You go through a lot with your yoga mat. Difficult poses, smiles, falls, cries maybe even... and most likely, sweat. A lot of it. With regular use, our mats end up being covered in sweat, dirt and oils. It might then end up smelling weird or being slippery. The thing is, we should probably wash them about as often as we wash our leggings. Don't feel bad, we don't either.
The best thing you can do is to do a quick wipe down with a gentle solution of 50/50 water and vinegar after each use or so. You can also add tea tree oil to the solution for its germ killing properties (and its smell)! If you don't want to mix the cleaning solution yourself, shop for some mat cleaners here! If you don’t do it religiously after every session, at least make sure you do it after you’ve sweated a lot or have practiced outside.
If your mat is in need for a bigger clean, you can bring it outside, wet it with a hose and scrub it with a sponge and very little soap (a few drops will do). If you can’t do it outside, run a relaxing bath for your mat, just enough to submerge it, with a few drops of mild soap. Make sure you don’t add too much soap, because the mat will absorb it all and it will be slippery when you’ll try to use it (trust us, we’ve made the mistake before!). Scrub, and then after a nice rinse, squeeze most of the water out of it. You can lay your mat on a towel and roll it so the towel absorbs more water. Lay it to dry either outside or on your shower curtain rail. Make sure you don’t lay it in the sun, as it may dry it out too much and make it crumble. It can take as much as 24 hours (or more) to dry! Take that into account and don’t start washing your mat a few hours before a class unless you have another one!
We don’t advise that you wash your mat in the washing machine simply because we can’t guarantee the outcome. Maybe your mat comes out ripped or maybe it breaks your machine? Who knows, but we like to play it safe when talking about our most important piece of yoga equipment!
To maintain your mat clean, try to have clean feet when you step onto your mat and don’t apply lotion to your skin beforehand. The sweat will make your lotion spread all over your mat; sticky mat turns slippery mat kind of situation. If you follow these recommendations, only the quick wipe downs with the vinegar solution will probably be enough for your mat to stay clean!
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