How To Wash Yoga Mat: Practical Guide

6 October, 2023 / words by IALH Editorial Team

Every seasoned yogi or those just starting out on the yoga journey would realize that yoga mats can accumulate quite a bit of dirt and sweat, making them a breeding ground for germs and some funky odors over time. While trying to stay healthy by practicing yoga, the purpose can be defeated if you are using a dirty mat or one that is not properly cleaned because keeping and making skin contact with dirty yoga mats could expose you to health risks such as Herpes, acne, skin infections, toenail fungus, etc.

This is why it becomes important to keep your mats clean. To keep your mat clean and hygienic, you need to wash it properly.

In this article, we will guide you through the steps on how to wash a yoga mat effectively without damaging it. We’ll show you the ropes for handwashing and machine washing, ensuring your mat stays germ-free and ready for every downward dog, tree pose, or warrior stance.

Washing Your Yoga Mat: Step-By-Step

Washing your yoga mat is a straightforward process, and below are steps to take to get it just right.

Gather Cleaning Supplies

The first step on your yoga mat cleaning journey is getting the cleaning supplies that you will need. You don’t want to be halfway into the cleaning process only to realize you missed the essentials.

For this part, you will need the following items:

  • Mild detergent that is free from harsh chemicals.
  • Soft Brush or sponge. 
  • Spacious bathtub or sink.
  • Dry towel 
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands

Hand Washing Your Yoga Mat

When it comes to cleaning your yoga mat, there is nothing quite like the personal touch of hand washing. This method ensures a deep clean that leaves your mat feeling fresh. To do this:

Fill a bathtub or sink with water

Begin by filling your bathtub or a spacious sink with lukewarm water. Make sure the water fully submerges your yoga mat so that it can have a thorough cleansing soak. Additionally, it is important to look out for and remove soap scum and residues that may have beenin the bathtub before the wash.

Add Cleaning Solution

Put an adequate amount of detergentinto the water. Note that pouring too much detergent can build up residues on your mat and may affect your next yoga experience.

Scrub and Rinse

Now, gently place your yoga mat into the soapy water and scrub with a soft brush or sponge. Pay keen attention to the stained or soiled area, and afterward, rinse the mat with clean water until all the soap is gone.

Following these steps, your mat becomes fresh and ready for the next session.

Machine Washing Your Yoga Mat

The washing machine can be a real time-saver when it comes to washing your yoga mat. The following steps will let you know how to wash your mat with a washing machine without any harm to the mat:

Check Care instructions

Before putting your yoga mat into the washing machine, it is essential to check the manufacturer’s care instructions because not all mats should be washed with a machine, and if they can, there are specific instructions that should be followed so that you don’t damage the mat.

To locate these care instructions, check the Packaging or box that came with the mat, visit the manufacturer’s website, or search online for that type of yoga mat. The instructions are presented in a straightforward format, and there you will find information about the washing guidelines, temperature, detergents that can be used, drying, and storage.

Use Gentle Cycle

Selecting the gentle cycle is paramount when machine-washing your yoga mat. This setting uses a lower agitation and slower spins, which reduces the risk of damage to the mat’s texture. Gentle cycle ensures that your mat comes to the washing machine both clean and in perfect condition.

Hang To Dry

The best way to dry your yoga mat after either a machine wash or a hand wash is by hanging it in a well-ventilated area.

Try as much as possible to avoid direct sunlight to prevent color fading and potential damage. Hang drying not only ensures the mat is more hygienic, but the method also helps your mat retain its grip and longevity.

Drying Your Yoga Mat

Drying your yoga mat is just as important as cleaning it. Now that you have mastered the art of cleaning your yoga mat, we’ll take you through ensuring it dries properly. Let’s explore air drying, using a towel, and why you should avoid the dryer.

Air Drying

Air drying is the gentlest and safest method for drying your yoga mat, preserving both its material and grip. Lay your yoga mat flat on a clean, dry surface, shower rod, or clothesline, and give it ample breathing time. It is recommended that the mat be kept preferably in a shaded area or a well-ventilated room. Avoid direct sunlight as it can damage the mat’s material. Patience is key here; let nature do its job.

Using A Towel

Towel drying your yoga mat can be a game changer in your drying process. To do this:

  • Lay your yoga mat on a clean, flat surface.
  • Grab a large, dry, and clean towel.
  • Place the towel on your mat to cover as much surface area as possible.
  • Apply pressure as you press down on the towel to absorb the moisture from the mat. 
  • Continue this process until your yoga mat feels mostly dry to the touch.

Doing this not only ensures that the mat dries up faster but also helps in maintaining the mat’s cleanliness.

Using A Dryer

Do not use dryers for yoga mats. You must have observed as we have, that dryers emit high heat to speed up drying process. While this might be good for other materials, it can cause irreversible damage to your Yoga mats because they are not sturdy enough for such heat. Hence reducing your mats’ grip, durability, and lifespan.

The recommended drying method for yoga mats is air drying or towel usage.

Maintaining A Clean Yoga Mat

Aside from washing or cleaning yoga mats, knowing how to maintain a clean yoga mat is essential. This is because your yoga mat is your sanctuary, where you find balance and serenity. Having a clean mat, especially when doing breathing exercises or doing rigorous positions that require your face on the mat, is essential in order not to take in bad odors or germs.

To effectively maintain a clean yoga mat, follow these key practices:

Clean After Each Use

Make it a habit to wipe down your mat with a damp cloth or a yoga mat cleaning spray after each yoga session. This simple step prevents the build-up of sweat and germs, keeping your mat fresh.

Store Properly

Storing your mat properly ensures the mat stays in top condition. Always store your yoga mat in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Also, avoid rolling it up when damp, as this can promote mold and mildew growth.

Deep Clean Regularly

Frequently deep clean your yoga mat at least once a month or as needed, depending on usage.

Taking care of your yoga mat is not just about cleanliness; it is a self-care practice. By following the steps we’ve outlined in this guide, you are ensuring a clean and hygienic practice space and extending the lifespan of your faithful yoga companion- the mat.


Can You Put Yoga Mats In The Washing Machine?

Yes, you can put some yoga mats in the washing machine, but it depends on the mat’s material and the manufacturer’s guidelines. Generally, mats made of PVC or rubber can handle machine washing on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Always check the care instructions to ensure it is safe for your specific mat.

What Is The Best Way To Wash A Yoga Mat?

It depends on its material. For most mats, a gentle hand wash with lukewarm water and mild detergent works properly. Scrub lightly, rinse very well, and air dry. Frequent wiping down your mat with a damp cloth or mat spray after every use is also essential for maintenance.

Do Yoga Mats Need To Be Cleaned?

Yoga mats need regular cleaning. They soak up sweat and might harbor germs and bacteria over time, which is not ideal for your exercise. Clean your mat once a week or as frequently used. Also, deep cleaning must be done at least once a month to maintain hygiene and the mat’s overall performance.

How Do You Deep Clean A Rubber Mat?

Start with a hand wash using mild detergent and lukewarm water. Rinse very well, then hand it to air dry. For stubborn stains or odors, mix a solution of water and white vinegar or baking soda, use it on the affected area, and gently scrub. Rinse and air dry again. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as they can damage the rubber.

Also, regular maintenance and deep cleaning will keep your rubber mat fresh and in good shape.


IALH Editorial Team


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