Cleaning Your Cork Yoga Mat
Did you know that cork yoga mats are easier to clean than most other materials?
Did you know that cork yoga mats are antimicrobial?
Do you know how to clean a cork yoga mat?
This means that they are great for preventing the growth of germs and bacteria within the mat. With cork mats, everything sits on the surface, and bacteria can not easily grow. This is due to the fact that cork is non-porous (which is why it is often used to create wine bottle stoppers).
The problem is that most other kinds of yoga mats are not antimicrobial and are very porous, making them a perfect place for germs to grow. Many mats will actually soak up your sweat past the first layer, making them very hard to clean.
With cork mats, when you sweat, it will not soak into the mat, but oftentimes, this will actually make the mat easier to use with better traction. Sweat can make cork stickier as it pools on the surface, and while this can help with your grip, it is also good to clean it afterwards.
The nice thing about cork is it will not carry as many germs as other mat materials. As we stated in our blog about how to clean a yoga mat, some mats have eight times as many germs as a toilet seat. Pretty gross, right? (Filthy fitness)
This is especially prevalent with public mats at gyms and studios. While many mats will be wiped down, they often are cleaned incorrectly, leaving a ton of bacteria sitting within them to keep growing over time. Cork mats, however, are much easier to clean and less likely to be carrying so many germs to begin with.
How to Clean a Cork Yoga Mat
So, with all of this in mind, what is the proper way to clean a cork yoga mat?
Are there multiple ways? Are some better than others?
The truth is that there are many different ways to clean a cork mat, and the best option for you will depend on what you have around the house and what your preferred choice is. After any cleaning to your cork mat, do not roll it back up until it has fully finished drying.
Vinegar- One of the easiest ways, however, would be to use a mix of one part vinegar to one part water. This can be mixed together and used in a spray bottle. You can then spray a little bit of the mixture across the surface of the mat and wipe it down with a washcloth. Vinegar will help to kill the germs and water keeps the solution from being too potent.
Witch Hazel- If you need an alternative to vinegar, witch hazel is another good option since it naturally kills germs. For this solution, use one part witch hazel to one part water and spray just a little bit onto your mat. Wipe this off very gently, making sure not to leave a bunch of the solution sitting on top. Allow to dry fully.
Dish Soap- Another way to clean a cork yoga mat would be to use water with a few drops of dish soap. You do not want to go overboard on the soap since you really only need a little bit to wipe down the surface of your mat.
Essential Oils- If you do not have any of the above options, sometimes, you can create a mixture using a very small amount of specific essential oils. We will look more into which essential oils are the best in the next section. However, if you decide to use these, you only need about three or four drops mixed with water in a spray bottle. Do not use more than this as essential oils can be very potent, and cork mats do not need as intense of a cleaning. If you overload your mat with essential oils, you could potentially damage it. Just a few drops will go a long way and will keep your mat clean and smelling fresh.
Water- If you just need to quickly wipe down your mat but it is not time to fully clean it, a little bit of cool water on a washcloth can be used for a gentle wipe down. This is the easiest and fastest way to give your mat a quick cleaning. We will go deeper into how to properly wipe down your mat later in this blog.
Which Essential Oils to Use on Your Cork Mat?
Certain essential oils are better to use on yoga mats than others. This is due to the fact that some essential oils are natural disinfectants. Isn’t that awesome? This allows you to avoid harsh chemicals and enjoy the pleasant scents that essential oils have to offer.
Tea Tree Oil- Not only is this essential oil a natural disinfectant, but it actually also has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This is why it is used often in skin care and hair products.
Lemongrass Oil- Lemongrass oil has great antibacterial properties. Many people use lemongrass in cleaners around the house to ensure a natural disinfectant without intense chemicals.
Orange Oil- Not only does this oil smell refreshing, but it is great for cleaning. This oil is also an antiseptic, making it safe to use on your skin, and even killing germs that are hiding on your skin. Like lemongrass, it can be used around the house to disinfect and clean.
Eucalyptus Oil- Eucalyptus oil is very strong and potent. It easily kills germs and sanitizes, which is why it is used in many hand sanitizers and cleaning solutions.
Lavender Oil- The scent of this oil is great for relaxation, but the oil is also used in many mat cleaners as well as household cleaners. Lavender oil is gentle and calming, but it also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. In addition, lavender oil is also an antiseptic and even an antimicrobial, making it very versatile.
Peppermint Oil- This potent essential oil is great for disinfecting your mat. It is also an antifungal. Peppermint oil easily kills bacteria and germs and leaves behind a wonderful scent!
Wiping Down a Cork Mat
Since cork is antimicrobial, it will not need constant cleaning like most other mats do. Many mats require a good cleaning after every use, or at least weekly. This is not the case for cork. Cork mats will not need to be cleaned as often since they will not get as dirty. However, if you need to wipe your mat down quickly after using it, especially if you happen to sweat a lot during your practice, it is fairly simple to do so.
A Gentle Wipe Down- For a quick wipe down, you can use some cool water and a gentle wash cloth. Do not press down hard, and do not try to rub the mat. This is not necessary. Just gently circling the washcloth across the entire mat to clean the surface can be helpful without hurting your mat. Since germs do not penetrate past the surface of your mat, you will not need to scrub it.
Avoid Too Much Water- Do not use too much water since cork will not absorb it. Instead, the water will collect on top of your mat and make a mess. This is why cork is great for people who sweat. Sweating will give your mat a better grip, but the sweat will not absorb into the mat. This ensures a cleaner experience and a mat that is easier and better to use.
Should You Scrub Your Cork Yoga Mat?
While some yoga mats need quite a bit of scrubbing to get them clean, the beauty of cork is that germs do not penetrate into the mat. This means that it is not necessary to scrub your mat.
The problem is that if you scrub cork too hard, you can actually damage it. Plus, cork does not need that much scrubbing at all, so your efforts would be futile. If you do, however, feel that your mat needs a bit of a scrub, do so gently. Scrubbing should never be done with anything abrasive. A gentle washcloth is usually best for wiping your mat down since it is not as intense. You can also use a soft sponge if you prefer.
If you were to use a rough sponge or anything similar, there is a good chance you could break apart the surface and damage your mat, and that is something you will want to avoid!
Since sweat and germs will stay on the top layer of the mat, scrubbing is not necessary like it would be with other mat materials. Just a gentle wipe down will do the trick and keep your mat clean and in good shape.
How to Store Your Cork Mat to Keep it in Good Shape
Keep it Dry- When you have cleaned your cork mat, always make sure it is fully dry before putting it away to avoid the growth of mold or mildew. Cork will not absorb water, so it is important to make sure there is no liquid leftover on it. If your mat is taking longer to dry, you can always hang it up for a bit or you can simply dab it with a towel to remove excess water. Do not put your mat away if it is even a little bit wet.
Roll it Up- Once you are sure that the mat is completely dry, you will want to roll it up and place it somewhere that is both clean and has no way for your mat to get wet. Another thing to remember is that cork should always be rolled up and not folded so that it keeps its shape.
How Often Should You Clean Your Cork Yoga Mat?
Cork mats are so popular because of just how many benefits they offer. Not only do they offer more of a grip, but they are easy to clean and maintain, and– depending on the brand of the mat– they also last longer. Due to its antimicrobial properties, cork does not need to be cleaned as often as other materials. With most yoga mats, it is important to wipe them down and disinfect them after every class.
If You Use Your Mat Occasionally- Most materials will require at least a weekly cleaning to get rid of bacteria. However, with cork, a deep cleaning really only needs to be done about once a month, and even that will not have to involve as deep of a cleaning as most other materials.
If You Use Your Mat Often- If you happen to use your mat a lot and notice that it has gotten a bit dirtier, then feel free to clean it more often. Your mat should not need to be cleaned more than every two to three weeks at most. Use one of the natural solutions above to quickly and gently disinfect the surface of your mat, and then let it dry. That is all you really need to do.
Should You Use Household Cleaners With Your Cork Mat?
So, now that we know so many natural ways to keep a cork mat clean, you might be asking yourself if it would be easier to just use some cleaning products you have at home. The answer to this question will almost always be NO!
Cork is not meant to handle heavy, intense cleaning products like carpet cleaner or stain removers. You also do not want to use any abrasive products that can scratch your cork. Even though all-purpose cleaner might sound like a good idea, the chemicals within it will often break down cork, deteriorating your mat over time.
Plus, when you use intense cleaners on any yoga mat, when you go to use the mat after, you will be inhaling and interacting with these strong chemicals.
What Not to Use on Your Cork Mat
There are many things, just like household cleaners, that are not safe to be used on a cork yoga mat. Let’s take a look at what you should avoid using with, or doing to, your cork mat.
Bleach- To start, you should absolutely always avoid using bleach of any kind with your cork mat. Bleach has been known to break down cork.
Hot Water and Excessive Liquids- In addition, try to avoid using hot water or letting liquid sit on top of your mat. Very hot water can sometimes be too intense for cork. In addition, since cork is not porous, using too much liquid on it will mostly just make a mess. The liquid will not soak in and will just sit on the surface until you wipe it away.
Washing Machines- You should absolutely not put your cork mat in the washing machine. Your cork mat is not machine washable, and the hot water and intense washing detergents will damage your mat as well. This is why sticking to natural substances, such as vinegar, witch hazel, and essential oils, is always a better option.
Salt and Other Exfoliants- Some people actually use salt on their yoga mats to exfoliate the surface. For certain materials, this can make the mat stickier in order to have a better grip. However, for other materials like cork, this can be damaging. Avoiding exfoliants on cork is important. Exfoliants can break apart the surface of the cork and cause it to fall apart over time.
What Kind of Store-Bought Cleaners are Best for Cork?
Many yoga mat cleaners are actually too strong for cork, and honestly, they are usually not necessary.
No Harsh Chemicals- Since cork is antimicrobial, and does not soak in sweat and germs, it is really just the surface of your cork mat that will need to be cleaned. Cork is not meant to be cleaned with harsh chemicals, and it is important to keep your mat in the best possible condition so that you can keep using it. This is why making your own cork yoga mat cleaner at home is usually the best option. This is why making your own cork yoga mat cleaner at home is usually the best option. Not only will it ensure a cleaner mat, but you will be avoiding heavy chemicals that can be found in many store-bought cleaners.
Natural Ingredients- If you really do not want to have to make and use your own yoga mat cleaner, there are brands that you can buy at the store. The problem is that many brands use harsh chemicals that are not good for cork. If you absolutely want to buy a cleaner from the store for your mat, it is important to find one with natural ingredients that are safe for cork. The best store cleaners will have natural essential oils in them without any strong chemicals. In addition, mat cleaners that have witch hazel are often some of the best. There should not be many more ingredients besides natural ones like these and water.
Our yoga mats are made out of Portuguese cork, and we have managed to fit six times more cork into our mats than a standard cork mat. We made sure to create a mat that has the perfect thickness. Some mats are too thick, preventing proper balance and putting pressure on the ankles. Other mats are too thin and slide easily, forcing pressure into the joints.
Many cork mats only have a thin layer of cork that is about the width of sandpaper. Our cork mats are sustainable. No trees were cut down in order to create them. They are also long lasting.
Like all cork mats, ours do not soak in sweat or absorb bacteria, so they are easy to clean as well. The cleaning tips in this blog can be used for our yoga mats.
Our cork mats are also much longer and wider than other brands, giving you plenty of space to practice on and spread out during poses. Sometimes, mats can be rather small, so for those who are taller, it can be more difficult to practice. This is why we made sure that our mats were longer and wider, making them great for just about any yoga practice, and serving people of all heights. This means that if you are tall, you will not have your feet hanging off the edge of the mat during meditation at the end of class, and you will not have to touch the dirty floor.
We also offer multiple versions of our mats. Some even have markings and lines to help with alignment for when you are practicing yoga.
Do you want to learn more about our mats? Click here!
If you love our cork mats and want some cork blocks to go with them, click here!
Reference: Filthy fitness. EllipticalReviews.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://www.ellipticalreviews.com/filthy-fitness/.