How to Clean a Yoga Mat (and What Not to Do!)

Cleaning your yoga mat is really something you should be doing, but do you know how to clean a yoga mat?

For a long time, I was hesitant to clean my mat because I didn’t want to damage my mat (or make it slippery). But the thought of standing on it with my feet (after walking around all day in flip flops and barefoot in the yoga studio) and then laying on it and putting my hands and face on it grossed me out.

Learn how to clean a yoga mat. Don't make the same mistake I made!

This post may contain affiliate links. Through these links, I get a commission if you purchase something, with no extra cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I love and personally use/research.

I didn’t know how to wash my mat and I was really afraid of damaging it. Especially since I invested in a Jade mat and absolutely love it. (If you want to learn more about why I choose my mat, check out this post). I saw online that people were running it through the washing machine and dryer. That didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Wouldn’t that ruin that shape of the mat? Wouldn’t the washer get off balanced?

Other people were saying that they made an essential oil mixture to clean their mat. I was nervous about this way too. Wouldn’t this disintegrate my mat? Wouldn’t my mat be slippery?

Mat Cleaning Fails

When I started to increase my practice I bought a new mat.  So I tried the essential oil mixture on my old mat. I used this mixture. My mat didn’t seem extra slippery or get any damage from it (I did only do it a couple of times).

Then I attended an Acro Yoga class. I brought my nice new mat. Acro Yoga is a group thing and after the class, I realized that at least 10 different people had probably been stepping on my mat. So when I got home I wanted to deep clean it. I didn’t really feel like just spraying it with my essential oil spray would be enough.

So I decided to put it in the washing machine. Big mistake.

My mat is heavy, so maybe if you have a thin and lightweight mat this would work for you. However, it did not work for me.

Remember my suspicion that it would put my machine off balance? Well, I was right. Once I started the machine I got distracted and ended outside in the yard. About 15 minutes later I realized that the washing machine had gotten off balance, moved three feet, pulled the connection out of the wall and had started dumping the water from the cycle onto the floor. (I think most washers have a mechanism that stops the cycle if it is off balance. Mine clearly does not.)

To top it off, the powder detergent that I had used had crusted to my mat. It took me about a month to get it off. Needless to say, I did not try this method again.

Mat Cleaning Success

After my trials and error, I have come up with a system on how to clean a yoga mat. Once a week I spray down my mat with my essential oil and water mixture (which has antibacterial properties). I know that a lot of people also have success with Austra Yoga Mat Cleaner. I let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then I fill up my tub with enough warm water to cover my mat and soak for about 30 minutes. I drain the water and prop my mat up in the tub for the night to let most of the water drip off. In the morning before work, I hang it over my shower door. By that evening, I have I dry and clean mat (so far with no disintegration).

I hope this helps you in your endeavors of cleaning your yoga mat. Remember that different mats may react differently to oils and I would recommend testing in a small area before trying it on your whole mat. I can’t guarantee that after time this won’t harm your mat, but so far it has worked really well for me.

If you care about finding a proper way of how to clean a yoga mat, then chances are you care about having a good quality mat as well. Having a quality mat can make a huge difference in your yoga practice. I did a lot of searching before I found a mat that was sticky enough to keep my sweaty hands and feet from sliding. Check out my post The Stickiest Yoga Mat: Yoga Teacher Recommended to find out which yoga mats I recommend to all my students, friends, and family.

Namaste,

Abby

Abby is a teacher (RYT 200) and student of yoga, passionate about her yoga journey and helping others on theirs. She is the blogger behind Journeys of Yoga, a second-grade teacher and a contributing writer at TryBelle Magazine. Learn more about Abby. You can also contact her here.