When I bought my Manduka mat Sandy (shown above and named by me due to its color), I carefully preserved all the labels and instructions on how to care for it. Firstly, it was a premium mat. Secondly, it did NOT come cheap. And third, I guess I am just OC (obsessive-compulsive). 🙂
But shortly after we got our mats (that includes yoga mates Chona and Crissy), I got a text from Crissy who was agitated by the fact that her Mom had dunk her mat (named Aqua) into soapy water and now, she could not get the soapy bubbles out of the sponge-like layers of the mat.
I quickly texted Crissy back because I knew how she felt. When I got my first imported Gaiam mat, I did the same thing and boy, no matter how much water I kept pouring on the mat, soap bubbles kept coming out its side when I’d step on it. And how do you expect to do yoga on a mat that spewed soap sediments when you step on it?
Here is a Yoga Journal article that precisely addresses this predicament and I must say that it is very close to the advice I had given Crissy who was very concerned about her Aqua:
“If your mat is lightly soiled, use a spray bottle, damp sponge, or terry cloth rag to apply a solution of two cups of water and four drops of dish soap. Rub the soiled areas. Wipe the mat with clean water; then rub with a dry terry cloth towel. Hang to air dry.
If your mat is heavily soiled, submerge it in a solution of warm water and mild detergent; use very little soap as any residue may cause the mat to become slippery during future use. Thoroughly hand wash the mat and rinse in clean water. After squeezing out the excess water, lay the mat on a dry towel and roll the mat and towel together. Stepping on the rolled up mat will squeeze more moisture out of the mat and into the towel. Then unroll and hang to air dry.”
In our tropical climate, here are other tips I would add:
– Air dry your mat but do not expose it to direct sunlight, unless you want your mat to become crispy or brittle
– Minimize sweat accumulating on it by using a yoga rug or blanket over it as often as you can in your yoga practice. There are yoga blankets that have skid-proof dots on one side for traction.
– After every practice, leave your mat open to dry out any sweat or moisture before rolling it up
Do you have your own tips on yoga mat care? Feel free to share.