How To Clean A Yoga Mat With Vinegar

How to clean a yoga mat with vinegar
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Infographic showing how to clean a yoga mat with vinegar.

If you are looking for ways to clean your yoga mat, it is perhaps a good idea to stay away from most commercial cleaning solutions. The reason is that most contain synthetic chemicals that not only have unpleasant odors but may also damage your yoga mat in the long run. Fortunately, there are some very effective natural alternatives you can try. And so one very popular method is to clean a yoga mat with vinegar.

To clean a yoga mat with vinegar, mix up a solution of 1/2 part water and 1/2 part white vinegar. Spray a damp cloth with this solution and begin to clean your yoga mat by simply wiping it in. When done, repeat on the other side of your mat and allow it to air dry naturally.

A vinegar-based cleaner is very easy to prepare and is one of the most common DIY yoga mat cleaners. Vinegar is great at removing dirt and grime and also has some disinfectant properties. Plus, you can help your vinegar cleaner smell even better by adding a variety of essential oils to your recipe.

As a side note, I wrote an article titled How To Clean a Yoga Mat The Right Way. Be sure to check it out!

Why Cleaning With Vinegar Works

Vinegar is a popular ingredient in DIY cleaners as it cleans and deodorizes, and has limited disinfectant properties. Its main ingredient, acetic acid helps break down dirt and is also strong enough to kill some household pathogens.

However keep in mind that vinegar is able to break down the structure of some dirt and bacteria, making it great at cleaning. However, vinegar is not effective at disinfecting yoga mats.

To make it even more effective at cleaning your mat, you could also add some essential oils. Tea tree’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal qualities make it a great addition to your vinegar cleaner.

All you need is a spray bottle, a cloth, tap water, and a bottle of distilled white vinegar.

How to Clean a Yoga Mat With Vinegar

This recipe makes 1 spray bottle of the mixed solution. Also, this recipe creates a solution that is a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. This is a good balance for most yoga mats, but if you’re concerned about the smell or want a more diluted mixture, you can decrease the potency of the solution by changing the vinegar to water ratio to 1:2 (2/3 cup water to 1/3 cup vinegar, for example).

Adding Essential Oils

Some essential oils, like tea tree oil, may have antimicrobial properties. They are thought to disrupt the cell membranes of viruses and bacteria, and that is why essential oils are commonly used in DIY yoga mat cleaners.

According to Healthline:

  • Tea tree oil is considered to have “antiviral properties, as well as antifungal and antiseptic properties”
  • Lemongrass oil has antibacterial properties.

You could add 5 drops of each or 5 drops of tea tree AND 5 drops of lemongrass to your vinegar mix.

 spray bottle, a glass of water, a bottle of vinegar and a cloth.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (distilled)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 to 10 drops essential oil


1. Choose Your Oils

Choose one or a combination of essential oils. My go-to favorite is tea tree oil.

Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to my vinegar yoga mat cleaner.

2. Add Vinegar, Water, and Essential Oils

Add the vinegar and water in the desired ratio, then the essential oils. Shake to combine.

Adding vinegar to my spray bottle.

3. Spray and Wipe

To use, spray a damp cloth and wipe your entire mat. Repeat on the other side.

Me holding my spray bottle and cloth ready to clean my yoga mat.

4. Air Dry Your Yoga Mat

Try not to use too much water or spray when cleaning your mat, and always give your mat enough time to dry thoroughly. If you don’t, the moisture that remains may create a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.

Hanging my yoga mat up to air dry.

Why Use Vinegar

Reason #1: It’s Inexpensive

There’s no need to buy any expensive commercial yoga mat cleaner to clean your yoga mat. A bottle of white vinegar costs just a few dollars and can last a long time as we don’t add that much to make our recipe. It’s much less expensive compared to commercial cleaners, making it a smart investment for regular cleaning.

Reason #2: It’s Organic

Although I do like the Manduka yoga mat cleaners, you can make your own cleaner using this one simple ingredient. While yoga mat brands use plant-based and organic ingredients, there’s nothing easier than water from the tap mixed with some white vinegar.

Reason #3: It’s Easy

When we have a daily practice, it can become time-consuming to keep our mats clean. However, when using vinegar, all you have to do is prepare a batch of the water and vinegar solution, wipe your mat, and allow it to air dry. Make it a habit to clean your yoga mat after practice to ensure it stays clean. 

Reason #4: You Can Make It Smell Lovely

Adding a few drops of essential oils can help make your yoga mat smell lovely. I like to add lavender as I absolutely love its smell! However, more importantly, essential oils can also help disinfect your yoga mat. This is particularly the case if you choose to use tea tree oil with has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.

Reason #5: It’s Convenient

Chances are, you already have some white vinegar in your kitchen, which makes it conveniently available whenever you need it.   

Tips for Keeping Your Yoga Mat Clean Longer

  • At a minimum, you should clean your yoga mat every week, especially if you have a regular practice. However, if you have the time, give it a deep clean once a month. If you see dirt, clean it immediately.
  • Don’t use too much spray cleaner and always give your mat enough time to air dry. This will protect moisture from getting trapped, which will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Allow your mat to airdry after every yoga practice too, especially if you have a sweaty practice.
  • To get rid of odors, you can also clean your mat with baking soda.

How Often Should We Clean Our Yoga Mat?

Because yoga mats can be such a breeding ground for bacteria, aim to clean them at least once per week. This is a good policy for anyone with a regular yoga practice, and particularly if you practice in a yoga studio or a gym, where they are more likely to become contaminated.

For a deeper clean, aim to give your yoga mat a deep clean once a month.

I like to clean my yoga mat with my vinegar and tea tree oil spray around once a week and disinfect it every other week with the Manduka Botanical Disinfectant Cleaner.

This is a disinfectant cleaner (not to be used on rubber mats). Wipe down your mat with a damp cloth and then spray this disinfectant cleaner. If you want to give your mat a deeper clean, leave for 10 minutes before wiping it off. Check it out here.

Can I use apple cider vinegar to clean my yoga mat?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar to clean a yoga mat. Apple cider vinegar has the same benefits as white vinegar. Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar have similar acidity level meaning both can be used to clean yoga mats.

How do you disinfect a yoga mat?

As a general rule, you can disinfect a yoga mat by using commercial cleaners. However, these may be too harsh for your yoga mat and cause damage and aging. The next best option is to use a vinegar and essential oil mixture, as both will help disinfect your yoga mat naturally.

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