Here's How To Properly Clean Your Yoga Mat — & 4 Products That Can Help

by Masha Vapnitchnaia
VisualCommunications/E+/Getty Images

Keeping your yoga mat free of unwanted odors and germs will not only make your practice more hygienic but more pleasant overall. For daily or regular upkeep, the best yoga mat cleaners use gentle, natural ingredients with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that won't damage your mat or leave a filmy residue behind. But, if you're willing to do some scrubbing, you can also follow the same protocol as you would when you wash your plates: dish soap and water.

Daily Cleaning

To break up sweat and odors as soon as your session is over, a spray or a wipe will make the job as easy as possible. While a spray will need to be paired with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth, a pack of wipes is an all-in-one solution that's also more portable (however, alcohol-based wipes like the kind from Clorox will be too abrasive). For those who are more eco-minded, there are even biodegradable wipes specifically made for mats.

In terms of formulas, you'll find most feature essential oils and other all-natural ingredients that not only smell great, they also have proven antibacterial properties (and lack any chemical agents that damage the surface of porous mat). Studies show, for example, that lavender has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Similarly, there are studies that demonstrate that tea tree oil is an antimicrobial agent, as is eucalyptus oil. Finally, witch hazel has noteworthy antiseptic and astringent properties that can help remove oil and dirt from your mat.

Keep in mind that some essential oils are known irritants, especially if you have sensitive skin. Also, if your pet likes to linger during your chaturanga, take note that exposure to tea tree oil can be harmful to them.

Deep Cleaning

If you're an avid yogi, it's recommended that you hand wash your mat at least once a month (or more if you do hot yoga). To do this, simply add a few small drops of gentle dishwashing soap into your tub or sink, wash off both sides of your mat, and then let it air dry completely before rolling it up again.

Ready to freshen up your practice? Check out a few of the best yoga mat cleaners you can find on Amazon below!

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

This Spray That’s Chock Full Of Organic Oils And Comes With A Cleaning Towel

This Asutra yoga mat spray is one of the most popular options on Amazon having earned more than 3,500 five-star reviews. Made with organic essential oils, it gets its cleaning and germ-fighting powers from a base of witch hazel and tea tree oil and, to make it even easier to get your mat shiny, you'll also get 14 by 14-inch microfiber cleaning towel with your purchase.

There are six scents to choose from, each with additional essential oils like eucalyptus, lemongrass, and citrus added in so you can add some aromatherapy benefits as well. If you're not a fan of strong scents, there's also an unscented option that one reviewer with sensitivity to fragrances reported "is TRULY unscented." The spray's formula is cruelty-free with no parabens, phosphates, bleach, or alcohol. It also won't leave behind any residue.

Reviewer praise: "I went to OMFest in Las Vegas, held outside, in 90 degree weather. Needless to say my mat was DIRTY with sweat, grass, and I don't want know what else. After using Austra, my mat was not only smelling brilliantly but CLEAN. Grass stains and other marks came right out and it looked brand new again. The fact that it's organic and cleans so well makes me feel a zillion times better having my body and face touching it. I'll never not have this in my yoga bag."

A More Affordable Spray In A Soothing Lavender Mint Scent

Using a blend of witch hazel, tea tree, and other essential oils (like eucalyptus), this Mind Over Lather spray can also be used on your yoga towel and even to freshen up the air in your room. The spray has a lavender-mint fragrance and is alcohol- and cruelty-free. It also won't leave behind a sticky or slippery residue, which means you can quickly wipe down your mat and roll it right up afterward.

Reviewer praise: "This smells awesome and doesn't leave an oily residue. One day I used it before class and I forgot to wipe it off. I had no issues with slipping or feeling like I was getting it all over me. Dried quickly and was unnoticeable except for the smell of lavender and mint. Love it!"

These Biodegradable Wipes That Uses Enzymes To Break Up Sweat

These cleaning wipes can help disinfect your mat with a combination of enzymes and good bacteria — and they're tea-tree-oil-free if that's something you need. The cotton wipes are designed to break-up and absorb sweat and dirt, without leaving a sticky residue behind. Just be sure to let your mat air dry for 30 seconds before you flip it over to take care of the other side. With the addition of white lavender on the ingredient list, there is also a nice subtle hint of fragrance.

Reviewer praise: "I wipe down my mat after every class because I do hot yoga, and well, you know. These wipes are nice and thick and don't fold in on themselves. I only need one wipe to do my entire mat (I use both sides of the wipe). The scent is nice and light and the wipes are the perfect moisture. I have been through dozens of other wipes and been disappointed. I am stocking up on these!!!"

A Fragrance-Free Dish Soap For A Thorough Deep Clean

Though it's most loved for its grease-fighting properties, this popular plant-based dish soap with more than 6,000 five-star ratings is also great for deep-cleaning your yoga mat. The dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic formula is especially gentle so even yogis with very sensitive skin can use it. It's also free of fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and triclosan. Just soap up your mat in the shower, go over with a sponge, or washcloth, and rinse. To make sure your mat stays germ-free, though, you'll want to let it dry it completely before rolling it up.

Reviewer praise: "I mean I like everything about this soap! No fragrance, and cleans with power without damaging your hands! I use it for washing dishes, cleaning my floors, washing clothes... My skin and nose are happy, I’m allergic to a lot of soaps with strong scents so this one is a forever item in my home!"

Studies referenced:

Li, W. R., Li, H. L., Shi, Q. S., Sun, T. L., Xie, X. B., Song, B., & Huang, X. M. (2016). The dynamics and mechanism of the antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil against bacteria and fungi. Applied microbiology and biotechnology, 100(20), 8865–8875. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-016-7692-4

Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 19(1), 50–62. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006

Kwiatkowski, P., Łopusiewicz, Ł., Kostek, M., Drozłowska, E., Pruss, A., Wojciuk, B., Sienkiewicz, M., Zielińska-Bliźniewska, H., & Dołęgowska, B. (2019). The Antibacterial Activity of Lavender Essential Oil Alone and In Combination with Octenidine Dihydrochloride against MRSA Strains. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(1), 95. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25010095

Behmanesh, F., Pasha, H., Sefidgar, A. A., Taghizadeh, M., Moghadamnia, A. A., Adib Rad, H., & Shirkhani, L. (2015). Antifungal Effect of Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia) and Clotrimazole on Candida albicans: An In Vitro Study. Scientifica, 2015, 261397. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/261397

Sadlon, A. E., & Lamson, D. W. (2010). Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic, 15(1), 33–47. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20359267/

Orchard, A., & van Vuuren, S. (2017). Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 4517971. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4517971