How to not clean a yoga mat

Dear friends,

I have made a horrible mistake. I bought a yoga mat last week, and when I tried to do yoga on it, I started slipping. I was sliding so frantically, it was impossible to hold a pose.

So, friends, I did what any sane person would do, having just purchased a product only to find it performing less than satisfactorily. I googled how to fix the problem. The Internet told me maybe I should wash my yoga mat. I did not know this was a thing! Wash my yoga mat you say? I’ve practiced yoga on and off for five years and somehow, I have never ever washed a mat. I can imagine how you cringe as you read that.

That’s right, no diluted apple cider vinegar baths, no washing machine trips doused with baking soda, no hosed rinse downs. I just, I don’t know, figured it magically self-cleaned at night I guess.

While I had only briefly read up on the issue on Wikihow, I went into a feverish cleaning frenzy soaking the mat in my tub and spreading some mild dish soap over it. After pulling the mat out of the tub and waiting for it to dry, I tried to practice yoga on it again…And suddenly it began producing soap suds at an incredible rate as I struggled and slid.

I went back to my computer and frantically searched the google results and realized too late that you are not supposed to add much soap. Carefully rereading pages I had only glimpsed at before, I found that, in fact, many people don’t use soap at all!

I wiped the mat down with apple cider vinegar. I took a shower with it and squeezed every inch, trying to get the soap out.


I soaked it, stepped on it, and danced on it.


I tried to imagine I was washing my clothes in a river in older times.


I soaked it again in baking soda and stared it down.


I let it dry, and then, by some miracle, after days of being too busy to try other solutions, it stopped producing foamy soap from its every atomic particle.

Wow! Amazing!

So, in the future, I think I’ll just spray it down with a water and vinegar mix and forget the soap. I hope you’ll take this as a tale of caution and do the same.

But hey, at least my yoga mat is feeling super clean (and is much happier now that it’s no longer being showered, squeezed, danced on, and stared at).

17 thoughts on “How to not clean a yoga mat”

  1. Haha, Celeste, this was so funny (although I realize it was far from funny at the time for you!). I LOVE how you’ve illustrated the whole ordeal. It’s like reading a great children’s book online – perfection. PS. I rarely clean my water bottle and it grosses Bobby out big time. I totally understand the whole “huh, I just figured it cleaned itself at night/they’re my own germs anyways!” mindset. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Grace! That is such a wonderful compliment. 🙂 Yes, at the time, it was soo frustrating! But, in retrospect, it was a funny and worthwhile learning experience. I always tend to leap into things without knowing exactly what I’m getting into, so this was a good reminder to actually thoroughly read information before practicing it. I remember us talking about the water bottle! Truth is, I haven’t cleaned mine recently either…but it’s probably okay…right? x.X

  2. I went about five years without ever washing mine. It took me using it as a sleeping pad on red clay earth during a camp out to finally put water on it. Usually I just use a spray bottle with some water and vinegar (a natural disinfectant) to clean it off.

    1. Wow! Five years! I remember you describing that trip. It sounded so cool/weird! Yes, the vinegar/water combo sounds like the best method. I am definitely sticking with that next time I’m tasked with cleaning a yoga mat.

  3. Can you guess how I came to find your story? That’s right…I have a new mat that was too slippery for my liking…i washed said mat with way too much soap…and it’s now a soap factory that just won’t quit! Other than rinsing this thing a million times, would you say there was a specific thing you did that was the thing that really worked?

    1. Hi Mandy,

      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about your mat. The only thing that worked for me was rinsing and patting down with towels, trying to absorb the suds. If you keep at it, it’ll eventually go away. It’s so frustrating while it’s happening though. 🙁 Hope the soap has worked its way out by now.

  4. I want you to know I had made the exact same mistake! Even trying to re-wash (sans soap) in the tub, stepping on it. I’ve rewashed twice no soap now and I’ll continue to let it dry as you said that fixed the soap suds issue. Tired of sliding all over the place making my routine 2x as hard. Thanks!

  5. So I did the same thing and mine has the soap coming out still – ughhhh whyyyyyyy? – but I only just cleaned it today. I kept soaking in water and squeezing in the tub when I realized what I had done, but the soap just KEEPS COMING. So I was like “whatever” and took the mat out of the water – it soaked for maybe 6 hours total – and I’m hanging it to dry in my bathroom. I read to keep it drying for 24 hours or as long as needed. Once it’s dry, will it still produce soap as I use it? If so, what do I do? :O

  6. I have also become a victim to the soapy yoga mat. It feels hopeless trying to just keep squeezing the suds out. Literally blood, sweat and tears over this yoga mat. I am trying my best not to give up, your drawings affirmed and motivated me to keep going at it. It is now day 2 of soap mat, I hope it goes away soon!

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