Cork yoga mats have become a popular choice amongst yogis. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that they are durable and can be repaired easily. The cork mats insulate the heat and cold, and they easily repel dust, hair, and small particles that tend to stick to other yoga mats. One question you may have before investing in a cork yoga mat is how to take care of it and make it clean. Well, in this article, we will take a look at the top 10 ways to care for your yoga mat and keep it looking and feeling clean and brand new.
Use essential oils to keep your mat clean
Rather than using harsh chemicals such as in soaps, for cork yoga mats it is better to use natural products to clean. Why you may be asking? Well, the answer is rather simple. The sharp, astringent chemicals that can often be found in soaps can wear down the cork yoga mats and break down the material. Essential oils such as tea tree oil or lavender are much less harsh for the yoga mat material. They smell nice and keep your mat clean and intact.
Do not submerge your mat
When cleaning your mat, always avoid completely submerging or soaking it. If you are not sure why, here’s the thing: if your mat soaks in too much water, it will begin to break down the constructs and materials. Especially if your mat is made of cork, which is a natural substance.
Use a warm, damp washcloth to wipe off your mat
Rather than using harsh materials such as rough sponges, or paper towels which will break down and leave pieces all over your mat, use a washcloth or towel that is damp with warm water to wipe it off. This is good for your mat because it is not hard and will not rub your mat raw and break down the particles. Your mat will stay in tact and will be nice and clean.
Never machine wash your yoga mat
Hopefully this would not be your first choice in cleaning your mat, but allow us to tell you why. Washing machines are excellent resources to clean your clothes and towels and such. However, for materials that make up yoga mats, especially natural yoga mats such as cork, the washing machine is not the place for it! It may be obvious to you, but to some, it might seem like a quick and easy way to clean your mat. However, if you want your yoga mat to remain in tact and in one piece, don’t throw it in the machine!
Try using just vinegar and water to clean the mat
Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent because of its acidity. However, we obviously don’t want to put something very acidic onto a cork yoga mat because we don’t want it to break down. That is why it works much better to mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. Also, to improve the smell a bit, you can add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or tea tree oil.
Use mild dish soap and water for a deep clean
If you are wondering why we would use dish soap rather than normal soap or detergent, it is because it tends to be a bit milder than these other types of soap. Dish soap is mild because we typically wash dishes by hands and it has direct contact with our skin. Just like our skin, our yoga mats are delicate and need a mild soap to be used when cleaning them.
Don’t roll your mat up immediately after washing
Let it air dry! We don’t put our clothes away wet, do we? Well we shouldn’t put our yoga mat away wet either. If we do this, it will get moldy and not smell very nice. It can also begin to break down the materials because of the water that it holds. So lay it out flat to air dry and make sure it is fully dry before you roll it up and put it away.
Keep your mat in a case or holder
Properly storing your mat can really help its longevity and durability. If you leave the mat out to be a victim of all of the elements, then it will begin to deconstruct. As you roll it up, make sure the top side (the side with the design or the side you lay facing up when practicing) is on the outside so that when you unroll it, it lays out flat. Also, it might be worth it to invest in a case or holder. These can really help protect your cork yoga mat, and come in a wide variety of designs and colors.
Invest in a natural yoga mat cleaner
If you want to be sure that your mat is clean and disinfected, perhaps you might want to look into buying a natural yoga mat cleaner. They are available in many places, as well as online, and are sure to leave your mat nice and clean after each use.
Avoid leaving your mat in the sun for long periods of time
The sun, in all its wonder, can be very harsh on yoga mats. The heat and harshness of the sun can melt or break down the elements that make up your cork mat. If you leave your mat in the sun for a long period of time, it may become deformed and can deter your perfect practice.
If you have a yoga practice, then it is probable that you have a personal mat that assists and accompanies you in your practice. You want to take the best care of it that you can so that it lasts you a long time because, let’s face it, they are not cheap (most of them, anyway). These 10 tips will help ensure that your mat is kept safe and in good condition.