I have been a bit confused by the idea of store bought yoga mat cleaners. I understand the fact that yoga mats get dirty, or at least a bit sweaty, but I haven’t followed why they would need a special type of cleaner to clean them. Other than imbuing your mat with a refreshing scent which admittedly would be nice, the claims that marketers use to compel us yogis to buy their products are astonishing and likely total baloney. The idea that a regular ol’ yoga mat would require a non-toxic, organic, gentle cleansing spray is bananas. Yoga mats are absorbent- some more so than others-so simply spraying them with a nice smelling spray doesn’t seem like it would clean it all that well, right? If your tee shirt (also an absorbent material) was dirty, you wouldn’t spray and wipe and hope for best. You would wash it.
While some expensive mats are made from more “natural” products, most are made from petroleum, the same stuff your car tires are made of, indicating to me that they wouldn’t require a delicate, fairy-dust infused cleanser. If you use yoga mat cleaner then by all means I hope you enjoy it but I won’t be purchasing any.
So, how did this Wildflower clean her yoga mat after it got genuinely dirty from being drug around the field for the photos above?
I put it in the washing machine. Yep, that’s it. NO soap, NO fancy cleanser, just warm water and agitation.
I skipped the soap because a yoga mat would likely soak up the soap and it would be difficult to rinse all the soap out, potentially resulting in a slippery mat. Most washing machines have a bit of soap remaining in them and when I ran my load of 2 yoga mats, I saw that a few soapy bubbles were cleaning my mats inside the drum of the washing machine.
I used warm water, the gentle cycle, and no soap. The only other consideration is washing a mat requires a place to hang dry it (more on line drying here) and I waited till we had a warm day ahead so it would have plenty of time to dry thoroughly.
I don’t have all the answers, however. I haven’t tried to wash one of the really big, round mats that instructors often use but I’m inclined to think it would fit in a standard washer. I haven’t experimented with hang drying the mat inside in the winter when drying laundry inside is harder because of space and the potential for mildew development. My thicker mat soaked up a lot of water, the way a bathmat might, and if I had to dry it inside, I’d probably have to set up a rack in the bathtub which is not as convenient.
I really hate the idea of people feeling like they need to buy a certain product to do a good job like my post here on useless baby food gadgets. I hope you feel empowered by this little laundry post and encouraged to do things the sensible way, even if it isn’t as popular.
If you resourceful Wildflowers out there have tips for cleaning yoga mats to share, please add them to the comment section below! Happy washing!