How Often Should You Really Clean Your Yoga Mat?

If you practice yoga or do floor workouts, you probably have a yoga mat. Can you remember the last time you cleaned it? If the answer is no, you probably aren’t cleaning it enough. It’s easy to ignore the task, but plenty of sweat, grime, and oil accumulate when you exercise on a yoga mat, leaving a germ-filled mess (via Self). Skin cells, microorganisms including bacteria and fungus from your skin, whatever dirt may be on the floor, and more exist on your mat. Even worse, these germs can increase daily, making cleaning it correctly important for your health, especially if you happen to have a small cut or wound in your skin that comes in contact with the surface. 

YogaSpark founder and instructor Lauren Porat spoke to Women’s Health about the situation. She said, “The rule is, the sweatier or dirtier your mat gets, the more important it is to clean it after every practice.” It’s tempting just to roll the mat up when you’re finished exercising and call it good. However, that probably isn’t a healthy habit. Whether you use it exclusively at home or you carry it with you to yoga classes, there’s a good chance you need to put a bit of elbow grease into cleaning your yoga mat.

Here's how to properly clean your yoga mat

While cleaning your yoga mat adds a bit of extra time to your post-workout routine, it’s worth it to ensure the surface stays grime-free. Generally, you should clean your yoga mat after every one or two practices, opting for one if you’re incredibly sweaty (via Yoga Journal). 

You can purchase cleaner made specifically for yoga mats from many retailers, or you can create your own in a convenient spray bottle, per Women’s Health. The outlet suggests a recipe of equal parts of water and vinegar, along with several drops of tea tree oil; this will create a cheap and easy cleaning solution from items you likely have at home. Self, meanwhile, noted that if you know your mat’s brand, the website may have specific instructions for cleaning it. You can wash a few brands in the washing machine, but don’t try this unless you know you have a machine washable brand. If you’d prefer not to use a spray, an antibacterial wipe could also do the trick. 

Simple soap and water might also work. Lauren Porat told Women’s Health that an easy way to rid your yoga mat of germs is to put it in the bathtub or shower and wash it with a bit of mild soap and water. “Let it air dry and then roll it up,” Porat said. She also recommended adding a good yoga towel on top of the mat to avoid getting it grimy. Regularly cleaning your yoga mat can keep your practice healthier.

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