How to clean Cotton Yoga Mat naturally? The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Yoga Rug

Maintenance and washing instructions for your Leela Yoga Rug

We believe that taking care of your yoga gear is as important as taking care of your yoga practice. Therefore, we prefer to keep it clean as much as possible so it will serve us for a long time! By extra care you will prolong the lifetime of your goodies. 

You will spend a lot of hours on your yoga rug, it's a new buddy for your practice, you should give it the care it needs. 

Rug can be compared to the bed sheets or table cloth. You don't wash your bed, in case you need to, you wash only the bed sheets. So the same applies with a rug. You will be washing only your rug not a mat, which you put underneath. 

You might wonder how often I need to wash my yoga rug? 

That depends on couple of factors, such as - your location, space where you practice (indoor/outdoor)  and your body-sweat condition. 
If you live in a colder climate and you don´t sweat too much it might be enough to wash your rug once per week or two. According to your needs. 

But if you live in a humid, warm country and your rug gets really sweaty each time you use it you should wash it every second or third day to prevent odor. 

Have some empathy with the rest of the people in the yoga classes. Don't make their practice unpleasant due to your stinky mat ;) 

Should you wash the rug before first use?

We suggest washing the rug before first use. Same like you would wash your clothes when you bring them home from the shop. 

There are 2 main reasons why:

1.You will remove excessive dust from production or transportation. When you start practicing and sweating it will end up on your skin.

2. The rug may lose some color after first few washes. It's a natural procedure to get rid of excessive colorants which did not absorb into the looms. 

First wash

  • Soak your new Leela rug in a bucket in a lukewarm or cold water for about 5 - 10 minutes but no longer than that!
  • You want to ''dust off'' your rug and get rid of excessive dyes that time is just enough to do so. You can add a handful of salt to preserve the colors better. Your new rug may lose some color during the first few washings, that’s why, wash it always separately and don't mix it up with other clothes!
  • After 10 minutes take it out and gently wring out the water. 
  • Dry on the sun by hanging to avoid shrinking. 

In the beginning the rug might look cranky and ''ugly'', please don't worry, that's normal. The cotton looms are adjusting and will become a bit flexible. Extreme shrinking will stop after 3-5 washes.

* Small Tip: If you dry it by hanging - it helps to smoother the rug. Something like ironing :) 

Further maintenance 

There are 2 ways how you can wash your yoga rug. Depending on your current condition : Hand Wash & Machine Wash (only upcycled eco friendly yoga mats)

Steps How to wash my yoga rug. Blue Cotton yoga mat in pink bucket filled with water and natural detergent.

Hand wash

If you wish to wash your yoga rug by hand, here are the steps how to do so.


  • Put the rug into bucket and fill it up
  • Use cold water and some natural soap or detergent 
  • Let it soak for about 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes you can wash it with your hands, give it a couple of turns and rub it in the areas you think it needs to be

  • Then fill up the bucket with clean water and try to wash out the excessive soap from your rug. 

  • You can replicate this step until you see there are no more soap bubbles coming from your rug. 

  • Once the water comes out clean - wring it out 

  • Hang outside to dry - never use the dryer!

If the rug is only sweaty it should be enough. It has some dirt on (especially light colors) you may need to brush it off gently with some cloth or brush.

* Small Tip: You can use your favorite essential oil and mix it up with the water in the bucket.  Your rug will smell even more amazing!

I personally use Lemongrass or Citronella oils  because of its freshness and anti-mosquito properties. 

Organic Blue yoga rug placed inside the white washing machine with soap nuts and essential oils. 

Machine wash:

If you are lucky enough to have a washing machine, here are the steps on how to machine wash your Leela yoga rug! 


  • Select gentle wash program or any program under 30°C (86°F)
  • Higher degrees may shrink the rug, since it is made from 100 % cotton.
  • Use natural detergent and you can also add a few drops of natural essential oil, so your rug will have a nice smell during your practice.
  • Once the program finishes you can take the rug out and 
  • Hang it out to dry :) 

*Our Tip: The most natural way to wash your rug is by using Soap Nuts with little drop of your essential oil! 


Natural Cotton yoga mats hanging outside on the balcony to sun dry. Drying by hanging avoid shrinking


When the rug is wet try to pull each corner of the rug to avoid shrinkage.

Dry your Mysore rug in the open area or warm place to avoid long drying. You can use some place on the sun but the colors may fade much more rapidly.

We advise not to use a dryer because hot air may cause shrinkage of the rug. 

Care instructions for Herbal dyed Rugs & Towels

As organic cotton and natural dyes are gentle to our skin in the same way we have to be gentle to them ! 
Especially with herbal dyes you have to be a little more careful. It is not that hard -  it just needs little extra care, that's all :)  

Rule #1

Wash the herbal dyed rug or towel in cold water before you use them for the first time. Bucket wash is the safest way to go!

  • Soak it for about 5-10 minutes in cold water. Don't soak the rug for a longer than 10 minutes. 

It might release some extra color after the first few washings. Don´t worry, the color will not go away completely, the yarns just have to release some excessive color.

Since no aggressive & toxic color stabilizers were used to preserve the color forever a little bit has to go out. 

Natural colors work a little differently as we are used to with synthetic colors. 

When we were discussing this topic with our dyers, they gave us this example: 

''What in nature is permanent ? Look at the flower.
One day the flower blooms, another day it changes color and it falls to the ground and becomes part of the soil once again.''

Only we (humans) came up with the concept of permanency. We want the things to always be the same. But nothing in the Nature works this way. Nature is constantly changing. 

Don't worry if the colors fade slightly, it is just a sign that the natural processes were used for production. 

Rule #2

Use only natural detergents & washing powders! 

  • Check the ingredients in your washing powder or detergent. They can't contain Citric acids because it works in the opposite way. It bleaches the color out. Lemon juice is very aggressive acid for herbal dyes. Try to double check if your washing powder contains such item. 

As an acid reacts to natural dyes very strongly it might create stains. 

The best and safest thing to use is Soap nuts or soap washing powder. 


Soap nuts are completely natural as they come from Soap nut trees :)  As mentioned before, you can add couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to upgrade your Leela goodies. 

Rule #3

  • Gentle Cold wash in the bucket for general maintenance
  • Water temperature should be below 30°C (86°F)

Rule #4

  • Dry in open space but avoid direct sun if possible.
  • You will prevent the colors from fading away quickly. 

Rule #5

  • Wash only with alike colors or separately. 

If you have 2 rugs or towels, one is blue and the other one is ivory white don't wash them together!

Enough of rules!


Enjoy your practice!



If you have any additional questions regarding maintenance or washing the rug, do not hesitate to contact us.