How to Clean a Yoga Mat Using Natural Ingredients

how to clean a yoga mat
Photo: Aleksandra Jankovic/Stocksy

Whether you’re a beginning yoga student or a seasoned pro, you’re likely well acquainted with the cleansing power of yoga. Before you get deep into your next round of pranayama, however, the first thing that requires cleansing is your mat. Like any surface that endures constant contact with skin, sweat, and the floor, yoga mats are incredibly susceptible to bacteria and grime.

Knowing how to clean a yoga mat is crucial for keeping your health intact and for keeping your mind on your practice instead of a scuffed-up mat. Fortunately, a clean mat can be achieved in just a few simple steps using eco-friendly ingredients.

Read on to learn how to clean a yoga mat and keep your supplies in pristine shape.

Wipe It Clean

While the ingredients required to clean a yoga mat are almost suspiciously intuitive (soap and water), the trick is using the proper ratio. Because yoga mats are designed with a slight stickiness (that key feature that keeps you from keeling over during downward-facing dog), it’s important to avoid using either too much soap or harsh chemicals. 

For light cleaning, simply mix three to four drops of dish soap with about two cups of water.

Using a textured cloth, firmly wipe down the surface of the mat, applying enough pressure to clean the grooves in the mat’s texture. Avoid scrubbing too harshly; you want to maintain the mat's natural stickiness.

Follow this step by wiping the mat with a clean, wet cloth to remove any soap residue.

For heavier cleaning, the simplest solution is to clean your mat in a tub or large sink. For this method, fill the tub with a few inches of water (enough to submerge the mat), but be sure to go easy on the soap to keep the dilution correct. For particularly grungy scenarios, you can even soak your mat overnight.

Let It Dry

The best way to finish cleaning a yoga mat is to let it air dry. Simply hang the mat over your shower curtain rod.

If you’re shy on time, you can also lay down a towel and roll it up with the mat, then press the yoga mat to remove excess moisture to expedite the process.

Tips for Maintaining Your Mat

  • Always make sure your feet are clean before you begin. While it may sound like common sense, this simple move will help protect against some of the most common bacteria.
  • Always use the same side of the mat. This may be as straightforward as always rolling and unrolling your mat in the same direction, but some of our favorite yoga mats skip the guesswork with different hues on either side.
  • Travel smart. When it’s not in use, be sure to stow your mat in a travel bag so it doesn’t accrue dust. If you’re regularly lugging your yoga mat to class, it might also be worth tucking a sanitizing spray into your yoga bag, or making your own solution using two cups of water and a few drops of tea tree oil.

Up next, keep reading for 11 yoga poses for beginners that anyone can master.