How Often Should You Change Your Yoga Mat?
If you’re doing yoga right, chances are you should be at least breaking a little bit of a sweat. Your feet might get kind of sweaty too – all of which can lead to issues with your yoga mat. You want to make sure your mat is clean and odor-free (for your own benefit and for the rest of your class, too!). So here’s everything you need to know about cleaning and changing your yoga mat.
How do you clean a yoga mat?
First off, in order to keep your yoga mat in great shape, you’ll want to be cleaning it regularly. You have a few options when it comes to cleaning your mat. You can use:
There are lots of ready-made mat cleaners on the market that come in wipe or spray form. You can find them online, and most yoga studios offer them for sale too. Many are also eco-friendly (but can tend to be a little on the pricey side).
If you want to use products you have on hand at home, you can always mix together a vinegar solution. Make a mixture of half water and half vinegar, pour into a spray bottle, and use that to wipe down your mat. Use a damp cloth to make sure you can clean the entire surface, and then let your mat air dry. Vinegar is great because it’s useful in killing germs and bacteria. Some people like to add drops of tea tree oil or another essential oil to help their mat smell better after cleaning.
If you want to keep things as simple as possible, you can even go as basic as just cleaning with a little soap in a cup of water.
Some folks like to spray their yoga mats with a garden hose every once in a while, just to get it completely clean, and then hang it dry. You also have the option of doing a deep clean by soaking your mat in the bathtub – adding a few drops of dish soap and water can be useful.
How often should you clean your yoga mat?
How frequently you clean your yoga mat will depend on your usage. For most yogis, we recommend a quick cleaning after every use, but you should at least aim for once a week if you practice regularly. The more you sweat, the grimier your mat will get, so pay attention to how often you’re practicing to determine when it’s time for a scrub-down.
How long is a yoga mat good for?
Yoga mats can stay usable for different amounts of time depending on how often you use them and how often you clean them. So, how often should you change your yoga mat? A good rule of thumb is between every 12 to 24 months.
How can I make my yoga mat last longer?
If you don’t want to have to replace your yoga mat super often, there are some steps you can take to get a long life out of your mat.
Purchase a high-quality mat
Do your research before buying. High-quality doesn’t have to mean expensive. Look for sustainable mats made from natural rubber, cork, or cotton, as these can help your mat last longer. Ask your yoga instructor or classmates what mats they use to get ideas for high-quality brands.
Use both sides of the mat during your practice
Practice on both sides of your mat so it’s getting used evenly. Flip it over constantly and you won’t have any spots that get worn out too quickly.
Use a towel
Using a towel on top of your mat can help you reduce the amount of sweat it comes in direct contact with. There are even specific yoga towels made for this purpose.
Clean it regularly
As well as ensuring your mat lasts longer, you’ll want to avoid things like athlete’s foot and skin infections, so clean your mat regularly using one or more of the options outlined above.
When should I throw away my yoga mat?
There are a few things you should ask yourself to determine if you should toss your mat.
- How long have you had it?
- How often are you using it?
- Is the mat showing signs of aging?
- Does the mat retain odor even after being cleaned?
There are also clear signs that your mat should be tossed. These can include:
- It’s starting to pill or shed pieces
- The padding is uneven or has a weird texture
- There isn’t enough traction when you’re doing poses
- Bald spots are forming
- There isn’t enough cushioning
- The mat is starting to smell even after a good clean
You can also replace your mat if you’re changing your yoga practice (such as going from restorative yoga to hot yoga) and would benefit from a brand-new mat.
What can you do with an old yoga mat?
If you’re going to replace your mat, you’re probably hoping there’s an eco-friendly way to dispose of them. Actually, the best thing you can do is to repurpose your mat. There are countless ways to do this, including everything from using it as outdoor cushions and beach mats to coasters and kitchen drawer liners. Get creative and you won’t be wasteful.
Keep in mind that there’s no hard and fast rule for when you should clean or replace your mat. Your best bet is to frequently evaluate how your mat is holding up with your own yoga practice. Remember that it’s always best to err on the side of too clean, and if your mat is showing its age, don’t be afraid to grab a new one. Your yoga practice should be rejuvenating – and it’s hard to do that when your mat is a tad on the smelly side! So get cleaning, or invest in a new mat if it’s time.