Here’s how you can take care of your yoga mat and protect your skin from potential infections

By Nadine Halili | Art by Saii Shah

Getting into a workout routine is a tricky mind game—especially if you plan to do so at home where you’re used to resting and relaxing. For those who get to exercise at home amid the enhanced community quarantine, we bet you’ve been using a yoga mat or some sort of floor padding. A yoga mat is a popular accessory for home workouts because there are numerous exercises you can do with it aside from yoga like push-ups, planks and mountain climbers. But if you’re already committed to a workout program that requires a yoga mat, don’t forget the importance of properly cleaning it. 

Your skin is a host of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and even microscopic mites. In addition, your skin excretes sweat, body oils and dead skin cells that transfer onto the yoga mat when you’re using it. These don’t really pose any health threats unless you have minor cuts and abrasions or share mats with people who may have contagious skin diseases but if you want to practice extra caution especially during the pandemic, we got you covered.

 

Regular cleaning

You should clean your yoga mat at least once a week. However, if you sweat a lot and notice that the mat is starting to smell and get icky, it may need more attention. Spritz both sides with a yoga mat cleaner or a solution of dishwashing liquid and warm water. Another solution may be a mix of equal parts water and vinegar that can act as a natural disinfectant to restore the rubber’s texture and color. Use a soft cloth to wipe both sides clean. Rinse the mat with a damp cloth that you’ve dipped in water and wrung well. Lay the mat flat or hang it over a shower rod to dry before rolling it up. Don’t leave it under the sun because this can dry and crumple it up. 

You should be cleaning your yoga mat at least once a week. However, if you sweat a lot and you notice that the mat is starting to smell and get icky, it may need more attention. Spritz both sides of the mat with a yoga mat cleaner or a solution of dishwashing liquid and warm water

Deep cleaning

If your mat smells bad or already has stains, it’s time for a heavier wash. Before you use anything harsher than dishwashing liquid or cleaning solutions, check the manufacturer website or the label if it can handle these. Don’t be afraid to dump your mat in the washing machine in a cold and gentle cycle for a thorough clean, but only do this once a month. Avoid using too much soap and soaking the mat too many times since this may make the mat slippery and waterlogged. Rinse it with a damp cloth, let it air dry and don’t put it out under the sun just as you would for regular cleaning. One tip for eliminating odors and smells is to sprinkle and rub on baking soda and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before brushing off or vacuuming the excess.

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