Studio Hygiene

{This article first posted January 2012; We have become even more efficient over the years and Revised this March 2020}

Hello. From time to time people have asked WHO IS MY CLEANER in the studio (‘cos it looks so good!) 🙂 and WHAT IS THE BEST METHOD OF CLEANING THEIR YOGA MATS! Answers to such questions can take some time in the moment and I need to save my voice (as you all well know) so I can be in the business of teaching Yoga and not disseminating cleaning tips 🙂 . For every one person that asks a question there are probably 10 others that have it on their minds. So, I thought I would make a written statement to cover this one off. Here you go: I do all the cleaning in the studio; we are not in the position of being able to hire anyone to do this and anyway I see it as part of my karma Yoga to make sure our school is a pristine healthy environment for the people who like to come there to practice; it is part of how we serve.

In the ceiling of the Yoga studio there are two skylights that are opened between classes to aereate the studio. Optimal humidity is important in the hot Yoga environment and helps with good functioning of the respiratory system.  During classes we use our latest standards ventilation system and open skylights on days when humidity starts to climb.

I spend significant time every day in cleaning the studio environment. We do a cursory mop up after class and a deeper inspection and clean before every class.  After busy classes the floors are mopped to remove any excess water from the environment. The mirrors are cleaned prior to every class (although the mirror cleaner (that’s me) is currently on probation not having done a good job today! of course ‘Mirror Man Darren’ is permanently on probation for this one, sigh!) The toilet area is cleaned at least once daily and sometimes twice. We have been through 3 steam floor cleaners!!! over the years (they did not seem to last long) so I reverted to good old fashioned and reliable disinfectant and mop to sanitize our floors. We regularly deep clean the whole school with our underlying philosophy on cleaning being ‘what kind of space would we personally (Darren and me) like to practice in’.  We endeavour to ensure no strong overpowering smell of cleaning agent prevails.

A towel is a prerequisite and one cannot participate without one; they provide traction, comfort as well as sweat collection. Dousing with water is not permitted during class and excessive sweaters are expected to have extra towelling for absorbtion and expected to mop the floor area around their mat with their own towels brought to class for this purpose. Practitioners should ensure their feet are clean especially when standing on studio mats; Ideally, if using a studio mat they should stand on a towel at all times.  {All this is part of your Yoga practice; it will help practitioners reading this to understanding how all this is part of Yoga etiquettes and philosophy if they read our 3 blogs: Ethics, Observances ~ Saucha (cleanliness), Restraints ~ Ahimsa (non-harming)

We have always recommended all who love this practice should invest in their own mats but particularly ‘Heavy Sweaters’ (and this is a compliment in our world) MUST have and bring their OWN MATS and OWN TOWELS to class.  In our small, two-man band school, the hygiene/maintenance of a heavy sweater ‘mat’ is just too much for the cleaner and there is no way that the .50p mat rental anywhere near covers what is required to bring that mat back to life for a new use (think about it). We (Darren and Trisha) are both heavy sweaters and we ALWAYS bring our own mats to class too.

Mats have a limited life span dependent on usage; and we don’t want any stinky smelly mats hanging around our studio; therefore requests to store practitioners mats are declined. We replace mats as and when appropriate (in our first 8 years we have replaced all our studio mats 5 times). Our studio mats are frequently sanitized and dependent factors dictate the cleaning methods.  We interchangeably use either/any of the following:
• steam clean

• hot water and mild detergent solution

• a bath soak

• washing machine at 60 degrees

• a wipe down and spray solution with heavy content of Eucalyptus oil which is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral. The antiseptic and deodorant nature of eucalyptus oil makes it a good room freshener for any sickbed atmosphere.

• Having wiped the surface of the mat to remove excess water/sweat, the surface of the mats are sprayed liberally; depending of the state of the mat the cleaner may be allowed to soak in a bit.
• Then the mat is wiped with a wet cloth to remove the cleaner; then wiped down with a clean soft dry cloth and method repeated on the other side.
• The mat has to be allowed to dry via a circulation of air and speed up the drying time. So they are hung in a manner that enables this (rail or over a chair!).
• If a mat is soaked through we take them home and put them in the washing machine (60degree wash) or soak them in the bath overnight with a cleansing solution and hang them on our washing line to dry out. We are careful that mats are rinsed/wiped thoroughly after this to ensure there are no strong smells left in case a practitioner might be sensitive to strong smells.

If you want to make up your own mat cleaning solution add 8-12 drops to a small cup of water (distilled if you can) in a spray bottle, mix thoroughly (shake bottle); increase the drops of essential oils for stronger antibacterial/antifungal spray. Here is a list of essential oils you can use: eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, lemongrass.

Om Om Om In Yoga practice your Mat is your Canvas…
Namaste ~ Trisha

January 2012 {revised March 2020}

See also

coronavirus 11/3/20

Mad Mat Matters I