Yoga mat is not grippy
October 12, 2007 9:36 AM   Subscribe

How do I make my yoga/exercise mat stickier, so my hands and feet don't slip around when I'm sweaty?

I did see this earlier question, which makes me suspect that I might have better success just buying a new/different mat, but I'd like to see if there's some way I can improve the one I've got first, mostly out of pure stubbornness. That is actually one of the rental mats from a yoga studio that they sold to me for a dollar, so it's already seen some use. I thought of just spraying scotch guard or something on it, but I don't want subsequently ingest it through my skin.
posted by whir to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
scotch guard is NOT the answer. If this were a new mat, the answer is to wash it (very little soap and get all the soap off), works best to hose it down outside, or if you live in an apt. with no outdoor access, do it in the bathtub. I love using Dr. Bonner liquid lavender soap, it leaves a subtle lavender scent on your mat). New mats ARE slippery until you use them a while, it is frustrating, but worth the wait to break them in. But given this is a used mat (which to be honest, I wouldn't use. the whole point of having your own mat is so you don't have to use mats that other people's feet and faces have been on), sounds like it is slippery because of something that's been used to clean it, or anti-bacterial spray that's been used. Try washing to see if that helps, but I'd seriously consider buying a new mat and breaking it in yourself. Namaste.
posted by Lylo at 9:47 AM on October 12, 2007

I always put a towel on top of my mat.
posted by spec80 at 9:50 AM on October 12, 2007

I put a microfiber towel on top. There are mat-sized ones marketed for hot yoga.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 10:05 AM on October 12, 2007

I got one of these yoga towels off of eBay. It is awesome. I have majorly sweaty hands and feet, and yoga was a pain with even "sticky" mats. Microfiber towels work as well, but I love having one that fits the length of my mat and has those grippy things on the bottom to keep it attached to the mat. The other benefit is that you can throw it in the wash pretty often, and just tend to your mat when it gets extra gross.
posted by barnone at 10:22 AM on October 12, 2007

Seconding barnone, the skidless towel has helped a lot.
posted by shothotbot at 11:37 AM on October 12, 2007

A microfiber towel really does make all the difference.
posted by smich at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2007

Camping stores used to sell a product that helped - you'd spray it on a thermarest mat so your sleeping bag didn't slip. Worked great. Call REI.
posted by docpops at 12:09 PM on October 12, 2007

I second spec80 on just using a regular towel on top of the mat. Of course, a towel can be a little slippery before you start sweating on it, but this is easily remedied by sprinkling some water on it before you start class.

The skidless towel is probably even better, but a regular bath towel is cheaper and more multipurpose (since you bought your yoga mat used, it seems not unlikely that you are on a budget.) Its slightly lower overall stickiness can even be an advantage, as it makes you work a bit harder and thereby improves strength. Or so I've been told.
posted by fermion at 12:11 PM on October 12, 2007

Lylo has the best answer.

Wash with hot water and a mild soap, let dry. That is the best treatment to restore the stickiness to this kind of plastic. It gets less sticky as it gets dirtier because the dirt and dust is less sticky than the plastic. So, cleaning it makes it sticky again.

Do not use ScotchGuard, that will make it slippier if anything, by permanently blocking the sticky sites on the mat.
posted by bonehead at 12:42 PM on October 12, 2007

The bikram (hot room) yoga class at the gym I work at specifically ask for Clorox disinfecting wipes to make their mats stickier. It seems the sanitizing spray and the generic/bulk wipes we supply just make it slicker. Never tried it myself.

There are also yoga sock with grippies on the bottom that could help.
posted by idiotfactory at 3:07 PM on October 12, 2007

i can wash my mat all i want, but it will NEVER be as good as the yogitoes (the skidless towel linked to above.) when i bought mine, the best deal was at pricey, but SO SO worth it. changed my entire yoga experience for the better.
posted by apostrophe at 8:13 PM on October 12, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I've washed my mat and it's drying now. (Not sure why I didn't think about that before.) Having had a close look at the thing has made me suspect that it's near the end of its useful life one way or another - the plastic near the top and bottom ends is looking pretty smooth.

I looked into the yogitoes, but I couldn't find them nearby for less than $50, which seemed pretty spendy for a mat that only cost me $1 to begin with. What I'll probably try next is:

* Trying out the mat again once it's dry.
* Trying it out with a towel.
* Buying a new mat.
* Buying yogitoes.

A towel would actually be handy to have anyways, since I tend to sweat a lot; the only thing that worries me is that it'll be too bulky to carry in my little yoga mat bag. Anyways, I'll report back here with what I find in case anyone is curious.
posted by whir at 12:26 AM on October 15, 2007

Try a small/thin microfiber towel. They cling to the mat and don't move around as much as regular large towels that get all folded under scrunched toes and moving hands. You can get them at REI and discount camping places, as well as Target-type places once in a while.
posted by barnone at 8:17 PM on October 15, 2007

Response by poster: Hey, as an update to this, the yoga mat is a little better after having been washed off (with Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, coincidentally) and is a little better now, though I think I'm also sweating a bit less as well. It's not perfect, but I am at least able to do like a downward dog without having to grasp the side of the mat with my hands by the end of a session.

Next time I'll bring in a little dish/hand towel I can put up near the top of my mat where my hands go, and I'm going to keep my eyes out for a microfiber one. I suspect I'll probably just wind up shelling out the money for a new mat eventually, though. Anyways, thanks for all the advice.
posted by whir at 5:28 PM on November 14, 2007

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