Tricks to Squeaky Clean Your Yoga Mat in Under a Minute


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.


God Kartikeya in a semi tree pose.

Easy Lazy Yoga Mat Cleaning Technique

Fill a bathtub with a couple of inches of lukewarm water. Squirt a teaspoon of organic liquid dish soap or half a cup of boiled soap nuts solution.

Soap nut liquid soap: You can make a soap nut mixture by crushing 4 soap nuts, cooking it down with 1 cup of water till only half a cup remains.

After about ten minutes, scrub the surface with a pad and then run the shower for a few minutes. Turning the mat over a couple of times till all the soap washes away.

Hang it to dry on the side of the shower door or an airy balcony.

Voila! You have a fresh new mat.

I like to spray clean my Yoga mat with this freshening recipe

 Daily/ Weekly use Freshening Spray 1

  • Half a cup of boiled cooled water
  • 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar or Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Liquid Soap
  • A pinch of Borax or Baking Soda
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil


Shake the Ingredients and spray on the Yoga mat after every use to refresh and clean. Wipe with a clean face towel or hang over a chair or porch rail to dry.

 Daily/ Weekly use Freshening Spray 2

  • Half a cup of boiled cooled water
  • 1 tablespoon soapnut solution
  • 1 pinch Borax
  • 1 teaspoon bleach
  • A few drops of lavender or Eucalyptus essential oil


Shake the Ingredients and spray on the Yoga mat after every use to refresh and clean. Wipe with a clean face towel or hang over a chair or porch rail to dry.

Caution: Omit the bleach and add any type of Vinegar if you have sensitive skin.

 I don’t have a bathtub, how to deep clean my yoga mat?

In such a case, lay the mat on a railing or a clean, flat surface like a bathroom floor or a garage or verandah. Make sure there is ample drainage.

Spray with water and pour over a weak soap solution.

Use a soft sponge scrub to lather the soap in circular motion.

Use a water hose to wash away the suds.

How to store your clean Yoga Mat

After the mat is air dried and is without any moisture, roll loosely and leave in a basket or a cubby you like to keep your Yoga things. If you have space, you can simply fold over two times and lay flat for better air circulation.

If you live in a damp environment then its best not to tightly coil the mats and leave them close together except in a well ventilated space. Enjoy your squeaky clean Yoga mat.


About the author:

Salila Sukumaran

Salila Sukumaran is an Ayurveda health coach based in Mountain View, CA.

Through her wellness travel concierge Ayurgamaya, Salila provides tailored Ayurveda and Yoga wellness journeys to India and Bali for an immersive experience.

For her work in promoting Yoga and Ayurveda, Salila was recognized as an ambassador by AYUSH, India’s health ministry. Salila has appeared on London Real TV, is quoted in Washington Post, Mind Body Green, Authority Magazine, and Money Magazine among others.

Salila is from an Ayurveda lineage from Kerala, South India, and shares her knowledge through Ayurveda workshops and webinars. Salila learned Ayurveda from the elders of her family and enjoys demonstrating how simple rituals can bring profound shifts in overall health.

Say hello to me on my Instagram :-)

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