat. Rubbing alcohol is used for a variety of cleaning hacks, as it acts as a degreaser, stain remover, disinfectant and odor-removal agent.
If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, you can use witch hazel in the same proportion with water.
Step 1. Mix rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle
- Fill a spray bottle three-fourths of the way with water.
- Fill the remaining one-fourth with rubbing alcohol.
- Put the cap on, shake it up and your DIY cleaning spray is ready to use.
Step 2. Clean the mat with the DIY spray
- Liberally spray the rubbing alcohol solution all over the mat.
- Use paper towels to soak up the excess liquid and the dirt will tag along with it.
- Hang the mat in the open and let it air-dry completely before you use it again.
Method 4: Baking Soda Sanitizing Solution
If your yoga mat looks clean but needs some sanitizing to banish the bacteria that may be calling it home, prepare a sanitizing spray using water and baking soda. Baking soda is a wonderful cleaning agent and acts as a safe and natural disinfectant.
You can also add a few drops of essential oil (tea tree, lemon or lavender) that has mild antibacterial properties.
Things you’ll need:
- Water – 1 cup
- Baking soda (natural disinfectant) – 1 teaspoon
- Lavender essential oil (mild antibacterial properties) – 2 to 4 drops
Step 1. Prepare the sanitizing solution with water and baking soda
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water.
- Add 2 to 4 drops of lavender essential oil to the solution.
- Stir well to mix all the ingredients.
Step 2. Transfer it to a spray bottle
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle for easy application.
Step 3. Spray it on the mat and wipe it off with a towel
- Spray the sanitizing solution all over the yoga mat.
- Soak a clean towel in hot water and wring out the excess water.
- Use it to wipe the baking soda solution off the mat.
- Hang the mat up to air-dry completely before using it again.
- Always wipe your hands and feet before stepping on your yoga mat.
- Don’t roll up a damp or wet mat. Let it air-dry after every session to reduce sweat and odor buildup.
- If your mat is machine-washable, launder it with very little detergent using the mildest wash setting without the rinse cycle.
- You can lay towels over your mat to collect the sweat. You can easily throw the towels in the wash and clean your mat only as needed, which will be less often.
- You can also try commercial cleaning wipes like Jo-Sha yoga mat wipes to clean a yoga mat.