a closeup of a yoga mat being used

Can You Put Yoga Mats in the Washing Machine?

Yoga mats are an essential accessory for many individuals practicing yoga, pilates, or any other floor exercise. They provide a non-slip surface and cushioning for enhanced comfort during exercising or stretching. Over time, sweat, dirt, and body oils can accumulate on the mat, leading to potential bacterial growth and odors. Proper cleaning can extend the lifespan of your mat and provide a more sanitary surface for your practice. But can you put yoga mats in the washing machine?

Yoga mats should ideally be cleaned with caution. While some mats can be machine washed, it’s essential to check care labels. Hand washing or spot cleaning with mild detergent and air drying in the shade are generally safe methods. Machine washing, when permitted by the care label, requires a gentle cycle and cold water.

Here are the best yoga mat cleaning methods in detail.

Gentle Hand Washing Your Yoga Mat

Hand washing is often the preferred method for cleaning a yoga mat, as it allows for targeted cleaning without being too harsh on the material. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure your mat stays fresh and in top condition.

  1. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution: Combine a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water in a large basin or tub.
  2. Submerge the Mat: Immerse your yoga mat entirely in the solution, ensuring it’s fully wet.
  3. Gentle Scrubbing: With your hands or a soft brush, scrub the mat lightly, focusing on spots that seem dirtier.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, pour out the soapy water and rinse the mat with clean water, making sure all soap residues are gone.
  5. Remove Excess Water: Roll the mat carefully to squeeze out any excess water without twisting it.
  6. Drying Process: Lay the mat flat or hang it in a shaded area, ensuring it’s away from direct sunlight, which can damage its material.
  7. Check for Spots: Once the mat is dry, inspect it for any remaining dirty spots and repeat the cleaning process if necessary.

By following this gentle hand washing method, you can maintain the longevity of your yoga mat and ensure it’s always ready for your next session.

Spot Cleaning Yoga Mats for Occasional Messes

Spot cleaning is a great option when you need to address certain areas on your yoga mat without undergoing a full cleaning process. This approach is both time-saving and effective for minor dirt or stains.

  1. Create a Spray Solution: Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Adding a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or tea tree can infuse a pleasant aroma and offer extra cleansing properties.
  2. Target and Spray: Identify the stained or soiled areas on your mat. Lightly spritz your cleaning mixture over these sections.
  3. Wipe with Care: Use a soft cloth or sponge to gently rub the sprayed areas, lifting away dirt and grime.
  4. Let it Settle: After wiping, let the solution sit on the mat for a couple of minutes. This gives the vinegar time to act as a disinfectant.
  5. Final Rinse: Dampen another clean cloth with plain water and wipe down the cleaned areas to remove any leftover solution.
  6. Air it Out: Spread your mat in a well-ventilated space or outdoors in the shade, ensuring it dries completely before your next use.
  7. Inspect and Repeat: After the mat dries, check the spots you cleaned. If any stubborn marks persist, go through the spot cleaning process again.

With spot cleaning, your yoga mat can be refreshed in no time, making it a handy method for a quick clean when you notice a stain or two right before your practice.

Machine Washing Yoga Mats

Machine washing can be an efficient way to clean yoga mats that come with specific labels that indicate they’re safe for putting in the machine. While not all yoga mats are designed for the washing machine, those that are can benefit from a thorough and even cleaning with this approach.

  1. Check the Care Label: Before anything else, examine the yoga mat’s label or care instructions. Confirm it’s appropriate for machine washing.
  2. Prep Your Machine: Ensure the washing machine is clean and devoid of any lingering detergent or fabric softener residues.
  3. Set the Cycle: Opt for a gentle and cold cycle to minimize potential wear and tear on your mat.
  4. Mild Detergent is Key: Pour in a small amount of a gentle, fragrance-free detergent. This ensures your mat gets cleaned without exposing it to harsh chemicals.
  5. Load Your Mat Alone: Place the yoga mat inside by itself. Avoid adding other items, which could cause tangling or uneven cleaning.
  6. Skip the Spin: Once the wash cycle is done, remove the mat before any rigorous spinning begins to protect its shape and integrity.
  7. Drying Time: Machine drying is a no-go. Instead, gently roll your mat to release trapped water and then drape it in a shaded area. Direct sunlight might degrade the material over time.
  8. Inspect After Drying: Once completely dry, have a close look at your yoga mat. If any areas didn’t get as clean as you’d like, consider a gentle hand wash or spot clean for those sections.

This machine washing method can be a time-saver and offers a deeper clean for yoga mats that are built to handle it. Always remember to check care instructions and when in doubt, opt for gentler cleaning methods.


Can I use regular detergent to wash my yoga mat?

While it’s possible to use a standard mild detergent, it’s best to choose one that’s free from strong chemicals or fragrances. These additives might leave residues on your mat or cause deterioration over time. Natural or plant-based detergents can be a safer choice for your mat and are less likely to cause skin irritations during subsequent yoga sessions.

Will washing my yoga mat damage it?

Hand washing or spot cleaning is typically gentle on most yoga mats. When considering machine washing, it’s vital to ensure that your mat is labeled machine-washable. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and be cautious with the settings you choose. Exposing the mat to aggressive wash cycles or very hot water can affect its texture, grip, and overall longevity.

How often should I wash my yoga mat?

While a deep clean can be done occasionally based on your usage, it’s good practice to wipe down your mat after every session to prevent build-up of sweat, oils, and dirt. If you practice daily, consider a more thorough cleaning every couple of weeks. Remember, keeping your mat clean not only extends its life but also ensures a hygienic environment for your practice.

What are some alternative ways to clean a yoga mat?

Beyond the methods mentioned, you might consider using commercial yoga mat cleaners available in the market. These are formulated specifically for the materials commonly found in yoga mats. Another DIY solution is a mix of water with a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil, which can leave your mat smelling fresh and feeling clean.

How long does it take for a yoga mat to dry after washing it?

The drying time can vary based on several factors, including the thickness of the mat, the method of cleaning used, and environmental conditions. Generally, it’s a good idea to allow 24-48 hours for thorough drying. It’s essential to ensure the mat is entirely dry before rolling it up or using it again to prevent mold or mildew growth. If you’re in a hurry, using a fan or placing the mat in an area with good airflow can expedite the drying process.


Yoga mats require regular cleaning to maintain their integrity and ensure a sanitary surface for practice. While machine washing can be an option for some mats, hand washing or spot cleaning is often safer and just as effective. Always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions and consider the cleaning methods mentioned above to keep your yoga mat in the best possible condition.