DIY Mat Cleaner

Is your yoga mat dirty? Maybe just a little? When’s the last time you cleaned it? Because when you think about it, your face is where your feet just were A LOT during a typical yoga class. I’m not accusing you of having stinky feet, and barefoot is my preferred brand of footwear – but, every once in a while (if not more regularly) it’s a good idea to give your mat a good once-over. Clean feet or not. This is especially true if you practice hot yoga, because the warm, damp environment in hot yoga studios is a breeding ground for fungus.

Beyond washing away any funky smells and potential microorganisms, a good cleaning will rid your mat of dirt, debris and other items (definitely sand here in San Diego) that can damage it over time. And if you’re using a quality mat, it’s an investment worth protecting.

An easy and effective way to clean your mat is with a make-it-yourself mat cleaner using essential oils. It’s cost effective too. Some distilled water, some witch hazel and the essential oils of your choice are all you need to make a powerful cleaner.

In addition, this combination will ensure what you’re using is biodegradable and phosphate-free and you can tailor the scent to your choosing.  Plus many essential oils are also antimicrobial, so you’re assured to stave away the undesirables.

To start, you’ll need a spray bottle. If you’re obsessed with cleaning your mat, choose a larger one so that you can make more of the spray cleaner at one time. If you clean your mat only periodically, a smaller bottle will do. I prefer glass spray bottles because essential oils can break down plastic containers, but stainless steel works well too and thick plastic is also fine in this case because the oils are diluted with the other two liquids.

The Basic Recipe:
1 c distilled or spring water
¼ c  witch hazel (or white vinegar)
15-20 drop essential oil

Some specific recipes are provided below, but feel free to experiment; mix it up. Try different ratios of the same oils, or switch out some favorites for some new ones. Tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender are all antimicrobial so are always a good choice for mat sprays. I use Young Living oils because they are 100% pure, ethically sourced and not compromised by the addition of synthetics and cheap fillers, but there are other reputable brands on the market too.

Cleaning your mat is pretty self-explanatory, but as a reminder you’ll want to use a soft cloth or sponge, dampened with your spray (it’s a good idea to shake it up before spraying), and thoroughly wipe down both sides. Leaving the cleaned mat out to dry in the sun and fresh air is a good idea too, if possible. Either way, make sure it’s completely dry before rolling it up.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Super Clean
1 c distilled or spring water
¼ c  witch hazel (or white vinegar)
6 drops tea tree
6 drops lavender
6 drops eucalyptus

Citrus Bomb
1 c distilled or spring water
¼ c  witch hazel (or white vinegar)
6 drops grapefruit
6 drops orange
6 drops lemon

Balance & Cleanse
1 c distilled or spring water
¼ c  witch hazel (or white vinegar)
8 drops lavender
8 drops lemongrass

Minty Fresh
1 c distilled or spring water
¼ c  witch hazel (or white vinegar)
6 drops peppermint
6 drops spearmint
6 drops orange

Simple Spray
1 c distilled or spring water
¼ c  witch hazel (or white vinegar)
15 drops Purification oil

I’d love to know which one is your favorite, and what additional winning combinations you come up with!

Beth Purcell is a freelance writer, yogini, bioenergetics practitioner & member of The House of Yogi family. She finds the oft repeated routine of yoga – from asana to breathwork to meditation – allows her to navigate the organic chaos of everyday life and stay connected to the inspiration & creativity innate in us all.

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