Washing your yoga mat regularly keeps it free of germs and bacteria that could cause uncomfortable skin conditions. Placing your mat on a gym floor, sweating on it and standing on it barefoot after walking on other surfaces can transfer harmful microbes to your yoga mat. Washing your mat doesn't take a lot of time nor require any special products, making it a simple addition to your post-yoga routine.
To kill germs and clean debris from your yoga mat, use warm water and dish soap. "Yoga Journal" suggests a combination of 2 cups of water with 4 drops of soap. Store the mixture in a spray bottle for easy use. Some yoga mats hold up in the gentle cycle of your washing machine with a mild laundry detergent. Read the care instructions that accompany your yoga mat for specific instructions on caring for yours. Some materials may fall apart in the washing machine and will need to be hand-washed.
After a yoga session, lightly spray your yoga mat with water and dish soap and gently scrub. Allow the mat to air dry before use. For stubborn odors and dirt, allow the mat to soak for 10 to 15 minutes for scrubbing it. Squeeze out any excess water and hang to dry. If appropriate, place your mat in the washer with a small amount of laundry soap and run it through the gentle cycle before hanging to dry.
When to Wash
If you have time, washing your mat after each use is a good way to keep germs and bacteria at bay. If you notice a strange smell while your face is near your yoga mat, it is probably a good idea to disinfect it and scrub it down. Any visible marks or dirt on your mat is another good indication that it needs to be washed. Some yoga studios provide mats, but may not wash them often. If you are unsure about the sanitation at your studio, bring your own mat from home.
Always be sure to wipe your mat well and only use as much soap as is needed. This is because soap build up on your yoga mat could make it slippery, increasing the risk of a fall or injury during your next yoga session. If you prefer a commercial product, some yoga studios sell disinfecting spray for use on your mat. They often contain ingredients such as grapefruit, tea tree oil and lavender. These products are typically sprayed on the mat before being wiped off, but may not remove dirt even though they do kill germs and bacteria.