Yoga mats are your companion as you learn and practice new yoga poses and make your way on your journey into the world of the yogi. Not all mats are created equal. While some are designed to last longer than others, there are ways to make your yoga mat last longer, no matter the brand.
Owners can make their yoga mats last longer by following the manufacturer’s care instructions. Mats should be wiped down and air-dried after every use. Depending on the mat’s material, they can be cleaned with water, vinegar, dish soap, or Clorox wipes. Avoid sun exposure.
Whether your yoga mat is a new addition or an old companion, taking care of it to make it last longer is likely high on your list of priorities. Thankfully, there are some easily-implemented ways to make your mat last longer, and if you integrate them into your practice routine, you should find that they are easy to maintain. Read on to learn more.
How To Make My Yoga Mat Last Longer
Knowing how to make your yoga mat last longer comes down to understanding how to care for your mat properly. Yoga mats can last from six months to five or more years, and there are ways to make yours last for its entire life expectancy.
While not all yoga mats are made equal, we can use some standard methods to ensure we give our yoga companions the best treatment possible.
By being gentle and mindful with your mat and giving it frequent, purposeful maintenance, you will have the best chance of enjoying a happy, healthy, long, and fruitful partnership with it.
Let’s look at a few ideas to make your mat last longer. Try to include a few or all of these ideas into your regular care routine, and you are likely to enjoy the many benefits for months and years to come.
1. Read The Manufacturer’s Care Instructions
The number one way to ensure your yoga mat lasts for as long as possible is to read the care instructions that come with it thoroughly.
Nobody knows their product as well as the manufacturer. We could share a hundred tips for making your mat last longer, but if they contradict what the manufacturer has recommended, the chances are good that you would do more harm than good.
Since your yoga mat could be made from one of a range of materials, it is necessary to follow the care instructions stipulated by the manufacturer to avoid damaging your mat with the wrong cleaning products.
Yoga mats are usually made from one of the following materials:
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
- Natural Rubber
- TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)
- NBR (Synthetic Rubber)
- PU (Polyurethane) and Natural Rubber
- EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)
- Cotton and Hemp
Each material should be cleaned in a specific way for the best results. The manufacturer’s care instructions should have detailed instructions attached to your mat when you purchase it.
2. Practice Yoga With Clean Hands And Feet
An excellent way to care for your mat and ensure its longevity is to wash your hands and feet before you practice yoga.
Yoga mats pick up our dirt and germs as we use them. Cleaning your hands and feet before class allows as little dirt as possible to be transferred to your mat.
Clean your hands and feet with water and soap for the best results. Consider using baby wipes if you cannot wash them with water and soap.
3. Use A Mat Towel During Class
Placing a clean towel on top of your yoga mat may be beneficial for some types of yoga, including hot yoga. This is because of the sweat produced in such classes.
Instead of having pools of sweat seep directly into your mat, you can use a towel for this purpose. At the end of the class, throwing the towel into the washer is simple.
Using a mat towel for certain yoga classes is a fantastic way to help your yoga mat last longer and keep it smelling better while it does!
4. Wipe Your Yoga Mat After Every Use
You probably don’t like to focus on it too much, but your mat is exposed to a fair amount of sweat, oils, and bacteria during yoga practice. When left unchecked, your beloved yoga mat can become a smelly bacteria breeding ground worthy of something at a science fair.
Instead of letting your mat meet its doom undignifiedly, consider wiping it down after each yoga practice, whether you feel you sweated a lot or not. Your mat will benefit from the cleaning, and you will enjoy the fresh smells, knowing you practice on a clean and sanitized mat every session.
Check your manufacturer’s care instructions before purchasing a yoga mat cleaning product or creating your own. If the manufacturer of your mat okays it, you can also make and use one of our favorites listed below:
- Mix a little regular dish soap with warm water. Wipe on with a clean cloth. Wipe off with a dry cloth and allow to air dry.
- Mix two parts warm water, 1 part white vinegar, and 3 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle. Spritz your mat and wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth. Allow to air dry.
- Mix two parts white vinegar with four parts warm water in a spray bottle. Spritz your mat and wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth. Allow to air dry.
If you are keen to use essential oils in your cleaning product, consider using one of the following:
- For an uplifting, energizing effect: lemon, orange, or eucalyptus
- For a calming, soothing effect: lavender
5. Allow Your Mat To Air Dry Completely After Every Practice
Your yoga mat should be allowed to air dry thoroughly after every practice session, even if you do not wipe it down.
If you wipe or clean it, you may need to allow for extra drying time. Air drying your mat is best done outdoors, if possible, but if your only option is indoors, that is acceptable, too.
If you air dry your mat outdoors, ensure it is not in direct sunlight for very long, as this could result in the mat partially melting, fading, or becoming damaged in other ways.
6. Have A No Shoes Policy
Some yogis prefer to practice with shoes on, but the harsh truth is that shoes damage yoga mats. If you desire to make your yoga mat last longer, it is best to practice barefoot or at least with only socks on.
Instill a no-shoes policy for your yoga mat from the beginning. Shoes can cause denting, holes, scuffing, and uneven bumping on your mat.
7. Keep Your Mat In A Bag
It is best to store your yoga mat in a bag. A dedicated mat bag will ensure that your mat is kept out of harm’s way, clean, and neat.
Many yoga bags are made with breathable fabric or panels that allow for breathing, which helps if you need to carry your mat before letting it air dry after class.
The bag handle is designed to ensure you carry it properly, avoiding damaging it on public transport or as you walk.
A dedicated yoga mat bag also helps you carry your mat separately, not in another bag with other things.
Having your gym shower supplies leak all over your mat is a surefire way to shorten the lifespan of your yoga mat. Opt for a mat bag that you can use for only your mat. If you drive to yoga, keep it in a dedicated spot in your trunk on your way to and from class.
8. Keep Your Mat Away From Direct Sun And Extreme Heat
Yoga mats are not designed to be in extreme heat or direct sunlight for long.
If you have yoga after work and are parked in the sun, removing your mat from the hot car is best to avoid damaging it.
Similarly, a short amount of sun exposure is acceptable for your yoga mat and can even benefit it. Do not leave it in direct sunlight for an extended time, however. This can cause the colors to fade, parts of the mat to melt, or the mat to weaken.
9. Keep Your Mat Away From Furry Friends
Pets, especially cats, are known for finding the most comfortable spots to nap. Cats also like to sharpen their claws on various objects, and yoga mats feel pretty good.
To keep your yoga mat in the best shape, keep it out of reach of your pets, furry or otherwise.
Clean your yoga mat often and let it air dry completely before packing it. Store it in a dedicated mat bag and carry it carefully to avoid denting, bending, or spilling anything on it. Keep pets away from your mat and practice barefoot after cleaning your hands and feet to enjoy a long and happy partnership with your yoga mat.