Cleaning, yoga, and chemicals.

“…any talk about living chemical-free is complete nonsense. We are made of chemicals, and we consume a huge variety of them every day.

A cause for concern is that many chemicals are added to our environment every day, and in many cases we don’t know what effects they will have on us or other living creatures.”


Chemicals are responsible for some amazing comforts in our every day lives, and at the same time we need to limit the amount of them that we use to protect our waters and all who live on the planet.

How do you clean your yoga mat? If you have any kind of rubber mat, here’s a tip: vinegar! It breaks down dirt and soil, but is gentle enough so that it will not break down rubber.

Photo by cottonbro.


  1. In a spray bottle, mix three parts water to one part vinegar, a dash of tea tree oil and 6-10 drops of any essential oil (they are antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial).
  2. Shake the bottle lightly, spread your mat out and spray onto one side.
  3. Let it sink in for a minute or two, then wipe off residue liquid. Flip your mat over and do the same on the other side.
  4. Hang your mat somewhere to dry, then roll it up and put it away.


Another option is soap and water, but be very careful: if you leave a residue of soap on the surface, your mat could be slippy. The soap I am holding in the photo is vegan. I am not a vegan, but I figured it must be the purest soap that there is, so I bought this in a health food shop. It doesn’t dry out my hands and if it’s that gentle then it’s good by me for washing mats too.


For a deeper clean, every now and then you can soak your mat in a bath, bucket, or a basin. Steep it for 10 minutes to let all the dirt rise out, then drain the water and let your mat air dry.

All of the advice and tips given here applies only to regular mats with PVC in them, not the new eco mats that I have in stock. Don’t use oils on these eco mats: they are 100% natural rubber, plant-based, and oil will cause them to decompose faster. Happy cleaning!

Kathryn Crowley lives in Kerry, Ireland, where she enjoys writing, art-making, and yoga both alone and with others.

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