Can You Wash a Yoga Mat? Yes! Here’s How:
In all the energy we pour into yoga, mat maintenance isn’t talked about enough. Whether yoga is a hardcore part of your routine or simply an occasional hobby, cleanliness shouldn’t be overlooked, and your mat likely harbors a lot more bacteria than you’d think. After all, not only does your mat always touch the ground, which can introduce all kinds of unknown germs to that side, but the other side of your mat absorbs any sweat from your session that day, which can cause dirt and unpleasant odors to build up over time. So even if your mat doesn’t stink just yet, take a look at this tutorial to find out how to best keep your mat—and yourself—healthy and happy.
The general rule of thumb for mat maintenance is to do a quick cleaning after each session, followed by a deeper cleanse once a month with a certified (or homemade) yoga mat cleaner. However, the specific techniques will vary based on what material your mat is made of, so before you start, you need to take a closer look at what you’re working with so you don’t accidentally damage your mat. Here is a breakdown for cleaning the five most popular types of yoga mats:
Vinyl Mats are one of the cheapest, most commonly found styles of yoga mats, and luckily, cleanup is just as straightforward: simply wipe down your mat after every workout with a moist towel or antibacterial wipe and hang to dry.
Natural Rubber Mats are sturdier and primarily on the higher end of yoga mats, but cleanup can be a breeze as long as you stick to some key rules. Avoid soaking of any kind, and wipe down with a damp, clean cloth before hanging to dry. Once a month, you can treat your rubber mat to a scrubbing of saltwater with a bit of lemon juice or baking soda mixed in to eliminate odors. Two things to steer clear of are paper towels and essential oils—the paper will stick to the mat, and the oils can potentially break down the rubber over time.
Cloth Mats are a comfortable and classic choice for yoga mats, usually made of cotton and hemp. While biodegradable, the fibers are highly absorbent and can soak up a lot of sweat during sessions. Luckily, cleanup for cloth mats is effortless: once a week, simply run the mat through a gentle cycle in your washing machine and hang dry.
Cork Mats are less common but favored for their renewable, natural sourcing. Using a very soft cloth, wipe down with cold water every few days and with a yoga mat cleaner once a month. Allow it to air-dry and avoid abrasive sponges, which can chip away at the material.
Memory Foam Mats are our favorite pick here at Yoga Pants Cat, and one of the things we love about the material is how easy it is to clean. As long as you avoid machine washing, you can wipe down your mat after each session with a sponge and the cleaner of your choice.
Looking for an easy-to-clean memory foam mat? Yoga Pants Cat has its own top-notch mat that’s soft, durable, and cleans up in a snap.