Yoga mats, like dogs, aren’t just for Christmas. If you did your homework when you were shopping, you likely purchased a high-quality and personalised yoga mat that’ll last you a lifetime.
But like anything else, you’ve got to apply the right care to your yoga mat to get the most mileage out of it. That means understanding how to properly clean it, store it, and depending on the materials used to make your mat, it means avoiding long exposure to intense sunlight (sorry…).
Here are a few ways you can care for your personalised yoga mat.
Sidebar: How do you ‘personalise’ a yoga mat?
We just want to quickly clear this up. In the world of yoga mats, there are yoga mats and then there are ‘personalised’ yoga mats.
As you well know, every human body comes in a unique shape and size. Some people are smaller than others, some are taller. A personalised yoga mat comes with alignment guides printed on the mat which help safely guide you into the correct posture for a variety of poses.
Understanding more about your body’s key measurements means yoga mat makers like us can calculate the perfect placement of your hands and feet on the yoga mat to achieve optimal alignment – each mat is tailored to each person’s body size. We do this using what we call Truelign:
In short, alignment guides are a great way to tailor your practice to your physique, ensuring you stretch safely based on your proportions.
Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming: Knowing your materials
Many yoga mats are made from synthetic materials like polyurethane and PVC, which are harmful to the environment. If you purchase a run-of-the-mill yoga mat, chances are it contains these materials.
Higher quality yoga mats are often made from natural rubber, cork and other PVC- and paraben-free materials. This means they’re made with sustainability in mind and they’re good for the environment, too. In fact, these mats will last you longer, a lot longer.
But while it’s generally considered okay to use cleaning agents like vinegar or oil, some high-quality yoga mats don’t react well to these ingredients and they can even damage the surface of the yoga mat. With this said, however, using a large quantity of corrosive chemicals can also break down and destroy natural rubber in your yoga mat. If you regularly use these ingredients to clean your mat, then, over time it could lose its natural ‘stickiness’, as well as that soft spring that makes downward dog feel like Shavasana.
While it’s essential to disinfect your mat – especially when you’re practicing at a studio and exposed to everyone else’s sweat and germs during COVID-19 – there are some simple ways to effectively clean your mat without risk of wear and tear…
Use nature’s cleaner to wash your personalised yoga mat
We can’t stress this enough: warm water is all you need to adequately clean your mat without causing any damage to the mat itself. This is how you’ll get the longest lifespan out of your mat, and it’s how you’ll ensure your mat remains clean and germ free.
If you feel like warm water might not be enough, lightly (and we mean lightly) wash your mat with a little added soap or detergent. This way you can avoid harm to your mat while successfully disinfecting it.
Say no to full submersion
Soaking your yoga mat does more harm than good, too. Your mat should be wiped and dried, and never submerged. That’s because water is going to break down the construction of your mat.
Like too much soap, soaking your yoga mat will cause it to lose the vital properties that help you through your practice, like springiness. Instead, use a towel or warm cloth and get wiping. If you are unsure about what type of material your mat is made from, make sure to do some research first so you don’t do any unintentional damage. If you have a Yogaline mat, it is PVC- & paraben-free and instead made from strong natural rubber and Eco-PU.
How to store your yoga mat
Believe it or not, storing your yoga mat in the correct way will increase the longevity of its life. That’s because the two surfaces that make up many mats like ours – which are made from strong natural rubber and Eco-PU – can separate over a long period of time if they’re incorrectly stored.
Be sure to roll up your mat with the top surface (that’s the coloured surface) facing outside, and don’t ever fold your mat, either. If you do, it can lead to excessive wear, wrinkling and ultimately, poor performance.
A word on sunshine and your yoga mat
Outdoor yoga is amazing. In fact, there’s no better feeling than performing a sun salutation with an actual sun to salute.
However, the heat from sunlight isn’t the best for your mat. Too many UV rays will damage the natural rubber in your personalised yoga mat (we’ve all walked on a hot, sticky road before) and it could also contribute to the breakdown of your mat.
If you wipe down your yoga mat and hang it out to dry in a hot sun, it might be worth finding a shady spot instead. Another option is to invest in a specialised towel to place over your mat, protecting it from ‘the elements’.
Of course, we’re not saying never practice yoga outside (we’re not crazy), but to help prolong the life of your mat, be sure to keep it away from those dreaded (but oh so loved) sun rays.