Picture this; you are almost ending your yoga session and what an excellent way to do it than nestling in everyone’s favorite position- the child’s pose? You take a deep breath and “pee-yoo”, something smells really awful! It’s your yoga mat! But, what did you expect; the yoga mat
is always there when you bend, balance, and of course, sweat. With all the oils, dirt, and perspiration, it is bound to get really dirty, forcing viruses, bacteria, and microbes down your beautiful yoga studio floor. And, with all the poses that involve lowering your face down to the mat, you are bound to get a cold or even a serious infection at some point.
While investing in a good yoga mat towel
can help keep your mat clean by absorbing the sweat and germs or any dirt on your feet and hands, it is still important to thoroughly clean your mat once in a while. Unfortunately, most of us do not pay as much attention to our mats as we do with our yoga pants
. Most of us simply roll it up, peace out, and wait for the next yoga session to continue with the same routine.
Those of us who try to be a little friendly with our mats use wipes to dry them before rolling them up. But, be warned that these wipes may contain chemicals that might be too harsh for your mat. Also, it could reach a point where your mat needs some thorough cleaning using the right ingredients specifically meant for the job.
Different mats come with different cleaning instructions. While there are those you can throw in the washing machine, there are others that need to be hand-washed thoroughly in a large tub or sink. Whichever method of washing you choose to use, it is important to make sure that the mat cleaner you buy is made of all-natural essential oils. The ingredients should be gentle and most preferably come with amazing aromatherapy benefits.
Let’s discuss more on what to consider when shopping for the best mat cleaner before jumping to our five picks.
Cleaning your yoga mat is important as it keeps it hygienic, fresh and odor-free. The good news is that you don’t have to forego a meal in order to afford a good cleaner. With as little as $10, you can get a good yoga mat cleaner that will leave your mat sparkling. The prices go as far as $40 and above depending on the ingredients found in the cleaner.
When it comes to getting the best mat cleaner, the material the mat is made of determines the type of cleaner to go for. Here are the common yoga mat materials and their recommended cleaners:
- Rubber Yoga Mats – If you have a mat made of rubber, you may want to avoid dipping it in water as the rubber cells tend to fill up with water, making them blocked up and heavy. Also, too much use of essential oils makes the materials break down. Some rubber mat manufacturers suggest that you use a salt-water scrub every now and then. But, you can combine a little baking soda, some lemon juice, and warm water to give your mat a thorough cleanup.
- Foam Yoga Mats – While foam mats can be cleaned using pretty much anything, be warned that putting it into a washing machine may end up breaking the foam. Just do a quick rinse or spray it down with a good spray cleaner.
- Polyurethane-Rubber Yoga Mats – Polyurethane-Rubber Yoga Mats are usually anti-microbial and will therefore, not have problems of fungus growing on them, even with the sweat. By soaking or using essential oils on these mats, you will be detracting the stickiness of the mat over time. If you have these kinds of mats, simply use quick-drying wipes to wipe them down and hang-dry to avoid moisture buildup.
- Cork Yoga Mats – While cork yoga mats are believed to be self-cleaning, it is good to use quick- drying wipes to clean and wipe them.
It’s also important to know whether the mat is used by a single user or it’s shared in a commercial yoga center. If you are borrowing or renting a mat from your studio or gym, it is advisable to use a strong antibiotic/antimicrobial/anti-viral cleaner to avoid contracting any bacterial or viral infections from former users.
Construction and Design
Generally, you have two options to choose from when looking for yoga mat cleaners; either buy pre-made sprays or wipes, or make your own detergent at home.
Home-Made Yoga Mat Cleaner
If you want to control what goes into your yoga mat cleaner, you can try mixing your own home-made cleaner. Just note that finding the right ingredients can turn out to be really time-consuming. One easy way of doing this is to add equal parts of white vinegar and water with a few drops of preferred essential oil in a bottle and shake well. You can then spray the solution into the mat, let it sit for some minutes, and then wipe it off using a microfiber cloth.
This works—but remember that if you don’t combine the right proportions, you will leave your yoga mat smelling like vinegar, which is a bit disturbing to sniff during a yoga session. You may not also get the various aromatherapy scents that you want to experience.
Buying an All-Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner
Buying an all-natural yoga mat cleaner will help you avoid all the hassle that comes with making your own cleaner. Natural yoga mat cleaners are made of natural ingredients and free of toxins. You can therefore, have peace of mind with the knowledge that the cleaner you buy cannot harm you even if it gets on your skin. What’s more, the proportions are well thought-out so you only need to spray and wipe down the mat.
Another reason why most yogis love natural cleaners is that they come in various scents to allow you to choose according to your preferences. Also, natural ingredients are free of insecticides, pesticides, and fungicides, making them better for the environment and, of course, your health.
Performance and Ease of Use
Depending on your practice, it is advisable to wash your mat at least once a week or wipe them daily if your sessions are intense. A light spritz after every session is all it needs. If you tend to become too sweaty during your practice, consider having a yoga towel. These towels are designed from extra absorbent fabrics that dry quickly, so they help keep the mat clean.
Keeping your yoga mat clean extends its life; just make sure you do not destroy its “stickiness.”Here are some of the cleaning mistakes to keep in mind:
- Simply using water and soap does not kill bacteria and this could lead to infections.
- It is important to let the mat air dry. Instead of rolling it up immediately after cleaning, give it a few minutes to dry completely.
- Avoid using harsh detergents such as bleach as they can leave odors and harmful residue that you might end up inhaling during the next Ujjayi breathing session.
- Do not put your mat in a washing machine as it can easily be damaged or warped by the spin cycle.
- Avoid slick solutions as they may end up making a sticky mat very slippery and this could lead to injuries.
- Rough cleaning materials such as rough bristle brushes could damage your mat, so clean it with a soft cloth instead.
When it comes to using an exercise mat, the last thing you want is for it to smell like a bunch of chemicals. Hence, we paid close attention to brands that are known for high-quality natural products. From these brands, we looked for effective cleansing ingredients as well as customer satisfaction to find the most pleasant cleaning scents. We've focused mainly on spray cleaners since they're so fast and convenient, but we did find some effective and easy-to-carry wipes too!
Look for a cleaner that satisfies your sense of smell and fits your budget. User reviews can help narrow down which cleaners have the best scents and which leave the mat feeling and smelling clean. Whatever you're looking for, these are some of the best yoga mat cleaners that cleaning experts recommend for various types of mats.