Woman doing yoga on yoga mat

How to clean a yoga mat.

Last Updated: June 15, 2021

Trying to remember the last time you cleaned your yoga mat? Read below for Grove’s helpful (& natural) cleaning tips on how to clean a yoga mat.

Let’s be honest, your yoga mat probably needs a good scrubbing, if not an entire disinfecting and, potentially, even a good, solid deep clean. The reality is, yoga mats get dirty, and they require frequent cleaning. How often you do it is up to you, but it’s important to not skip it!

So what are the best ways to clean yoga mats and how often do you have to do it?

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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First, why do you need to clean a yoga mat?

Yoga mats on rack on the wall

When you practice yoga, you both relax your body and strain it all at the same time. So, naturally, your yoga mat bears the brunt of your escapades and, over time, accumulates dirt, dust, and loads of sweat. We won’t even mention the germs and bacteria that are likely camping out and having a glorious heyday!

However, cleaning a yoga mat is not exactly priority number one in anyone’s day-to-day life. In most cases, your yoga mat is forgotten as soon as your session is finished.

Unfortunately, the smells and gunk that settle into your yoga mat won’t soon be forgotten! They’ll just get worse, until all of it becomes a hotspot of germs and sweat stink. It can ruin or at least disrupt your entire yoga experience the next time you decide to roll it out for a flex sesh.

Person on yoga mat

Cleaning your yoga mat helps ensure good hygiene, since your hands (face and feet too) touch the mat in various poses, and then they touch a lot of other surfaces too. Your feet can even develop infections from a dirty yoga mat, including plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, or staph infection.

Another important reason to clean your mat regularly is the safety factor. You need to make sure there isn’t any sweat build-up on the surface of the mat. Sweat build up can be slippery, potentially causing you to slip and fall.

And finally, regular cleaning increases the lifespan of your yoga mat. When you take care of it, it takes care of you! Otherwise, without frequent cleaning, the mat will become irredeemable at some point, and will have to be thrown out and replaced. While you probably should replace your yoga mat at some point, you shouldn’t have to do it frequently if you care for it well.

How often should you clean your yoga mat?

Ideally, yoga mats should be cleaned at least once a week if you practice yoga regularly. However, if you’re one of those people who use it less frequently, you may clean it as needed. Depending on the nitty gritty of your usage and the frequency of your cleaning habits, your mat might require a simple light wipe and disinfecting spray, or it may need a real bath-type deep clean.

Additionally, if you use it every day –– especially outdoors or if you sweat heavily (this goes for hot yoga, too) –– you should seriously consider giving it a quick wipe after every session.

How to clean your yoga mat

Yoga mat wipes or spray

One of the easiest ways of cleaning your yoga mat is yoga mat wipes or yoga mat spray. Designed especially for this purpose, yoga mat wipes and sprays come in a variety of scents and ingredients.

Infused essential oils in the wipes and sprays add a pleasant scent to the mat which –– in our humble opinion –– merely enhances your whole yoga experience.

Water and vinegar

This natural cleaning product works great on natural-based mats, like those made with natural tree rubber, since it is a natural material as well. Mix warm water and vinegar in equal parts, and wipe your mat down with a soft cloth or sponge dipped in the solution. You can also find vinegar cleaning wipes here if you’re not the DIY type.

Be sure to check the manufacturer’s label on your mat to make sure it can be cleaned this way first though. This cleaning solution is one that’s actually used by yogis throughout the world, especially when combined with essential oils like tea tree, since it’s antimicrobial.

Water and dish soap

Sometimes good old-fashioned water and soap is the best recourse. This cleaning method works both for surface cleaning and deep cleaning of your yoga mat. For light cleaning, you can mix together water and about a spoonful of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray onto the mat and wipe it clean with a soft towel. This quick and easy cleaning method works great on yoga mats with a closed-cell structure.

However, if your mat requires heavy, deeper cleaning, then it needs a proper bath. In that case, you’ll need a large sink. Or you can use the tub or an inflatable pool. Simply fill it with water and add a small amount of dish soap. Put the yoga mat in the water to soak for a while and then scrub it clean. Once all the dirt and grime is removed, rinse it with clean water and wring out any excess from the mat.

Once it’s clean and wrung out, you can roll it up with a towel and step on it to remove excess water from the mat using pressure. Then spread it out or hang it up somewhere and allow the mat to air dry.

Water and microfiber cloth

If you don’t have a lot of time and want to give your mat a quick refresh, grab a microfiber cloth and lightly wet it with water. Rub down your mat with the damp microfiber cloth and let the mat air dry for a few minutes.

Microfiber is amazing — known for their cleaning power, microfibers are able to attach themselves to even the smallest, most microscopic dirt particles. Each fiber is positively charged, attracting and pulling up negatively-charged dirt, dust, and germs from any surface. While microfiber cloths can’t kill viruses, they can pick up debris that viruses and germs cling to, making your home cleaner and more sustainable.

Do’s and don’ts for cleaning your yoga mat

Cleaning a yoga mat really isn’t too difficult, but it’s definitely not something you should neglect. Not only for your sake and the sake of your nose, but also for the sake of any noses around you! Find out some quick do’s and don’ts you can try when cleaning your mat.

Do clean it frequently

As mentioned above, your yoga mat becomes a comfy home for germs and bacteria without proper cleaning regularly. These germs can travel to so many other places via your hands.

They not only can cause disease and illness, but they also contribute to a general lack of hygiene. So be sure to clean your yoga mat as often as required, depending on how much you use it.

Do try your washing machine

Sometimes your yoga mat needs a good clean ,and you may not have time to handwash it. Depending on the material and manufacturer’s recommendations, you might be able to put it in the washing machine.

Look at the label or packaging to determine if it’s safe to machine wash and dry. If it is, skip the soap and just run it with water. Then let it toss in the dryer on medium heat afterwards. You could spray it down with an antimicrobial spray with scented essential oils once it’s mostly dry and then let it finish by air drying.

Don’t use a lot of water

At least not if you don’t have to. Drenching your mat in water can cause it to become waterlogged and heavy, and it may not dry properly. Of course, the material of your yoga mat makes a difference. Some mats lend themselves better to a good drenching than others if you do have to drench it for a deep clean.

Don’t use a lot of soap

For a successful yoga session, you need a surface that provides something for your feet to grab on to, allowing you to balance without falling. Most yoga mats are designed with this in mind. However, using too much soap during cleaning can leave soap residue behind, which will cause the surface of the mat to become slippery.

Don’t leave the mat in the sun

Yoga mats are designed to be flexible. However, drying them out too much may damage the flexibility of the mat, causing it to crumble and crack easily. As with most things, it’s best not to leave the mat in the sun for long periods of time if you can avoid it.

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Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.