Since you’re reading this, chances are you’re asking yourself this very question: How often should you clean your yoga mat? If you’re anything like me or most people, you do your practice, roll your mat up, and unroll it in time for the next practice. And then when it starts to look and smell dirty you know it’s time to clean. Sound familiar? So of course the question is, often should you clean your yoga mat?
I’ve suspected for a long time that I probably don’t clean my yoga mat often enough. What I tend to do is look at it, and if it looks clean then I roll it out and get on with my practice. But I’ve always wondered if that’s an okay strategy, or if I should be more diligent about cleaning my yoga mat more frequently. So I did quite a lot of research to help answer the question: How often should I clean my yoga mat?
You should aim to clean your yoga mat once a week, more regularly if you have a daily and sweaty practice. A deep clean should be done once a month following your yoga mat’s instructions. Always allow your mat to airdry after practicing and after cleaning.
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 its Important to Clean Your Mat
On paper, cleaning a yoga mat seems pretty simple. Just spray it with a cleaner, wipe it down, allow it to air dry, and you’re good to go!
But how often do we actually do this? If you don’t clean it regularly, you may be setting yourself up for skin and health problems.
In an interview with Elle, Dr. Robert Lahita, a professor of medicine at Rutgers School of Medicine, mentioned that bacteria, fungi, viruses, and more can live on our beloved yoga mats. He went on to say that: “The yoga mat is a very fertile source for infection, mainly because people sweat on them and they rarely are cleaned.”
When looking a bit further into what medical experts are saying, I then came across 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.
In an article by the Insider titled ‘How to kill germs’ we are told that germs are “in us, on us, and all around us. They come in four types: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. These harmful pathogens can be hard to eradicate once inside the body. But you can protect yourself from infection with disinfectants, sanitizers, and soaps that kill and remove germs.”
How Often Yoga Mat Brands Recommend Cleaning Yoga Mats
So, what do yoga mat manufacturers say about how often to clean a yoga mat?
To be more specific, let’s have a look at the best yoga mat brands (in my opinion), and let’s see if they have their very own yoga mat cleaner.
|Yoga mat brands||How often do they recommend cleaning?|
|Manduka||After every practice|
|Jade||Once a week (if you get sweaty wipe after every practice)|
|Liforme||After every 5-10 uses|
|BMat||On a regular basis|
As you may have noticed from the table above, some yoga mats brands are very specific with their cleaning instructions, while others are a bit more vague.
For example, Manduka recommends using their own brand’s cleaner spray after every practice, while BMat simply says wipe the surface on a regular basis.
How often should I clean my Manduka yoga mat?
Manduka recommends cleaning your Manduka Pro after every practice by wiping it down with their brand own yoga mat cleaner.
How often should I clean my Jade yoga mat?
Jade recommends wiping your mat down with a damp cloth on a weekly basis for regular mat maintenance and routine cleaning. However, if you have a vigorous practice, or are doing hot yoga, they recommend doing so after each use.
How often should I clean my Liforme yoga mat?
Liforme recommends cleaning your mat only about every 5-10 uses. If you regularly practice in sweaty conditions, you may wish to clean your mat more frequently.
How often should I clean my BYoga mat?
B Yoga recommends wiping the surface on a regular basis with plain water or by using their own cleanser. Alternatively, they also recommend using mild soap and water or a pH-neutral cleaner.
How often should I clean my Sugarmat?
Sugarmat recommends cleaning your mat whenever needed, by wiping it with a clean cloth after a few spritzes of a yoga mat spray.
How Often to Clean a Yoga Mat Depends on 4 Things
1. Did you have a sweaty practice?
The biggest thing to consider when it comes to how often to clean your yoga mat is how sweaty your practice is.
When you’re doing a gentle practice, such as Yin yoga and not overproducing oil or sweat, it doesn’t need to be cleaner after every practice. However, if it’s 90 degrees out and you’re doing a dynamic practice such as Ashtanga and sweating a lot, then your yoga mat is going to get smelly a lot more quickly and may require more frequent cleaning.
2. How often do you practice?
If you practice once in a while, then you don’t need to clean your mat very often. However, if you have daily practice, then it is important to clean your mat more often. This could simply involve wiping down your mat with the yoga spray of your choice and giving it enough time to air dry.
3. Do you practice at home or in a yoga studio?
This is an important factor to consider, especially now with COVID. If you practice at home, you don’t need to worry about disinfecting your yoga mat. However, if you practice in a yoga studio or a gym, and especially if you use a communal mat, then it is vital you clean it before your practice.
If you’re wondering why that’s so important, well, there was a very interesting article several years ago cleverly titled How dirty is your yoga mat?
In this article, we are told that several editors from Elle went to swab yoga mats at gyms and studios throughout New York City. They found Micrococcus luteus and Empedobacter brevis on yoga mats, both of which are bacteria that are mostly harmless to those with a healthy immune system.
Of course, there are more things that could be living on your yoga mat, like fungi such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.
And so whether you practice in a yoga studio or at home, if you have a sweaty practice or if it’s a humid environment, then your yoga mat may be the perfect warm environment for organisms to grow and thrive.
4. What type of yoga mat do you have?
The two main types of yoga mats are closed-cell and open-cell yoga mats. Manduka Pro is a typical example of a closed-cell yoga mat, which doesn’t allow any moisture the penetrate the surface. This can make it the most hygienic option of yoga mat as it can be simply wiped down after practice.
On the other hand, a typical example of an open cell yoga mat is the Jade Harmony which is a rubber mat. In his interview with Elle, Dr. Robert Lahita mentioned that “Many yoga mats are pocked with little holes and these organisms like to live in that, especially if you’re sweating and you’re providing a very nice environment of warm saline, which comes from your skin.”
And so if you have an open cell yoga mat, always always always allow it to airdry after practice and try to clean it regulalry.
The Signs You Should Clean Your Yoga Mat ASAP
Here are three pretty clear indicators that the time has come.
1. Your yoga mat is smelly
Odor is a common byproduct of organisms metabolising. And so if your yoga mat starts to smell, then that’s a good indication that it needs to be cleaned.
2. You had a very sweaty practice
If you know you got really sweaty and your yoga mat got wet, you should clean it. That goes for both your open cell and closed cell yoga mats.
3. It looks dirty
If you notice any dirt on your yoga mat, that’s also a sign to clean it.
Don’t think of cleaning your yoga mat as just another task to be done! Maintaining a clean yoga mat is beneficial to your practice, and can protect you from any possible infections. Be cautious with the cleaners you use, and be sure to be thorough during the act of cleaning. Check out my guide on the 7 best yoga mat sprays.
Now that you know how often to clean your yoga mat check out what I’ve laid out for you! The Complete Guide To Cleaning Your Yoga Mat is the right post for you when it comes to cleaning.
What happens if you don’t clean your yoga mat?
If you don’t clean your mat regularly, you may be setting yourself up for skin and health problems. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and more can live on our beloved yoga mats and may cause a series of health issues and infections if lef unouched.