How to Clean and Care for Your Yoga Mat
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How to Clean and Care for Your Yoga Mat

Yoga mat care is important for anyone who practices yoga on a mat. Similar to gym equipment, yoga mats are susceptible to bacteria and fungus and must be cleaned regularly to prevent infection to the practitioner. Both daily and monthly care are required to keep your yoga mat fresh and clean.

You’ve just finished your yoga practice, and you feel great! You also feel like you’ve sweat buckets, especially if you practice Bikram or hot yoga.

Chances are you haven’t sweat buckets, but the average person does sweat more than 25 ounces per hour of working out. Assuming you’re well hydrated, that’s great for you and great for your body, but now your yoga mat is saturated. Aside from your own sweat and germs, if you practice outside of your home, your mat may also be host to many other germs.  According to the New York Times, unclean mats may be responsible for a rise in foot and skin infections among yoga practitioners. For these reasons, yoga mat care is extremely important for anyone who practices yoga on a mat.

Wipe down your mat with diluted alcohol or a commercial cleaner as soon as you have completed your practice. A good commercial cleaner, such as Mat Renew, retails for about $10. These commercial cleaners often have a gentle scent that won’t be obtrusive when you’re face-down on your mat. Wipe down your mat with a cleaner and terrycloth towel every time you use your mat.

Occasionally, your yoga mat will need more than a wiping. Some mats are machine washable, but others are not. Be sure to check the directions for your brand.  If the mat is machine washable, use only a small amount of detergent on a gentle cycle. If it’s not machine washable, use a tub or large bucket and soak the mat in cool water and baking soda. This type of cleaning should be done approximately once a month.

Once the mat is clean, it must be dried thoroughly so no mold or fungus grows on the wet mat. You have a choice of drying methods. If the yoga mat hasn’t held too much water, you can hang it to dry. This should take no more than a day. If the mat is very wet, lay a large towel, such as a beach towel, over it and roll it up. Apply pressure so that the towel absorbs the water. If the towel gets saturated, you may need to start over with a second towel. Once you have removed as much water as you can, hang the mat to dry.

Now that the mat is dry, roll it up and store it in a clean, dry place where it won’t accumulate dust or dirt. A mat bag is a great way to store your mat and keep it dust free. Your yoga practice will be even more enjoyable on a mat that is fresh and clean because you’ve taken the time for yoga mat care.

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