The dirty truth about yoga mats

Despite the title, I’m not going to get involved in discussions on the materials used….   do your research and buy whatever agrees with your philosophy. Go all hippie or buy one at Target for all I care.  Just do lots and lots of yoga on your sticky mat and somewhere along the way, the world will sort itself out. Some materials are more eco-friendly than others, but then again, using a little bit harsher materials but getting twice the “last” out of your mat may even out or be nicer to the environment in the long runs.  Yeah – see – not so simple.

But regardless of what mat you end up with, if everything goes according to plan, you’ll get that sucker dirty. It should end up covered in your sweat, whatever your happy bare feet track onto it, and maybe some blood and tears and stinky breath in the mix too. It happens.  Other ways to get your mat dirty are doing some outdoorsy acro yoga or take it to the beach, although I suspect you’ll only do that once.  I have a nice non-slip camping mattress that I use for the beach now, after spending 18 days brushing the sand off my beloved Manduka mat after ONE beach trip :O

After I found out that one of the instructors at our lovely Yoga-Shed makes the mat cleaners they use herself, I sweet-talked her into giving me the recipe, that apparently was not a secret at all. It’s all eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, smells nice and lo and behold, works really well to clean the mat. Even for super sweaty summer yoginis in Florida.

All measurements are “ish”, so tweak as needed. You can switch up the essential oil to get whatever scent you desire, but keep in mind that little container of the stuff isn’t cheap and will last through gallons of mat cleaner, so choose wisely.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 15-20 drops tea tree oil
  • 10 drops of essential oil (my first batch is the oh-soh-soothing lavender). If you don’t mind the smell of tea tree oil, you can also skip the essential oil stuff. If you want more smell, you use more drops. I am not sure where – or if – there is an upper limit to how much essential oil you want to throw in there, so just proceed with some common sense.

Slosh it all into a spray bottle, shake it up and get clean. Wipe off with a paper-towel if you want to add to landfills, or better yet, use a damp dish rag. Make sure to let the mat dry a little bit before you use it or roll it back up, especially if you got a dirty job on your hands or went a little overboard on the spraying.

Next yoga sesh: guaranteed delicious.  You’ll find yourself wanting to do all kinds of nose-to-the-mat poses and breathing deeper than ever before. Enjoy :)

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