Since yoga has exploded in popularity over the last few years, it’s important to know how to clean yoga mats to keep members safe from infection. According to a recent survey conducted by the Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, between 2012 and 2016 the number of Americans doing yoga rose from 20.4 million to 36 million. In fact, statistics show that 15% of Americans have done yoga in the last 6 months. The growth of this holistic exercise increases the likelihood that germs are spreading.
Why Yoga Mats Are Bacteria Hotspots
The many health benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, improved respiratory function, cardiovascular health, and a boost in energy. But yoga mats and studios are also a place where guests can acquire MRSA, Staph, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and other infections. It’s important to clean yoga mats as they have been found to have the highest level of bacteria in gyms, studios, and fitness centers. Individuals typically do yoga with bare feet, which is how bacteria, viruses, and fungi are transmitted from person to person.
Infections Acquired From Germy Yoga Mats
Sweat also collects on yoga mat surfaces, which is another common way germs spread. Some infections you can catch from someone’s sweat are herpes, impetigo, the flu, and the common cold. It is strongly recommended to wipe down and disinfect yoga mats after each use, but many yoga instructors and gym owners admit to not cleaning their mat after every session.
Why Bacteria Proflierates on Yoga Mats
Most yoga mats are porous surfaces which allow bacteria to dwell and flourish. The pockets, holes, and crevices yoga and exercise mats are made of are favorite hiding places for pathogens. If the mat is not properly disinfected, these germs can crawl on the skin of a member and get them seriously sick. In addition to this, the warm and moist environment of yoga studios, fitness centers, and gyms create the perfect opportunity for microorganisms to multiply. Both personal and communal mats require routine cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting to prevent sickness and infection. In a 2006 interview with The New York Times, one dermatologist estimated he’d seen a 50% increase in cases of plantar warts and athlete’s foot in just two years, which he largely attributed to dingy exercise and yoga mats. All of the reasons listed above is why it’s essential to clean your yoga mat.
Why Clean Yoga Mats
Killing and removing germs are not the only reasons why you should be cleaning your yoga mat. Many people sharing and using the same mat also leaves musty and stale odors behind. Odors build up over time from a mixture of sweat, lotions, oils, perfumes and more that are on your members’ skin. When all of those smells come together, it emits an unpleasant scent. Smelly yoga mats is a blatant indication of unsanitary conditions which can reflect poorly on your business. If your studio or gym is described as dirty or filthy, it can result in membership cancellations, bad online reviews, and a drop in new members or visitors.
Cleanliness and hygiene are very important to people, especially as people are starting to care more about health and wellness. Dirty or smelly equipment is one of the top things that will make customers leave your gym or studio. If someone posted a negative experience at your facility online, it can also ward off potential members. For many studios and gyms, lost customers and a lack of new customers means a dip in revenue or profit.
The Challenges of Cleaning Yoga Mats
Although yoga mats are flat, there are several challenges that can make someone look up “How to clean a yoga mat”. The materials many mats are made of – vinyl, rubber, foam, and synthetic fabrics – are very delicate. Using the wrong product, chemical or method to clean them can result in damage. Corrosion, discoloration, and disintegration can happen if you use the wrong product or method. The many crevices and grooves of yoga mats make them difficult to properly clean and disinfect. So how do you clean yoga mats? Here are 5 ways.
5 Ways To Clean Yoga Mats
These tips will help you effectively clean, sanitize and disinfect your yoga mats. Use them for mats made of all kinds of materials including rubber, vinyl, foam, and others. It is recommended that you clean yoga mats after every use to keep bacteria from spreading.
Use Sanitizing and Disinfectant Wipes
Premoistened sanitizing and disinfectant wipes are a quick and easy way to clean yoga mats while killing bacteria and germs that live on them. Simply dispense the wipe from the canister or bucket and wipe the mat. Make sure to wipe all the crevices and grooves of your yoga mat for a complete clean. Allow the mat to dry for up to 5 minutes after wiping. If you are using a disinfectant wipe, remember the mat must stay wet for a certain period of time to kill pathogens. Steer clear of wipes that contain bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol. These chemicals can damage your yoga mat over time.
Put Them In The Laundry
Check your instructional manual which outlines how to care for your yoga mat. Some are able to be put in the washing machine. If your yoga mats are able to be laundered, use a gentle and natural detergent to remove dirt and grime from them. Set the temperature to cold and use the delicate cycle to ensure the yoga mat does not tear. When done, let it air dry.
Soak And Scrub Them In The Tub
Fill a tub with water and add a disinfecting or cleaning solution, then allow your yoga mats to soak in it. This allows the pores of the material to be fully saturated, meaning the hard to clean grooves and crevices will be taken care of. Use a brush to gently remove dirt and grime. When done, let it air dry.
Cleaning Solution and Spray Bottle
Purchase or make your own cleaning solution and use it to clean your yoga mats. Use a spray bottle to saturate the yoga mat then use a microfiber cloth to wipe away the solution. When done, let air dry.
Hose Them Down
A final solution to cleaning your yoga mat would be to use a water hose to quickly saturate and clean your yoga mat. Apply a cleaning solution to the mat and allow it to mix with the water in order to remove dirt and grime. Spray the mat until the cleaning solution has been fully washed away from the mat. An indication of this is the disappearance of bubbles or suds. When done, let air dry.
The Importance of Clean Yoga Mats
Cleanliness and sanitation are crucial when it comes to operating a successful yoga studio or gym. Dirty and grimy yoga mats are a surefire way to lose customers and make a bad impression. Prevent this from happening by using the tips listed to keep yoga mats safe, clean and sanitized for use.