If you’ve ever bought a new yoga mat, then you already know that strange chemical-like smell that can come from some. While most brands claim to be odor-free, they are usually made from rubber, jute, bamboo or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
This includes a Lululemon yoga mat, which is comprised of polyurethane (top layer absorbs moisture for a better grip while sweating); the natural rubber base (for comfortable cushioning); and an antimicrobial additive (to prevent mold and mildew).
“How to clean a Lululemon yoga mat” is a common question to ask, whether it’s to get rid of the rubber smell or after regular use in a yoga class. It’s not at all hard to do, but you may want to be wary of using every random wipe or cleaner found in your gym.
Just as you have your own favorite body washes and soaps at the gym, there’s nothing wrong with bringing your own yoga mat cleaning supplies in your gym bag, too.
Cleaning a Lululemon Yoga Mat
How frequently should you clean a yoga mat
Sweat, oil and grime can too easily settle onto yoga mats that are not cleaned regularly. With your own yoga mat, you can keep tabs on how often it’s cleaned. But if you’re using yoga mats from gyms or yoga-specific facilities, just assume they’re not cleaned to protect yourself. After all, who wants to lay in Corpse pose or Downward Dog on a mat that hasn’t been cleaned in weeks? (Additionally, without proper cleaning of shared yoga mats, you may put yourself at risk of ringworm, plantar warts and/or athlete’s foot.)
While Lululemon doesn’t have specifics about how often to clean the mat on the advertisement pages, generally speaking, it couldn’t hurt to wipe it down after each use. Even if you don’t feel like you were dirty or sweaty on the mat, it’s still laid on the floor. And unless you’re a serial wiper, doing yoga on both sides of the mat could mean you’re also laying your head in dust or dog hair from your floors. If you use your yoga mat as a part of your home gym equipment then chances are it’ll collect a fair bit of dirt.
Best way(s) to clean it
Lululemon recommends just wiping the mat off with a damp cloth and air drying the mat until it is dry. Once dry, it can be rolled up and returned to its original storage location. If that works for you, keep it simple.
If you prefer a stronger cleaning solution, one common organic disinfectant is tea tree oil, distilled water and white vinegar. While the acidity of vinegar can dissolve everything from mineral deposit, dirt, grease or grime. Tea tree oil also kills bad bacteria and fungi that may linger on your mat. Using both together cleans your mat even better.
And considering some cleaner smells are too strong, using tea tree oil may be more pleasant. It smells a bit like peppermint or eucalyptus, and may provide a calming feeling while exercising. In fact, tea tree oil is often found in candles and incense.
To use a washing machine or to not
Unless your yoga mat is advertised as machine washable, it is not advisable to put it in the washing machine. Why? Some washing machines are better quality than others. Even if you are to put it in the washing machine, it should be on a gentle cycle with cold water.
Usually, when people put a yoga mat in a washing machine it’s because something is so heavily stained or sticky (like gum) that nothing else worked. But making sure to clean it regularly will reduce the odds of grime and/or dirt buildup. Even if you do gently wash your yoga mat, do not put it in an electric dryer. This may lead to disintegrating the material into small pieces and ruining a mat that may have years’ worth of longevity.
How long can your yoga mat last? Many sites say a yoga mat can wear out within a six- to eight-month period and/or last as long as a year. Some people keep their yoga mats for multiple years, usually those with low-to-medium yoga activity levels. Regular maintenance and suitable storage can improve the longevity of it.
So when do you know when to replace it? Weak traction, uneven padding, bald spots, no cushioning and/or a smell that simply will never go away are all common factors for yoga mat replacement. Without proper care of your yoga mat or knowing when to let it go, you may be at risk of joint pain, injuries or skin conditions (ex. rashes).
If you really feel like your yoga mat is a winner, consider buying two of the same so you can switch them out and make both last a while longer. But as much as you love your yoga mat, know when to cut your rubber ties and move on to the next one.