The Best Non-Toxic Yoga Mats
Whether you’re practicing sun salutations or doing crunches, you’re probably spending a lot of time on your yoga mat. Exercise and yoga are great for your health, but breathing in toxic fumes from a PVC yoga mat is not. From natural rubber to cork, non-toxic yoga mats are better for your health and the environment. Make the switch to a non-toxic yoga mat now!
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Our whole family loves doing online workouts and yoga routines at home. We don’t have enough yoga mats to go around (and the ones we have are breaking down – see image below), so I ordered a few more mats to try. In the past I’ve bought the cheapest mats I could find at TJ Maxx or Marshalls, but I learned there are lots of toxic chemicals that go into making the cheapest yoga mats.
A non-toxic yoga mat will cost you considerably more money than a cheap one. But considering the harmful chemicals that are in most yoga mats, I’m willing to make the switch. Beyond your yoga mat, look for non-toxic fitness and workout gear for your home gym, and also look for organic workout clothing.
Read on to find out more about how the chemicals in cheap yoga mats can affect your overall health.
Yoga mats, especially the $12 ones you get at TJ Maxx, are most commonly made from PVC, aka Polyvinyl Chloride. The plastic is made soft and pliable from the addition of phthalates. Phthalates are added to all sorts of common household items like cosmetics, containers for food and drinks and baby toys. Phthalates have been linked to a variety of health concerns, including endocrine disruption, impacts to reproductive systems and some forms of cancer (1, 2).
PVC may also contain traces of the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). A 2018 study linked BPA with significant changes in insulin response levels (3), and a 2019 study found a positive association between BPA and coronary heart disease (4). As another added health risk, toxic metals are used as stabilizers in PVC, including lead, a neurotoxin, and cadmium, a carcinogen (5).
Aside from the human health impacts, PVC is an environmental pollutant. During various stages of PVC production and disposal, dioxins and mercury are released into our air, water and soil (6). Dioxin is a well-known carcinogen and can affect the reproductive, immune, endocrine and neurological systems (7).
This is enough to convince me to switch out all of our PVC yoga mats for alternative, PVC-free options. Luckily there are brands that use non-toxic and eco-friendly materials in the construction of their yoga mats.
How To Clean Yoga Mats
Don’t use alcohol, petroleum-based solvents or high concentration essential oils on your yoga mat. These solutions can cause the mat to break down and dry out. Essential oils also may cause your mat to become slippery, and the smell may be overpowering if you use too much.
To disinfect your mat, combine of equal parts distilled water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz the solution on your mat, letting it sit for 10 minutes before wiping off. Alternatively, fill a spray bottle half full with distilled water and add witch hazel to 90% full. Tea tree oil can be added for disinfecting purposes, but this can be very concentrated, so a few drops are all you need. Alternatively, you can spray Force of Nature non-toxic disinfectant on the mat and wipe it off after 10 minutes.
To clean dirt & grime off your mat, put a few drops of dish soap (1 or 2 drops) in a spray bottle with warm water, shake to combine, and spritz on your mat. Wipe off with a damp towel.