Yogis with a regular practice know just how funky a yoga mat can get without routine cleanings. Dirt and grime don’t just wear your mat out faster—they’re a huge a health hazard too.
Besides giving your mat a quick spritz and wipe down with an all natural, antibacterial solution after every use, there are other ways to help keep your mat in great shape. And the best part about them is that they take very little time and energy.
Here are three extra tips to consider doing both before and after every yoga session to help keep your mat built to last as long as possible.
Wash up before you practice.
While it may be impractical and unnecessary to take a shower before your practice, it’s easy enough to wash your hands and feet before you step onto your mat. These are two major parts of your body that have the potential to transfer a lot of germs from skin to rubber as they touch down on the surface of your mat.
If you can take a trip to the bathroom to wash your hands in the sink and possibly your feet in the tub, then great. But if you’re running late for your studio class or don’t have the convenience of a sink or tub, bringing along a small bottle of natural sanitizer or antibacterial wipes can go a long way.
Use a yoga towel.
Putting a barrier between you and your mat can help keep sweat and grime from falling to your mat and working its way deep into the rubber as you press your hands, feet, and other body parts onto the surface as you practice. Yoga mat towels are perfect for this and are especially helpful during Bikram yoga sessions when the sweating is intense and the potential for slippage gets real.
Yoga towels cover the full length of a typical yoga mat and are designed to be super absorbent while protecting your mat’s rubber from grip friction. At the end of your yoga session, they’re easy enough to peel off and throw in the washing machine to be ready for the next time you decide to step on your mat.
Hang your mat up when it’s not in use.
You might already know that it’s best to allow your mat to dry after spritzing and wiping it with an antibacterial solution by leaving it out to lie flat—even if that means rolling it back out again after returning from a class. But before you think about rolling it back up once it’s dried, consider looking for a well ventilated area of your home that’s not in direct sunlight to hang it for storage.
In addition to preventing mould and odors from developing, hanging your mat rather than rolling it up helps to maintain the integrity of the rubber. You could always improvise by making your own hanger, but if you’re short on time and resources, you could just buy one. The Namaste Yoga Mat Hanger is a popular choice among yogis that will help keep your mat fresh and flat when you hang it up after ever use.
Image (edited) via thedabblist