Whether you like to practice your asanas in the heat, Bikram or Hot Vinyasa style, or like to practice gentle flows in the comfort of your own home, it’s always a good idea to consider the cleanliness of your environment.
While some choose to use a suitable yoga towel to absorb their sweat when things heat up, others choose to practice on a bare mat. With consistent practice, a yoga mat can become a breeding ground for germs. Considering all the sweat – from our towels, our bodies and our feet – the frequently touch our mats, they should be cleaned often.
Here are a few ways to easily clean your yoga mat:
Tea Tree Oil
Fill a spray bottle (4 oz.) with distilled water and 4-5 drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial properties that fight germs. Tea tree oil has a strong scent, so feel free to add a few drops of some sort of essential oil (lavender, rosemary, etc.) to balance out the scent of the tea tree oil. Spray the concocted mixture on your mat after each session and be sure to wipe down with a clean paper towel or cloth, until dry. A similar mixture can also be made by mixing equal parts white vinegar and distilled water, spraying
Rubbing alcohol aka isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol, is a disinfecting agent that has a host of uses (12 Ways to Use Rubbing Alcohol). One of my favorite uses is keeping my mat clean. You can purchase rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle from CVS, Walgreens and the Dollar Store just to name a few places, and its relatively inexpensive. Just spray your mat down with the rubbing alcohol and wipe it clean with a paper towel – it may only take one pass with the paper towel since rubbing alcohol is highly evaporative.
Washing Machine (direct drive machines only) or Hose It Down
I learned this trick from my sister! Even though you may be wiping your mat down with the disinfecting agent of your choice, it’s a good idea every now and then to actually throw it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent and hang to dry. If you don’t feel comfortable putting the mat in the washing machine, take it outside, wash it with a mild soap and hose it off – hang to dry. I would only recommend this method with lightweight mats.
Have any useful tips for maintaining yoga mats? Feel free to share them in the comments below.