Just How Gross is Your Yoga Mat?
Do you ever cringe when you go to reach for a mat at the gym that you know a herd of other people have used? I know I definitely do! I try to be an easy going…oh whatever, kind of gal…but honestly, every time I reach for a communal yoga mat…my gut just screams STOP!!!!
For me, I typically use my mat after and in between high intensity cardio intervals, while I’m strengthening and stretching on the floor. So you better believe I’m a sweaty betty.
Take a minute and think about the life of a exercise/yoga mat…..they are basically riddled with sweating bodies, dirty shoes and floors, bare feet, sneeze and cough residue and any kind of lotion or perfume that the person using that mat may have put on before hand.
Using a communal yoga mat can be a little bit like sharing a bed sheet with someone. (aside from the dirty shoes part, unless you’re into that kind of thing). Does that raise any red flags for you?
According to Dr. Robert Lahita, a professor of medicine at Rutgers School of Medicine, the creatures residing on your mat can include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and more. He says “a yoga mat is a perfect incubator for many of our skin infections. The yoga mat is a very fertile source for infection, mainly because people sweat on them and they rarely are cleaned.” (1)
Ok, so now that I’ve totally grossed you out, lets just conclude that yoga mats are gross and they really need to be cleaned every time you use them! And if you are not using your own mat, make sure to clean the communal one before you use it too.
In saying that, I have a really hard time reaching for the chemicals that are offered at gyms and don’t really want to leave my mat to just dry out, cuz lets face it…that doesn’t do much to take care of the bacteria that’s just moved in.
So, I decided to make my own little cleansing potion to disinfect and freshen my mat.
Yoga Mat Spray
glass or stainless steal spray bottle
3/4 cup of distilled water
1/4 cup of alcohol free witch hazel or white vinegar
5 drops of lavender essential oil
5 drops of melaleuca (tea trea) essential oil
Mix it all together, spray your mat and wipe it dry with a clean cloth
NOTE: not all yoga mats are treated the same way and some may not be able to handle the essential oils, so test a small patch before spraying your entire mat.
Keep it clean folks!
Melissa Locker (April 11, 2016). Could Your Dirty Yoga Mat be Making You Sick? (article) Retrieved from http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/news/a35255/how-dirty-is-your-yoga-mat/