How to Properly Clean a Cork Yoga Mat
If you're anything like us, then your yoga mats have seen some heavy use. Aside from the dirt, grime, and sand from barefoot kids, some yoga mats like to harbor some serious bacteria. You can catch a slew of things from a dirty yoga mat, as these moist, porous pads are the perfect place to harbor a colony of bacteria.
In terms of germs, communal yoga mats are the worst, like those at your local yoga class or gym. And cork yoga mats are far superior to those made from materials like PVC.
I'll get into this more, but no matter what type of yoga mat you have, you want to keep it clean consistently. Here's how to clean a cork yoga mat, as we only offer this eco-friendly style of yoga mat in addition to our killer surf clothes.
Why Choose a Cork Yoga Mat?
Aside from sustainability, a major factor in opting for a cork yoga mat over toxic PVC is the fact that cork creates a cleaner, better experience on multiple fronts.
Is Cork Antimicrobial?
Yes, cork very much is antimicrobial.
According to a study from academic.oup.com, "Cork presented a high antibacterial activity against the Gram-positive S. aureus, showing a bacterial reduction of about 100% (96.93%) after 90 minutes of incubation".
So, your cork yoga mat can, and will, fight off certain bacteria and germs that other yoga mats would not, simply because it is cork! It's safer, and it smells better.
To further compliment the antimicrobial properties, cork is non-porous, hence why it's used to bottle wines and other liquids. For a yoga mat, this is huge.
Where other yoga mat materials absorb liquid like sweat and host bacteria in their warm, moist environments, a cork yoga mat won't allow absorption. The sweat and germs will instead sit atop the cork, resulting in less bacteria growth and a considerably easier surface to clean.
And no, this doesn't make you slip! Cork becomes a sticker surface with sweat, meaning the harder you work, the harder your yoga mat will work!
To top it off, yoga mats made of materials like PVC are highly toxic, flaunting a plethora of dangerous chemicals + carcinogens. Cork is the sustainable, antimicrobial, and non-toxic choice you've been looking for.
How to Clean Your Cork Yoga Mat:
Even though cork is antimicrobial, you still have to clean it.
Take the time to thoroughly clean your cork yoga mat once every week to three weeks, depending on your use, to ensure there are no germs, that it doesn't smell, and to get the most out of your mat's lifetime.
Some people like giving their mat a quick clean after each use, so it's really up to you!
Before getting into it, remember to let your yoga mat completely dry after cleaning it before rolling it up. And avoid commercial cleaners, as these will damage the cork and absorb chemicals that may leech the next time you use it.
You don't need to scrub intensely like a PVC when cleaning your cork mat.
Wipe it down gently and with a soft cloth to avoid damage. It doesn't take a lot of muscle! Remember, it's non-porous, so there's not much hiding deep down in your mat.
There's more than one way to clean a cork yoga mat; some are meant for a deeper clean, whereas others are better for a quick wipe-off after a particularly sweaty session. Check it.
1. Water and Vinegar
Have some vinegar and a spray bottle lying around the house? Mix three parts water with one part vinegar, and you've made yourself a potent cork yoga mat cleaning spray. Vinegar is excellent for killing germs and bacteria due to its 5% makeup of acetic acid, which has been proven highly effective against common household pathogens. It's almost as strong as commercial cleaners but without the nasty chemicals and hefty price tag.
Spray down the mat and wipe it off with a clean towel. The vinegar smell will go away, and so will any nasty odors that were there before!
2. Castile Soap and Water
For another answer as to how to clean a cork yoga mat, castile soap is no joke! This soap is entirely natural, chemical-free, and the perfect way to kill germs left over on a mat.
Castile is highly concentrated, so a little goes a really long way. Mix about a teaspoon of castile with 500 ml of water to create a gentle, cleansing yoga mat spray. Spray your mat and gently wipe it down.
Castile soaps with essential oils, like lavender or tea tree, further help to reduce germs because of the oil's additional antibacterial and microbial properties. If you want a non-DIY approach, Dr. Bronner's natural hand sanitizer spray is another great cleaning option for your mat.
3. Water and Witch Hazel
Did you know that your favorite natural face cleaner can also clean your cork yoga mat?
Like the vinegar solution, three parts water and one part witch hazel will clean a yoga mat's surface due to witch hazel's unique ability to target and kill harmful microbes.
4. Water and Essential Oils
Essential oils are particularly powerful cleaning agents when used correctly. The concentrated plant compounds of certain oils are natural cleaning agents, and some even flaunt antibacterial and microbial properties. That, and they'll make your mat smell incredible!
A few of the best essential oils to clean a cork yoga mat include:
- Tea Tree Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Orange Oil
But because they are so concentrated, you must be careful, as too much and too often can eventually damage the cork's integrity. With that, you'll want to mix just four or so drops in a spray bottle. Spray your mat down and gently wipe it away using a soft cloth. You'll be left with a clean, great-smelling yoga mat without chemicals.
5. Just Water
For those of you practicing particularly sweaty forms of exercise or yoga, you can always wipe your mat off after every use with a bit of water. Either spray your mat with a spray bottle full of clean H2O and wipe it off with a dry cloth or lightly wet a cloth and rub it down.
You want to use only a little water. Either way, just let it dry before you roll it up, and you're helping to maintain cleanliness.
Make sure to follow this up with one of the more germ-killing methods mentioned above every so often, as water is excellent for maintenance but not a deep clean.
Just a Surf Kid Being a Surf Kid!
Now that your yoga mat is nice and clean, use it to your heart's liking! Your cork yoga mat is made for more than just yoga, and we find ourselves using our yoga mats for:
And anything else your mind might conjure up.
Everyone needs a yoga mat... Just not one made of toxins that will damage your family's health. So let's stick to cork, yeah?
It's antimicrobial, non-porous, and, as you've just learned: Cork yoga mats are effortless to clean!