Have you ever been face down in a child’s pose, breathing deeply, arriving in the present moment when suddenly something unpleasant hits your nostrils? That, my friend, is the smell of sweat combined with the oils of your skin and who knows what else. How many of us are guilty of simply rolling up our mat and tossing it to the side until our next practice? We’ve all done it more than we’d like to admit. However, having a clean yoga mat doesn’t need to be a hassle and it should be something you build into your weekly routine, especially if you want your mat to last.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to keep your mat clean is to get in the habit of wiping it down after every use. If you spend a lot of time on the go, jumping into class after work and hustling home or if you’re prone to forgetting to do a full mat cleaning, grab some yoga mat wipes. They come in little packets that look just like the moist towelettes you get at restaurants after eating a plate of ribs. You can toss them in your purse or gym bag and use them whenever necessary. However, make sure to use wipes specifically made for cleaning mats, as other kinds of wipes might make them “unsticky” and therefore unusable.
Another great way to keep your mat smelling fresh is to use a DIY mat cleaner. I’m not an expert on do it yourself projects, but this recipe is super easy and affordable. Mix up a concoction of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and put it into a refillable spritz bottle. I’m a big fan of lavender as I find it to be highly relaxing, but you can use whichever oil whatever you prefer. Tea tree oil is a great option as it’s the essential oil with the highest antifungal properties.
Give your mat a more thorough cleaning once a month. Some experts recommend putting your yoga mat into your washer on a cold water, delicate setting with mild laundry detergent. Be sure to check the manufacturer's suggestions for your particular mat before trying this tactic. I also recommend leaving your mat to air dry by hanging it up as you would with a towel. Here comes the important part: do not roll your mat while it is wet and do not let it sit out in the sun to dry as it could totally destroy it, dry it out or make it crumbly.
You practice yoga to show yourself some love so make sure you are showing your mat some love, too! We always remember to wash our favorite yoga gear, but our poor mats get rolled up and put away without a second thought. If you’re not keen on washing your yoga mat as often, consider investing in two yoga mats so that you always have a back up when one is dirty!
About the Author
Nikki Young is a military wife, mom of two and yoga enthusiast. As a YogaClub Ambassador, you’ll find her showing off her yoga gear on YouTube and Facebook every month. When she’s not on the mat, Nikki also runs an online makeup business. Find her website at www.nikkiyoung.ca