If you’re anything like us here at Pureful, your yoga mat gets more than a little sweaty after a long session (especially a hot yoga session). And like anything else in our homes, it collects dirt, dust, and stains over time.
Sure, cork yoga mats are basically self-cleaning, but it doesn’t hurt to give yours a rinse now and then. Plus, not everyone’s mats are made from cork, so it helps to have a few cleaning tricks up your sleeve.
In this article, we promote two different methods for cleaning a yoga mat, and offer several additional tips for long-term care. Our focus is on how to clean a cork yoga mat specifically, but much of the advice we give also applies to other cork yoga equipment.
How to Clean a Yoga Mat
Cork yoga mat users have proposed many different methods online for cleaning their mats. In this section, we cover the two best that we’ve found.
For a quick and easy cleaning method that excludes any chemicals, we recommend the standard cleaning. All you need is cold water and a soft washcloth or sponge.
Softness is important, because an abrasive cleaning tool will carve into your cork yoga mat and create uncomfortable indentations. The purpose of choosing the standard cleaning method, simplicity aside, is to avoid damaging your mat.
To begin, wet your towel or sponge and wring it out a bit. Cork repels water, so a soaking wet cleaning tool will only make a mess. Gently, but thoroughly, rub down your mat on both sides, and on the sides themselves. Once you’ve finished, hang your mat to air dry. After the cork is completely dry, roll it up so that it doesn’t form wrinkles, and store it away in a dry place.
That’s how to clean your cork yoga mat with just water and a washcloth. It’s the safest and easiest cleaning method, and the one we suggest doing after each yoga session. Not only will it keep your mat clean, it will also make you feel cleaner since you’ll have a fresh mat to train on every time.
Sometimes, water and a washcloth isn’t enough. For a deeper clean, one that will remove stains from your cork yoga mat and thoroughly cleanse it of sweat, there’s a DIY method you can employ. This concoction contains all natural ingredients, so it is much safer to use on your mat than off-the-shelf chemical cleaners.
Here’s how to deep clean a cork yoga mat at home…
First, grab a spray bottle and a soft washcloth or sponge. You will use these tools to apply the cleaning mixture to your mat without scratching its surface. Next, you’ll need to fill the spray bottle with the following ingredients:
- Water – ¾ of the spray bottle
- White distilled vinegar or witch hazel – ¼ of the spray bottle
- Your favorite essential oil – 5-10 drops (depending on how powerful a scent you prefer)
Close the spray bottle and shake it to create your DIY cleansing mixture. Then, spray it onto your cork yoga mat, coating its surface. If you notice certain areas of the mat are especially dirty, such as where you normally place your hands, knees, and feet, allow the mixture to sit for a minute or two. This will allow the essential oils and distilled white vinegar or witch hazel to thoroughly disinfect the dirtiest areas of your mat.
Now, dampen your washcloth or sponge with cool water and gently rub the mixture into the surface of your mat. Keep a bowl or bucket nearby so you can rinse the mixture from your rag as you clean. After the mixture is rinsed away entirely, hang your mat up to dry.
How Often Should You Clean a Cork Yoga Mat?
We advocate that you clean your cork yoga mat with water (standard cleaning) after each session, or at least once a week. You should perform a deeper cleaning when necessary, such as if your mat is stained, or once a week at the most. Even though the DIY cleansing mixture you learned about contains natural ingredients, using them on your mat too often can cause fading over time.
We also urge you to clean any new mats you buy before using them. Simply put, you don’t know where they’ve been, who had their hands on them, or what chemicals were used to preserve them. Wash your new mat with water, or even deep clean it with your favorite essential oils, so that it’s fresh and ready to go when you need it.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Cork Yoga Mat
In addition to cleaning your cork yoga mat regularly, here are some tips for how to take care of your cork yoga mat in other ways.
Use Your Mat Frequently
Wear and tear is generally a good thing for your cork yoga mat, that is if it’s wear and tear from frequent usage and not harmful chemical cleaners.
The more you use your cork yoga mat, the more personalized it becomes. Indentations helpfully form in the areas where your hands, knees, and feet press into the mat, increasing its grip. The overall texture of the mat changes too, only subtly, but enough to make a difference during long poses.
Yoga mats tend to be slippery at first, even ones made from the best materials like organic cork. However, within 1-2 weeks of regular use and cleaning, your mat will begin to lose that slipperiness and become “sticky,” or easier to grip. Refer to the previous section on how to clean a cork yoga mat to ensure you’re causing wear and tear productively and not just damaging your new mat.
Roll Up Your Mat After Use
By rolling up your mat with the cork side facing outward, you avoid creasing or wrinkling the mat before your next session. It will be more comfortable and durable this way. And it will remain presentable.
Store Your Mat in a Dry Place
If you own a cork yoga mat, mold isn’t really a concern since the material repels water. With most other materials, you don’t have this luxury. Hanging your mat in a dry area, away from any humidifiers or air conditioning units, is the easiest way to prolong its lifespan.
Buy a High Quality Mat
It’s a lot easier to take care of a yoga mat that’s well-made, than to maintain a cheap one.
An organic cork yoga mat will last you 1-2 years, even with daily usage, whereas most yoga mats last around 8-12 months. The difference in lifespan is due to the durable, closed-cell molecular structure of cork, which can withstand far more strain than other materials found in standard mats.
Another benefit to using an organic cork yoga mat is that it practically cleans itself. Thanks to an all-natural, antibacterial, antimicrobial substance contained within cork, called Suberin, cork yoga mats stave off small particles and toxins. They also repel water, preventing mold and mildew from forming. As a result, your cork yoga mat will not get dirty or smelly easily.
In conclusion, by choosing to use organic cork yoga equipment over standard, cheaply made alternatives, you can spend more time practicing yoga, and less time scouring the Internet for tips about “how to clean a cork yoga mat”.