As we finish off the first week of our third 30-day yoga challenge, we not only need to take note of any changes in our bodies, minds and souls, but also, our mats!
Has your mat gotten a little funky lately? No need to be embarrassed! If you aren’t practicing in a shared studio, it can be difficult to remember the importance of cleaning your mat regularly.
Yoga mats always look innocent, and especially if you’re practicing in the comfort and solitude of your own home, you can forget that they absorb all the sweat, oil, and grime that they’re exposed to, which means they can become dirty, smelly, and even contaminated with germs quickly. So, to keep all that gunk off your mat, establishing a consistent cleaning routine is crucial.
So, the lingering question we're asking ourselves is: while practicing at home, how often should you clean your mat?
The Daily Spray-Down
In theory, we should be cleaning our mats after each use, to welcome santosha (the Niyama pillar cleanliness) into our practices. But it can be difficult to remember to give it a deep clean every day, or even feel bothered to do it.
So, for everyday cleaning, we recommend you make your own cleaning formula to keep in an empty, cleaned out spray bottle, to spray down your mat after practice and wipe it off with a clean cloth.
A common organic disinfectant formula is a mixture of equal parts distilled water and white vinegar, with a splash of tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is a natural antimicrobial that effectively kills the nasty bacteria and fungi lingering on your mat. It’s also great for your skin, and smells super earthy and zen.
Dishwashing soap is also equally effective, so you could just use a few drops and dilute it with water in your spray bottle.
The Once-A-Month Scrub n’ Hang
Once a month, you should be giving your mat a good scrub (preferably by hand, although some can survive a gentle cycle in your washing machine*) with a gentle and preferably organic detergent. Just dilute some with lukewarm water, scrub your mat, rinse it off and hang to dry. this will ensure your mat is nice and clean and fresh to use.
*Only use a washing machine if your specific brand and mat model allows you to do so. Check the label or any other info you can find on your mat using its brand's website.
Happy practicing, and as the weather gets warmer, let’s keep the funk away from our mats and our practice, shall we?
Namaste so fresh and so clean!