Yoga is supposed to be a relaxing activity but if you catch yourself wondering when was the last time the mat you are lying on – possibly with a lot of bare skin touching it – was last cleaned, your savasana quick turn into a slightly more stressed out exercise.
In many studios it is regular practise to clean the mat every time after the practise with a solution provided. If this is not the case, or you practise at home, or indeed are the person teaching the class, here is how to make your own natural cleaning solution that I have found working for most of my mats (PVC and natural rubber ones, you can read more about the different yoga mat types here.)
What do you need to clean your yoga mat:
- Spray bottle
- White vinegar or clean spirit (I used a Cypriot brand called Zivania because it is about 3 euros for a bottle – you can drink it too but I used it for cleaning.)
- Essential oil(s): I use tea tree for its antibacterial properties (other antibacterial oils are bergamont and lemongrass) and either lavender (calming) or peppermint (more refreshing) to make the mix smell nice
Since I am not very good at measuring anything I fill in the spray bottle mainly with water, add some alcohol or vinegar to the mix and 2-4 drops of both of the essential oils.
For cleaning I shake the bottle well, spray the mix all over the mat and wipe it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
If there are bigger stains in the mat you can use a soft sponge to gently rub them but be careful as this might damage the surface of the mat. Some people recommend using mild ecological soap but be careful with this one. Any soap residue will make your mat very slippery and we do not want that. As for the washing machine question, yes I have washed my (cheapest PVC) mats in the gentle cycle in the washing machine. I would not recommend it as it chips the material away and probably is not the best thing for your washing machine either. To be done at your own risk.
If you choose to use water to clean your mat you can hang it dry outside for a brief while but be careful not to leave it in the sun (especially in conditions like Cyprus) – as great the sun is, it also destroys everything very quickly.
Enjoy cleaning your mat and a peace of mind for your next practise that is guarantee with your clean and nice smelling mat!