One of the most important and foremost yoga tips that the instructor shares with the pupil is choosing a functional, durable and comfortable yoga mat that is going to be the practitioner’s best friend through all the tough days of training. The yoga mat is the only accessory required while practicing yoga and it supports us through the difficult headstands, shoulder stands, plow pose and others. But we cannot deny that most of us have experienced the abominable smell while taking deep breaths in the yoga class and realised within ourselves that the source of this smell is none other than our dependable yoga mat. It is true that even the best yoga mat needs cleaning from time to time because it gets covered with dirt, sweat and bodily oils with regular use.
Tips to Clean and Care for Your Yoga Mat
In this article, we have come up with some of the easy methods to clean and care for your yoga mat.
1. Spritz Your Mat
The best way to ensure the absolute hygiene of your yoga mat and keep it free of bacteria is to clean is after every class. One of the best tips for yoga mat cleaning is regular spritzing suing a DIY yoga mat cleanser. You can make a vinegar and water solution and pour it into a spray bottle and spray it on the mat for easy and quick cleaning. You can also add your favourite essential oil to the solution that will leave a pleasing scent on the mat. You can add 15 ml of dish soap to 1 gallon of lukewarm water and spray this solution on the yoga mat. Lightly scrub the surface of the mat using a sponge till the mat is clean.
2. Thorough Wash
Thorough washing is the best solution to the question of how to clean your yoga mat when it is heavily soiled. The yoga mat has to be submerged in the bathtub in a solution of lukewarm water and little amount of mild detergent for a few minutes. Hand wash the mat thoroughly and rinse it with clean water. Squash out the excess water and hang it to dry.
3. Never Use too Much Soap
You must resist the urge to use too much detergent on the mat even if it is very dirty. The soap leaves behind a thin and slippery film on the surface of the mat that increases the chances of injury.
4. Dry It
One of the most important yoga mat cleaning tips is giving it enough air every day. Even if you are washing your yoga mat every week, it is important to dry it after every use. The sweaty yoga session leaves behind bodily oils, dirt and sweat on the mat and keeping it rolled up in this condition creates the favourable environment for the growth of bacteria and mold. Therefore, it is best to hang the mat over a door or on the balcony so that it can dry out fully before rolling it up.
5. Use a Towel
Yet another effective way to protect your yoga mat is by using a yoga towel or old bath towel over the yoga mat. This helps in keeping the surface of the mat clean and bacteria free so that a monthly cleaning would be enough to keep the mat in the best condition.
6. Use Both Sides of the Mat
There is a reason why yoga mats have 2 sides. Using the same side day after day wears it down and leads to the formation of holes on the mat. Therefore, it is recommended to flip the mat and use both the sides from time to time. By doing so, the yoga mat will wear out evenly with fewer chances of frays and holes.
7. Store it Flat or Gently Folded
When not in use, store your yoga mat flat under your bed or in the closet gently folded. Rolling up the mat too tightly will cause the material to stretch and also promote bacteria growth in case the mat is damp.
8. Don’t Leave the Mat in the Sun
You might think that hanging your yoga mat out in the sun is a nice idea, but in reality this is not much helpful. Excessive exposure to the harsh sun rays might affect the material and crumple it. It can also cause discoloration while the heat can react with the chemical complex of the material.
9. Don’t Lend It
Although, we have been taught that sharing and caring for each other is a good Karma, but it does not apply in the case of personal belongings. Sharing a yoga mat increases the chances of spreading germs that can lead to cold, cough, fever and even contagious skin diseases.
So, whether you buy yoga mat made from superior quality rubber or PVC; or use simple cotton or hemp yoga mat, keeping it clean and disinfected is an integral part of the entire process. A clean yoga mat can be your best friend in your journey towards a better self.
Author Bio: Bipasha is a professional nutritionist who is enthusiastic about writing helpful and informative articles related to diet, heath, fitness and diseases. She has done her masters in Food and Nutrition from a reputed university and presently pursuing higher studies in the same field. Visit her at: www.diabeticpick.com.