I consider myself a clean person. I like a clean living space, clean desk and clean floors. I thought I was being “clean enough” with my yoga mat. Now I’m second-guessing myself. For a little back story: In February I went to the dermatologist for what I thought was a rash/acne on my right cheek. Turns out it was a bacteria infection. Gross, but not uncommon, she said. I took an antibiotic and everything seemed fine. I don’t know what caused it or where it came from – possibly, until now.
Enter my yoga mat.
I make a habit of trying to clean my yoga mat after each practice, but I have to be honest, it doesn’t always happen. I have even reviewed and used all-natural Jo-Sha Wipes for cleaning my yoga mat.
One notable change occurred when I switched to my thick Manduka Black Mat Pro Yoga Mat earlier this year. I could no longer fold my mat in half, and then roll it up. I used to do that with my previous thin mat – in an effort to only ever put one side on the floor.
It could be the change in rolling, it could be my laziness with not cleaning my mat every time, or it could be I’m a hypochondriac. But I had a rash again on my face – a face which I place on my mat during some poses, a face which touches a mat where my feet were, a face which touches a mat drenched with sweat and bacteria, a face which touches a mat on a floor at a yoga studio, of which I do not know the cleaning practices.
I have decided to be proactive and start cleaning my mat more regularly and rigorously. This news article, “What’s Living on Your Yoga Mat?,” from Philadelphia Magazine provides some great tips on the matter:
- It’s likely that bacteria from your skin could get on your mat, colonize … and cause infection.
- Since bacteria thrive in warm, dark, moist environments, rolling up your yoga mat while it’s still wet, from sweat or cleaning, is the worst thing you can do.
- Hot yoga makes a particularly enticing environment for bacteria.
My takeaways? Don’t share your yoga mat. Avoid using the “community mats” at your gym or studio. If you must use a community mat, use a cleaning solution on it first. Also, clean your mat after each practice, maybe even again when you roll it out before a practice. Some options for cleaning your mat include:
- Using Jo-Sha Wipes to clean your mat.
- Covering your mat with a NamaSTAY Yoga Mat Towel to keep it clean.
- Using NamaSTAY yoga mat spray to clean your mat.
Also, let your yoga mat air dry before re-rolling it after cleaning. If your studio offers a cleaning solution on site – take advantage. And for studio owners and employees, disinfect mats and floors regularly.