Yoga Mat Materials and Maintenance
The purchase of a good yoga mat is something that meets your needs and the requirements of the discipline you follow. You have to mull over important factors before purchasing one, and these factors include thickness, size, stability, stickiness, and last but not least, the kind of material used.
If you have found the answer to the question, “what size yoga mat do I need?” then it is time to tackle the different materials from which mats are made.
Most Common Materials used in Yoga Mats
PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
This is the most typical material employed on mats. This is a plastic material and producing a mat from this usually entails the use of phthalates to maintain the suppleness and malleability of the mat.
Because the material contains plenty of toxins, PVC is unfeasible for recycling. This is why many are not into PVC mats because of the toxins that are created during the production of the material.
However there are manufacturers who make PVC mats that are free from toxins and phthalates. Manufacturers like Manduka have made it their mission to produce eco-friendly PVC products that won’t harm both earth and consumer.
A PVC mat’s benefits include malleability and durability. It also keeps slipping during practice at bay.
Rubber is considered a worthy substitute for PVC mats. The mats are crafted from rubber that is gathered from the Pará tree.
Although there are mats that claim to be 100% latex-free, this may not be sufficient for yogis who are allergic or sensitive to latex. Rubber, like PVC, is also durable and provides plenty of “give” during usage. It is also slip resistant.
There are also natural rubber mats available. While they are not as tacky as compared with PVC ones, they can still provide sufficient traction.
PER (polymer environmental resin)
PER is built from PVC but it does not have phthalates and other kinds of hazardous toxins and releases. It can be recycled and it discharges fewer toxic by-products than PVC once burned.
TPE (thermoplastic elastomer)
TPE includes plastic and flexible attributes. TPEs are polystyrene, polyester or polyurethane compounds and they can be recycled and made into items like slippers and mats.
Cotton mats tend to take in sweat and can maximize traction when damp. However it does not allow plenty of give. Cotton is also a sustainable source, is biodegradable and the organic kind does not include any kind of risky toxin.
Care and maintenance
To make your mats last for a longer time, you have to see to it that you are going to provide it with the maintenance it needs. Wiping it clean with a moist, clean rag is a start, but here are some cleaning suggestions that you can put into practice, depending on the kind of mat you are using.
PVC and TPE material
These mats actually do not need regular strict maintenance or deep cleaning but with frequent use, they will become saturated with sweat, dirt and grime. If you have the bad habit of rolling the mat up after a class without even wiping it down, the whole mat will become smelly and dirty. You can use a specialized yoga mat cleaner on the item and follow the instructions provided.
As an alternative, you can also wash it with water and a mild soap. Dry the item in the sun but be careful with how you dangle them, especially the TPE ones because they can take on the form of the manner in which they were stored, and it will be difficult to get them to lie flat eventually.
Rubber has an open-cell composition compared to PVC and TPE so mats made of rubber require stricter cleaning. The mats tend to take in oils, grime and sweat from the user’s body so the regularity of the washing will rely on how regular the user employs it and how sweaty the user can get.
Clean the item at least 3 days a week and do a deep cleaning procedure on it once a month to retain its shape. You can deep clean the item in the tub or hose it down in the backyard or the shower. To wash them you can make use of mild soaps or vinegar.
Leave the mat in a cool, dry place after washing and make sure that you suspend it in a manner that will maintain its form. With these tips in mind, rest assured you will be able to use those mats for a while and avoid replacements.
Now you know which type of Material you want your Yoga Mat made from you can look at our comparison chart which compares 10 popular Yoga Mats.