How Often Do I Need to Clean My Yoga Mat?

You’ve taken yoga classes for years. You’ve bought a high-quality mat that’s now holding up well over time. But, there are these strange stains on your mat… What are they? How did they get there? And how can you clean them off so you have a good, clean surface to practice on?

Well, don’t worry.

Yoga mats are made up of a material that is designed to be resilient and long-lasting, even when exposed to sweat, pressure, wearing down over time, or becoming discolored with age. The material itself isn’t what causes odor or stains – it’s your body during yoga practice!

Our bodies release oils and other “juices” through our pores throughout the day. When you practice yoga, especially hot yoga or Bikram Yoga, these oils become extra sweaty due to the heat and humidity of the room (and let’s not forget the oil that gets released from all those stretches!)

All these combined means that your mat can easily pick up bacteria (including E Coli) if not cleaned regularly.

After much research, we’ve put together this article to give you the basics of how to clean your yoga mat. We’ll also teach you which cleaners are safe for your mat and include some recommendations for products you can use in-house or purchase online.

Ready to learn more? Great! Keep reading…

How Often Should I Clean My Yoga Mat?

The general rule of thumb is to wipe down your yoga mat with water or a spray cleaner after each practice, but there are exceptions. If you have an especially hot Bikram Yoga class or go for multiple classes in one day, take time out at home before moving on to another activity so that your body has time to cool down. It’s also important to give yourself time in between classes so that your mat has time to dry out after being cleaned. This will keep it in the best condition possible!

If you practice hot yoga, be sure to wait an hour before practicing again so that the sweat evaporates from your mat. If you can’t give your mat this hour break in between practices, then wipe it down with a towel or paper towels instead of water to reduce the amount of moisture on the surface. Your mat should also have at least 24 hours of drying time if you are storing it rolled up for later use. The excess moisture may cause mold and mildew growth if left too long without proper airflow (source).

How to Clean Yoga Mats: General Steps

woman rolling a yoga mat
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

1) Remove Adhesive Tape & Sticky Tack

Remove any tape or sticky tack that may be on your mat before starting to clean. You might even want to take a few extra minutes right after rolling up your mat for storage at the end of class. This will make it easier to get all the gunk off when you actually have time to do a full cleaning.

2) Spray Cleaner onto Surface

Once you are ready, spray cleaner directly onto the surface – either in an X-pattern or side-to-side depending on your preference. We recommend spraying cleaner into your hand first so you can control the amount being used.

3) Wipe Down with a Towel/Wipe

Using just one side of yoga, wipe down your entire mat in a side-to-side motion. You can also use a yoga block if needed to get all the way down to the center of your mat, but try not to stretch it too thin as this may damage the material over time.

4) Rinse Towel & Repeat

Rinse out your towel under running water and repeat Steps 3 & 4 until most of the dirt is gone from your mat.

5) Dry with Towels or Air Dry

If you have time, switch off between using a dry towel and wetting the surface of your mat with a spray bottle to help pull out moisture from inside the fibers of your mat. It also helps to lay towels down along the length of the surface before rolling up for storage or transport. If you don’t have time to air dry your mat, then place it in front of a fan to help speed up the process.

Avoid spraying cleaner directly onto the face of your yoga mat as this can damage some materials (it’s fine for natural rubber mats). You may also want to be careful about what cleaners you use on your hands and feet during practice. Many common hand sanitizers contain alcohol which is bad for any kind of rubber material like the soles of your yoga shoes or the bottom side of your sticky socks. This can cause them to dry out and crack over time (source).

Steps & Products: Natural Rubber Mats

woman have yoga mat
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

If you practice on a natural rubber mat, then we recommend using one that is specifically designed to clean yoga mats. If you don’t have a mat cleaner spray, then just use a couple of drops of tea tree oil mixed with water in a spray bottle and wipe the surface down with a towel or paper towel.

Steps & Products: Synthetic Rubber Mats

Synthetic rubber mats can be cleaned using common household cleaners, but we recommend avoiding ammonia-based products as they may eat away at the material over time (source). A simple mixture of water and vinegar works perfectly for cleaning these types of yoga mats without causing damage. You might also want to consider throwing them into your washing machine from time to time or spot cleaning them by hand after class or before storage.

Products: Other Materials

Some materials which are not specifically designed for yoga mats (like PVC, rubber, or TPE) can be cleaned in much the same way as natural rubber. It might take a bit more elbow grease for thicker styles, but you should still try to avoid products that contain harmful chemicals like ammonia when possible.

Steps & Products: Microfiber Yoga Towels

If your towels are looking pretty rough after many washes, then it’s probably time to replace them with something new. We recommend using towels made of microfiber material because they dry faster than cotton and don’t absorb quite as much sweat during practice (source). You can also throw them into your washing machine at home or spot clean them by hand between uses. They are usually pretty cost-effective so you don’t have to feel too bad about tossing them out every few months.

Other info Related to Yoga:

How to do Yoga Squat if you Have Bad Knees?

How to do Simple Kriya Yoga?

Tips to do Yoga for Seniors over 70

How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat – Thickness, Texture, and …

Steps & Products: Slipping Socks

Slipping socks are great for protecting your feet during hot yoga or other sweaty practices, but they do create extra friction on the mat surface each time you take a step forward. If they start to develop “pilling” after a few washes, then it’s probably time to replace them with something new. Many people recommend just throwing these into the washing machine along with your towels and seeing how that works out. Anything white should come clean quickly without causing damage to the material over time (source).

Products:  Microfiber Towels

If both of your mats are made from synthetic rubber or natural rubber, then you can also use a microfiber towel to wipe everything down before storage. Just use the same method for cleaning your towels by spraying with water or tea tree oil and wiping with paper towels or a cotton towel.

Steps & Products: Yoga Block(s)

If you have yoga blocks that are made of either natural rubber or foam, then you can clean them much in the same way as your mat using mild soap and water (just be careful around any markings). You might also want to consider putting these into the washing machine once in a while if they start to smell funky after many uses.

Products: Props

Your props should last for many years without any major damage unless they get dropped or thrown during practice (in which case it might be time to get a new one). Make sure you clean them before storage and spot clean them by hand after class if needed. If they start to smell, then just put a little water on a cotton towel and wipe it down the same way you would your yoga mat.

Summary: How Often Should You Clean Your Yoga Mat?

Never use soap or other cleaning products directly onto your yoga mat because these substances may damage the material over time due to their powerful chemical structure (source).

The best idea is to simply use water or diluted tea tree oil when cleaning your mat between uses so that any bacteria are killed without harming the surface of the fabric. Avoid using household cleaners or ammonia-based products as these chemicals might eat away at the material over time.

You can also help your mat stay fresh by putting it into the washing machine every once in a while along with your towels. If you’re using microfiber or natural rubber mats, then this should be okay to do without causing damage over time due to the material’s high durability (source).

If you have any other questions about how often to clean yoga mats, post them below!

Leave a Comment