When people arrive at class and start rolling out their Yoga mats, I often hear one of a couple exclamations... "I left my mat in the car - it's frozen!" (It's very cold where I live), or "My mat really needs a wash". If I hear the second statement, it is often followed by the question - "how should I clean this thing?". We have a pretty intimate relationship with those mats of ours. We lay, sit, roll, and sometimes fall asleep on them, however, we clean them a lot less often than we do our homes, floors, or clothing. So, what is the best way to clean your Yoga mat? Here's a few ideas...
Use an anti-bacterial Yoga Mat spray:
I really like the one from Saje Natural Wellness, but there are plenty of organic options to choose from.
I like to first wipe my mat down with a cloth and hot water, then spray the anti-bacterial on and let it sit for awhile. Because most of the sprays have a scent to them, I like to wipe my mat down again with a clean cloth and hot water after letting the spray set for awhile - even if you like the scent, others beside you may be bothered by it. I let my mat air dry over a laundry rack for a few hours after this. I really like to use the cloth because you can actually scrub the mat! The oils from our skin and dirt from the floor etc., all build up on the mats over time, so it's nice to give the mat a deeper clean once in awhile, which brings me to my next cleaning method.
Use the Hose or Shower:
You can still use the anti-bacterial spray for this method, but you can also use a mixture of Water and Vinegar, or even a bit of dish-soap for this. Simply lay the mat in the bathtub, add the cleaner of your choice (either spray a water/vinegar solution or use a cloth to wipe the dish soap around if using something like that) and then run the shower or tap to soak the mat rinsing off all the cleaning solution. You should see a lot of dirty water going down the drain here - which will make you think about that last long savasana you took ;) - so continue to rinse until the water runs clear. I like to lay my mat over a long beach towel after this and place another one on top to soak up some of the excess moisture, but then, be sure to hang your mat to dry for about 12-24 hours.
This method also works great with the garden hose in the summer if you have a low fence to hang your mat over. And as a bonus, you can air-dry the mat in the summer breeze!
I hope these ideas help you next time you roll your mat out and feel like it's time for a wash. Let me know if there are any other methods you use to clean your favorite mat!