How To Clean And Deodorize Your Yoga Mat

The Ultimate Guide To Cleaning & Deodorizing Yoga Mats

Yoga mats usually smell bad. Yoga mats used for hot yoga? Forget about it.

You can’t toss yoga mats in the washing machine. So how are you supposed to clean your yoga mat so you can actually enjoy your classes?

Since 2008, Vapor Fresh has been developing stronger, safer, plant-based cleaning products for the sports and fitness industry. Vapor Fresh Sports Cleaning Spray is used to eliminate sweat odors from things like hockey and football equipment, boxing gloves, shoes and yes, yoga mats. We know a thing or two about how to clean sweaty, smelly yoga mats!

By following these tips on cleaning and deodorizing your yoga mat, you will never have to worry about being the smelly person at yoga.

Step 1: Start The Cleaning Process Immediately

We all have days where we need to rush out of yoga class immediately after it concludes. But the best way to keep your yoga mat fresh and clean is to clean it immediately after use every single time.

Odors on your yoga mat come from odor-causing bacteria. Those bacteria thrive in dark moist environments. When you roll your yoga mat up immediately after use without cleaning it first, you're giving those odor-causing germs a prime environment to thrive. And once they get a good stronghold on your yoga mat, they are difficult to eliminate.

If possible, always start the yoga mat cleaning process immediately after use.

Step 2: Choose The Right Cleaning Products (Hint- Plant Based!)

Your bare skin will be coming in contact with whatever you use to clean your yoga mat with, so you'll want to use something safe, non-irritating and non-toxic. It's always best to choose a plant based cleaning product over one filled with harmful chemicals.

Many traditional cleaning products contain a class of chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds, or "quats", to clean. These quats have very scary health consequences that you don't want anywhere near your body, such as skin irritation, lung irritation and reproductive health concerns.

Step 3: Spray Or Wipe Your Yoga Mat Down

The choice between a spray or a wipe is personal preference. Both are effective.

When cleaning something covered in sweat like a yoga mat, you're going to need something strong. Even though Vapor Fresh products are plant based, we've designed them specifically for the demanding needs of sports and fitness equipment. They are strong enough to get the job done yet safe for your yoga because we never use harsh chemicals.

Best Spray For Cleaning Yoga Mats

Vapor Fresh® Natural Sports Cleaning Spray

  • Smells Amazing. Thanks to a proprietary blend of four essential oils, Vapor Fresh Spray not only effectively eliminates sweaty sports odors, but leaves behind one of the most refreshing scents imaginable. You have to smell it yourself to believe it.
  • Zero Harsh Chemicals. Unlike other sprays, Vapor Fresh is completely free of harsh chemicals. You'll never have to worry about what chemicals are leaching onto your face next time you're in child's pose when you clean your yoga mat with Vapor Fresh.
  • Made Specifically For Sports & Fitness Equipment. Vapor Fresh Spray is one of the most versatile sports cleaning sprays around. Not only can it clean and deodorize yoga mats, but it's also great on hockey and football equipment, boxing gloves, shoes, gym equipment and more.

best yoga mat wipe

Best Wipe For Cleaning Yoga Mats

Vapor Fresh® Disinfecting Gym Wipes

  • Free Of Quats. Nearly all other wipes on the market are full of quats. You want to avoid these for obvious reasons we mentioned previously.
  • Designed For Gym Equipment. Not all cleaning products are safe on yoga mats and gym equipment. Many contain abrasive and harsh chemicals that will wear down your equipment over time. Not Vapor Fresh!
  • No Harsh Residues. Don't worry about leaving a slippery, sticky or slimey residue behind when you use Vapor Fresh Wipes. Your mat will thank you.

Step 4: Hang Your Yoga Mat To Air Dry

The key with keeping your yoga mat fresh and clean -- similar to how you keep all sports equipment clean -- is to do your best to prevent the problem from getting out of hand in the first place. The best way to do this is to air out your yoga mat immediately after spraying it down. Many people simply roll up their yoga mat and toss it somewhere dark and unventilated where it will harbor bacteria until it's used again. This is how odors form.

Instead, try hanging your yoga mat over something that will maximize its air exposure as soon as possible after each use. Some of our favorite spots are over a shower curtain rod or shower door, on a staircase banister or railing, on a fence outside or over the back of a chair.

It's important to avoid strong sources of external heat to dry your yoga mat like clothes dryers or hair dryers. Both will concentrate too much heat onto your yoga mat, warp the materials and permanently deform your yoga mat. Avoid them at all costs.

Step 5: Once It's Completely Dry, Roll It Up For Next Use

Rolling up your yoga mat is the easiest way to ensure it keeps its form and structure for as long as possible. Otherwise, it may settle in a way that prevents it from laying flat on the floor which can really disrupt your practice.

It's important to wait until the mat is completely dry from cleaning before rolling it up so you don't allow bacteria to thrive.

Can Yoga Mats Go In The Washing Machine?

Unfortunately, most yoga mats can’t handle the agitation from a washing machine. Putting your yoga mat in the washing machine will most likely permanently ruin it's structure. If your yoga mat needs a deep clean, we recommend washing it by hand.

How To Deep Clean Your Yoga Mat By Hand

If your yoga mat is already smelly and nasty, there’s still hope. Although you can't toss your yoga mat in the washing machine, there are a number of ways to wash your yoga mat by hand to completely eliminate the odors, dirt, sweat and grime.

First, rinse it down with luke-warm water. This alone may do the trick, but if it's still smelly, you might need to use a tiny amount of mild soap to really clean it. Make sure you rinse all the soap off and let it dry completely before use or you might be stuck with a slippery mat, which can be dangerous.

If you don't have a place to rinse your yoga mat down, allowing it to soak in a bathtub or be rinsed down in the shower are also very good options.

Second, you’re going to want to dry it as quickly as possible. What we like doing is laying down one large towel on the floor, then placing the yoga mat on top of the towel and placing a second towel on top of the yoga mat, and then roll all three up as you would normally roll the mat up. Let it sit like this for about 10 minutes, then unroll it and allow the yoga mat to hang somewhere until completely dry.

Trust All Your Yoga Mat Cleaning Needs To Vapor Fresh

There you have it! Follow these tips and tricks for cleaning your yoga mat and you'll never have to worry about having a nasty yoga mat ever again.


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