New Yoga Mat? Eliminate the Smell

By Leslie Garrett

A new yoga mat is full of promise and excitement to revitalize your practice. But along with promise, a new mat offers up something less appealing: new-mat smell.

Whether your mat is made of rubber, jute, bamboo, or the more common and affordable PVC, it will release an odor that alerts all around you to its newness.

What’s a concerned yogi — one who doesn’t want to subject herself or her fellow downward doggers to headache-inducing off-gassing — to do?

Well, while you likely won’t eliminate the smell completely (only time can do that!), you can certainly reduce its assault on your nose. Here’s how:

5 steps you can take to eliminate new yoga mat smell:

  1. Begin by unrolling your mat to determine the severity of your smell problem. Frankly, my Gaiam natural rubber mat, while odorous, wasn’t unpleasant to me, so I simply let time work its magic until the smell vanished altogether.
  2. Try hanging your mat outside for a day or two. As anyone who line-dries their laundry knows, fresh air and UV rays can do wonders.
  3. If that’s not enough, mix up an odor-busting solution. Some practitioners swear by a simple 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. You can leave it at that or, to boost its antimicrobial, anti-fungal properties, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Put it in a spray bottle and spritz away! This can also work as a mat cleaner after a regular yoga practice has created a different, sweat-induced yoga mat smell.
  4. If you want to not only eliminate the new-mat smell but replace it with a pleasant smell, try this. Pour witch hazel (I’m a fan of Thayer’s, which comes in regular, rose or lavender) into a spray bottle (roughly two-thirds of the bottle), add water to top it off, along with a few drops your other favorite essential oil. It might take a bit of time but you can accelerate the creation of a sweet-smelling mat.
  5. Try Gaiam’s Super Yoga Mat Wash. Gaiam’s solution to the “new mat smell” includes organic essential oils with proven antiseptic, antibacterial, and moisturizing properties to have your new mat smelling great in no time.

Share your own mat-cleaning suggestions below.