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You probably wouldn't think of wearing your sweaty yoga clothes again before washing them, but the same can't be said about yoga mats. Heated yoga studios, sweaty classes and bare feet can result in a mat covered with bacteria. According to University of Pennsylvania dermatology professor Elizabeth Grice, a 60- to 90-minute yoga class is more than enough time for bacteria to double. Washing your mat with a solution that includes witch hazel, which naturally contains antibacterial properties, can help to keep your mat clean and safe.
Use a 1-4 ratio of witch hazel to water; for example, 1/4 cup of witch hazel to 1 cup of water. Place the two ingredients in a medium-sized spray bottle.
Add essential oils to the water and witch hazel that contain antibacterial properties, such as lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus. The amount of oils that you add is a personal preference; a recommendation from Organic Authority is 10 drops of tea tree oil, 15 drops of lavender and five drops of eucalyptus.
Place the top on the spray bottle and shake it for one to two minutes to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Shake the bottle every time before use.
Spray the mixture on your yoga mat immediately after you finish your practice. Use a liberal amount so that the entire surface can be adequately cleaned.
Wipe the mat down with a clean cloth or towel. Flip the mat over and repeat on the other side. Though you likely only used one side of the mat during class, the yoga studio or gym floor may contain bacteria; cleaning both sides prevents contaminants from sticking to your mat.
Allow the mat to dry before rolling it up or putting it away.
- Bring your own mat with you to yoga class rather than using one provided by the gym or yoga studio; you have no way of knowing if the rented mat has been cleaned.