Some Saucha for the Sticky Mat
My yoga mat is like my second home. I’ve slept on it, cried on it, learned and loved on it. It has been with me in parks, decks, on concrete, to studios and has even traveled cross-continent with me.
Just like our homes, keeping your yoga mat pristine for the long haul takes a bit of maintenance and effort. So here’s the big question: How do you clean your yoga mat and how often should you do it?
For hot yoga practitioners, it is a good idea to give your mat a misting with a tea tree oil solution or an organic mat spray after each use, especially if the mat itself doesn’t have built in anti-microbial properties.
If your mat has dirty spots on it or an odor, a more thorough cleaning is necessary. For pesky spots, you can use lemon juice and baking soda diluted in water with a terrycloth towel to rub out the stains. Most mats are machine washable, so you can throw it in a cycle by itself with a tad of mild detergent. When my yoga mat gets really dirty, I lay it on the floor of my bathtub, rub it down with a washcloth and some gentle soap. Then I turn on the shower-head and watch brown water wash down the drain. It always surprises me just how much sludge comes off!
Remember, your bare skin and face are touching your mat during your practice so it is best to use eco-friendly, skin-friendly and non-abrasive cleaners. Also of note, is that the soles of your feet and cheeks (both posterior and facial) touch your mat as well. Don’t just keep your mat clean; keep your body clean before stepping even into Tadasana. I always wash my hands and often my feet before practice. I keep baby wipes with me in my mat bag so that I can give my feet a good wipe down when I am on the go. The ritual of cleansing insures not only that my mat stays cleaner but also that I am not picking up any unwanted germs I’ve collected along the way to my yoga space.
Having a clean mat makes a yoga practice all the more inviting. Wipe down, wash up, spray on, scrub off and keep bending!