A Complete Guide To Cleaning Your Yoga Mat

by Joshua Matzkin

It's yoga time! 

You've spent hours perfecting your downward dog. You've mastered the crow pose and you know how to find that elusive spot between cat-cow and locust in your yoga practice. Before you start your yoga session, do you know if your yoga mat is clean?

Yoga mats attract dirt and can be a breeding ground for germs. Bodily fluids like sweat contain bacteria and viruses that can contaminate your mat. These elements not only ruin your yoga sessions, they can make you sick.

Whether for home sessions or studio classes, this article gives a complete guide to cleaning your yoga mat and keeping it neat, odorless, and germ-free.


Why You Should Clean Your Yoga Mat

Yoga mats play a significant role in your yoga sessions. Therefore, it should be cleaned often and stored safely. In one experiment reported in  ABC-13 News, about 3 million counts of environmental bacteria were found on a mat in a yoga studio

Yoga mats can be a breeding ground for many bacteria and fungi which cause various health challenges including respiratory concerns, staph infections, plantar warts, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.

A simple rinse won't flush out all the germs on your mat so water and disinfectants should go hand-in-hand. You need a disinfectant to kill whatever may be left from merely wiping. 


How Often Should You Clean Your Yoga Mat?

It depends on how often you use your mat and the intensity of your sessions. For irregular sessions, your mat can go around a week, perhaps more, in between cleans. However, super sweaters and more rigorous sessions may require more frequent cleaning and disinfecting. 

That said, note that some particular brands warn against too frequent cleaning to avoid premature wear and tear. Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer of your yoga mat.


Can I Wash My Yoga Mat In A Washer Machine?

While some yoga mats are machine washable, most others aren't. If your mat's material isn't designed for washing machines, then don't use the washer machines on them. Otherwise, you may ruin the mat's shape and, in turn, your overall yoga experience.

So, before you throw your mat into the washing machine, read the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly and follow the directions. If your yoga mat is safe for washing machines, avoid using the tumble cycle or spinning. Also, avoid putting your mat in the dryer and don’t use harsh detergents. Instead, consider non-toxic and plant-based yoga mat cleaners to keep your mat looking and smelling new! 

 woman doing yoga on a clean yoga mat

What Do You Need to Clean Your Yoga Mat?

Cleaning your mat can be pretty straightforward. To clean, you'll require

  • Yoga mat cleaning spray
  • Soft towel
  • Warm water 
  • Gentle soap/surfactants 
  • Yoga bush (optional)

The best approach to clean your yoga mat depends on whether you're cleaning it as part of a routine or a special deep clean.


Two Methods To Clean Your Yoga Mat:  Standard Cleaning and Deep Clean

Standard Cleaning


Standard cleaning is just what it sounds like. You take your yoga mat for a good wipe down to remove dirt or perspiration, perhaps after one workout. This way, you avoid contact with any moisture that might breed bacteria. Your standard cleaning should be done regularly before beginning practice. 

Just spray the mat with your favorite yoga mat cleaner (we recommend MOXĒ Yoga Mat Cleaning Spray) and wipe it clean with a soft towel. If you have a particularly dirty mat or if there are hard-to-remove stains from foods or grasses, apply the cleaner and let it sit for 5 minutes before wiping down. Remember when standard cleaning that only the surface should be cleaned. Avoid reaching into the middle of your mat that can be hard to dry. 

After cleaning your mat, store it in a cool, dry place or hang it to air-dry. You can even put your mat outside for around 20 minutes (provided there is no direct contact with sunlight) to allow most of the moisture to evaporate before rolling up. Now, your mat should look visibly clear and smell fresh!

The frequency to clean your mat depends on the condition of your mat. In general, you should do a standard clean every few weeks. If you have a particularly sweaty practice, it's a good idea to wipe down your mat more frequently.


Deep Cleaning

If you've been working out consistently on a wet or dirty mat, you likely need to deep clean it. Although yoga mats are engineered to withstand daily workouts and sweat, accumulating bacteria can make your mat smell unpleasant.

For a deep clean, you'll need to take it further. Here, you're able to go beyond mere wiping, by actually washing your yoga mat with water and soap or surfactants for a thorough cleansing.

A deep clean involves taking care of the grungy spots that may develop over time: stains from dirt or perspiration, food spills, odors, and more. This is especially important if you've done a particularly intense cardio session or sweaty workout on your mat. 

To deep clean your mat, you'll require a spray bottle filled with warm water, a soft towel or cloth, mild soap or surfactants of choice, and a yoga mat cleaning brush. Alternatively, you may opt for a ready-to-use natural yoga mat cleaning spray for convenience. 

To start your deep clean, first thoroughly rinse off any dirt from your mat using warm water. Sweeping away any large particles of dirt or wiping them off with a cloth will suffice. To remove bacteria and germs, add some mild soap to the mix and let it sit for 5 minutes. Next, use your mat cleaner to wipe down your mat thoroughly until all marks are gone.

If you want to use a cleaning brush, proceed with gentle strokes across the surface. Keep scrubbing until all marks are gone. Remember when using a brush to clean your mat, start at the top of the mat and work your way down to avoid developing messy.

Even after a deep clean, it's important to not store your yoga mat directly on a surface. This can allow bacteria and germs to remain in contact with the mat from previous workouts. To further protect your mat from these elements, always put it away in its own yoga bag or another protective bag. You should do a deep clean at least every month to keep your mat hygienic and smelling fresh and clean.

 two women holding yoga mats cleaned with essential oil yoga mat cleaning spray

Disinfecting Your Yoga Mat


Do you still need to disinfect your yoga mat after deep cleaning? The answer is no. 

Standard and deep cleaning should be sufficient to keep your mat healthy and hygienic. Soapy water and a little elbow grease are enough to kill bacteria and remove odors.

In the rare case that you have a stubborn bacteria problem, disinfection is definitely an option. Keep in mind that this should be done as a last resort because regular yoga mat cleaning will eliminate most bacteria naturally.

If you do opt for disinfecting after deep cleaning, remember that over-the-counter disinfectants are mostly alcohol which can damage or ruin your yoga mat.


How To Store Your Yoga Mat

It's critical to fully dry out your mat before rolling it up for storage. Damp mats kept in a warm, dark location are a breeding ground for germs.

To air-dry your yoga mat, place it on a porch railing. It's not advised to use the dryer. Another option is to hang your yoga mat over a clothesline if you have one available. Line drying in the sun is a good way to kill germs and bacteria. Regardless of which method you use, remember to let your mat air dry for at least 24 hours before rolling it up again.

If you're not able to let your mat dry completely, then use a cotton sheet or thin towel and lay it out flat. Then roll up your yoga mat with the towel inside, and unroll it back on later to allow airflow.


If you're confident the mat is completely dry, wrap it up and keep it in a well-ventilated location. Rolling your mat properly helps it last longer.


Other Yoga Mat Maintenance Tips

Here are other regular best practices that'll help keep your yoga mats clean and healthy.

  • Always wash your hands and feet before using your yoga mat. These parts of your body are typical germs transmitters, and they make the most frequent contact with your mat.

  • Store your yoga mat in a safe location where pets or children cannot reach it. Pay special attention to each region of your home, particularly places with excess humidity or an abundance of dirt,

  • If you sweat easily, you may want to spread a towel over the mat to prevent depositing your body fluid directly on the mat. You may go for towels that are specifically formulated to prevent sliding during your yoga sessions.

  • Avoid using topical applications –creams, oils, etc. – before your yoga sessions. Topicals can easily cause stains and often attract germs, which may eventually rub off on the mat.

  • Use a towel to wipe your mat after every yoga session. While many swear by the effectiveness of baby wipes, you will find specifically formulated towels more efficient.

  • Avoid harsh cleaning agents for your mat. They can't ruin your mat's quality and your skin health. Opt for cleaning products with all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients.

  • Ensure your mat is completely dry before you roll up for storage.




A clean and disinfected yoga mat is not only healthy; it promotes a convenient environment to help you reach new heights in your yoga practice. 

Whether you're looking to deep-clean the dirtiest mats or just a quick wipe down after a session, the guide above discusses some of our favorite ways to keep yoga mats clean, fresh-smelling, and germ-free.

During your next yoga session consider adding a yoga mat cleaner spray to your post-yoga routine. A spray is easy to apply, quick to use, and smells amazing! Our MOXĒ Yoga Mat Cleaning Spray is available in two different scents; Rosemary Lemon and Lavender Chamomile - made with plant-derived ingredients and essential oil.




We hope this post has helped make your routine care easier for all yogis out there working towards their best selves. Does your yoga bag have all the essentials? Find out which 7 essentials must-haves that every yoga lover should have in their yoga bag by reading our blog. 

For more information on 100% natural ways to keep your home clean and stay healthy, visit us at MOXE - home of natural essential oil blends and infused products, including inhalers, differs, linen sprays, sanitizers.
Tags: yoga
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