Lately, I’ve been talking about yoga practice mainly the various poses and flows, breath, yoga styles, and how to detox, relieve tension, and stress… What I haven’t talked about is where a lot of this occurs which is your mat!
Your mat is a treasured piece of yoga equipment. It goes everywhere: to the studio or gym, outside in the park or yard, and on our floors at home. It might be clasped together by some of those cool mat slings or rolled into a special bag and kept in a closet at home or always in your car trunk. All in all, if you have a consistent yoga practice, you use your mat a lot!
But how often do you clean it or have you ever cleaned it? Well, I at least hope you try to clean it since your bare feet and hands are on it as well as your face! Plus if you do hot yoga, you sweat all over it.
How do you clean it? What do you use? What should you use?
Since it is yoga; personally, I like to use green or organic products that I make myself. (I’m really trying to get away from or at least minimize myself and family from all the harsh chemicals that are out there. My Mom has Leukemia and we have no idea why or how she got it. She keeps a really clean house and in the past she has used a lot of those chemicals like bleach and Pine Sol… You never know if breathing these chemicals could have been a contributing factor so as a result I’ve made serious changes with what I use to clean my house).
A Deep Cleaning/Scrub:
Fill your bathtub with about an inch or so of hot water. Lay your mat in the tub and submerse it. Then pour a very small amount of gentle laundry detergent on a wash cloth, sponge, or soft bristled brush. (I like Seventh Generation). Gently scrub your mat. Do the other side. Drain the water and rinse off both sides well. The cleaning only takes a few minutes. Next lay your mat out in the sun to dry for a few hours. You may have to flip it over so don’t forget about it.
Quick Wipe Downs: Before/After Each Practice:
If I’m home, before I put my mat away, I’ll spray it generously with a gentle green and all purpose household cleaner like Seventh Generation or Melaleuca’s Soluguard Botanical. These products work great! When I’m at the studio or gym, often I’ll use their products. My gym uses a Tea Tree Blend that smells nice.
However; maybe you hate what they use at your gym or studio. If this is the case, you can obviously bring your own cleaner or even bring a homemade mat spray if you’d like. If you do the latter, it isn’t hard to do nor is it expensive to make your own spray.
Making your own Mat Spray: Here is what you need:
- A Spray Bottle: you can find empty spray bottles of various sizes in the cleaning section of your grocery store.
- Essential Oils (not fragrance oils): Chose oils that have antibacterial properties: Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus…(You may have to go to a health food store or buy online)
- Cleaning Agent: White Vinegar (super cheap), Witch Hazel (hard to find without alcohol; can be found in Pharmacy Stores), or Lemon Juice
- Filtered Water:
*** Play with the above and come up with a recipe of your own. The nice thing about making your own spray is that you can play with scents. I highly recommend Tea Tree Oil which is also known as Melaleuca oil and then using another essential oil to achieve a nice scent. Below is one of my recipes.
Kristen’s Mat Spray Recipe:
2 cups filtered water (I use my refrigerator water filter).
¼ cup White Vinegar
1 tsp Tea Tree Oil
½ tsp Lavender
Place all ingredients into your spray bottle and shake before each use.
*** The above guidance works for most yoga mat brands. (If you have a Manduka Mat, use their products). Don’t put your mat in your washing machine as it is likely to get damaged, especially if you have an agitator!