Summer is here and it is the time when Yoga mats can very quickly get slick with sweat and start breeding odorous bacteria. Here is a how to get your Yoga mat sparkly clean in no time. Bikram and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yogis, pay close attention.
If you do Yoga at a studio it is good to carry a bottle of spray to wipe down the mat before you use it, scroll down for the recipe if you are in a hurry!
If you practice at home, then once a week a thorough wash will be helpful especially if you are fiery Pitta body type, who sweats and drips over your mat.
Don’t know your Ayurveda body type? Take a free body type quiz here
Here are my handy tricks to keep my Yoga mats squeaky clean and sanitized.
Why is it important to Clean a Yoga Mat?
In India, where we do Yoga on soft ground or in grass, we are grounded and our sweat drips into the ground. The earth also keeps us cool.
In a studio and home settings, floors can often be slippery. Yoga mats provide the necessary grip to hold poses.
At Yoga studios, there is usually not adequate help to thoroughly disinfect and clean the mats and cushions. It is best to bring a spray of your own. During this time of pandemic, it helps to be cautious.
Most Yoga mats are made of plastic and plastic loves bacteria, whose outer layers are made of lipids and fats. Plastic has an affinity for grease, remember how tough it is to clean tupperware you packed some cheesy pasta for lunch.
The Myriad Ways to Clean a Yoga Mat
Here are two recipes, one for those who like to work hard and enjoy the fruit of their labor. And the other is for lazy girls like me who would rather lounge in their pajamas and write a blog 🙂
Can I clean my Yoga Mat in a Washer?
If you are planning to throw your Yoga mat into the washer, I don’t blame you. I might have done the same if I had not known that most mats are made of open cells and loosely held plastic foam. If your mat is cheaper, and feels light, its most possibly a foam style plastic. This will disintegrate in the washer. If it is thick and well built with cork lining etc, it will most certainly be damaged unless your mat manufacturer says otherwise.
Can I clean my yoga mat with alcohol?
Many internet recipes mention adding alcohol as a disinfectant which makes sense if you are a smooth skinned Pitta or a soft oily skinned Kapha body type. Alcohol is a powerful germ killer and evaporates fast. However, if you are a dry skinned Vata body type like me or an imbalanced Pitta with skin inflammation, it is smart to not be working out on a Yoga mat with traces of alcohol. I would add either a pleasant smelling rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead.
Can I clean my yoga mat with Vinegar?
I fully approve of a vinegar based cleaning recipe, which does not dry the skin like alcohol and will last long without going off. Vinegar does clog spray bottles, its best to keep them in a squirt bottle and use a clean face towel to wipe down.
Can I clean my yoga mat with lemon juice?
Lemon juice is a perishable ingredient and without preservation, it can go bad very fast leading to mold and odor. Its best to use lemon essential oil for extra sparkly cleansing.
To note: None of these methods will kill bacteria except when we use a little bleach to the solution.