Yoga can help you reduce stress, increase strength and flexibility, and have an overall calming effect on your mental health. However, nothing is more frustrating and stress-inducing than a yoga mat that begins to fall apart after only a few uses.

Your yoga mat could be falling apart for many reasons, including low quality, it has gotten a lot of use, or because you have not properly cared for it. It is important to know that a yoga mat's life span is directly correlated to the frequency of use and the mat's quality.

Don't fret. There are many ways you can expand the life of your yoga mat. I will go over reasons that it might be falling apart, how to properly maintain and care for your yoga mat, as well as detail some recommendations on high-quality yoga mats. 

Why Do Yoga Mats Fall Apart?

You can expect a high-quality yoga mat that will last around six months and potentially as long as a year. However, a cheap yoga mat purchased at a grocery store may begin to fall apart after only a few uses. When it comes to yoga mats, the price will typically reflect the quality of the mat. This means that you will spend more money on high-quality products, but they will last much longer.

Low Quality

With that said, this is the first reason that your yoga mat could be falling apart. Mats with an appealing price tag are typically made with cheap materials such as rubber and polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC. Not only is this type of material subject to quick disintegration, but it is also toxic to humans and the environment. Despite the alluring price tag, try to avoid mats made with this type of material. 

Yoga mats_Yoga Mat Falling Apart

How You Use It

This plays a big role in the life span of your yoga mat. Some yoga mats are vulnerable to sun exposure, causing them to fall apart. Keep that in mind if you practice outside. Breakdown in yoga mats is also caused by salt and moisture (i.e., sweat), which is almost unavoidable during a good yoga session. In that same vein, hot yoga can be very hard on a yoga mat, causing them to age extremely fast. 

The Frequency at Which You Use It

This can also predict how long you expect it to last. This is why it is so difficult to tell you how long your yoga mat should last. Even a nice, high-quality yoga mat will last between 6 and 12 months. If you practice yoga weekly, you might expect yours to last on the longer end of the spectrum. However, daily users will get much less time out of their mat.

Tips for Yoga Mat Maintenance

You could potentially be spending several hours per week with your yoga mat, and taking excellent care of it will improve your experience. This section will outline several ways to protect your yoga mat and keep it looking and feeling new for longer.

Keep It Clean

You can do this with a combination of a few things. First, clean it regularly using baby wipes or special yoga mat wipes. These are gentle options that will not degrade the mat materials. You can also use a mild soap and soft cloth to wipe it down regularly. Regardless of what you use, make sure that you are gentle when cleaning it.

Yoga Mat Cleaner_Yoga Mat Falling Apart

The second way you can keep it clean is by washing your hands and feet before using the mat. Bacteria on our hands and feet can do a number on a mat. Minimising this bacteria transfer will keep your mat fresh and clean. It is also important to ensure that your hands are free of all types of lotions and creams, which will deteriorate the mat. Soap and water are ideal, but keep baby wipes in your yoga bag as a backup if you cannot access a sink.

A yoga towel is also a good way to keep your mat clean. Don't be fooled - a yoga towel is not the same as a bath towel. They serve a couple of purposes. First, they are specially designed to increase grip as they get wet, which will help prevent slipping during sweaty yoga sessions. 

Yoga towels also will protect your mat from your sweat, which, as we learned earlier, contributes to the rapid breakdown of your mat. Yoga towels may not be necessary for a regular session, but it is strongly recommended for hot yoga sessions.

Yoga Mat Towel_Yoga Mat Falling Apart

Let It Dry

You can extend the life of your yoga mat by ensuring that it is scorched before rolling it up. As with anything, mould and other bacteria grow in dark, damp places, and your yoga mat is not different. Allow your mat to dry out completely in a cool, dry area. This Yogitoes Mat Towel is a good option because it comes equipped with grips so it won't slide, it is durable, and was made sustainably with recycled plastic water bottles.

Put It in the Washing Machine (Optional)

Lastly, tossing it in the washing machine is an option depending on the material. It would be best if you did not rely on this method as the primary way to clean your mat. It should only be used if it begins to have a smell. Too many machine washes, just like some of your delicate clothes, will accelerate the degradation of your mat. 

Yoga Mat Recommendations

It might be overwhelming to look for a new mat. You want one that is comfortable, grippy, and will last for a long time. For beginner yogis, you should not break the bank on your first mat, but it's also important to avoid the cheaply made options, as they will begin falling apart after a few uses. Here are a couple of mats that I highly recommended for both new and veteran yogis.

Aura Cork Yoga mat

If you are serious about your yoga practice, it might be worth it to you to spend a little bit more on your mat. The Aura Cork Yoga mat from Yoloha mats is an excellent choice that will last a long time. Priced at just under $100 for the extra long mat, you receive a high quality mat with the manufacturers guarantees on returns and refunds.

It is thick and dense, making it comfortable for even the hardest surfaces. The surface is resistant to bacteria, which will keep it from getting a smell. Yoloha mats have a fine grain surface that feels great but also has awesome grip. Finally this mat is quite light and portable so is suitable for travel.

Starter Yoga Mat

Another suggestion, especially good for beginners, is the Starter Yoga Mat by CleverYoga. This mat is great if you prefer Kundalini or restorative yoga. It is high in density which will provide you with lots of cushioning to support your joints and knees. 

To ensure that your mat lasts a long time, clean it after every session by wiping it down with mild soap and water or mat cleaner spray.

Regardless of your choice, there are a few things you should look for when purchasing a mat. Pay attention to the thickness. The standard mat is 3.3 mm, but you could go thicker if you practice on hard surfaces. Also, look into the type of material options. Avoid away from PVC, even though it is cheap and grippy, toxic to both humans and the environment. There are many eco-friendly materials, such as cork or recycled plastic.

Final Thoughts

The fact is, yoga mats are not meant to last forever, and their deterioration is inevitable. You will be hard-pressed to find one to last more than 12 or 18 months. Chances are, your yoga mat is falling apart from one, or a combination of, the reasons I discussed above. Now that you know many of the reasons yoga mats fall apart and the proper methods of caring for your mat, you can do your best to extend the life of your next one.

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