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How to Clean a Yoga Mat: Avoid the Stench

Learn the best way to clean a yoga mat so you can stop exercising on filth.

Nothing is worse than unrolling your precious yoga mat only to discover it’s covered in grime and reeks. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Decathlon, Manduka, or Lululemon mat. When you exercise on the mat, sweat and dirt drip onto it which leads to bacterial growth and unwanted odors.

So here’s how to clean a yoga mat so you can prevent unwanted odors and bacterial growth. You’ll be able to enjoy exercising on a clean and sanitary surface.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean your yoga mat after each use with a yoga mat cleaning spray and wipe it off with a clean towel.
  • Disinfect your mat with a homemade cleaning spray made of equal parts water and white vinegar with a splash of tea tree oil.
  • Deep clean your mat once a month based on its type (closed-cell or open-cell) using warm water, mild dish soap, and a microfiber cloth.
  • Never put your yoga mat in a dryer; instead, air dry it by hanging it over a chair or railing.

How Often Should You Clean a Yoga Mat?

Yoga mats absorb dirt and sweat from your skin when you exercise. So they can quickly become filthy if you don’t clean them regularly, especially if you practice hot yoga or sweat a lot. Eventually, your mat won’t just be full of grime and bacteria; it will also begin to stink.

You can prevent this issue by cleaning your mat lightly after each yoga session to prevent the growth of bacteria, collection of dirt, and eventual stink. Cleaning your mat will also help your mat stay grippy and extend its life.

Just spray your yoga mat with a store-bought mat cleaner like Black Diamond Stoneworks Yoga Mat Spray Cleaner and then use a clean towel to wipe it off.

You should also deep clean your mat once a month to make sure that it remains clean.

How to Disinfect a Yoga Mat

Ideally, you should sanitize your mat before and after each use or at least once a week to prevent bacteria, mold, and mildew from growing on it. Here’s how to naturally disinfect your yoga mat.

  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

1. Make a Cleaning Spray

Combine equal parts of water with vinegar in a spray bottle before adding a good splash of tea tree oil.

2. Spray the Mat

Spray both sides of the yoga mat with your cleaning spray.

3. Wipe Mat

Use a clean towel to remove the cleaning spray from your mat. Wait for your mat to dry before rolling it up.

How to Deep Clean a Yoga Mat

When cleaning a yoga mat, you’ll need to know its type of construction as some mats are more porous than others.

Closed-cell mats are thinner and water-resistant. They won’t soak up liquid as quickly.

Thicker yoga mats have an open-cell construction. They soak up more liquid and may collect a larger quantity of bacteria.

When you see dirt and grime on your mat, it’s time to deep clean it. Here’s how to wash a yoga mat at home.

  • Time: 20 minutes + drying time
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • Large sink or bathtub
  • Bowl
  • Dish soap
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Dry towel
  • Chair or porch railing

Closed Cell Yoga Mat

1. Mix Soapy Water

Lay your mat out on a flat surface. Then mix warm water and a couple of drops of dish soap in a bowl making sure that you don’t add too much soap to the water.

2. Wash Mat

Dip your cloth into the soapy water and clean the entire mat. Use circular motions and concentrate on removing any dirty spots on it.

3. Dry Mat

Use a clean and dry towel to wipe your mat clean of soapy water. Then let your mat air dry by hanging it over a chair or porch railing for at least 30 minutes.

Open Cell Yoga Mat

1. Wash Mat

Fill a large sink or bathtub with warm water and mild dish soap. You will need about 1 tablespoon for every gallon of water. Ensure that the water is warm and not hot as hot water may damage your mat.

Put your mat in the bathtub making sure that it’s immersed. Let it soak for 5 minutes. Once your mat has soaked, scrub it with your cloth to remove the dirt and grime.

2. Rinse Mat

Drain the water before rinsing your mat with clean water to remove any soapy residue.

3. Dry Mat

Shake out your mat before hanging it over a chair or porch railing to air dry. Make sure that it’s completely dry before storing.

How to Dry a Yoga Mat

Dry your yoga mat by hanging it over the back of a chair or a porch railing. When it’s dry, roll it up tightly and store the mat in a place with good ventilation.

Never put your mat into the dryer as the heat may damage it.

Cleaning Instructions Per Brand

Alo Yoga

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the top of your mat after each use. You can also use a 1:20 ratio of oil-free soap or vinegar added to warm water. Apply this solution to your microfiber cloth instead of putting the solution directly on your mat.

Do not machine wash the mat.

When you roll your mat up, make sure that the top side is facing out otherwise you may damage your mat’s surface.


Spot clean your Gaiam yoga mat with soap and water or a mat cleaning spray such as Black Diamond Stoneworks Yoga Mat Spray. You can also make a cleaning spray using a 50-50 solution of water and either apple cider vinegar or witch hazel.

Lay your mat flat or hang it up to dry.

Do not machine wash your yoga mat or use disinfecting wipes. This may damage it.

Jade Yoga

Jade yoga mats should be wiped down with a damp cloth each week or after a sweaty yoga session.

The mats can be machine washed, but it’s advised that you not use detergent while machine washing them. Also, don’t wash your mat in a washing machine unless you need to deep clean it.

Avoid cleaning your mat with cleaners that include vinegar, high concentrations of essential oils, petroleum-based solvents, or alcohol-based cleaners.


Wipe your Lululemon yoga mat clean with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry before rolling it up. Store the mat out of direct sunlight.


It’s recommended that you use a mat cleaning spray to clean your mat, although a disinfecting cleaning spray such as the 7th Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner can also be used.

Do not machine wash, soak, or immerse your yoga mat in water. It’s also recommended that you don’t use soap on an Eko-style mat.

Tips For Caring For Yoga Mats

There are a few things you can do to help your yoga mat last longer.

  • Wipe down your mat after each practice using either a commercial cleaner or one you make. Spray the mat with the cleaner. Then wipe your mat clean with a towel using circular motions.
  • Wash your hands and feet before beginning your yoga practice.
  • Store the mat in an area with good ventilation.
  • If you find that you’re not using your mat for a long time, make sure you open your mat every few weeks so it can receive good air circulation for a time.
  • Avoid wearing lotion while practicing yoga.
  • Don’t wear rings on your hands or feet while using your mat.
  • Avoid using bleach and harsh chemicals on your mat.
  • Do not store or leave your yoga mat in the sun. Prolonged exposure to sunlight may damage your mat.
  • Do not soak a rubber yoga mat as the rubber will absorb the water.

Can You Wash Yoga Mats In the Washing Machine?

Some yoga mat manufacturers make machine washable mats, but other manufacturers recommend hand washing their mats. Check the care instructions for your specific mat before putting it in the washing machine.

If you do wash your yoga mat in the washing machine, unroll the mat and distribute it evenly in the washing machine. Make sure to use a gentle cycle with a gentle detergent. Turn off the spin cycle and use cold water.

Do not put the mat into the dryer as the heat will damage it.

Can You Use Alcohol On a Yoga Mat?

It is best to avoid putting alcohol on your yoga mat as the alcohol may damage your mat.

When to Replace a Yoga Mat

You will know when you need to replace your yoga mat as it will begin peeling and you’ll find pieces of your mat stuck to your workout clothing. Also consider replacing your mat when you notice that the pad becomes uneven, worn, or damaged.


Can I Use Clorox Wipes on My Yoga Mat?

No, it’s best not to use Clorox wipes on your yoga mat as they contain harsh chemicals that may irritate your skin. If you do use Clorox wipes, make sure to rinse off your yoga mat to remove as many of the chemicals as you can.

Can Yoga Mats Get Moldy?

Yes, yoga mats can get moldy and develop mildew.

How Do You Remove Mildew From a Yoga Mat?

You can remove mildew from a yoga mat by spot cleaning it with a yoga mat spray such as Black Diamond Stoneworks Yoga Mat Spray. Spray the mildew and then wipe it clean with a soft microfiber cloth.

How Do I Know If My Yoga Mat is Open or Closed Cell?

The way to tell if your yoga mat is open or closed cell is to feel it. Open cell mats have more air, making them feel spongy, whereas closed cell mats are firmer and more durable.

Why Do You Sprinkle Salt on a Yoga Mat?

You sprinkle salt on a yoga mat to make it less slippery. PVC is slick when new, so a salt rub makes the surface rougher.

How Long Does it Take For a Yoga Mat to Dry?

A yoga mat will take two days to dry after a deep clean, depending on the type of mat and the environment where you live. If you live in California, your mat will dry faster than if you lived in Alaska.

Best Way to Clean a Yoga Mat

The best way to clean a yoga mat is to spray it with a yoga cleaning spray after each time you exercise on it. After spraying your mat, wipe it off with a clean towel. This will help to prevent bacteria, dirt, and grime from developing on your mat and making it unhygienic.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.