Cleanliness is next to godliness, so they say, and after COVID-19 hit, we all became well-versed in hand-washing and sanitising. While we're lucky to have COVID under control here in New Zealand, maintaining proper hygiene is good practice - especially in a yoga studio or gym.
A yoga mat is more than an accessory to your practice; it provides a steady foundation and grip, supports you as your practice evolves, and holds you in shavasana at the end of your session.
Once you've got your dream mat, here are some tips on how to keep it clean.
If you can, reserve a specific mat for home use only. Give your mat a quick wipe down after each practice, and depending on how often you use it, wash it once every week or two. Do a deep clean now and then to remove buildup (see washing details below).
For hygiene purposes, we highly recommend bringing your own mat and equipment to class - consider investing in a travel mat and a bolster for use outside of the home. Most bolster covers can go into a gentle, cold wash in your machine.
Travel mats are lightweight, easy to tote around, and are also perfect for keeping your practice flowing while you're on holiday. The Manduka PRO Travel and eKO Superlite travel mats weigh approximately one-third of a standard mat and can be rolled or folded.
If you're using a studio mat, always bring your own mat topper or towel to create an extra barrier. Towels have the added bonus of extra grip! You can also wipe the studio mat down with your TRIBE eco.clean natural citrus cleaner before use.
How to clean your yoga mat
Option One: Quick Clean
Giving your yoga mat a quick wipe down after each use will keep it fresh and hygienic. TRIBE eco.clean natural citrus cleaner is 100% natural and biodegradable and can be used on any yoga mat, including rubber mats. It comes in a handy 250ml size which is perfect for taking to the studio (pop it into your yoga bag with a cloth for post-class cleaning).
Spray on your mat and wipe with a soft cloth, using an extra spritz on any areas that have marks or stains. Allow your mat to air dry before rolling it up.
Gentle cleaning is key - always avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, or conventional spray cleaners.
Option Two: Mat Wash
For a more intensive clean, you'll need a mat wash. The Manduka All-Purpose Mat Wash has been formulated to clean Manduka PRO® mats, and it's also great for cleaning other brands of yoga mats.
The certified organic, alcohol-free cleaning solution keeps your yoga mat clean and fresh. Anti-microbial essential oils disinfect and leave a pleasant scent.
For an easy wash: spray approximately 20 pumps directly onto your mat. Wipe down your mat with a damp cloth and air dry before rolling and using.
For a deeper wash: spray approximately 40 pumps directly onto your mat and leave for 3-5 minutes. Use a damp cloth and scrub the surface to remove dirt and stains. Wipe your mat down with a clean cloth and air dry before rolling and using.
For Manduka GRP and all open-cell yoga mats, you'll need the Manduka GRP Yoga Mat Restore. GRP mats absorb a lot of moisture, so they need a regular, thorough cleaning. Pump foam onto a clean sponge or damp cloth, apply pressure and wipe down the entire surface of your mat. Rinse the sponge or cloth thoroughly and wipe down your mat with fresh water. Hang to dry before rolling and storing the mat.
To wash a rubber mat, the vinegar-based Manduka Natural Rubber Mat Wash neutralises bacteria and odour and restores moisture and surface grip, all with a refreshing lemongrass & sage scent.
If your practice is particularly sweaty (we're looking at you, Hot Yoga devotees), it goes without saying that your mat will need more frequent washing!
Option Three: Deep Clean
Every so often, give your mat a deep clean with a product like the Manduka Botanical Disinfecting Cleaner (not suitable for Manduka GRP yoga mats). A thorough clean will remove buildup - goodbye sweat - and breathe new life into your mat.
Your mat is a companion of sorts, and it deserves gentle TLC. We sing the praises of high-quality yoga mats and recommend investing in one to last a lifetime.
COVID aside, regular cleaning and careful care will extend the life of your mat, benefiting your wallet and the environment.