All Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner & My Exercise Routine

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 11, 2012


I feel like so many of my posts have started out with…

“On Facebook, I asked you about x,y, and z and you gave me 5 gazillion suggestions.”

Well, you’ve done it again. Do you charge a fee for this service? Maybe we can put it on my tab… =)

This time, I pestered you for tips on homemade or store-bought yoga mat cleaners.

It turns out there are a million and one ways to clean a yoga mat. Or maybe more. What began as an innocent journey into making my own mat cleaner, turned into a ton of reading and researching online.

There are as many different options as there are opinions on what to use. If you make your own mat cleaner, chances are you have your favourite mix. I think a good place to start when figuring out which mat cleaner will work for you is to check with your mat brand and see what they recommend. The “right” cleaning methods and ingredients can vary a lot from mat to mat.

Of course, I didn’t take my own advice! I started by making my cleaner first, only to find out later from a discussion with my mat brand- Lululemon – that they don’t recommend using essential oils on their mats because it can clog the pores of the mat.

Do as I say, not as I do!

However, I’m in the market for a new mat because my mat is cracking all over the place. The Manduka pro mat (or maybe the lite?) is high up on my list right now since it has a lifetime guarantee and is rated very well. I’m still not sure though.

I went on Manduka’s Facebook page and asked them if essentials oils would clog the pores of their mats.

Manduka: “Well, our mats don’t exactly have pores. We use a closed-cell technology on both sides of the PRO series mats and on the practice side (the one with the sea grass texture) of the eKO mats. Which means, essential oils after a cleaning should be just fine! A few drops in your cleanser is a great way to do both – that’s how we make our organic Manduka Mat Washes.”

good to know! I suggest checking with your mat brand to be sure.


This is what I used to make my mat cleaner:

  • White vinegar
  • purified water
  • tea tree oil
  • essential oil



I did a lot of reading online about various homemade cleaners and most people suggest using white vinegar. I used 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, but the mixtures can vary a lot. You can also use witch hazel or lemon juice, but I find white vinegar to be more cost effective. If you are concerned about using vinegar on your mat, you can try using alcohol-free witch hazel which I’ve heard also works.

Here’s my yoga mat spray “recipe”

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp tea tree oil
  • Essential oil (about 10-30 drops depending preference) peppermint, lavender, and thyme are nice, but use anything you like!


1. Place all ingredients into a large spray bottle and shake before each use.

2. Spray down your mat on one side and let it sit for a few minutes. With a damp cloth, wipe it down. Finally, wipe it with a dry towel or simply let it air dry.

3. Repeat on other side.

Thanks to ehow, 3 Healthy Chicks, and Eco Yogini for the tips.

Obviously this isn’t the only solution for cleaning your mat and I will probably play around with different methods at some point!

If you want to give your mat a super deep clean, you can place it in a bathtub with hot water (just an inch over your mat- not a full tub), some vinegar (maybe 1 cup?), and essential oil and let it soak for at least an hour. You can then rub it down on both sides with a soft cloth while it’s in the tub. Rinse it and then hang it on a clothing rack until completely air dry (note: this can often take 48 hours to dry completely, so be warned).

Also be careful with using liquid soap in your cleaner because it can get into the mat and suds can seep out while you practice. Some people get away with just adding a couple drops to a big bottle of water though, so I really think it depends on how much you add.


As for me, I’m still loving the classes that I’ve been doing since my knee injury:

  • Hot yoga (in various styles) 1-2x week
  • Hot Pilates 1x week
  • Yoga with weights 1x week
  • Yoga Spinn (45 mins spin class followed by 15 mins yoga!) 2x week
  • Walking


It’s a wonderful balance of cardio, strength, and flexibility (and might I add, my spiritual practice and emotional well-being). I feel stronger than I think I ever have and I look forward to the variety each day.


My knee has been feeling great for the past couple weeks, so yesterday I finally decided to go for my first run in a month. It went very well and I had zero pain, although admittedly, I felt a bit out of my running groove. Regardless, it felt so good to be out there running again, even if it was just a shorter one. My plan right now is to slooowly build up my running, while still enjoying my other classes for variety. Injuries are frustrating, but sometimes they force us to try new things and discover a passion in other forms of exercise. For that, I’m very grateful.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

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Reena May 8, 2015 at 2:36 am

Excellent Blog ! I have practiced yoga for over 3 months. It is the best for learn new things for Yoga mats…


Thelma Zimmerman December 8, 2015 at 7:19 am

Fantastic blog! I clean my yoga mat every time after my yoga class. I know it is too often but I think the mat is always dirty. I can`t bare the thought that it lay down the floor. Best regards!


Alison December 25, 2015 at 5:45 pm

As long as I use my own mat I have not found it necessary to wash it. I have had the same very inexpensive mat for ten years and it is still flexible, sweet smelling, and has no cracks. Sometimes I think we clean things too much. A good shake and it’s good!


Barbara February 2, 2016 at 10:55 am

I love this blog! So many useful tips.

Cleaning your yoga mat is a must. The girls in my shop make the best organic yoga mat cleaner and each bottle comes with a microfiber mat cleaning towel. We only use the purest essential oils and its perfectly safe for all mats. Pick your scent at

~ namaste ~

Barbara J.
Mom & Yoga Lover


CC November 25, 2016 at 2:03 am

Hi, understand that tea tree oil is toxic to pets & my dog has a bad habit of licking off the floor. Any suggestion on a pet safe substitute?


Reeni December 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Great natural recipe to try! I am always looking for ways to live a simple + natural life! :) I will have to make this blend and try it on my mat for my next yoga session. Thanks for sharing!


Esther April 23, 2017 at 8:12 am

Hello Angela,

I got myself a eko mat and am just using plain water and sometimes febreeze to clean it. Am scared that the febreeze will ‘harm’ the mat and move on to just water only. Stores mat cleaners are very expensive 😝 Stumble upon your blog about DIY mat cleaning and wondering if the white vinegar are the ones that you use for cooking? Do we need to get organic or normal ones will do?



laura June 7, 2018 at 10:14 am

So I know this is an Ancient post but I thought I’d recommend my new Favorite Mat since it took me foreverr to find a match for me. I found this one on Amazon and am so glad I did! I didn’t want a super cheap mat and also didn’t want a crazy expensive mat, so I bought on that is priced mid-range. Anyways, the brand is Youphoria in case anyone is in the market for a high quality (not crazy expensive) mat.

Anyways, I wanted to clean my mat but wanted an organic way to do so – which is what brought me to this post! Thank you for sharing!


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