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Have you ever got into an extended puppy pose, taken a big whiff and...smelled something...odd? Well, yes...that’s your yoga mat.
Surely you are not cleaning your mat with the frequency necessary (but don’t feel bad, most people don’t). In fact, most days after doing yoga you just roll it up and take it with you, sweat and all. Fast forward to the next day you do yoga: roll it open, sweat on it, roll it back up, and take it with you. It’s the same thing everyday. Germs and bacteria thrive in sweaty and moist places. These can make your yoga mat both smell and feel yucky. The best way to stay hygienic and clean is to both bring your own mat to practise and, more importantly, clean it and keep it that way. However, don’t be too aggressive with your cleansing! Remember that you want it to be clean but not lose that necessary “stickiness” of the grip.
Here we present you with a couple of ways that you can clean your yoga mat...and some tips to keep it that way.
Soap and Water
Back to basics! Even though there are many ways to clean your yoga mat, one of the easiest and most basic ways to do it is with a little water and liquid dish soap. Remember to not use too much soap, which can leave a slippery residue on your mat! Create a solution with 2-cups of water to every 4 drops of liquid dish soap. Use a damp sponge to gently scrub the soiled mat. Run it over warm water to wash away the soap residue. Done!
If you prefer a different approach, sanitizing solutions are the way to go. The best thing is that you can do them yourself! You just need water and some drops of essential oil (we recommend tea tree oil, since it is antifungal). Add two drops of essential oil into a spray bottle filled with water and shake well. If your mat is extremely stinky, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the bottle. Spray a fine mist of the solution on your mat and then wipe clean with a warm, damp cloth. Make sure you’re not allergic to the essential oil you choose and never clean your mat in a public space, you never know who may have an allergic reaction.
Some yoga mats are even machine washable! Check the label on your mat or your manufacturer’s instructions to be sure that you can, in fact, wash your mat on your washer, because others may be destroyed by the tumble cycle! Choose a very gentle detergent and wash on a delicate cycle. We recommend throwing your mat in the washing machine at least once a month, to give it the cleansing it deserves.
Once you have washed your mat with either method, roll it up, squeeze any excess of water, rub it dry with a towel, and hang it to air dry. It will usually dry overnight. Don’t let it dry out in the sun, though! It may crumble up and be ruined.
To keep it perfectly clean we recommend lightly spraying it with your homemade sanitizing solution every time you finish using it and machine wash it once a month. Don’t share your mat and always use it with clean feet. Following these little tips will extend your mat’s life, keep bacteria and germs away and leave it smelling fresh and clean for years to come.