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give your mat a regular quick wipe, and
do a deeper and more thorough cleaning from time to time.
Apply mat cleaning spray directly to your mat and wipe it off with a cloth or a towel. Pre-made sprays tend to come with a microfiber towel, but you can use any sort of a rag, cloth, or towel that you have.
Use special mat cleaning wipes.
Make your own cleaner. Take an empty spray bottle, and mix together 1:1 water and vinegar. Spray your mat with it and wipe it with a cloth. You can add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice, for example, tea tree oil or lavender. Tea tree oil is a great option because it has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties. Don’t use too much oil and not too often, though, as excessive use can damage your yoga mat. Note that vinegar will have a particular lasting smell. Especially when combined with essential oils.
Dilute mild soap with water, dip a cloth or a rag into it, and use it to wipe your mat. Choose water-based, organic soap, and avoid using too much of it. Particularly on natural rubber as it can soak up the suds and become slippery.
Simply wipe your yoga mat with a damp cloth.
Soak your mat in the bathtub for a few minutes. This will help any dirt, oils, and nasty stenches to separate. Pour enough water to cover it and add a few cups of vinegar, some mild soap, dishwashing liquid, or laundry detergent to it. Choose an organic, perfume-free, or hypoallergenic cleaning products if you can. It will leave less residue.
Handwash your mat with soap or dish cleaning liquid and then rinse it in the shower or hose it in the backyard.
If you have a front-loader type of a washer, you may be able to wash your yoga mat in it. Front loaders are gentler and need less detergent than top-loaders. Set it on gentle mode and on low temperature and add a bit of vinegar or mild detergent. Skip spin cycle if you’re worried that it will cause damage. This works for most PVC mats as well as cotton rugs, but is not advised for all kinds of yoga mats. So, check the instructions for yours to be certain.
Keep it away from direct sunlight. For example, avoid leaving it on the back seat of your car on a hot day. This can deteriorate it faster or even make it start to decompose. This is especially important for natural rubber and TPE. They really don’t get along with the sun.
Air dry your mat regularly (in a place where the sun can’t reach it). This is essential for rubber mats as they absorb moisture. So, if you own one, it’s a good idea to let it dry after each practice instead of leaving it rolled up.
Wash your hands and feet before each practice. It will ensure that fewer body oils and less dirt will get onto the mat.
Don’t constantly leave your yoga mat rolled up or packed up in a bag.
Don’t use alcohol or alcohol-based cleaners on it.
Some mats, such as Manduka eKo, should never be soaked, machine washed or cleaned with soap. Instead, use premade cleaning sprays or the water and vinegar solution described above to wipe it regularly.
Though natural rubber is a durable material, it has been softened to create a mat. Because of that, the material is not as dense as other types and also a more delicate. So, always clean your rubber mat gently.
Never machine wash TPE mats. Machine washing can deform their shape and wash out the glue that holds them together.
Cotton yoga rugs and some hybrid mats can be machine washed. Do so in cold water and separately from other items, particularly during the first few times. Cotton rugs that have stripes and patterns in bright colors can bleed.
Use a yoga towel over a studio yoga mat. It can be a more hygienic way of using the studio’s mats. It is also more lightweight than a travel mat as well as easy to pack and transport.
Use a mat spray and a microfiber towel. Take a few minutes to give the mat a quick wipe. Sprays come in small bottles that can be easily stored in your bag, and you may even be able to buy one at your local studio. Do come on time for your practice to do so.
Use yoga mat wipes. It is another way to freshen a mat up right before practice. Wipes won’t leave any residue and will dry instantly. You can also use them to clean the other props you will be using, for example, blocks, as well as your hands and feet if need be.