Ever nestled into child’s pose, taken a deep, cleansing breath, and smelled something…seriously off? That’s your trusty yoga mat. With regular use, it gets covered in dirt, oils, and—if you’re doing it right—plenty of sweat
Since we yogi's love to get up close and personal with our yoga mats it's good to know that they are no broods for bacteria. In addition, when you've finally found your perfect mat after a long search you want to enjoy it for as long as you can. Taking good care of your yogamat and cleaning it the right way will prolong your yogamat's life and keep bacteria and smells at bay.
The different types of yoga mats all require different types of care. We'll give you a clear overview of how to treat your mat, but one thing applies to every yoga mat: store your mat neatly and in a clean, dry place when you are not using it. Make sure that your mat is rolled up tightly and that there are no other things on top of the mat, this may cause the mat to become out of shape.
PVC yoga mats
Yoga mats made of PVC are the most durable and easy to maintain. These mats are resistant to sunlight and dirt and can therefore be used well for outdoor yoga. These yoga mats generally have a 'closed cell' surface, which means that the outer layer of the mat is completely closed so that perspiration and moisture can not penetrate the inside of the mat. This allows you to clean the mats thoroughly and they remain very hygienic, even if you tend to perspire a lot.
The higher quality PVC yoga mats, such as Manduka's ProLite and Pro, are extremely durable and will last a lifetime (backed up with a lifelong guarantee!). These mats will become grippier over time with use and are finished with a thin protective layer, causing the mat to possibly feel a bit slippery in the beginning. This layer will wear off after use, but if it bothers you you can scrub it off with sea salt. For the exact instructions, watch this video:
To clean a PVC yoga mat, use the Manduka All Purpose Mat Wash. To clean the mat after use, spray the mat with the Mat Wash and wipe it off with a damp cloth. Allow the mat to air dry before rolling it back on. For a thorough cleaning you can leave the Mat Wash in for 5 to 10 minutes.
Some PVC yoga mats, such as the Yogisha Studio Yoga Mat, can be washed in the washing machine. Wash the mat on 30 or cold on a short program for delicate wax with a little mild detergent and let it dry.
Note: not all PVC yoga mats are suitable for the washing machine, always check the packaging of the mat or request it via the Yogisha customer service if you have doubts.
TPE yoga mats
TPE is a biodegradable synthetic rubber. The Manduka WelcOme and PrAna E.C.O are two examples of TPE yoga mats.
TPE is a rather soft material and can therefore be sensitive to folding. So make sure that you always roll up the mat neatly and do not put any heavy items on top to keep the shape of the yoga mat.
Use a Manduka All Purpose Mat Wash or a vinegar solution (ratio 1:3) for cleaning your TPE yoga mat. Spray the mat and then wipe it off with a damp cloth or sponge. For a more thorough cleaning you can leave it for 5 to 10 minutes before wiping it off. Allow the mat to dry in the air before rolling it up again and storing it.
Natural rubber yoga mats
Rubber is a natural material and although yoga mats of this material have many advantages, such as better grip, they are also somewhat more sensitive compared to, for example, PVC yoga mats. First of all, it is important to always keep your rubber yoga mat away from direct and indirect sunlight. The UV radiation in sunlight can let the rubber dry out and will cause your mat to become hard, stiff, or brittle over a long period of time. That's why we recommend to always store your rubber yoga mat in the shade or in a bag.
After purchasing a rubber yoga mat, most notice it quickly: rubber has a characteristic odor. This is the natural smell of rubber and it fades over time. If the smell bothers you you can speed up the fading by hanging out your mat instead of keeping it rolled up and possibly spraying your mat with a mixture of apple vinegar and water (ratio 1: 3). If desired, you can add a small drop of essential oil to the vinegar solution to mask the rubber odor.
To clean a rubber yoga mat it is best to use a special spray, such as the Manduka Rubber Mat Wash. These sprays are based on vinegar, this removes oils and dirt from your mat in a mild way and also helps to retain the color, and also contain essential oils that keep your mat supple and give of a wonderful scent. If you prefer not to use a spray, you can also use a vinegar solution with a ratio of 1:3.
Never use cleaning products based on alcohol or petroleum. These substances break down and dry out the rubber. Because most rubber yoga mats have an open cell structure, you should never submerge these mats in water or rinse in the shower. The mat can absorb the water and become very heavy.
PU yoga mats
Yoga mats made from polyutherane (PU), such as the Liforme and OHMat yoga mats, made with special treated natural rubber and have a smooth finish. The top layer of these yoga mats wicks away moisture, therefore always ensuring you of perfect dry grip! It is important that these types of yoga mats do not come into contact with oil, cream, or acid-containing substances, as these may leave marks on the top layer.
As with all rubber mats, it is very important to keep them away from sunlight, both directly and indirectly. The UV radiation in sunlight affects the rubber and causes it to discolor and dry out.
Just like with the other yoga mats made of natural rubber, PU yoga mats also have a characteristic rubber odor. If the smell disturbs you, follow the same instructions as with the natural rubber yoga mats but do not add essential oil to the vinegar solution.
To clean a PU yoga mat it's best to use a soft, natural soap diluted with plenty of water. Rub the mat with a damp cloth or soft sponge and the soap solution. Do not use Manduka Mat Wash, as these contain oils, or aggressive cleaning agents. Let the mat dry in the air after cleaning. As soon as the mat has dried up, you can roll it up and store it. For PU yoga mats it's advised to roll them with the top side out.