We asked the current Yoga Teacher Trainees in our Effective Teaching: 300 hour Advanced Teacher Training course and they came up with some great suggestions.
Spray Bottle Method: Mix 10 drops of Tea tree oil into a spray bottle of water. If your mat is lightly soiled or needs a freshen up, spray the mat or a damp cloth and wipe it down. Dry with a clean terry cloth towel. Tea Tree oil has natural disinfecting properties that work wonders. You can add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil if you don’t like the smell of Tea Tree. (At Octopus Garden we use the Tea Tree Oil solution in our studio spray bottles.)
Bath Tub Method: For mats that require a deeper clean, wash your mat in a tub of cool water with a mild, biodegradable detergent, like laundry soap or dish soap. Use only a small amount of soap because any residue may cause your mat to become slippery when it gets wet from perspiration. A good trick is to roll your mat up tight with a towel and step on the roll to soak up water or soap residue. Then hang it outside to dry on a sunny day.
Laundry Machine Method: Wash your mat with a load of towels or a couple other mats, in a front loader machine only, as your mat will knock a top loader machine out of balance. You can then put your mat in the dryer on low heat but remember to watch it so it doesn’t melt. A cool cycle works best to get out the initial moisture and then hang dry to finish. It is important to note that not all mats can be washed in this way. Please consult the manufacture’s instructions before you proceed!
What do I do with a new mat that seems slippery?: It is not uncommon to unwrap your new mat and find it a bit slippery. You can try to soften it by washing it or spraying it after every use with the Tea Tree solution. The best way to get past this is to practice as much as you can on it, 10 to 15 times to help reduce the initial slipperiness. Practice…Practice.
Thanks Teacher Trainees for this great advice. And whenever it seems as if your mat needs some freshening up take it home and give it a clean. Your mat will thank you for it!