How To Wash A Yoga Mat The Right Way

how to wash a yoga mat
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How to wash a yoga mat

Are you one of those people who frequently forget to wash their yoga mat? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people don’t realize just how important it is to wash their yoga mats on a regular basis. In this blog post, I’ll teach you how to wash your yoga mat the right way. Keep reading for more information!

We practice, sweat, and lie on our yoga mats every day, but we can’t always say the same thing about how frequently we’re cleaning our yoga mats. Giving them a thorough cleaning every month or so is not enough. Especially if we sweat a lot, or if we practice in a gym or yoga studio (and especially if we use communal mats), we should be cleaning our yoga mats far more often in order to prevent bacteria buildup.

In an article in the New York Times, Greg E. Cohen, a podiatrist at Long Island College Hospital, mentioned that he has seen a 50% spike in patients with plantar warts and athlete’s foot as yoga has become more popular. And if you’re wondering what could be the cause of this spike? Unclean exercise mats, Dr. Cohen says.

If that doesn’t convince you to wash your yoga mat often, perhaps a step-by-step guide on how to wash a yoga mat will do the trick.

How Often Should You Wash Your Yoga Mat?

As a general rule, aim to wash your yoga mat at least once per week, as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. This is the case for anyone with a regular yoga practice, particularly if you sweat a lot or practice in a communal space, which means your mat is more likely to become contaminated.

If you don’t practice regularly or if you practice a grounding practice like Yin or Restorative yoga at home, then a slightly longer interval between cleaning is fine—but you should still wipe it down at least every other week.

To find out more and to see what yoga mat brands recommend, click here for: This Is Really How Often To Clean A Yoga Mat

When Should You Replace Yoga Mats?

How long your yoga mat will last all depends on how regularly (and intensely) you’re using it, as well as how you take care of it between uses. That being said, there are some clear-cut signs it’s time to replace your yoga mat.

A weird smell from your mat or bits coming off indicate that it’s time for a new yoga mat. Another sign is when your yoga mat becomes slippery.

To help your mat stay as good as new, try cleaning it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and one top tip is to always let it air dry after cleaning and after a sweaty practice.

Click here to find out: Yoga Mat Life: How Long Do They Last & What Lasts Longest?

What You’ll Need To Wash a Yoga Mat

There are many yoga mat cleaners on the market that come in a spray form. These are handy and convenient for quick and easy cleanings.

Manduka sprays to wash your yoga mat

Option 1 – Brand Specific Spray

Best Overall: Manduka Yoga Mat Wash and Refresh

Best to Disinfect Yoga Mats: Manduka Botanical Disinfectant Cleaner

Best for Rubber Mats: Plant-Based Mat Wash

Best to Restore Rubber Mats: Natural Rubber Yoga Mat Restore

Option 2 – Homemade cleaner

Another popular option is preparing your very own DIY cleaning solution – more on how to use one below. This is my preferred option for my yoga studio, where I prepare a solution every few weeks for my students to use if they want.

One added benefit of making your own yoga mat spray is that you can add essential oils that are able to disinfect your mat and leave a nice smell.

Make your very own vinegar DIY yoga mat cleaner

Best DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner: Cleaner with Vinegar

Best DIY Yoga Mat Spray for Smelly Yoga Mats: Cleaner with Baking Soda

Best Safe DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner: Cleaner with Witch Hazel

Many yoga mat brands, recommend using soap to deep clean their yoga mats. Why? Mild soap is gentle enough to use on yoga mats and contains the right ingredients to remove dirt and grime.

Some people like to use dish soap when they clean their mats. It’s a softer soap and they feel more comfortable using it. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Soap is a popular option, and it’s also plant-derived, biodegradable, and cruelty-free. However, there are many different types of soap you can use.

How to Clean Your Yoga Mat Using the Step-by-Step Method 

Overall, the makeup artists we spoke to had very similar methods for cleaning makeup brushes with different types of products. We distilled all their methods below, with some additional tips from each expert. If you’re cleaning a makeup sponge, the same methodology applies, though you’re really going to want to stick to liquid cleaners or bar soaps. 

Step 1 – Choose Your Yoga Mat Cleaner

Step 1 in how to wash a yoga mat, choose your yoga mat cleaner

You have two main options when it comes to a yoga mat cleaner:

  1. Use a brand-specific cleaner – As much as I love making my homemade cleaners, I have found some cleaners I really like. These are all explained below in further detail to help you decide which one to use and how to use it.
  2. Make your own DIY spray bottle– This is an easy and inexpensive way to lean your mat using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
7 BEST Yoga Mat Cleaner Sprays: I Tried Them All

7 BEST Yoga Mat Cleaner Sprays: I Tried Them All

Overall, the best spray in my opinion is the Manduka Yoga Mat Wash and Refresh. Its effective, non-irritating, pet-friendly, and made with a plant-based formula. I have the Lavender version which smells amazing.

Regarding my favorite DIY yoga mat cleaner, I would say that my go-to recipe is the Vinegar cleaner where I add some drops of tea tree oil thanks to its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

For more information on each of these sprays, check out my article: 7 BEST Yoga Mat Cleaner Sprays: I Tried Them All

Step 2 – Spray & Wipe With Soft Cloth

How to wash a yoga mat - step 2 is to spray your cleaner on a damp cloth

To get your yoga mat clean, lay the mat flat on the floor, spray a damp cloth and wipe your entire mat with circular motion. Repeat on the other side.

A pro-tip is to first wet your cloth and then spray the cleaner of your choice on the damp cloth. This will help spread the cleaner more efficiently on the surface of your mat.

Step 3 – Allow Your Mat To Air Dry

Step 3 in how to wash a yoga mat is to allow it to air dry after cleaning it

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

You can even use a shower rod to help your mat dry completely.

How To Deep Clean Your Yoga Mat

There are two main options to deep clean a dirty yoga mat. The first option is for the mats that have a corresponding yoga mat spray. Spray and leave the cleaner on the surface for 5-10 minutes and then wipe dry. The second option is to clean using a DIY cleaner made up of baking soda or dish soap.

Deep clean a yoga mat with soap and water

According to WebMD, cleaning with soapy water removes dirt and grime and gets rid of some germs.

Deep-cleaning with dish soap and water:

  1. Add a few drops of your soap of choice to some water.
  2. Dip your cloth in this mixture and make sure you wring it out to remove any excess water.
  3. Wipe your mat down with the cloth and remember to clean both sides.
  4. Use a clean dry cloth to soak up any excess water.
  5. Hang your yoga mat to dry before rolling it up and storing it.

For more information and tips, check out my article: How to Deep Clean A Yoga Mat in Under 5 Minutes

Tips to Clean Your Yoga Mat Effectively

Here are a few tips that should help the process that much more effective.

  1. Wet the cloth you are going to use and then spray it with cleaner, rather than spraying the mat first with the cleaner and wiping with a dry cloth. This will help clean more effectively.
  2. If you have a PVC mat such as a Manudka Pro, you can clean it first with water and soap and then disinfect using the Manduka plant-based disinfectant.
  3. Try not to use too much water or spray when cleaning your mat, and always give it enough time to dry thoroughly. If you don’t the moisture that remains may create a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.
  4. If you have a 100% rubber yoga mat (such as the Jade Harmony and BYoga) keep out of direct sunlight when you’re practicing and when you’re drying it, as the sun can damage your mat.
  5. Again, if you have a rubber yoga mat don’t use any essential oils, as these can damage your mat. Or if you do use them, dilute them a lot.

Can you use disinfectant wipes and baby wipes to clean a yoga mat?

Disinfectant wipes and baby wipes are two popular options. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before using either of these cleaning methods. Disinfectant wipes (such as clorox wipes) usually contain harsh chemicals that can damage the material of your yoga mat. Baby wipes, on the other hand, may not be strong enough to disinfect your mat properly.

In addition, both of these cleaning methods can leave behind residue that can be slippery and dangerous. For these reasons, it’s best to stick to a gentle soap and water solution when cleaning your yoga mat. With a little bit of care, you can keep your mat clean and safe for use.

How do you clean a yoga mat naturally?

To clean a yoga mat naturally, you can either use a brand-specific plant-based spray, or you can prepare your own homemade solution. One method is to mix 1/2 part water and 1/2 part white vinegar. Spray a damp cloth with this solution and wipe down your mat before leaving to air dry.

For more information: 6 Ways To Clean Your Yoga Mat Naturally


So, how do you properly wash your yoga mat? It’s actually quite easy – just follow the above methods and your mat will be good as new in no time!

Washing a yoga mat is important to keep it clean and free of bacteria. In order to get the most out of your yoga practice and stay healthy, make sure to wash your mat regularly using these simple steps.

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