How to Clean BJJ Mats

How to Clean BJJ Mats

In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and other martial arts, the cleanliness of the training environment cannot be overstated. BJJ, a martial art that emphasizes ground fighting and grappling, requires practitioners to spend a significant amount of time in close contact with the mats. This makes understanding how to clean BJJ mats not just a matter of hygiene but of health and safety. Clean mats are essential for preventing the spread of infections and ensuring that athletes can train in a safe and hygienic environment.

Highlighting the Risks of Not Maintaining Clean Mats

Neglecting the cleanliness of BJJ mats can lead to several health risks, including the spread of bacterial and fungal infections. Mats that are not properly cleaned and disinfected can become breeding grounds for bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and fungi responsible for conditions such as Ringworm and Athlete's Foot. These infections can spread rapidly among practitioners, leading to outbreaks that can severely impact a gym’s operations and its members' health.

Why Cleaning BJJ Mats is Crucial

The Threat of Bacterial and Fungal Infections

When it comes to why knowing how to clean BJJ mats is crucial, the potential for bacterial and fungal infections tops the list. Infections such as Staph, MRSA, and Ringworm are not only highly contagious but can also sideline athletes, affecting their training and competitive readiness. Regular and effective cleaning is essential to eliminate these pathogens, ensuring the health and safety of everyone who steps onto the mat.

Impact on Mat Longevity and Gym Environment

Beyond health concerns, the cleanliness of BJJ mats also affects their longevity and the overall health of the gym environment. Dirt, sweat, and bacteria can degrade mat materials over time, leading to faster wear and tear. By maintaining a rigorous cleaning routine, gyms can extend the life of their mats, ensuring a sustainable practice environment. Furthermore, a clean gym is more inviting and conducive to training, reflecting well on the gym's management and its commitment to member welfare.

Types of BJJ Mats

BJJ gyms typically use one of two types of mats: tatami or smooth surface. Each has its specific characteristics and cleaning considerations.

Tatami Mats

Tatami mats, known for their textured surface, provide excellent grip but can pose a challenge when cleaning. Their textured nature means they can harbor more bacteria and debris, requiring thorough scrubbing and appropriate disinfectants that can penetrate these crevices without damaging the mat.

Smooth Surface Mats

Smooth surface mats are easier to clean due to their flat surface but can become slippery when wet. When cleaning these mats, it’s important to use a disinfectant that does not leave a residue, ensuring the safety of practitioners during training.

In learning how to clean BJJ mats, regardless of type, it’s crucial to use the right cleaning materials and techniques to ensure effectiveness without damaging the mats. Proper maintenance not only keeps infections at bay but also ensures a welcoming and safe environment for the martial arts community.

Preparing to Clean Your BJJ Mats

A range of Matguard cleaning products displayed on the edge of a BJJ mat, ready for use to maintain hygiene and safety.

Before diving into the specifics of how to clean BJJ mats, it's crucial to gather the right materials and prepare the area for cleaning. Using the correct cleaning solutions and tools is essential to ensure that the mats are not only clean but also not damaged in the process.

List of Materials and Cleaning Solutions Needed

  • Non-Abrasive Cleaners: Opt for cleaners that effectively disinfect without damaging the mat surface. Harsh chemicals can degrade the mat material over time, so it's important to use solutions specifically designed for gym mats.
  • Matguard EZ Pour: Ideal for large-scale surfaces, this solution is designed for easy application and effective disinfection.
  • Surface Wipes: Perfect for quick clean-ups and spot cleaning, these wipes are convenient for maintaining cleanliness throughout the day.
  • Surface Spray: A versatile option for both large areas and smaller surfaces that need attention.

Steps to Prepare the Area

  1. Remove Surface Dirt and Debris: Sweep or vacuum the mats to remove any loose dirt, hair, or debris that could interfere with the disinfecting process.
  2. Ventilate the Area: Ensure good air circulation to help the mats dry faster after cleaning and to disperse any fumes from cleaning solutions.
  3. Organize Cleaning Supplies: Have all your cleaning materials readily available and organized for efficient cleaning.

Cleaning Process

Daily Cleaning Routine

Maintaining a daily cleaning routine is vital for keeping BJJ mats hygienic and safe for use. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Sweep or Vacuum: Start by removing any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the mats.
  2. Disinfect: Use the Matguard EZ Pour for large areas, ensuring even coverage. For spot cleaning or smaller areas, surface sprays or surface wipes are more convenient.
  3. Wipe Down: After applying the disinfectant, use a clean, non-abrasive mop or cloth to wipe the mats. Ensure the cloth is damp but not overly wet to avoid excess moisture.
  4. Air Dry: Allow the mats to air dry completely before using them again. This may take a few hours, depending on ventilation.

Deep Cleaning Schedule

Deep cleaning should be an integral part of your maintenance routine, performed monthly or bi-monthly, depending on usage levels.

  1. Thorough Cleaning: Use a soft-bristled brush with a non-abrasive cleaner for a deeper clean. This helps remove any buildup in the texture of tatami mats or any areas that are frequently used.
  2. Disinfecting: Apply a disinfectant thoroughly over the mats, ensuring all areas are covered. For deep cleaning, a more concentrated solution may be necessary.
  3. Rinsing (If Needed): If your cleaner requires rinsing, use a damp mop to remove any residue, ensuring not to oversaturate the mats.
  4. Drying: It's crucial to let the mats dry completely. Consider using fans to accelerate the drying process, especially in humid conditions.

The Importance of Thoroughly Drying Mats

Preventing mold and mildew growth is paramount for maintaining a healthy training environment. Moisture is the enemy in this battle, so ensuring mats are thoroughly dried after cleaning cannot be overstated. Mold and mildew not only pose health risks but can also cause unpleasant odors and degrade mat quality over time.

Incorporating these steps into your gym’s maintenance routine ensures that your BJJ mats remain clean, safe, and inviting for all members. Proper cleaning and care of your mats reflect the overall quality and hygiene standards of your facility, making it a place where martial artists can focus on their training with peace of mind.

Natural vs. Chemical Cleaners

When it comes to how to clean BJJ mats, the debate between using natural versus chemical cleaners is significant. Each type of cleaner has its benefits and drawbacks, especially in the context of cleaning and maintaining the hygiene of BJJ mats.

Pros and Cons of Using Natural Cleaners


  • Eco-Friendly: Natural cleaners, such as vinegar-based solutions, are environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
  • Safety: Generally safer for people with allergies or sensitivities, as they contain fewer irritants.


  • Effectiveness: May not be as effective against certain bacteria and viruses as chemical cleaners.
  • Residue: Some natural cleaners can leave a residue on mats, which requires additional rinsing.

Advantages of Matguard Products

Matguard products stand out as a superior option for cleaning BJJ mats, thanks to their hospital-grade Isopropyl Alcohol (70%) and a patented germ-killing agent. Here's why Matguard products are preferred:

  • Hospital-Grade Disinfection: The 70% isopropyl alcohol content, measured by weight, is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses, ensuring a high level of disinfection.
  • Safe and Non-Corrosive: Unlike many chemical cleaners that contain harsh bleaches, Matguard's patented formula is designed to be safe on skin and not corrosive to equipment, mats, or uniforms.
  • No Mixing Required: Ready-to-use with no need for dilution or mixing, making it convenient and user-friendly.
  • Quick Drying and Non-Oily: The formula is designed to dry quickly and leave no oily residue, ensuring mats are ready for use shortly after cleaning.

Safety Tips When Using Chemical Cleaners

  • Wear Protective Gear: Gloves and, if necessary, masks should be worn to prevent skin and respiratory irritation.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure the area is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Follow Instructions: Always use according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damage to the mats and ensure effective cleaning.

Preventative Measures and Best Practices

Reducing Dirt and Bacteria

  • No-Shoe Policies: Enforcing a no-shoe policy on the mats minimizes the amount of dirt and bacteria brought onto the surface.
  • Personal Hygiene: Encourage practitioners to maintain good personal hygiene, including clean uniforms and showering before training.

Recommendations on BJJ Mat Maintenance and Inspection

  • Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect mats for signs of wear and tear, moisture buildup, or other issues that could compromise their cleanliness and safety.
  • Prompt Repairs: Address any damage or issues promptly to prevent them from worsening or affecting the overall hygiene of the mats.
  • Scheduled Deep Cleaning: In addition to daily cleaning, schedule regular deep cleaning sessions to thoroughly disinfect and maintain the mats in top condition.

By following these guidelines on how to clean BJJ mats, using the appropriate cleaning products like Matguard, and implementing preventative measures, gym owners and practitioners can ensure a clean, safe, and hygienic training environment. This not only protects the health of everyone involved but also extends the life and quality of the mats, making it a wise investment in the long-term success of the gym.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning BJJ Mats

In the pursuit of how to clean BJJ mats effectively, certain pitfalls can not only hinder the cleaning process but can also potentially damage your mats or make them unsafe for use. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Over-Using Water

One of the biggest mistakes is over-wetting the mats. Excessive water can seep into the seams and underneath the mats, creating a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Always use a damp cloth or mop rather than a soaking one, and ensure the mats are thoroughly dried after cleaning.

Using Harsh Chemicals

While it's crucial to disinfect the mats, using harsh chemicals can degrade the mat material over time, leading to cracks and tears. These chemicals can also be harmful to practitioners, causing skin irritation or respiratory issues.

Neglecting Daily Cleaning

Skipping daily cleaning and only relying on deep cleaning sessions can allow bacteria and viruses to proliferate, increasing the risk of infections among gym members.

Ignoring Manufacturer's Instructions

Not adhering to the cleaning instructions provided by the mat manufacturer can lead to damage. Always consult these guidelines to ensure you’re using compatible cleaning products and methods.

Why Over-Wetting the Mats is Harmful

Over-wetting can cause several issues, including slipping hazards, mold and mildew growth, and deterioration of the mat material. Ensure that mats are only lightly dampened during cleaning and are allowed to dry completely before their next use.

Maintaining clean BJJ mats is not just about aesthetics; it's about ensuring the health, safety, and longevity of the training environment. Understanding how to clean BJJ mats properly helps prevent the spread of infections, extends the life of the mats, and contributes to a positive and welcoming gym atmosphere. By adopting consistent cleaning habits and using the appropriate cleaning methods and solutions, such as those offered by Matguard, gym owners and practitioners can ensure that their BJJ mats remain in top condition.

FAQs on How to Clean BJJ Mats

What is the best cleaner to use on BJJ mats?

For optimal cleanliness and safety, use a cleaner specifically designed for gym mats, like Matguard products, which contain 70% isopropyl alcohol and are formulated to be effective without damaging the mats.

How often should I clean my BJJ mats?

Daily cleaning is recommended to maintain a hygienic training environment. However, the frequency can vary based on usage. High-traffic gyms may require more frequent cleaning.

Can I use bleach to clean my BJJ mats?

While bleach is effective for disinfection, its harshness can damage the mat material over time. It's better to use non-abrasive, gym-specific cleaners that are designed to be safe for both the mats and practitioners.

Is it necessary to rinse the mats after using a disinfectant?

This depends on the cleaner used. Some disinfectants, especially those formulated for gym mats, do not require rinsing. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Why is over-wetting the mats harmful?

Over-wetting can lead to moisture being trapped beneath the mats, creating an environment conducive to mold and mildew growth. It can also increase the drying time, potentially disrupting gym schedules.

Can natural cleaners like vinegar be used on BJJ mats?

While natural cleaners are eco-friendly and less harsh, they may not be as effective against all types of germs and viruses. If using natural cleaners, ensure they are suitable for disinfection and compatible with the material of your mats.

What protective gear should I use when cleaning the mats?

Wearing gloves is recommended to protect your skin from irritation, especially when using chemical disinfectants. If using a product that emits strong fumes, consider wearing a mask as well.

How can I ensure the mats dry completely after cleaning?

After cleaning, allow the mats to air dry completely before use. Enhance drying by increasing air circulation in the area with fans or open windows, particularly in humid conditions.

What are some preventative measures to keep my BJJ mats clean?

Implementing no-shoe policies, encouraging personal hygiene among practitioners, and using mat disinfectant wipes or sprays between sessions can significantly reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria on the mats.