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How to Clean a Yoga Mat for Fresh and Ready Use

woman doing yoga on yoga mat

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No one wants to smell days-old sweat or feel a sticky layer of who-knows-what while in the middle of a downward-facing dog. Thankfully, you can prevent this unfortunate situation altogether by regularly cleaning your yoga mat.

Cleaning your yoga mat will make the mat last longer (hooray!) and keep the stink away (even better!). Keep reading to learn how often you should clean your yoga mat, what you'll need, and what else you can do to keep it clean longer.

Yoga mat in room with plants

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How Often Should You Clean a Yoga Mat?

Your yoga mat, like much exercise equipment, can easily get dirty and sweaty after workouts. Because of this, it's a great idea to briefly clean your yoga mat after each time you use it. To do this, wipe it down with a mat cleaner or homemade cleaning solution. You can make your own yoga mat cleaner by combining 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle, along with an optional few drops of your favorite essential oil for a scented option.

However, your mat will still need a deep clean every month or so, depending on how often you use it. This is because yoga mats can be the perfect home for germs, as sweat and moisture from your workout can collect on the mat over time and harbor bacteria and fungi that can lead to things like athlete's foot and plantar warts.

Things You'll Need:

  • Gentle dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Clean cloths
  • A bowl or bathtub

How to Clean a Yoga Mat

The way you clean your yoga mat will vary depending on if it's an open-cell or closed-cell mat. Open-cell mats absorb sweat and other moisture, making them slip-resistant. They are often used for hot yoga classes, while closed-cell mats do not absorb moisture and are the more all-purpose mat of the two.

Because open cell mats are so absorbent, they are unfortunately also more prone to bacteria and mildew, and they must be cleaned differently than closed-cell yoga mats.

How to Clean an Open-Cell Yoga Mat

  1. Lay your yoga mat out on a flat surface.
  2. In a bowl, mix warm water with a few drops of a gentle dish soap.
  3. Dip your clean cloth into the soapy water, and wring out any excess liquid.
  4. Using circular motions, wipe the mat down from top to bottom with the cloth, taking care to scrub dirty or stained spots.
  5. Wipe the open cell yoga mat dry with another clean cloth and let it air dry away from direct sunlight.

How to Clean a Closed-Cell Yoga Mat

  1. Lay your yoga mat in a bathtub filled with warm water and a few drops of gentle dish soap.
  2. Let the mat soak in the soapy water for 5 minutes.
  3. Using circular motions, gently scrub the mat with a clean cloth while it is still soaking in the water.
  4. Take the closed cell yoga mat out of the bathtub and rinse it off with clean water. Wipe it dry with another clean cloth and let it air dry away from direct sunlight.
pink yoga mat

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Tips to Keep Your Yoga Mat Clean Longer

A good yoga mat can be expensive, so it's important to make what you've got last as long as you can. And the best way to do this is by keeping it clean—but that doesn't mean you need to clean it religiously. You can keep your yoga mat in good condition and not be constantly cleaning it by following some of these tips.

  • Store it properly. Make sure you're not putting away your yoga mat when it's still damp or sweaty. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria and it can break down your mat. Instead, ensure the mat is completely dry before rolling it up. Additionally, consider unrolling your mat and letting it air out during periods of little to no usage. This can also prevent moisture damage or bacteria.
  • Wipe it down. After you finish a workout, take a couple of minutes to wipe your yoga mat down with some mat cleaner or a dry cloth. A few minutes now can save you from buying a brand new mat later.
  • Consider using a yoga towel. A yoga towel lies on top of the mat and absorbs oils and sweat and provides slip resistance. And unlike a yoga mat, many yoga towels can be thrown in the washing machine for an easy clean. Yoga towels can keep your mat clean longer and can boost its lifespan.