How To Wash A Yoga Towel

Perhaps you recently attended your first yoga class and noticed many participants have a yoga towel. So, you decide to get yourself one. Upon receiving the towel, you decide you want to wash it before using it during class. However, you’re unsure about the care instructions. 

Maybe there isn’t a care label, so you’re left in the dark surrounding the best care practices. If that sounds like you (or perhaps we missed the mark, and you just want to know how to wash a yoga towel), you’re in the right place. Here’s what you need to know!

What Is A Yoga Towel?

Yoga towels are mat-sized towels featuring a soft, absorbent material. Some people use the towel as a substitute for a mat, while others use it as a topper for their yoga mat. The mat absorbs sweat, preventing you from slipping on your mat during a sweaty yoga session. 

Many folks use these for hot yoga, as they keep the mat sweat-free and safe to work on. Alternatively, some folks use yoga towels to create a barrier between themselves and a borrowed yoga mat. 

Yoga towels offer a bit of extra cushioning, so they’re great for added comfort throughout restorative yoga flows.

Popular Yoga Towel Brands

Dozens of brands manufacture yoga equipment, some more popular than others. A few brands stand out from the rest, which are known for reliability and good-quality products. Popular brands that offer yoga towels include:

  • prAna: This brand specializes in eco-friendly products, specifically activewear. Many of the company’s products are made from recycled wool, organic cotton, or recycled polyester. 
  • Alo: This brand has you covered for yoga and everything related to the class. Aside from activewear, this company offers bags, water bottles, shoes, mats, towels, and more. 
  • Manduka: This brand is a well-known face in the industry, selling clothing, towels, straps, bags, and mats. All of these products are eco-friendly, many of which are made from plant-based materials or organic cotton. 
  • Athleta: The trend of eco-friendly products continues with this brand – Its clothing is made of organic and recycled fabrics. Aside from clothing, they sell various yoga products, including towels and mats. 

Benefits Of Yoga Towels

Yoga towels are a solid addition to any yoga bag, alongside mats, blocks, bricks, and other helpful tools. Here are a few benefits of yoga towels:

  • Improves hygiene: Perhaps you left your yoga mat somewhere and had to borrow one from the studio. Instead of cringing the whole session, simply toss your yoga towel over the borrowed mat. Now, you have a hygienic barrier between you and the mat. 
  • Better grip: In grueling, sweaty yoga classes, such as hot yoga, sweat can make your yoga mat slippery. When you’re moving steadily through flows, this can become a slip hazard. Adding a yoga towel to the mat will absorb sweat as it falls, wicking away potential slipping hazards. 
  • Saves time: Washing your yoga mat can be quite the process. Since you can toss a yoga towel in the washer, you might find it easier to top your mat with a towel and save yourself from washing it so frequently. Of course, you still need to wipe down your mat, especially if you sweat profusely, but adding the towel might save some time. 
  • Extra cushioning: Yoga towels can be the perfect way to add cushioning to support sore joints. Most yoga towels are made of soft and comfortable materials, so the extra thickness is both ideal and comfortable for aching joints. 
  • No need for a second mat: Different types and styles of yoga work best with varying mat thicknesses. However, with a yoga towel, you can adjust the thickness of your mat based on your yoga style. Instead of buying a thick mat and a thinner mat, add and remove the towel as needed. 
  • Multipurpose: Although a yoga towel is technically designed for use in yoga, you can also use them at the gym, the beach, or at the pool. Some folks even use these as an alternative to yoga mats when traveling or practicing outdoors. 

How Often Should You Wash Your Yoga Towel?

Yoga towels are highly absorbent, so washing them regularly is essential, especially after a particularly sweaty class. It doesn’t hurt to wash the towel after each use, as you don’t want to let the sweat linger in the towel. 

Of course, lighter, less strenuous routines, like bedtime yoga or specific restorative yoga session, might not make you sweat. In this case, you might be able to wait a couple of uses before rewashing the mat. 

If you do hot yoga or more intense styles of yoga on your towel, you should definitely wash it after each use. 

How To Clean A Yoga Towel

The specific care instructions you should follow when washing your yoga towel may vary based on the brand and material. Many yoga towels are made of synthetic materials, such as polyester, but some are made from recycled fabrics or cotton.

Some towels even feature silicone dots at various points on the towel for extra traction to prevent the towel from slipping. Generally, care instructions are straightforward – you can usually wash them like regular activewear. 

If you have several yoga towels (or plan on washing multiple other things with the towel), make sure you wash with like colors. Sometimes, the colors will bleed onto each other. While the tie-dye look is lovely, it might not turn out so well on your towel or clothing. So, stick to washing your yoga towels with similar colors. 

Toss It In The Washer

The washing machine is a blessing awarded to modern times – it makes laundry so much easier! While most yoga towels can go in the washing machine, double-check with the care label or the manufacturer’s website for care instructions. 

As long as the care instructions approve cleaning in the washing machine, you shouldn’t have any issues. Be sure to wash the towel with similar colors, as you don’t want the colors to bleed. While this doesn’t happen as often as it used to with modern detergents and washing machines, it doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side. 

Toss the towel(s) into the washer and add a few similarly colored items needing to be washed if you’d like. If your towel features exotic colors or prints, you can always wash it alone or stick with hand washing. 

If you regularly wash activewear and yoga towels, it might not hurt to invest in a laundry detergent designed for activewear. Add the detergent to the drum (or dispenser drawer) and shut the lid. Be sure not to add any fabric softener, as it can leave a coating that soaks odor and makes the towel slick. 

Run the washing machine on a gentle setting and let it run. Once the washer is complete, remove the towel and set it on a laundry drying rack or a clothesline. If you don’t have either, take a couple of chairs and drape the towel over the back to dry. Really, you just want to ensure the towel dries completely before storing it. 

Don’t machine dry the towel, as the high temperatures could cause it to shrink. Don’t let the towel sit in the washer for too long, as it might get smelly. 

Wash By Hand

If you don’t have a washing machine (or it’s on strike) or prefer to hand wash the towel,  doing so is easy. You’ll need a sink or basin large enough to hold water and detergent for the towel. This will create a mini washer that makes hand-washing easy. 

Fill a sink or container with warm water, then add active laundry detergent. Mix them to create a sudsy mixture. Set the towel in the sink or basin, pushing it down so the entire surface is saturated. 

If the towel is smelly, let it soak in the sink for about half an hour before rinsing. If there are problem areas with dirt and grime, gently scrub those with a scrub brush. After removing dirt and grime, drain the water from the sink. Rinse the towel with warm water, then gently squeeze the excess moisture. 

Don’t wring out the water, as this can stretch the towel. After squeezing out as much water as you can, let the towel air dry. If the towel is too wet, use another towel to pat it dry before hanging it. Again, use a clothesline or laundry drying rack for hang drying. Use chairs as a makeshift drying rack if you don’t have one. 

How To Deodorize A Yoga Towel

After a sweltering, ultra-sweaty hot yoga session, your yoga towel might smell a bit ripe. Sometimes, a quick wash in the washing machine or by hand might not be enough to cut the stench. This can happen if the towel sits too long with sweat inside, allowing bacteria and grime to take hold. 

There’s no need to worry, though, as the fix is pretty simple. All you need is vinegar or baking soda. 

Use Vinegar

Vinegar works wonders as a deodorizer. Harness its power to tackle the stench that has taken up residence in your yoga towel by adding a cup to the load. If you wash the towel in a washing machine, simply add one cup to the load. Wash on the hot cycle (usually works better for deodorizing than cold water), then remove the towel and hang it out to dry. 

For particularly stinky towels, you might want to soak the towel in a vinegar water solution for about 30 minutes before washing it in the washer. Or, soak the towel in vinegar, then hand wash it as usual. 

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is another powerful deodorizer you can use on your yoga towels. Simply add ½ cup of baking soda to your washing machine when you wash the towel. The addition will help remove the stench from the towel and brighten and whiten the towel. 

Again, run the washer on a hot water cycle for the best results. You can dissolve baking soda in a sink full of water and soak the towel for extra deodorizing effects. Or, soak the towel in dissolved baking soda and hand wash as usual.