So, you've got a nice new yoga mat?
There are a few ways to look after your yoga mat to keep it clean and sparkling. In this short blog, I will tell you a few of the ways that I use ensure my mats are fresh.
You should always follow the instructions that come with your particular mat, as some recommend only wiping with plain water, however if your mat is a Yogamatters Sticky Mat or similar, you have a choice of methods.
1. Washing Machine
Yes, you can pop your mat in the washing machine!
The advice is to use VERY little detergent and NO fabric conditioner, as this will decrease your mat’s stickiness and you may start to slide in your Downward Dog.
Be aware that the mat is like a big sponge and will take a fair while to dry, so it is best to do this a couple of days before you intend to use your mat, to allow it to dry completely.
One way of speeding up drying time, is by placing a towel under the mat, another towel on top and rolling the mat as you usually would, but as tight as you can. This helps to squeeze out a lot of the water before you lay it out or hang it up to dry.
2. Steam cleaning
If you are lucky enough to have a steam cleaner, these are great for cleaning your mat.
I recommend using the half steam setting and having a cloth over the end of the cleaner… you will be able to see how clean your gets! Remember to clean both sides of the mat, even if you tend to prefer using a particular side for your practice.
Again, this method does make the mat wet, but drying time is much shorter and 15 minutes over a washing line on a nice day should see it ready to use.
TAKE CARE if using this method on less expensive mats, as I have found that they start to ‘melt’ if you keep the steamer in one spot for too long!
3. Mat cleaning spray
This is probably the easiest and quickest method, plus you can personalise the fragrance too!
It is possible to buy mat cleaning sprays, but it is so easy and much cheaper to make your own.
Here is the recipe that I like to use.
You will need:
Witch Hazel or White Vinegar (great for cleaning)
Tea Tree Essential Oil (banishes bacteria)
A Spray Bottle (reuse one from around the house making sure it is washed out well)
How to make it:
Fill the spray bottle 3/4 of the way with water
Top up with Witch Hazel or White Vinegar
Add about 10 drops of Tree Tree Oil*
*This depends on the size of your bottle. You can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, such as Lavender for relaxation, to make your mat smell heavenly.
To use, all you need to do is spritz it over your mat, wipe with a clean, dry cloth and leave for a few minutes to dry before rolling it up again.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga, as spoken about by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, include the Niyamas, which offer guidance for living. These include Saucha, which translates as cleanliness. This means that cleaning your mat means that you are still practicing yoga!