Is the Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga mat the answer?

I work out hard. Not only that, but when I do exercise, I sweat profusely. What I’m getting at is that I’m very hard on my yoga mats. When I’m done, there is enough water left on the mat to make a splash if I dropped a dime on it.  I try to remember to wipe the sweat off as soon as possible, and I sometimes use a spray cleaner or hydrogen peroxide / water mixture to wipe it clean. I’ve also tried putting my mats in the washing machine and I’ve put them in the bathtub with water and bleach. 
But despite all of these efforts, I just can’t seem to keep a mat for more than a few months without destroying it. It isn’t destroyed physically, but it smells mildewy.
I thought I had solved the problem when I found the Gaiam Reversible Travel Yoga Mat. I was also thrilled that it solved another problem I was having. I have always found yoga mats to be ungainly and hard to carry around and store. This mat folded up into the size of a T shirt and folded out and became a nice, but very thin, yoga mat. And I could put it in the washing machine and hang it to dry. One side was sticky-mat material and the other side was a more textured, comfortable material.
All was good in my world for a couple of months. Then the backing started to get too sticky. It became harder and harder to unfold after storage for a day or two. It became a noisy, sticky affair to remove the mat from the floor after a workout. I attributed the increased stickiness to the type of detergent I used in the washing machine. I choose a detergent that doesn’t have harsh chemicals and rinsing agents, and so I feel like some of the detergents didn’t rinse properly. 
It got so bad that one day I was working out at a friends house and when I went to peel my mat off the floor, it had stuck so strongly that it left a sticky, blue residue on his carpet. I was horrified. I figured I had destroyed his carpet. If it had been my carpet, it would have been destroyed.  I’m thankful he knew how to deal with it: (Oxyclean in a spray bottle squirted on the carpet and then scrubbed with a thick brush.)
I contacted Gaiam and told them about my problems and they offered to replace the mat with a new one. 
But now I’m back to my original problem of how to use a yoga mat for my workouts and clean it up afterwards. I’ll keep the travel mat, but I don’t think it'll be the answer. 

I welcome any comments on this topic as I am really not sure what to do next. Keep in mind that I'm using the mat for more than simple yoga. I'm working out. It's like calisthenics or gymnastics. And I sweat a lot. I also like to travel and workout on the road, so I'm not into carrying big heavy, bulky things. Any suggestions are welcome.  Please leave a comment.   Thanks.


Anonymous said…
havent really used a yoga mat, but i'll keep you posted!! love the emails, keep 'em coming!
Anonymous said…
Are you rolling your mat up while it's still damp? That might be a big part of your problem, if you are. Also, I've found that too much soap makes my mats behave weirdly...either being slippery or too sticky. A mixture that you can use is 2 cups water to 1-2 tsp tea tree oil (you can also add a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil.) You can lightly spray it on and let it air dry or wipe it down lightly to have it dry faster.
I hope this helps.
Mark said…
Hi Jason,
I do Bikram Yoga six times a week, use a Tree Mat (natural rubber) of Yoga-Mad for half a year now and it is still in good condition and still smells like rubber. I use a towel on the mat, so most of the sweat is soaked by the towel. I never used soap or any other chemical substance to clean it. Just water and only the topside (the sweat doesn't go through te mat). The mat is quite heavier than a 'normal' mat and also a bit more expensive, but I think my mat will last for at least another half year.
Have fun,
Thanks Mark.

I have since purchased a Manduka Travel mat which is heavy duty but super thin and excellent for travelling. And I got a "Skidless" yoga towel by YogaToes to put on top of it.

There are silicone nibs on the back of the towel so it sticks to the mat, and I can throw the Skidless in the wash and simply wipe off the top of the Manduka mat.

This seems to be an acceptable solution and one that will last for a while, but I will remember your suggestion about the Tree Mat because I like the idea that it's all natural. And when I need to replace the system I have now, I will look into that.

By the way, I did contact Gaiam about the problem I was having with their mat and they said they hadn't heard of anyone else having the problem. But they replaced the mat for me. They also suggested not using detergent when I washed it.
Anonymous said…
I'd quickly developed a latex allergy to a series of Jade mats quickly worn out at home. When moving around, I have tried the glorified beach towel that you display in your post. It wears out very quickly and loses its grip; and neither side provides any cushioning ...

I know it is not cheap, but the Aurorae Synergy Mat-Towel is worth considering. You can wash it in a washing machine with regular detergent. And it (and your sweat) provides grip and cushioning. It is rather light, very packable, and weighs less than 2 lbs.
Thanks Tina, I am intrigued by that yoga mat-towel. I had been using something similar that I got from Lululemon, for about the same price. And it was making me happy since I could just throw it in the wash.
But I left it at Omega institute the last time I was there and haven't replaced it.
I'm going to look into it. I like the idea of using a towel like thing more than a big bulky, rubbery thing.

I found this link:

It looks like they're having a sale, so I should grab it now.

Thanks again.

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