Learn Why and How To Clean a Yoga Mat
If you practice yoga seriously, the mat is one of your most important pieces of equipment. It is the foundation on which you build your flexibility and strength. However, it can also absorb sweat from your body during your workout and dirt from the environment. You need to know how to clean a yoga mat if you want to maintain the sanctity of the space where you practice.
Why You Need To Clean Your Yoga Mat
When you use your yoga mat often, it can collect dirt and debris. It can also become wet from your sweat. The more often you use your mat, the dirtier it can become. It can even develop a smell that is noticeably unpleasant.
Moisture on your mat provides an environment in which pathogens such as fungi and bacteria can grow, especially if you trap the moisture by rolling up your mat while it is still damp. Dark, warm, enclosed spaces are also an ideal environment for germs to grow.
The following are examples of pathogens that have been found on yoga mats:
- Aspergillus fungus, which can cause upper respiratory symptoms.
- Pantoea agglomerans bacteria, which can cause gastroenteritis
- Candida yeast, fungi that can cause wound infections
- Staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause urinary tract infections
You may think that you are safe if you use your own mat at home or if you take your own mat to a yoga class. Actually, when mats available for communal use at a yoga studio were tested and compared to the results of personal yoga mats, the latter showed four times as many pathogens. Proprietors of yoga studios understand the potential risks to their students from dirty mats and know how to clean a yoga mat effectively, whereas individual practitioners of yoga may not think to clean their mats or may not know how.
How You Can Protect Your Yoga Mat
You can protect your yoga mat from collecting as much dirt, sweat, and germs by covering it with a towel while you practice. Experts recommend that you use a special yoga towel with slide-resistant properties so that you do not slip and lose your balance while you are concentrating on your poses.
Using a yoga towel or mat cover does not remove the need for you to clean your mat. However, it may provide enough protection that you do not need to clean it as often.
How Often You Need To Clean Your Yoga Mat
Knowing how to clean a yoga mat involves figuring out how often you should do so. However, this varies depending on several different factors.
How Often You Use Your Mat
The less often you use your mat, the less often you have to clean it. If you only use it one or two times a week, you may only have to clean it once a month.
How Much You Sweat
If you only use your mat for light stretching, you can probably get away with cleaning it once a week or once every other week. However, if you perform hot yoga or other practices that cause you to sweat more, you may have to clean it more often, possibly after every session.
What Your Yoga Mat Is Made Of
Yoga mats are made out of a variety of different materials, including cork, foam, polyurethane, and rubber. These materials each fall into one of two categories: closed cell or open cell. If you have a closed-cell yoga mat, it is less absorbent, meaning that you do not need to clean it as often. An open-cell mat has to be cleaned more often because it is more absorbent.
Where You Use Your Yoga Mat
If you take your mat with you to a yoga class, you should clean it after every session as soon as possible. You may not have to clean it as often if you only use it at home.
How To Clean a Yoga Mat
The manufacturer's instructions for cleaning your yoga mat should always take precedence. If the instructions say that you can put it in the washing machine, you can do so as long as you use the recommended settings. Otherwise, you should wash your mat by hand and pay attention to both sides. You should always let your mat air dry rather than put it in the dryer.
Some manufacturers sell special mat-cleaning products in spray bottles that you can purchase and use. If you use a cleaner produced by the same manufacturer that made your mat, you know for sure that the two are compatible. Always make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle of cleaner.
If you want to know how to clean a yoga mat with items you have at home, you can make your own cleaning solution with which to clean your yoga mat. All you need is an empty spray bottle, two cups of water, and some dishwashing soap. The dishwashing soap is recommended because the chemicals in it are effective at removing dirt. However, if you use too much soap, your mat could become slippery, so make sure that you only use a few drops.
Spray the solution on one side of the mat, then scrub it off using an old cotton T-shirt, the soft side of a sponge, or a microfiber cloth. A yoga mat is supposed to have a slightly sticky texture even when it is clean, so be careful not to scrub too hard. Repeat on the other side. Rinse both sides of the mat with warm water and hang up to air dry.
How To Disinfect Your Yoga Mat
While cleaning removes germs from the surface of the mat, disinfecting kills them so they can no longer cause disease. Disinfecting your mat is something you can do between cleaning sessions to keep harmful pathogens at bay. Combine white vinegar and distilled water in equal parts in a spray bottle. Add a splash of tea tree oil to the solution if you wish. Spritz your homemade disinfectant on both sides of the mat and then wipe them down with a towel.
Knowing How To Clean a Yoga Mat Helps Promote Wellness
In addition to potentially making you sick, a dirty yoga mat could have a negative effect on your practice. If you know how to clean a yoga mat but don't feel you are doing it effectively, you may have to replace it with a new one from Shop Om.