A clean yoga mat isn’t going to make or break your practice but it’s a nice thing to have. You can buy mat cleaner, make your own, and even throw your mat into the washing machine.
Buying your mat cleaner is simple and convenient but a total waste of money in many cases. Chain stores like Walgreens and Target carry at least one brand of it. The most common I’ve seen is Gaiam’s Super Yoga Mat Wash. A four ounce mini spray bottle will run you between $8-$11. I recommend buying this if you’re the type of person with a packed schedule or if you need a jump start to put you on the path to yoga mat maintenance. Just be sure to note what’s in the cleaner. Alcohol is great for killing germs but it can be harsh on natural rubber.
If you’re a Young Living Essential Oils subscriber you can use your “Theives Essential Oil” spray to freshen up a mat. It’s made of a mix of Rosemary, Clove, Cinnamon Bark and Eucalyptus oil. Added benefit- you get a little aromatherapy treatment from it.
DIY Mat Cleaner $
Supplies needed: spray bottle, water, vinegar
Mix equal parts water and white vinegar. And, BOOM. You’ve got mat cleaner. Spray your mat and wipe with cloth or paper towel. If you’re somewhat OCD, skip the paper towel. It leaves lint behind.
There are some alternatives to the harsh scent of vinegar. If you’re looking for something a little more therapeutic you’re going to need at least one essential oil. See below for alternatives to vinegar.
Alternative DIY Mat Cleaner ($)
Supplies needed: spray bottle, water, tea tree oil
Fill the spray bottle with water. Add a few drops of tea tree oil (if you have a small bottle (4 0z or less) you’ll only need a drop or two. Shake gently and there you have it. Spray and wipe down with cloth or paper towel.
Alternative DIY Mat Cleaner #2 ($$)
This cleaner is a little more expensive at first. The good news is you can use these oils for other purposes and/or have them around to make cleaner anytime you run out.
Supplies needed: large spray bottle (at least 160z), water, witch hazel, tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemon grass oil
Fill half of the spray bottle with water and the other half with witch hazel (T.N. Dickinson’s is common and does the trick). Place 18 drops of tea tree oil, 6 drops of lavender oil, and 2 drops of lemon grass oil into the bottle. Shake well and spray. Follow up with a cloth or paper towel.
The tea tree oil is a disinfectant. The witch hazel is astringent and safe to use on natural rubber; it cleans the mat without the drying effects of alcohol. This solution may help maintain your mat for a longer period of time.
The Washing Machine Method $
SUPER EASY BUT BE CAREFUL. Some mats are not designed to withstand the beating of a washing machine. If you have a durable mat and the product specs don’t mention anything about your washing machine then go for it. Jade mats that do well in the washer. I don’t recommend using this method after every practice; try it out every few months. In between, check out those sprays.