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How Often You Need to Clean Your Yoga Mat (and How to Do It the Right Way)

Give your yoga mat the scrub-down it desperately needs.

Macy Meyer Editor I
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
Expertise Macy covers a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, smart home tech, fitness, nutrition, travel, lifestyle and more. Credentials
  • Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
Macy Meyer
3 min read
purple yoga mat being rolled up

Your yoga mat is a little too good at harboring germs and bacteria.

Sven Hansche/EyeEm/Getty Images

My yoga mat goes through a lot each week. Between taking it to boxing training sessions for core workouts to using it for morning yoga, my mat gets dragged around to some not-so-clean surfaces -- not to mention how it inevitably gets covered in my sweat, too.

Because yoga mats are often used for intense, sweaty workouts, it's easy for them to harbor germs and bacteria. So whether you're sharing mats at a yoga class or using your own, it's worth taking the time to clean your mat often to banish bacteria and prevent it from falling apart.

Here are several tips and tricks on how to best clean your yoga mat. (For more cleaning tips, here's our guide on how to clean your mattress, how to kill mold in your washer and how to declutter your closet.)

How to clean your yoga mat

For everyday cleaning

For just the regular daily cleaning you'll want to do after a class or practice, I recommend using a homemade cleaning solution. You can simply mix white vinegar or witch hazel with water at a 1-to-4 ratio in a spray bottle and shake slightly to combine. (You can add a few drops of tea tree oil or another essential oil if you want a scent.) Then spray down your mat and gently wipe the solution all around the surface. Let your mat fully dry before rolling it up. 

For deep cleaning 

Believe it or not, one of the best methods to deep-clean your yoga mat is to give it a bath. Fill up a sink or bathtub with enough temperate water to fully submerge the mat. You can add a tablespoon of dish soap or detergent for each gallon of water. Allow it to soak for about 10 minutes, then gently wipe the front and back down with a cloth. Rinse your mat off with clean water before drying off the mat. I recommend wiping the mat off with a dry cloth before hanging the mat somewhere to hang-dry fully. 

I like to leave my mat to dry overnight to be completely moisture-free before I roll it back up. 

four yoga mats rolled up outside on a deck

Depending on how much you use it, you'll need to deep clean your yoga mat every few weeks or monthly.

Amanda Capritto/CNET

How often should you clean your yoga mat?

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With frequent usage, your yoga mat can quickly accumulate sweat, lint, skin oils, dirt and other grime. And over time, they can begin to smell if you're not careful. Depending on how much you use it, you should deep clean it around once a month. It's also just good practice to give it a wipe down with disinfecting wipes or a gentle cleaning solution after every use. 

It's important to note that yoga mats are supposed to feel tacky, or slightly sticking. Mats are made that way intentionally to help you hold more difficult yoga poses. While cleaning, be careful to not use harsh chemicals or scrub so hard that you eliminate the sticky finish so you keep your mat grippy and extend its longevity. 

Can you wash a yoga mat in the washing machine? 

While I recommend the above cleaning methods, some yoga mats are machine washable. If you really want to machine-wash your mat, do so on a cold gentle cycle. Check the mat's care instructions before trying this method, though, because some yoga mats will fall apart in the wash. But never put your yoga mat in the dryer: Always leave it to air-dry. 

Looking to get into yoga? Try out these yoga poses for better sleep and read about the benefits associated with hot yoga

More cleaning recommendations 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.