There is nothing worse than rolling out your yoga mat and see layers of grime or smelling days-old sweat out of it. It will be worse if you leave your travel yoga mat uncleaned for days.

As gross as this seems, it’s the reality a lot of people face because cleaning their yoga mats doesn’t pop up in their minds.

Your yoga mat absorbs all the sweat, grime, germs, and stains that cling to it after you practice. This is why it’s very essential to establish a consistent cleaning routine. You can’t possibly be practicing yoga, which is a physical, mental, and spiritual exercise, on a dirty mat.

Many of you may not grasp just how dirty a yoga mat can get, so here is a breakdown

How Dirty Can Your Yoga Mat Get?

Research has shown that if you take all the mats used at a professional yoga studio and examine them in a lab carefully, you will see nothing less than 3 million counts of bacteria. Note that this comes from a yoga studio where the mats are supposedly cleaned after every practice.

What of personal yoga mats that are left unattended to?

All kinds of bacteria and fungi that cause athlete’s foot, ringworm, staph infections, etc. can be found on yoga mats since they survive best in moist and dark conditions. The damage you’d be doing to your health when you don’t wash your mat can be overwhelming.

Now, there is another class of people. These people wash their mats but don’t disinfect it. You have to harness every available option to sanitize your mat. While cleaning can remove the germs, disinfecting will destroy it.

Now, you may be wondering,

How can I clean and disinfect my yoga mat effectively?

Brilliant question

If you go to a professional yoga studio, you’d most likely find lots of spray bottles lined up for people to use. What are in these spray bottles?

The regular disinfectant used is a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and distilled water, with small tea tree oil. The job of the tea tree oil is to kill whatever fungi or bacteria that clings to your yoga mat. The white vinegar also has antimicrobial properties, so germs on your yoga mat have no option but to leave.

We are going to look at the best ways to clean and disinfect your mat:

How to clean your yoga mat?

Add some drops of dish soap and warm water to a spray bottle. Spritz your yoga mat with the solution, then use a microfiber cloth to firmly scrub.

However, don’t be too harsh when scrubbing. You want the germs to go but still retain the sticky nature of your mat. Make sure you spray and scrub on both sides. When you are done, rinse with warm water and dry.

Wash at least once a month.

How to disinfect?

Spritz on both sides of the mat, then wipe off the solution using a towel. This should be enough to destroy pathogens on the surface and give the mat a fresh smell.