Imagine this scenario. You purchase a yoga mat only to have it crumble after less than five yoga sessions. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you need answers about why your mat is falling apart.
Many factors play into why a yoga mat falls apart, like:
- the quality of the mat
- how often you use the yoga mat
- the steps you take to care for the yoga mat
- How you exercise on your mat
Virtually every yoga mat will eventually show signs of wear and tear. Still, you can take several steps to maximize your yoga mat’s lifespan.
Continue reading if you want to find out why yoga mats crumble and how to make your yoga mat last longer.
Why Your Yoga Mat is Falling Apart
Not all yoga mats are created equal. If you want your yoga mat to last any significant amount of time, it’s imperative to shop with purpose. The design and material of yoga mats vary widely from store to store and brand to brand.
You can always choose a $5 yoga mat from a big box store, as long as you don’t expect it to last longer than a month or two with moderate use. If you want a quality yoga mat, it may be wise to consider investing a bit more money into your mat purchase.
Cheap Yoga Mats Don’t Last Very Long
Generally, the cheaper your yoga mat is, the lower the quality of material you will get. Cheap yoga mats are made of only PVC, or a combination of rubber, PVC, and other filler materials. Consequently, with cheaper material, you’ll begin to see your mat disintegrating after just a few uses.
You’ll also find that cheaper yoga mats are very thin, often making them less sturdy than thicker alternatives. Thicker mats tend to stand up to more rigorous use than more lightweight mats. If you are looking for a mat that lasts longer, you may want to invest in a thicker mat.
Will Spending More on a Yoga Mat Prevent it From Falling Apart?
When it comes to yoga mats, you really do get what you pay for. This is not to say that you should always go for the most expensive yoga mat that you can find. This is to say that you shouldn’t always go for the cheapest one.
In general, a more expensive mat (one that costs $50 to $100) gives you more usage possibilities and lasts longer than cheap mats.
Expensive mats are usually expensive for several reasons. They are often:
- Thick: affordable yoga mat options are usually around 3mm thick. This is thin in comparison to some luxury mats that are thicker (usually 3/16 of an inch or thicker).
- Durable: mid to high-priced yoga mats are also more durable than lower-priced mats. Some believe that expensive mats are manufactured in a way that ensures that the materials are fused securely and don’t wear away and crumble after only a few uses.
- Made from good quality materials: In most cases, you can expect more expensive mats to be made of top-notch materials. Quality yoga mats are made of several materials in combination with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which helps to stop you from slipping while doing yoga. You’ll also find high-quality yoga mats that are made of a combination of rubber and latex. These mats are known to withstand heavy yoga sessions. Another high-quality material combo that you’ll find in the best quality yoga mats is polyester and PVC.
There is no specific mat that earns the title of the most reliable, most durable yoga mat in the world because everyone uses yoga mats differently and has different opinions on them.
Use of Your Yoga Mat Can Make it Fall Apart
Yoga mats are used for a variety of moves and exercises, and this plays a big part in how long it takes for your mat to start falling apart.
Salt and Moisture Degrade Yoga Mats
Salt and moisture break down yoga mats over time. Those who want to “break-in” their yoga mats spray them down with salt and water to wear out the material and make the mat comfortable.
The more rigorous exercise you do on the mat, the more wear and tear your mat will take on. You can help lengthen your mat’s life by drying your mat off thoroughly after you’ve been sweating on it. If you are someone who does hot yoga, where there will be sweating, your mat will age quickly.
Repetitive Stress on Yoga Mats Causes Breakdown
Pressure from your body on the same few spots on the mat causes wear and tear that eventually leads to material breakdown. Turning your mat from time to time will help reduce wear and tear from repetitive movements.
Sudden Movements Cause Slippage and Breakdown
Sudden movements cause the underside of the mat to shift ever so slightly, creating friction between the mat and the floor. The friction then increases the chances of the mat’s material breaking down prematurely. But this is part of yoga, so it can’t always be controlled.
You may not always be able to control the previous three factors, as they are all part of regular yoga mat usage. But making sure that you use a quality mat can help to minimize the wear and tear over time.
How Often Do You Use Your Mat?
If you use your mat every day, chances are it will break down quicker than a mat that’s used only once a week. This is something that you should keep in mind when determining whether your yoga mat expectations are fair. If you’re super hard on your yoga mats and use them often, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it starts to break down after a short time.
How You Care For Your Mat Can Prevent it From Falling Apart
If you weren’t aware, yoga mats require regular care to keep them in good shape. Dirt, oils, and sweat all have the potential to degrade the materials in your mat. But doing very simple maintenance on your mat can help to extend its life.
Clean Your Feet and Hands
Before you begin each yoga session, make sure that your hands and feet are clean. This will decrease the transfer of bacteria from your hands and feet to your mat.
Lotions or creams on your hands and feet can also degrade your mat, so ensure that these are entirely washed off before practice.
If you aren’t around a sink and water, do the best you can- a baby wipe will do the trick in a pinch.
Keep Your Mat Clean
After you are done with each yoga session, make sure that you wipe your mat down.
Use any of the following methods to clean your mat:
- Wipe your mat down with a baby wipe.
- Use a yoga mat wipe, which is a wipe specially formulated to clean your yoga mat effectively.
- You can also use mild soap, some water, and a soft cloth.
Be gentle while cleaning your mat. Wiping your mat too vigorously can wear away the material.
Use a Yoga Towel During Yoga Practice
Preserve your yoga mat by keeping it sweat-free while you practice. This will absorb excess moisture and help your mat last longer. A yoga towel is just like a regular towel, except it has grips to help it stick to your mat and minimize slipping.
Allow Your Mat to Dry Between Uses
Many people roll up their mats right after use, and this causes sweat and moisture to get trapped, shortening the life of the mat. Also, it’s essential to store your mat in a cool, dry place.
How Often Should You Replace a Yoga Mat
Yoga mats are kind of like car tires or mattresses. You don’t think about replacing them until they start to fall apart. By that point, you’ve gotten yourself into a situation when you don’t have time to shop around or put much thought into your new mat purchase because you just need one right away.
There are a few things to look for in an aging mat. Mats will slowly start falling apart after about six months.
Keep an eye out for any of these symptoms of a mat that’s on its last leg:
- Unpleasant smell
- Loss of texture
- Extra thin or worn spots
- Loss of gripping or traction
If any of these signs are apparent in your yoga mat, it’s time to start looking for a replacement. Just don’t wait too long, or you’ll be forced into a last-minute decision that might lead to a mat you don’t love.
On average, a yoga mat will last at least six months. That depends on the quality of the mat, of course. The longevity of a yoga mat also relies heavily on the amount that it’s used. Where you use your yoga mat is also a factor.
Keeping all of these factors in mind will help you better monitor things that could be causing your mat to fall apart early, as well as help you predict when you might need a new one.
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