Stinky Yoga Mat?

Isn't his doggy butt where my face was during yoga class the other day?

“My yoga mat is getting pretty smelly. How should I wash it?” This is a question I get a lot.  I have read in a number of sources that spraying and wiping your mat down routinely with a yoga mat cleaner is all you will need.  In my experience this is not true.  Spraying mats with cleaner can help extend the times between cleanings, but nothing beats a real bath for removing odors. Below you will find some basic guidelines for keeping your mat fresh.

  1. Regularly spray the mat down with a mat cleaner or highly diluted soap. If you use too much your mat will become slippery, so less is better.  Immediately wipe it dry with a clean towel.
  2. Whenever possible store your mat unrolled.  Over a towel bar works great. Even better is on a drying rack positioned over a heater vent (only if you have forced air heat….always keep mats away from direct sources of heat).
  3. Typical lightweight yoga mats can be run through a front load washing machine.  Use very little soap (tablespoon) and put several towels in with the mat. Set the machine on an extra spin cycle if possible.  Then you will want to put the mat in the dryer only if you can turn the heat completely off.  Heat free tumble dry for at least 60 minutes and then hang to dry.  The mat will usually take at least another 24 hours to dry depending on the humidity of the room.
  4. In the summer time let your mat bake in the sun to kill off smelly bacteria.
  5.  If you have a heavy duty professional series mat a good wipe down and occasional sun bath will usually be all you need.  When it does need a bath, a good hand washing in the bath tub is best.

Remember that washing your mat shortens it life and expensive specialty mats should only be washed according to manufacturers recommendations to get the longest life. With that said, I have used all of the techniques about and have never destroyed a mat.

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