I’ve been doing yoga for over 1.5 years though I skipped for some months in between and sometimes don’t do it regularly. I need yoga mat not only because I like to go to yoga classes but also because bare floor is too hard for my skin and bones. I’ve had four yoga mats so far, with different thickness, brand and materials. I dont like using yoga studios’ mats even if the yoga studio is clean and provides mat cleaner after use. Hence, the cleanliness of yoga mat is important for me as we sweat or put lotion before practice and it drips off to the mat. Smelly mat is a big No-No, imagine when you’re doing caturrangga and child poses and your nose is exposed to a stinky mat. Yuck!
Cleaning mat regularly even when you dont use it is essential as dirt and dust cant also stick on the mat during storage in your trunk or closet. If you already invested in a good expensive mat, better know how to properly clean it, otherwise your mat won’t last as long. A thorough cleaning may be needed when the mat starts to smell bad. But I personally choose to ALWAYS clean my mats after use regularly rather than soak or machine wash them, because the spinning can tear delicate materials. Then I just air-dry it for about 15 mins before rolling it up. It’s better to directly clean the mat after use instead of waiting until it gets really dirty, because sometimes the dirt can be very difficult to clean after some time. My Reebok PVC yoga mat for instance, until now it has brown dirt at some parts even after I cleaned it out with brush.
I have two PVC mats, one TPE and my favorite towel-like surface mat from Yoga Design Lab. Every material should be treated differently. I’ve never used brush on my TPE and towel-like mats, only on PVC ones and not so often.
What I use to clean my mats:
First I wipe it with wet tissue or just wet soft fabrics. Actually body wipes are not the best to use eventhough it sounds like the simplest go-to cleaner, because the materials in it that’s made for human body may contain chemicals and soap that is too harsh for mats. Actuall wipes that’s specially made for yoga mats is the best choice, but it’s too expesive for me and not easy to find in Indonesia. Usually I use wet clean soft cotton fabrics to wipe it before spraying yoga mat cleaner. But if I go to yoga classes, I use just non-perfumed wet tissue.
2. Yoga Mat Spray
Then I spray my mat deliberately with yoga mat spray from Utama Spice that I got as a gift from the brand for my video review (read my review here–red). I usually also make my own yoga mat spray with these ingredients:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 to 5 drops of essential oil
Avoid harsh cleaners like commercial kitchen and bathroom solutions when treating your mats. Not only it’s gonna be bad for the mat, but also for your skin. Choose essential oil fragrance that helps to calm your mind when practice.