It doesn’t matter if your yoga mat has seen the world or just your local gym. Wherever you practice you are sure to sweat on it and eventually, if not after every yoga session, your mat is going to start to smell. The last thing I want to worry about when I lay down in Shavasana is the fact that I can smell my mat or even worse, that the person next to me can smell my yoga mat!
Cleaning your yoga mat does not have to be a dreaded time consuming activity but there are some things to think about in order to properly care for it.
Depending on your yoga mat, there may be specific instructions for washing due to the type of material your yoga mat is made from. If you are buying a top performance yoga mat or an eco mat I highly recommend checking with the manufacturer for cleaning instructions. Some mats are so durable you can throw them in the washing machine, while others can really only be washed lightly with water.
Once you know the needs of your yoga mat (who knew yoga mats were so needy?) you have many options to keep the air around your yoga mat smelling fresh.
I often keep a bottle of home made yoga cleaner and a terrycloth washcloth handy for quick, after practice cleaning. This homemade yoga cleaner, dries fairly quickly and does not have an oder that may affect people in the surrounding area . Once I am done with my practice, I spray it, wipe it, and by the time my shoes are back on and I am ready to move about the world, my yoga mat is fresh, dry and ready to be rolled up.
Here are a couple of different options for homemade yoga mat cleaner:
DIY Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner #1:
Mix 1 part warm water with 3 parts white vinegar.
You might want to consider adding a drop of an essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, or tea tree oil to cover the slight vinegar smell and also to increase the potential for limiting germs and odors.
DIY Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner #2:
1 cup equal amounts water and witch hazel
10 drops of tea tree oil
5 drops lavender
Put it in a 3 oz clear bottel for your travel carry on and you are good to go!
If your are not the do it yourself type of person, you have several yoga mat cleaner options for purchase:
Even though I clean my yoga mat reguarly there are times when some build up starts to occure and my mat needs some serious hygene maintanance.
At this point I usually toss it into the bathtub, soak it in warm water and give it a thourough cleaning with vinegar and baking soda. Then I hang it outside for about 40 minutes in the sun.
Not only will caring for your yoga mat keep it smelling fresh and reduce bacteria it will also extend the life of your yoga mat.
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