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The best yoga mat cleaner

Yoga mat cleaning towelettes are handy for the gym, especially if you are sharing a mat with other people.
Yoga mat cleaning towelettes are handy for the gym, especially if you are sharing a mat with other people. (BestReviews)

Your yoga mat, like any workout gear, gets grimy when you use it. Over time dirt and bacteria can build up and your mat can even begin to smell. It's really important to clean your yoga mat regularly — once a week for most people, more often if you are really sweating during workouts. Fortunately, there are cleaners made specifically for yoga mats that will help you remove dirt, sweat and bacteria and eradicate any lingering odors, all without doing damage. Our top pick, the ASUTRA Natural & Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner is great for a harmless chemical-free and pleasant-smelling alternative to the harsh cleaners you typically find on the shelf.

What to know before you buy a yoga mat cleaner

Read the mat manufacturer's cleaning instructions 

Yoga mats are made from different materials, and it is essential to read the manufacturer's instructions for your specific mat before you clean it. Mats that are made from manufactured materials such as polyurethane and latex will tolerate most cleaners. Mats made from natural materials like rubber, cork or jute will break down when exposed to cleaners like tea tree oil or vinegar. Some mats may become slippery if there is too much essential oil in your cleaner. For a rundown of some of the best yoga mats on the market today, check out BestReviews' list.

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Look for a cleaner with natural ingredients 

Thinking about the grime and germs that can build up on your yoga mat, you may be tempted to go at it with a strong disinfectant, but harsh chemicals like bleach can do permanent damage to the surface of your mat. Fortunately, cleaners developed specifically for yoga mats do the job with natural ingredients that won't break down the material.

Choose a scented cleaner carefully

You will spend  a lot of time in close proximity to your yoga mat, so choose a cleaner with a scent you can enjoy (or at least tolerate). Having a clean mat is the best way to start a yoga session but if the smell of the cleaner is cloying or distracting, it will prevent you from enjoying your practice. Mat cleaners come in a variety of natural scents, from lavender to citrus to tea tree oil. Choose one that helps you feel peaceful and energized.

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No sticky residue

Some cleaners can leave an oily film behind that can build up and affect the surface feel of your mat, even make it slippery. If you are using your mat for heavy exercise or at a studio and are disinfecting after every use, this can be frustrating and potentially dangerous. Be sure to choose a cleaner that adheres to your mat manufacturer’s specifications and leaves your mat pristine and residue-free.

Yoga mat cleaner features

Format

Yoga mat cleaners are sold as sprays or wipes. Some spray cleaners come as a spray/towel set which is a handy combination. Wipes and individually packaged towelettes are particularly easy to throw in your gym bag if you’re working out in a public gym or studio.

Ingredients

The organic oils in yoga mat cleaners are gentle but effective. Many cleaners use tea tree oil and witch hazel which have antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, ensuring your equipment is germ- and residue-free. Some cleansers also contain vinegar. It should be noted that tea tree oil can be toxic to pets, so you may wish to avoid that ingredient if you have a dog or a cat.

Other ingredients include essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, orange and chamomile for deodorizing.

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Yoga mat cleaner cost 

For a 4-ounce bottle of yoga mat spray cleaner you can expect to pay around $10-$14. Packs of wipes will run about $15 for a quantity of 30-45.

Yoga mat cleaner FAQ

Q. How often should I clean my yoga mat? 

A. It's a good idea to wipe down your yoga mat briefly after each practice with a targeted mat cleaner. Once a month, you should consider giving your yoga mat a deep clean. An open-cell mat can be washed in a tub of soapy water and gently scrubbed with a soft cloth. You may even be able to put your mat (certain Gaiam mats, for example) in a front-loading washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle but definitely check with the manufacturer first. Thinner, closed-cell mats can only tolerate spot cleaning. Be sure to clean both sides of your mat and allow it to air dry before rolling it up for storage.

Q. Can I use Clorox wipes on my yoga mat?

A.  Clorox wipes contain harsh chemicals that can break down your mat, especially if it is made from natural materials. You can get the same effect with less-abrasive solutions, so it's best to stay away from bleach-based cleaners. If you want to use an all-purpose wipe, says Robin Kockler, owner of Rocking Horse Fitness in Middleburg, VA, check that your mat can tolerate the ingredients, then choose an all-natural, organic brand. 

Which yoga mat cleaner should I get?

Best of the best yoga mat cleaner

ASUTRA Natural & Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner: available at Amazon 

Our take: This natural and organic yoga mat cleaner gets the job done without harming the environment.

What we like: It cleans and disinfects using natural ingredients such as tea tree oil and witch hazel. Organic essential oils give it a subtle, pleasant scent. A microfiber cleaning towel is conveniently included.

What we dislike: Some users reported problems with the packaging being defective, causing the product to leak.

Best bang for your buck yoga mat cleaner 

Manduka Organic Yoga Mat Cleaner: available at Amazon 

Our take: This fresh-smelling yoga mat cleaner uses an organic, alcohol- and phosphate-free formula that is safe for all mats.

What we like: This cleaner uses organic essential oils, can be used daily or for deep cleaning and comes in a recyclable bottle. Available in lavender, citrus or lemongrass scent and leaves no residue.

What we dislike: Scent dissipates quickly, and some users felt they could have made the formula themselves for less.

Honorable mention yoga mat cleaner

Tidy Mat Yoga Mat Cleaner Wipes: available at Amazon

Our take: These biodegradable cleaning wipes are safe for all yoga mats and free of tea tree oil, making them pet-safe.

What we like: Wipes are eco-friendly, cleaning your yoga mat with natural ingredients that leave a calming white lavender scent. With no tea tree oil, they're pet-safe and a good choice for people who don't like that scent.

What we dislike: Some users found the white lavender scent to be synthetic and overpowering.

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Bryony Kockler is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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