Mat cleaning tips from greenyogashop founder Marten
"Years ago, I put a travel mat made of natural rubber in the washing machine after a vacation. After that, there wasn't too much left of the mat."
Age: 39 // Living in: Wyk auf Föhr // Yoga type: All-weather yogi
Why is proper yoga mat care important?
Marten: With proper care, the mat's slip resistance is maintained, the material doesn't wear out as quickly, and the mat always stays hygienically clean. Uncleaned mats lose all their positive properties after just a few months of use.
As a man, I sweat quite a lot during yoga, so the care of my mat is even more important for me. Sweat is poison for the slip resistance of the mat. Before I roll up the mat after my session, I therefore wipe it briefly with a damp cloth and then let it dry well. If I want to have the mat deep cleaned, I use a mat spray.
What can I do wrong with my mat care?
Marten: Hm, this is not an easy question, because with the wrong care spray - e.g. from the studio - or your own mixture according to incorrect information from the web, the material can be damaged, and the mat can become brittle or oily. This would make it no longer usable. I have already seen some mats that have met such an early end.
I therefore recommend informing yourself in advance about the proper care of your mat. Depending on the material, there are very different needs. We have summarized the most important information for all mat types in our care guide.
In general, however, the following always applies:
• Sun salutation does not mean that the mat should soak up the sun for several days. Sun exposure dries out the mat and can lead to discoloration. Do not store the mat rolled out permanently, and protect it from direct sunlight. The best way to store your mat is in a yoga bag.
• A yoga mat is no replacement for a towel. Sweat is (sometimes) part of the practice, but not on your yoga mat. After each practice, the mat should be wiped damp and dried.
• Do not store damp mats rolled up. Bacteria love moisture, and the mat will start to smell.
• The mat can go in the washing machine? Probably not. That's only true for a few mats, and even those don't really get nicer with machine washing. But I had to learn that first: Years ago, I put a travel mat made of natural rubber in the machine after a vacation - after that, there wasn't much left of the mat.
• "Dishwashing liquid" is not a solution either. It doesn't always have to be special cleaning products. For natural rubber, a simple mixture of vinegar and water is sufficient to clean the mat. Dishwashing liquids may be used if at all only with PVC mats and no more than dropwise strongly diluted. I recently did a little self-test and wiped half of my PVC mat with water and the other half with dishwashing liquid after a yoga session, because I wanted to know if the grip changed as a result. The next day, I noticed that the dishwashing liquid side had indeed gained grip. However, the mat must be rinsed off really thoroughly in the shower after the treatment and dried for at least one day. By the way, with the PRO mats from Manduka you can improve the grip by treatments with coarse sea salt treatments with coarse sea salt.
What's your tip as a yoga mat expert?
Marten: It's not just about choosing the right mat. It also needs a little love now and then. But the intensity of care is certainly also related to use. I usually go for a run on the beach before yoga, then meditate a bit and do Freeletics and yoga afterward. My mat is therefore exposed to quite heavy stress and dirt from sand, etc. Cleaning is therefore part of my practice routine.