After a few hot yoga classes your mat might lose that New Mat Smell. Okay, truthfully, it might be down right stinky. These are my preferred methods.
HOMEMADE CLEANERS: for light washing periodically, maybe even after every hot yoga class to maintain a fresh, functional mat. Just spray, wipe and hang to dry. Here is what I use: To a 32 ounce spray bottle add 1 cup vinegar. Fill the rest with water and add 15-25 drops of your favorite essential oils. You can also add 1 tablespoon castile soap or mild detergent (optional). Experiment with your essential oil blends. Just know that essential oils are extremely strong and only a very small amount is needed. Tea Tree oil is perfect because of its antibacterial properties. Lavender and Thyme are also wonderful. Another combination I like is equal parts rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon and lemon essential oils. According to stories, this mix was used by a group of thieves who robbed the dead and dying victims of the bubonic plague. The robbers did not contract the infection and for this reason the blend is known as the Theives Blend. Added bonus – it smells wonderful! A very simple homemade cleaner would be water and Thieves Blend only.*
WASHING MACHINE: Most people don’t realize you can wash your yoga mat this way. I do it every 2-3 months. Use cold water and don’t over do it with the detergent. Stop the machine before the spin cycle. Hang your mat and allow to dry completely.*
*Some mats are made of different materials (rubber, jute, etc.) and require special care. Always check the care instructions when you purchase a yoga mat.
Also, I’d like to add that vinegar in the rinse cycle is great for getting that sweat smell out of your yoga clothes and towels. You just have to run an extra rinse cycle at the end. Baking soda added at the beginning of the wash cycle also works wonders.
Here’s to a happy, healthy yoga mat and practice!