If you're the kind of person who likes to get their Om going, then it's imperative you have a habit of cleaning your yoga mat to prevent the growth and accumulation of dirt and bacteria—especially if you enjoy hot yoga or Bikram, both of which take place in hot rooms where the humidity helps bacteria and fungi grow.
If you practice daily, then you should clean your mat weekly or biweekly, depending on how much you sweat. If you practice a few times a week, then monthly should be fine.
For closed-cell mats, lay the mat out on a flat surface, spray it with cleaner, scrub using circular motions to get rid of dirt patches, and wipe clean. If your mat isn't too heavy, you can use a pants clothes hanger to clip one end (assuming have a rectangular and not a circular mat) and spray the mat with your shower head and hang to dry.
For open cell mats, submerge them in a tub of water with dish soap for 5-10 minutes, scrub, then rinse and hang to dry.
There are a number of do-it-yourself cleaning mixtures that are both nontoxic (critical since you're putting your face on the mat in many prone poses) and inexpensive:
Water with some squirts of mild dish soap
50/50 water/witch hazel with two to three drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil to add an anti fungal/antibacterial element (use sparingly or the oil will eliminate the traction on your mat)
50/50 water and white vinegar
Any commercial yoga mat cleaners (there's a cottage industry for everything, after all), rundown of which the options are you can find here.
If you can hang your mat to dry out in the sun, even better so that the water does not breed mold in the mat which can happen if it's left to dry in a damp place. Or run a fan in the bathroom and open the windows. Either way, clean mat, clean mind. Or something like that.
PopUP CleanUP is an event cleaning company. We offer pre, live, and post event cleaning for large scale events, including yoga festivals and branding activations. Namaste.