How to Clean Your Cork Yoga Mat

How to Clean Your Cork Yoga Mat

Saucha is the yogic principle of cleanliness. 

Cork yoga mats are naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from regular cleaning and care. 

If you want to keep your yoga mat a sanitary, sacred space for your practice, we recommend the following tips.

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How often should I clean my cork yoga mat? 

We recommend cleaning your mat on a regular basis. By maintaining a clean mat, you avoid the need for any heavy-duty cleaning, and help preserve the condition of your mat so it lasts as long as possible. However, the exact frequency for cleaning your mat depends on how often and how rigorously you use it. 

Gentle Use

We consider gentle use of your mat as seated meditation practice, yin or restorative sequences, or light at-home home flows.  If this sounds like you, then we recommend cleaning your mat once a week.

Heavy Use

We consider heavy use of your mat as outdoor practice or dynamic, sweaty flows (hot yoga lovers- we’re looking at you!). If this sounds like how you typically use your mat, then it’s best to give it a quick cleaning after each use. 

What Kind of Yoga Mat Cleaner do I Need?

It’s important to never use any harsh chemicals to clean your yoga mat (regardless of its material) as these chemicals can be dangerous when coming in direct contact with skin. 

Additionally, since cork is inherently antimicrobial, there’s really no need for any aggressive soaps or cleaners. Our objective for cleaning the mat is just to wipe off the surface layer of dirt or order particles that might be resting on our mats from our practice. 

To clean your cork yoga mat, we recommend using a solution of water and organic tea tree essential oil. Like cork, tea tree is naturally resistant to bacteria, and it’s safe for use on skin. Here’s our favorite DIY yoga mat cleaning solution:

DIY yoga mat cleaner gecko yoga 

We love tea tree because it has a really fresh, foresty clean smell. However, if the smell doesn’t resonate well with you, you can replace it with eucalyptus or lemon essential oil (they all share the same antibacterial properties).

Once you have your solution ready, give your mat a few sprays and wipe it down with a reusable cloth. Let the mat dry flat before rolling back up to store.

Can I Put Alcohol on My Cork Yoga Mat?

In the Corona-era, we use alcohol based solutions to clean just about everything. Can it also be used on cork?

The short answer is yes, you can put alcohol on your mat without significant damage, but it’s not recommended.

Alcohol is a blunt instrument when it comes to disinfecting- it cleans both the bad and good bacteria, and can cause severe dryness on the skin. And since cork is a natural material, the harshness of the alcohol can cause the cork to degrade over time. Remember, your cork yoga mat naturally inhibits the growth of microorganisms (including bacteria, fungus, viruses) so there’s no need for such aggressive sterilization. 

That being said, if you are a studio owner and you are concerned about the transmission of bacteria, or are required by law to disinfect your shared materials, then you can use alcohol. But for your personal practice, a gentler solution is advised. 

What About Cleaning the Bottom of My Yoga Mat? 

If you like to take your practice outdoors, the bottom of your mat will inevitably get a bit dirty. Fortunately, your cork yoga mat has a rubber backing that is super easy to wipe clean. 

Simply dampen your cloth and wipe off any dirt, sand, or mud from the bottom of your mat. Let it dry flat with the bottom facing up for a few minutes before storing.

Storing Your Cork Yoga Mat

Store your yoga mat rolled up and preferably out of direct sunlight. We recommend rolling your mat cork side facing out. This will ensure that that mat always lays flat everytime. Plus, it just looks better that way! 


How to Clean Your Cork Yoga Mat Infographic