How To Properly Care For Your Yoga Mat
Our trusted yoga mat is always there for us whenever we need some invigorating vinyasa or a quiet moment of meditation. But a mat doesn’t need any special care – it’s just a piece of rubber that gets thrown on the ground, right? Not so fast! You need to give your mat some love, or it’s not going to last long.
A high-quality yoga mat is an investment. You want to keep it clean, hygienic, and safe to use for as long as possible, so it’s important to know how to properly care for your yoga mat. Daily use can leave mats dirty, stained, or sun-damaged – not to mention all of the bacteria and germs they can accumulate. But fear not: here’s our guide to looking after the unsung hero of the yoga world – your mat!
Gently wipe down after each use
Should you clean your yoga mat after each use? Yes! Your daily hour of yoga has likely left sweat, dirt, and/or oils from your skin on the mat. Don’t stress, though, as this is totally normal. However, it does mean that you should always give your mat a quick wipe after each use.
This only needs to take a few seconds. You can use plain water and a towel, or make your own DIY yoga mat cleaner by mixing water and vinegar into a spray bottle. If you’re feeling fancy, add in a drop or two of essential oil to give your mat a gorgeous scent. If you’re in a rush, sure, you can wipe your mat down with disinfectant wipes, but many yogis prefer to keep their practice space free from chemicals or cleaning products.
By giving your mat a quick wipe-down every time you use it, you’ll remove any sweat and bacteria so that it’s clean and ready to go for your next practice!
Give your mat a thorough clean once a month
In addition to your after-practice wipe-downs, it’s also a good idea to do a deep clean of your yoga mat every few weeks. To do this, lie your mat flat on the ground and add a small amount of dish soap to a bowl of warm water. Using a clean rag, wipe the mat thoroughly, making circular motions as you go. Then, rinse and dry it off and let it sit for around 30 minutes before putting it away. This is also a good time to inspect the condition of your mat, looking for any cracks or discolorations.
Most yogis clean their mats around once per month, but if you live in a particularly hot or humid climate, you might want to cleanse more frequently. Just remember never to roll up your yoga mat while it’s still wet, as this can stop it from drying and lead to mold or mildew developing – which is the opposite of what you want!
Consider purchasing a mat towel
If you want to give your mat some extra love (and make life easier by doing less mat cleaning!), think about purchasing a mat towel. These are long towels that fit the length and width of your yoga mat, usually with a grippy layer so that they stay in place on top of your mat. They’re absorbent and stop sweat from getting onto your mat, which can help keep it in pristine condition for longer.
After each use, you can toss your towel in the wash on a gentle cycle, so it’s super low maintenance. You can find mat towels in lots of fun colors and designs, which can also add a bit of brightness to your day!
Install a mat hanger
How do you take care of a yoga mat when you’re not using it? Some yogis keep their mats rolled, which is fine – it can help to fold your mat in half first, then roll, as this can help stop the edges from curling up. However, if you have the space, you might wish to install a mat hanger in your practice space. These are wall mounts that you can hang or clip your mat onto, allowing it to stay flat. This way, you won’t need to roll and unroll your mat after each use, so no need to worry about curled edges or creases.
Rolling or hanging your mat are both great options – whatever you do, never just leave it on the ground! This is an easy way to end up with a mat covered in dust or debris, and you never know if a curious pet or child will decide they want to play with it (read: destroy it).
Can I leave my yoga mat in the sun?
It can be so beautiful to practice yoga each morning in your backyard or sunroom – but have you thought about the impact of direct sunlight on your mat? Ideally, you don’t want to leave your yoga mat out in the sun. Direct sunlight can cause it to fade, and can also degrade and dry out the rubber your mat is made from, leaving it brittle and crumbly.
If you’re a fan of starting your day outdoors with sun salutations (like we are), just be sure to put your mat away once you’re finished with it. The same goes if you’re trying out moon yoga – always bring your mat inside once you’re finished so it can avoid the morning sunlight the next day (and any dew or condensation overnight).
Oh, and if you’re thinking of trying out yoga on the beach, you can leave your mat at home! Beach yoga can be easily enjoyed without a mat, and you definitely don’t want to get your mat dirty with sand or salt water.
How can I make my yoga mat last longer?
So, the big question… How can I extend the life of my yoga mat? It’s all about care and daily maintenance, so if you follow the advice above, your mat will definitely last at least a few years, depending on how frequently you use it. It also helps to only touch your mat with clean hands and feet, to avoid transferring dirt.
With regular TLC, your trusty yoga mat will always be ready for you whenever you need it!