Q: How do you keep your yoga mat clean?

Petra asks: “How do you keep your yoga mat clean?”

Bikram Yoga, practiced in a room heated to 40 C, can take a special toll on your yoga mat. Because of all the sweat that accumulates on your mat during class, it’s important to keep your mat clean, sanitized and safe for use. At Bikram Yoga Vancouver, we scrub our rental mats down with an all-botanical disinfectant (made from plants, with no hazardous synthetic chemicals) after each use to keep them clean and germ-free!

If you bring your own mat to class, be sure to pick up a bottle of Yoga Body’s yoga mat spray from any of our studios. Made with 98% natural ingredients, this product safely cleans and extends the life of your mat – and can benefit your respiratory system and invigorate your practice, as well, thanks to six sweet-smelling essential oils! Perfect for daily use, simply spray a thin layer onto your mat after class, then wipe it off or allow it to air-dry prior to your next stint in the hot room.

Every so often (if you’re spray-cleaning daily, once a month will do) you’ll want to give your mat a more-thorough soak to help keep bacteria at bay. If you don’t want to use an alcohol-based disinfectant, you can easily make your own solution by mixing one part vinegar (white, not balsamic!) with three parts water and storing it in a spray bottle. Due to its level of acidity, the vinegar will effectively kill off most mould, bacteria and germs.

Put your mat in the bathtub and spray it with the vinegar-water mixture. Plug the drain, add some lukewarm water and scrub your yoga mat with a washcloth. Then flip it over, spray the reverse side with more vinegar-water mix, and scrub again. When you’re ready, unplug the drain and give your mat a final rinse with clean water. Press on it gently to get rid of any excess water and hang it on a rack to dry for, ideally, 24 hours (if you have a second mat you can use while the first is drying, 48 hours is even better).

NOTE: Avoid using soap in this process, as it can leave a filmy residue on your yoga mat that may make it slippery during class. You can also cut out the vinegar by filling your tub with hot water, adding a bit of baking soda, submerging your mat and swishing it around. When you’re done, drain the water, rinse the mat and hang it up to air-dry.

If you use your mat for things other than Bikram Yoga, like an outdoor boot camp, you may want to invest in a second mat that’s reserved just for indoor use. Yogis tend to get more “up close and personal” with their mats than most and, if you’re rolling it out onto pavement or grass, it will likely be too dirty to use in the hot room (our floors will appreciate it, too!).

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