Yoga Mat Cooties: My Favorite Green Cleaning Products

Can you be an OCD germaphobe and a (wannabe) yogi?

Seems like the two extremes would lend themselves to two entirely different types of people.  After all, yogis would smile, say “Namachoo,” and hand a Ricola to a sneezing passerby, while the germaphobe would duck and cover before pulling out their hand sanitizer and wiping it vigorously between their now soiled hands.

I’m the kind of person who knows how long a floor needs to remain wet with disinfectant in order to kill 99.9% of germs (10 minutes).  I wash my hands so often that they’re cracked and bleeding in the winter.  I disinfect my kitchen table about 6 times a day with antibacterial wipes.  I wash my hands after putting moisturizer on my heels.  You get the point.  I’m a bit of a compulsive neurotic when it comes to germs — I want them dead, dead, dead.

But I’m also extremely picky about the products that I use: most of my shampoo, makeup, and clothing is cruelty free – meaning that it either contains no animal products or its company does not support animal testing.  This puts me in a bit of a conundrum, because most cleaning products are the Osama Bin Laden of the cruelty-free shopping list.

However, I am here to tell you that the vegan and the clean-freak can exist together in perfect harmony.

For example, I tend to read a lot of health periodicals, especially at work, and I’m always horrified at what they say about gyms — the stuff you can pick up in the showers, on the machines, and by using the free weights.  It’s enough to scare you off going to the gym!


Lately, I’ve read about how much crap can accumulate on your yoga mat.  This Livestrong article points out the delicious agglomeration of germs that can lead to such conditions as Athlete’s foot, Plantar Warts, and MRSA.  MRSA!

I vowed never to use the communal Yoga/Pilates mats in my gym ever again. I mean, who wants to bend over into a relaxing extended childhood pose and put their face on a mat where some guy had his sweaty ass parked for savasana an hour earlier?

Instead, I now bring my own mat and upon returning home after class, spray it down with this cleaner:

7th generation spray

According to the 7th Generation Website, this disinfectant spray:

Kills over 99.99% of household germs, specifically: Influenza A viruses including H1N1, Rhinovirus (type 37, the Common Cold virus), Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa on hard, nonporous surfaces.

I’m not sure if a yoga mat is considered nonporous, but so far I’ve seemed to stave off any antibiotic-resistant infections.

Once in awhile I’ll also throw the whole mat into my bathtub with a little dish soap and let it soak for awhile before air-drying.

Brands like 7th GenerationMethod and Mrs. Meyers have satisfied my need for cruelty-free, effective cleaners, and they are now available in more mainstream grocery stores.  I’ve also become recently addicted to this Mrs. Meyers Lavender fabric softener:

Mrs Meyers lavender fabric softener

I have very sensitive skin, and usually any scented detergent or softener leaves me covered in hives, but this fragrance is just subtle enough to be non-irritating and non-cloying.  It also leaves your clothes and sheets soft without making them completely limp.

For my bathroom, I love this Method Bathroom Cleaner:

I use it in my shower and tub and it works at dissolving soap scum on the tiles.  It also comes in an antibacterial version that I have yet to try.  So many products, so little time!

Finally, for my dishes, I love 7th Generation Natural Dish Liquid in Lavender. The smell isn’t overpowering, and it does just as good a job as Dawn at de-greasing and cleaning glasses.

It makes me feel so good to know that no animals were harmed in the making of the products that I’m using to obliterate the germs in my kitchen and bathroom 🙂

For a list of cruelty-free cleaning products, visit PETA’s searchable database of companies that do and don’t test on animals.  And for when you are on the run, I highly recommend downloading the free “Be Nice to Bunnies” App that allows you to check products while you’re in the grocery store.

Remember, every little bit helps! 

Categories: Health

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. cool post! Thanks very much! I try to clean my yoga mats after every practice, and a good deep clean once a week. I can’t wait to look into these!


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