Mat Cleaning Comparison
New CDC cleaning protocols to ensure the safety of staff and customers have resulted in a proliferation of vendors selling cleaning technologies with efficacy claims that are not always easy to understand.
UVC light, to eradicate pathogens on exercise and yoga mats, is one such example. Despite some companies’ claims, a couple of bulbs in their machine, no matter how expensive, does little to make studio-owned mats safe for staff to handle or for customer-owned mats to use.
MatFresher, the patent-pending mat cleaning machine, offers a number of advantages in safety, convenience and cost. Here’s a comparison of MatFresher to Matsana.
UVC Can Be Effective
First, it’s important to understand that UVC light is proven to be highly effective in sanitizing surfaces. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple as just turning on a switch. Two critical requirements are that 1) the proper amount or dosage is applied and 2) the surface is flat.
According to international public safety and health organizations, the UVC “gold standard” to provide protection from disease-causing microorganisms is at least 40,000 microwatts per centimeter squared. Cleaning machines that output less don’t meet that standard. And they can’t be relied on to effectively remove 99.99% of bacteria and viruses — as specified by the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF).
Not By Itself
The Center for Disease Control makes clear that UVC light is only effective where the light can penetrate and is less effective on irregular surfaces like yoga and exercise mats, where a secondary disinfectant is prudent. This is especially important with textured and open cell exercise mats – the kind designed to stop slipping and sliding when sweaty. Yoga mat cleaning machines need to provide this second modality in the form of a cleaning solution — one that is completely organic, safe for face down, costs you nothing and makes the mat smell fresh and clean. It’s the only way to penetrate below the surface, where germs like to hide and proliferate.
What About Hair and Dirt?
UV light and cleaning liquids can’t remove hair, dust and dirt. Recommendations by vendors to towel clean a mat before you use their machine seems senseless – and totally unhygienic. And what about the added expense of the wipes and towels that the machine was supposed to replace? When selecting your cleaning machine, look for one that starts with bristle brushes, the third cleaning modality, to effectively eliminate these problems.
Sweaty, Smelly Mats
Hot yoga is popular. And mats become soaked with sweat. No wonder they emit what is referred to as “yogaroma”! Why is it then that some vendors advise that “mat health” requires drying a mat before using their machine? If following a vendor’s instructions means having to first to manually dry a mat, it seems the health of the user has been forgotten.
How Much Does This Cost?
While it’s true there are vendors selling machines that don’t actually do what they advertise, it’s NOT true that well-engineered machines need to cost you money. During times like these, when owner/operators can least afford to invest in cleaning products, it’s important to identify products that MAKE you money instead of cost you money while keeping staff and students safe.