how to deep clean your yoga mat.

It’s time: Spring Cleaning!  (I love it… clearing out the old dust, making way for fresh air in my house and organizing my closet… it’s the best.)  Which means it’s warm enough to hang your yoga mat outside to dry.  Finally.

You probably already use an after-practice cleaning spray on your mat before rolling it up and taking it home, but when was the last time you REALLY scrubbed it?  (Dirt is ok to lie in when you are camping.  Not when you are at the yoga studio… or in your house… Mike.)

mat cleaner

Here’s my regimen:

  1. Rinse your bathtub.
  2. Lay your yoga mat in the tub, as flat as possible.
  3. Assemble the following:
    1. Borax Household cleaner
    2. Salt (cheap is fine!)
    3. Scrubbing brush (like the one you use to clean your shower)
  4. Liberally sprinkle (read: dump) Borax and Salt on the dirtiest parts of your yoga  mat.
  5. Wet the scrubbing brush
  6. Focus on the areas of most use (where your hands and feet are in Downward Facing Dog).
  7. Scrub, Rinse, Scrub, Rinse, flip your mat over.
  8. Repeat.
  9. Hang your yoga mat outside on your porch to dry, or drape it over the backs of two chairs.  (No mat maker will ever suggest putting your yoga mat in your dryer.  It breaks down the durability.  I do it anyway, if it’s too cold outside.)
  10. Spritz your mat with your favorite Mat Cleaner, I like these for extra smell-good power.

Make sure you let your mat dry completely before your next practice.  Wet mats can be slippery!

Why these products?

  1. Borax Household Cleaner:  Although there is some debate over the merits of Borax, most DIY experts will contest that it is relatively safe, non-toxic and cheap.  It can be found in the cleaning aisle at most hardware stores.
  2. Salt: Gentle abrasion helps clean the dirt from porous pockets in Yoga Mats.  It’s safe, non-toxic, and cheap. Unlike dish soap or other cleaners, if residue remains on your mat after rinsing, salt will actually increase your grip while practicing.  You won’t slip when your hands start to sweat.

Practice saucha and deep-clean your mat at least once a month, or more often if you are practicing daily.  Happy Spring Cleaning!


smelly mat?

smelly mat?

After a sweaty Ashtanga session, my friend Natalie rolled up her mat into an airtight burrito and left it in her car’s trunk until the next morning.   We all do it.  Convenient?  Yes.  Clean?  Maybe not.   When she unrolled it in the studio the following day, a faint stench curled through the air.  Her nose crinkled.  “Um,” she said, apologetically.  “Lisa, what do you use to clean your mat?”

Saucha (cleanliness) is an important part of the yoga philosophy (and no one wants to practice next to your smelly mat).  Here are my two recommendations:

1) ZUM Yoga Spray:  It’s natural and clean.  It smells incredible.  ZUM products are made and sold in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Shop local!)  You can find them online here at Indigo Wild’s website.

2) Thieves Household Cleaner:  You will need to cut the product with water at a 1:1 ratio and store your cleaner in a separate spray bottle.  It may look expensive, but one bottle of Thieves lasted me four + years, and I use it to clean most of my house as well as my mat!  Find it here at Young Living’s website.

If you have a favorite Yoga Mat Cleaner, I’d love to hear from you.  Please send recommendations may way.


Check out this insanely amazing holiday gift I received! Thanks Indigo Wild for making my holiday so special and for the compliments (you are “hard core” too!).