Your yoga mat can act as a fomite (an inanimate object that carries and spreads germs). How often you need to wash your mat will depend on your practice and whether you come into contact with germs during it. Germs come from your own skin, props used and your feet as they pad across the yoga studio floor. Here are my recommendations as a yoga practitioner and dermatologist: Hot yoga practitioners are sweating germs off their skin and onto their mats and the studio floor. Cleaning after every practice is best. Studios with shared props (fomites) brought to the mat or held in your hands potentially have higher risk of germs reaching your mat. Cleaning your mat after every 3rd or 4th practice should be fine. Again, think about how clean the floor is because your bare feet can pick up fungus on the floor. What is the best way to clean your mat?
- I like to use a spray and a cloth rag. I clean my mat at home with my All Purpose Natural and Hypoallergenic Spray Cleaner ideal for sensitive skin and anyone wanting to avoid chemicals. It is made from organic hypoallergenic oils turned into soap by the magic of saponification (soap making). Know that it is important to avoid using essential oils on your yoga mat because they can act as allergens (yes I love tea tree oil and lavender oil but not on my mat).
- Avoid cleaners with fragrances of any sort when cleaning your mat and than includes the many citrus based 'natural' cleaning products because citrus is a notorious skin allergen.
- You can also use dilute white vinegar in a squirt bottle and do a final cleaning of your mat to remove germs and any slippery residue. The dilution to use to create a vinegar solution for disinfecting varies anywhere from 1 tablespoon in a cup or a pint of water. I just splash some into the bottle with tap water.