Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Eco-Clean a Large Yoga Mat

I have a large yoga mat. It's a bit silly, but I love it.

One problem though- it's a pain in the butt to clean.

Now we've chatted before about how you really don't need to pay money for a fancy yoga mat cleaner or "disinfectant wipes". Vinegar and water (and maybe a bit of essential oils for smell) work perfectly well. Don't let anyone dupe you!

My previous strategy for cleaning my yoga mat was to dunk it in the tub, spray some vinegar and water solution (I stopped with the tea tree oil, it really wasn't doing anything except making me break out and swell up) and rinse away. I'd then hang up my mat on the shower curtain rod over night and I was good to go. Environmentally friendly and minimal germs.

Enter the extra wide yoga mat (Francesca). She just doesn't fit in the bathtub well, she's big boned (she'd kick bum at football). She's also extremely heavy. So even though I might be able to awkwardly squish her into place, lifting and switching to the underside results in me puffing like I've climbed 100 stairs.

Then there's the drying issue. Francesca would cause the entire shower curtain rod to collapse.

What I've been doing is spraying LIBERALLY my 50-50 water-vinegar mixture (with a few drops of lavender essential oil for prettier smells), wiping with an old cloth and draping it over our chair to dry overnight (or over the course of about two days).

 Atreyu had to supervise to make sure all went according to his master plan.

Sadly, this never makes me feel like I'm really rinsing the germs away. So... I've decided to give the tub a try. As you can see, it truly didn't fit in our tub- it was more like a lining which makes it difficult to clean as well as the end was rolled up and over. After turning on the taps for a few seconds with a plugged drain I was able to use less than a bowl of water to rinse away the vinegar spray leaving behind a scuzzy brownish green hue.

Dragging it out of the tub was a whole other matter. Francesca has now become a mat of lead. I had to towel her off in the bathroom, drag her to the living room and heavy lifting grunts and all draped her over the chair. Hopefully a) the cats don't claw her up and b) she actually dries out in a few days. I definitely will keep this deep cleaning to once every six months with regular spray-wipe downs in between.

If you try this at home on a rubber mat you may notice that after one day of drying your mat is a little slippery. Don't worry, rubber mats take a bit longer to dry out. My mat needs at least two days or more before my practice feels back to it's sticky self.

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Someone told me you can wash mats in the washer
    if needing to clean major stink...
    any info on that? Thanks!!

  2. Hi Anon: you can certainly wash a yoga mat in the washer (although mine is too big for that). But there are a few reasons why I won't:
    a) I'm worried that all that water will soak in and take FOREVER to dry out. Also, I wouldn't want it to ruin my mat- sometimes rubber and TPE can flake.

    b) using the washing machine requires way more energy+water then just about a two cups of water in the bathtub (and zero coal based energy). With perfect results.

    In the tub is quicker (5min vs 30min), more environmentally friendly (less water, less energy, no chemical soaps) and more gentle on your mat.

    Hope that was helpful :)


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