How to Clean a Yoga Mat (Without Using Harsh Chemicals)

When it comes to yoga mantras, there’s one mantra that should be on the lips of every yogi – “keep your yoga mat clean.”

There’s nothing worse than rolling out the mat you forgot to clean and realizing that it’s now a sticky, stinky cesspool of germs. Overreaction? Maybe, but it’s true that an unclean yoga mat can harbor all manner of bacteria, germs and fungi, including nasties like staphylococcus and even MRSA.

It make sense – your entire body from your hands to your feet, your face and your butt are all in direct contact with your mat. And because many yoga mats are made from porous material, the sweat and dirt from your body can be absorbed into the mat making it the perfect breeding ground for germs, and even cause breakouts on your skin.

So how do you keep your yoga mat clean and bacteria-free?

how to clean a yoga mat

How to Clean Your Yoga Mat

The best way to clean your mat mat is to spray it with a natural cleaning solution then gently wipe it down with a soft towel. Try to avoid scrubbing your mat too hard as this can cause degradation. Below you’ll find the best natural cleaning solution for your yoga mat.

Natural Yoga Mat Cleaning Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • 1 cup witch hazel
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 drops tea tree oil (optional)
  • 2 drops lavender oil (optional)

Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle then shake until combined. Witch hazel is a gentle surface cleaner that works well for daily upkeep of your mat. However, it does not have the disinfecting properties of hydrogen peroxide, so for deep cleaning, I recommend using my deep cleaning solution, featured below.

Lavender and tea tree oils are optional additions however they smell great and tea tree oil has mild antiseptic properties, so if you have them on hand, pop a few drops of each in your solution.

How to Deep Clean a Yoga Mat

Once per week, set aside some time to deep clean your yoga mat. While natural cleaning solutions like vinegar and essential oils are good options for a quick wipe-down after class, unfortunately they won’t kill bacteria like staph or MRSA.

Deep Cleaning Solution

The following solution will clean and sanitize your mat, killing germs and bacteria without the need for harsh chemicals like bleach.

Simply add 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 4 parts water to a spray bottle. Add a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil, then shake to combine.

Lightly spray the mixture over your mat, leave for a minute or two then wipe with a clean towel.


How Often Should You Clean a Yoga Mat?

Ideally, you should wipe down your yoga mat with a cleaning solution after every practice and deep clean your mat once per week.

Can You Put a Yoga Mat in the Washing Machine?

Whether you can put your yoga mat in the washing machine or not depends on the type of mat you have and the manufacturers instructions. Some mats like the Neet Yoga Works Cotton Mat can be thrown into the washing machine while most others should be washed by hand.

Best Way to Clean a Rubber Yoga Mat

The key to cleaning a rubber yoga mat is avoiding too much moisture, as this can fill up the rubber cells making your mat heavy and clogged. Likewise, harsh chemicals should be avoided as they can potentially break down the rubber in your mat, causing it to start disintegrating. Instead, use a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part water to lightly mist your mat, then gently wipe with a soft towel.

How to Clean a Jute Yoga Mat

The best way to clean a jute yoga mat is to use a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle, mist and gently scrub with a soft towel. You may notice your mat turns brown when it’s wet – this is completely normal due to the release of oils. When dry, your jute mat should go back to it’s normal color.

Do Jute Yoga Mats Repel Germs?

Jute is a natural fiber and while it doesn’t repel germs per se, it does absorb less moisture than other types of yoga mats. Moisture is a breeding ground for germs so less moisture means less opportunities for bacteria and mold to reproduce.

Can You Use Vinegar to Clean a Yoga Mat?

Vinegar can be used to clean your yoga mat and is a great alternative to bleach. Apple cider vinegar is the best choice as it’s gentler than white cleaning vinegar.

Can You Clean Your Yoga Mat With Bleach?

While bleach is excellent at killing germs and bacteria, it’s also a harsh chemical that is bad for the environment, your health and your yoga mat. Instead of bleach, use a hydrogen peroxide solution for deep cleaning.

Is it OK to Use Clorox Wipes?

It may be tempting to reach for the Clorox wipes to clean your mat, but it’s not a great idea. Clorox is made with bleach and other harsh chemicals which can degrade your mat (not to mention being bad for the environment and your own health.)

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your yoga mat may seem like a tedious task that’s not worth the effort. However, to avoid the many nasties that may be lurking on (and in) your mat, take the time to wipe down your mat after each practice and deep clean it on a weekly basis. Your skin, health (and mat) will thank you!

How to Make a Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner
How to Clean a Yoga Mat Without Using Harsh Chemicals