Chances are you’re not doing it often enough. Here’s why you need to—and how to make it easy and chemical-free.

By Caylin Harris
Jamie Grill/Getty Images

There’s nothing worse than shifting into downward dog and catching a whiff of your yoga mat. Or worse—not realizing that it smells a little “off” until your face is pressed right up against it. The fact is, your yoga mat can be a bacteria magnet, harboring germs even when there’s no odor or visible dirt at all. Yes, you need to clean your yoga mat. If you’re not wiping down your mat on the regular, you need to give it a quick scrub ASAP. But don’t sweat it—cleaning your yoga mat is easy. You likely have all the ingredients on hand already.

What You’ll Need:

  • An empty spray bottle
  • water
  • white vinegar
  • soft cloth
  • tea tree oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Lay out your mat on a flat surface, indoors. Combine equal parts water and vinegar (which has odor-fighting and anti-microbial properties) together in a clean spray bottle, and then add a few drops of tea tree oil (another natural anti-microbial). Give it a quick shake to combine.
  2. Spray the mat liberally and then scrub with a soft cloth. Flip it over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Hang the mat so that both sides can dry without trapping moisture underneath. (A smart spot? Over your shower rod or shower door.) While it might seem like a great idea to hang the mat in the sun, it can dry out the foam, making it all weird and crumbly.

Experts recommend cleaning your yoga mat once a week if you’re practicing regularly, either with this homemade cleaning solution, a pre-mixed mat cleaner, or wipes. A clean mat will take you from ugh to om!

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