Yoga Mat Cleaning

Yoga mat cleaning should be done before it becomes excessively sticky or soiled.   


Energetic movements such as those in yoga or pilates create heat and sweat.  So, if your mat looks dirty or has an odor, it needs to be cleaned. 

While you may be tempted to spray your mat with Lysol or other anti-bacterial agents or Febreze or similar air fresheners, do not make this a habit as they may produce skin irritations when combined with perspiration and the rubbing movements of your skin against the exercise mat. 

How Often Should I Clean My Yoga Mat?

Cleaning frequency depends on several factors:

Personal Cleanliness:  How clean your hands, feet and hair are before use.

Hair spray and makeup residue are bound to end up in the fibers of your mat, especially when perspiring.

Contact Surface: 

  • The surface you place your mat upon.
  • A clean scrubbed floor at home.
  • A seemingly clean carpet in a home which has pets (dog hair, dog oils, cat hair, etc.)
  • A high-traffic gym floor on which numerous people walk, both with shoes and without, play basketball or other games.
  • A gym shower room.  Before or after your yoga workout, placing your rolled up mat on the floor or bench in a heavy-traffic, warm, humid shower room while you dress, undress or take a shower can be a place to pick up extra moisture on your cloth mat. Instead of leaving your mat in its yoga tote bag when you get home, hang it up so it dries, thoroughly.

How do I Wash My Yoga Mat?

Lightly Soiled: 

If it is only lightly soiled, use a warm, wet washcloth.  Afterward, rub your mat as dry as possible with a terrycloth towel and hang to dry.

Cloth Mats: 

Many yoga mats are machine washable.  Refer to the label before washing. 

A non-sudsing soap such as Woolite works well because it does not leave soap residue in the fibers of the mat, as many detergents do. 

Dry, powdered soap may leave soap powder residue on your mat.

You may choose to wash your yoga mat in your washing machine using the warm/cool water cycle, but due to bending it to get it in and out of the washer, this can create unnecessary wear to your mat.

Bathtub Yoga Mat Cleaning: 

The preferred method of yoga mat cleaning for longest fabric life is to place it in your bathtub with a biodegradable soap or Woolite and warm water. 

  • Wrap a terrycloth washcloth so that it covers your knuckles and scrub.
  • When finished, drain the water, re-fill the tub with rinse water and swish the mat up and down in the water. 
  • Drain the rinse water and roll in a dry towel to remove the excess water, then hang to dry.
  • Drying time depends on the thickness of your mat.  It may take a day or more, if hung indoors.  It may take longer if you hang it outdoors in areas with high humidity. 

Yoga Mat Cleaners

If you choose to purchase a yoga mat cleaner, pick a biodegradable, non-chemically based mat cleanser without fragrance or soothing oils. 

These oils may smell wonderful while in the bottle and make your mat smell heavenly, but when they remain on the fibers of your mat, they tend to "pick up" extra dirt and you will have to wash your mat more often.

Other Useful Yoga Mat Cleaning Tips:

  • Hang your mat, rather than keeping it rolled up, between classes or usages. 
  • Try not to fold your mat.  Rolling it up is easier on its fibers.
  • Using too much soap may leave your yoga mat feeling slippery, even when it is dry.  A slightly "sticky" mat is desirable, but a slippery one can be dangerous.
  • Buy a yoga/pilates mat tote bag.  It is easier to carry and reduces the time spent cleaning your yoga mat.


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