What Should (and Shouldn’t) Be in Your Mat Cleaner

Cleaning has been at the top of the conversation for martial arts, yoga, and fitness facilities for the last year. Even before COVID-19 entered the world’s vocabulary, keeping facilities clean was a top priority for facility owners. Martial arts, yoga, and fitness involve sweating and people close to each other. This increases the potential for spreading bacteria both on facility equipment and between members. 

How to Properly Clean Your Martial Arts Mats

It is very important to consider the type of martial arts mats you are cleaning and the material they’re made of. Most martial arts and fitness mats are covered with vinyl, which can be harmed by certain cleaning products. It is also important to consider the type of cleaner you use on your mats.  

Two popular types of martial arts mats cleaners are rinse and no-rinse formulas. Rinse formulas work by clinging to dirt and bacteria, and are then washed away with water, bringing the dirt and bacteria off the surface with them. Rinse formulas are not right for mats, however. The copious amounts of water required to rinse the cleaner off can damage the mats, allowing water to penetrate into the foam and cause mold and mildew. Without rinsing, the film will stay on the mats. This will lead to slippery mats, which can cause injuries while training. The film will also cling to bacteria and dirt, forming an unhealthy surface for your members. No rinse formulas can be used to negate harmful bacteria and clean off surface dirt, leaving your mats clean and dry. 

An Important Factor to Consider

One of the most important factors in choosing a mat cleaner is the ingredients. Look for ingredients that will disinfect your mats and clean them, while ensuring the ingredients included will not be harmful to your mats. In martial arts, fitness, and yoga mats, look for a neutral disinfectant. It will be strong enough to break down dirt and negate bacteria, but not strong enough to cause harm to the vinyl. Look to see if your mat cleaner works to kill COVID-19. Zebra’s Quat Plus TB & Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant are listed by the EPA and the Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) as Disinfectant products that are effective under the EPA’s Emerging Viral Pathogen guidelines for killing the COVID-19 Virus (under EPA number 47371-131-527). Bleach is a particularly harmful cleaning product and can lead to a breakdown of vinyl. If bleach or another strong cleaner can’t be avoided, dilute the cleaner as much as possible.   

No matter what cleaner you choose, make sure that you are using the correct tools as well. Any cleaning tool with a harsh or rough surface may damage your mats by leaving scuff marks or tears. A rough cleaning tool may also wear down your mats and cause discoloration and tears. Zebra’s Micro-Fiber Scrubber Pad is a great option for gym scrubbers; it’s soft enough to clean your mats while the microfiber lifts and locks in dirt and bacteria.   

Choosing the right mat cleaner is important for the health and longevity of your mats. Use Zebra’s Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant or a similar product for clean mats and healthy students.