How to Wash and Break in Your Yoga Mat

(Photo: Yoga Design Lab)

Over time, we come to form relationships with our yoga mats as they support us through the various emotions, challenges, and successes that arise during a yoga practice. It's important to return the love and remember to take good care of our trusty yoga mats. The number one way to do this is by keeping them nice and clean.

Here are some tips on how to wash your yoga mat so it will stay in great shape for as long as possible. Also, if your yoga mat is new and not quite where you want it to be just yet, here is how you can break the ice and break in your yoga mat.

Yoga Mat Cleaning Tips

Whether your yoga mat is brand new or an old, faithful companion, regularly cleaning it is something you should make a habit out of. Each time you use your yoga mat, it gets covered in oils, dirt, and -you guessed it- plenty of sweat. Here are some tips for safely cleaning your mat:

Remember, all yoga mats are made differently, so make sure to check its cleaning instructions and limitations before proceeding with any of these suggestions.

Clean Your Mat Regularly
You should clean your yoga mat about once a week. However, if you practice daily, outside, or tend to sweat a lot, consider giving your mat a quick wipedown after each session. This is great for hygiene and ensures a long life for your mat. 

Use a Natural Cleaning Solution
We suggest using an all-natural, water-based cleanser. There are plenty of options available online, at health and wellness shops, and at yoga studios. You can also take a stab at concocting your own with a simple recipe of 50% water and 50% vinegar. This is a great option if you have a mat that's made from natural tree rubber. You can also add essential oils, such as tea tree oil (which has natural antibacterial properties), lavender, or thyme. (Just make sure to check with your mat's manufacturer to make sure it can tolerate these.)

Avoid Using Too Much Water & Soap
It's best to use a small amount of water and minimal soap because submerging your yoga mat could cause it to become waterlogged. Both your mat and Mother Earth will thank you!

How to Break in Your Yoga Mat

(Photo: Yoga Design Lab)

Cleaning your yoga mat is also a great way to break it in if it happens to be new. It can take a while to get lots of use out of your mat so that it starts to feel more comfortable and less slippery. However, in addition to regularly cleaning your yoga mat, there are a few ways to speed up the break-in process and make it feel like home sooner.

Get Lots of Use out of It
The best way to break in your yoga mat is simple: use it as much as you can! The more you use it, the more it'll loosen up. If you aren't able to squeeze a practice in every day, that's okay. You can leave it unrolled and walk across it with your bare feet as a you roam around your house. Feel free to get creative and have some fun with how much you use your mat.

Use a Towel
If you're finding it tough to get grounded on your mat, try laying a yoga mat towel on top of it. This will help keep you from slipping so you wont feel held back during your practice. It's a great option to use until you're able to break in your mat. A big beach towel can get the job done, but there are a lot of yoga mat towels on the market that are made specifically for this. 

Try a Salt Scrub
Give your yoga mat an exfoliating treatment! Try sprinkling your mat with a mixture of sea salt and warm water. Then, either wipe it down with a stiff-bristled brush or a cotton washcloth. This can help break down the initial layer, which will help you slip less and find stability in poses. (Just remember to check your mat's manufacturer's instructions first to make sure it's safe for its material.)

How do you like to break in your yoga mats and keep them clean? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

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