You already know that yoga helps you achieve a clear state of mind as you kickstart your morning, and recharge after a hard day’s work. But did you know that not properly cleaning your yoga mat exposes your body to more bacteria than a toilet seat, cell phone, and an airline seat combined?
We didn’t know that either. Until we did some research, and asked yogis and yoga teachers how we should be cleaning and storing our yoga mats so that they last longer, smell less, and don’t harm our health.
Turns out, tossing a yoga mat in a washing machine and dryer, and then leaving it rolled up in a closet is a bad idea.
Here’s how to clean, dry, and store yoga mats like an expert:
How To Clean Your Yoga Mat
Yoga allows for detoxification of the mind, body, and spirit. Great for overall clarity, but your sweat has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is usually straight onto your mat.
Cleaning your yoga mat — including accessories like yoga blocks, bolsters, and towels — eliminates any bacteria that could accumulate.
The result: A healthier you, and a longer lasting mat.
“To get the most out of your yoga mat, always follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning,” says April Thompson of CorePower Yoga in Chicago’s South Loop. “Materials used in yoga mats may differ from brand to brand.”
Since nearly every part of your body touches your mat at one point or another during a yoga class, be sure to use an all-natural cleaning product that won’t harm your body or health.
After each class, experts recommend giving your mat a quick rub down with Yoga Mat Refresher wipes like these from Stirlen:
Stirlen’s yoga mat refresher wipes will quickly remove any sweat and dirt that may have accumulated as you flowed from pose to pose. Which means you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time adventuring.
Practice yoga at home or have a bit more time after arriving back from a class?
Wipe down your mat and blocks with a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth or paper towel. While this method may not entirely remove germs and bacteria, you’ll keep the residual grime at bay until you can give your gear a deeper cleaning.
A store-bought cleaner spray, like this 100% All Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner from Asutra (pictured below), is an organic blend of ingredients including coconut oil, rosemary extract, and tea tree essential oils that won’t leave any residue.
Even better, Asutra’s yoga mat cleaner spray comes in a variety of calming scents like Energizing Peppermint, Uplifting Eucalyptus, and Peaceful Lavender. It also includes a handy microfiber cleaning towel that’s lint-free, super absorbent, and small enough to fit in any yoga bag.
Looking to flex your DIY muscles?
You could spend 10 minutes searching Google for the best homemade yoga mat cleaner recipe. Or you could spend a couple of seconds praising our friends at Brit + Co who already did the homework for you. Here are Brit + Co’s two recipes for DIY yoga mat cleaning sprays.
One recipe is for non-slip mats and is made of white vinegar, distilled water, and lemon. Their second recipe is for non-porous mats and calls for distilled water, witch hazel, and essential oils:
For mats that require more intensive care, a trip to the bathtub is in order. The easiest mess-free way to wash your yoga mats and accessories is to lightly scrub them with mild soap, and then rinse them thoroughly under a showerhead or faucet.
You’d be surprised how much dirt you’ll see wash down the drain! This meticulous clean only needs to be completed once a week, or less if you’re not yet a hardcore yogi.
How To Dry Your Yoga Mat
Aqua Yoga has a place, and it’s in a pool, not on a still-damp mat. If you don’t allow your mat to fully dry after washing, it can lead to bacterial growth and the formation of mold and mildew. Fun.
Give your mat adequate time to dry (at least an hour or overnight) by hanging it on a drying rack, a shower curtain rod, or the back of a chair. Outdoor yoga is great for boosting your mood and becoming one with the elements, but it’s not the best option for airing out your gear following a strenuous Ashtanga sesh.
“Although the sun’s rays are considered a natural drying agent, they can be harmful to many rubber mats, causing them to decay faster,” says Thompson. To prolong the life of your mat, don’t leave it outside to dry for an extended period of time. Move your mat indoors at the end of your practice.
How To Store Your Yoga Mat
Rolling up your mat length-wise while on-the-go is the easiest method of packing it up. But back in your apartment, the ideal approach is to let it hang or lay flat.
An empty corner of the room where your mat can spread out — away from pets or curious kids or roommates with sticky hands — will suffice.
Prefer to keep your mat out of the way?
Here are five yoga mat storage solutions that will keep your mat safe and in good condition:
Namatse Yoga Mat Hanger
Let no area of your home go unutilized, especially the often-overlooked spots. Over-the-door storage is the perfect solution for organizing small spaces, and we’re a big fan of the Namatse Yoga Mat Hanger.
If you’d rather keep your mat unrolled but don’t trust leaving it flat on the ground, this solution offers the best of both worlds.
DIY Yoga Mat Rack
Free up floor space with a functional wall-mounted rack that keeps your mat clean and easily accessible.
Many wine racks and towel racks can double as perfectly-sized storage for your yoga mat. Or you can DIY a yoga mat rack with this easy-to-follow yoga mat rack guide from Gray House Studio.
Yoga Mat Basket
A sturdy and stylish basket can hold multiple mats at once and lets you display them out in the open. Because nothing says, “Hey everyone, check out how Zen I am” than a neat arrangement of yoga gear.
Yoga Mat Bag
Tight on space and time?
Store your yoga mat in a cute carrying bag with a strap, and hang it on a wall-mounted hook in your entryway. Doing so is smart for two reasons:
- You’ll save a decent amount of floor and closet space.
- You won’t forget where you stashed your yoga mat because it’ll be right in front of your face as you exit the door.
Make your own yoga mat carrying bag with this simple tutorial from Free People.
Going on a three-month yoga retreat around the world? Have extra yoga mats and accessories eating space in your closet?
Grab your yoga mat and accessories, clean them with refresher wipes, and leave the rest to MakeSpace.
Simply schedule a pickup and pack up your yoga straps, mats, blocks, and wedges. We’ll take it all to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of everything so you never forget what you have in storage.
When you return in a supreme state of self-awareness and want your yoga gear back, you don’t have to trek to a self-storage unit way across town. The only thing you actually have to do is log into your MakeSpace account, click the photos of the items you’d like back, and we’ll deliver them right to you.
Why waste positive energy, time, and money on frustrating self-storage when you can waste nothing on stress-free MakeSpace?