Does Your Sticky Mat Need More Stick? Advice from the Yogi Muse.

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Jan 11, 2014
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michelle yogi muse

Dear Yogi Muse:

I have a sticky mat that has seen better days. It has lost its stick. But I just don’t want to buy a new mat. Do you have any advice?

Slippery in Seattle

Dear Slippery,

Before you slip slide away, I do have an opinion. (When do I not?) And this might also work if you’ve received a new mat over the holidays from your fairy yoga-god-mother.

I recently tried this after getting a new Manduka mat. Some mats come with an invisible coating that protect the mat from disintegrating during shipping. Manduka recommends wiping it down with something natural. For me, that worked about as well as breathing during childbirth. Frankly, I needed something stronger to deal with the pain.

So I searched around and found this helpful hint from which will work on a new mat, or one that has gotten grimy with sweat and oil. Take a bucket of water and add 1/2 cup of your favorite grease-fighting laundry detergent. Soak two cotton towels in it. Cover your mat with the detergent-soaked towels and let sit. I soaked mine for 30 minutes. Then rinse with fresh water and blot up any residue with a clean dry towel. Let dry completely.

This worked like a charm. My mat is about as sticky as any mat can be. More on that below.


Dear Yogi Muse:

What is the best yoga mat?

Curious in Curacao

Dear Curious:

I wish I knew. I have tried just about every mat and decided that there is no one perfect yoga mat, nor does one mat fit all. Different yogis have different needs. Some yogis require more cushion, others find that disrupts balance. Some yogis like to practice on a towel, others find that distracting. If you want to see a yogi get unyogic, talk about kale, gluten or their yoga mat.

You have to do what is right for you. For me, I was using a mat that had great stick, but was disintegrating every six months. I could no longer toss mats in a landfill and expect to have a good return in my next life. So my most important criteria these days are sustainability and stickiness, in that order. I look for mats that are made from either recycled or natural materials, from companies that will take their mat back and recycle it if you are unhappy.

Since sustainability is my most important concern, if I need more traction I wear socks that have grippy nubs on the sole. Some people think it makes your practice too easy, but at my age, a fall would be a disaster. It would be almost as a bad as an unfortunate return from putting too many mats in the landfill.

If you have questions for the Yogi Muse, please contact through her website,


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About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at And you can take her classes on


4 Responses to “Does Your Sticky Mat Need More Stick? Advice from the Yogi Muse.”

  1. Michelle Marchildon says:

    If you have other good ideas on how to clean your yoga mat, and keep it sticky, please post it here. Although the Yogi Muse is witty and wry, she is not perfect. Thank you.

  2. Tinvin says:

    Ya that sticky extra slippy new Manduka mat… just a few practices or wipe they say. Didn't work for me either. I even tried the heavy duty cleaning liquid to no avail. Eventually I just put the mat outside on the deck in summer sun all day for three straight days. That worked.

  3. @swellyoga says:

    to get the "new" coating off of the manduka mats i use a generous amount of sea salt & water and scrub like i mean it. then i lay them out in the sun for a few hours. after that you will have a spiderman like grip in your down dog!

  4. Mark says:

    Take some tonic water in a cup and sprinkle it all over your mat, wipe it down with a microfiber towel so your entire mat is saturated, then let it sit until the tonic water dries, you’ll get a more grippy surface almost instantly.