Why Is It Essential to Clean BJJ Mats?

Why Is It Essential to Clean BJJ Mats?

1. Overview

Mats are the most important part of BJJ training. So, whether you are training in a gym or in your personal space, it is important to clean BJJ mats, personal gears, and Gi uniforms, and take care of personal hygiene before and after rolling.

Can you imagine training on a dirty mat full of dust, sweat, hair, and even blood droplets? Of course not, as no one wants to make contact with viruses, germs, skin diseases, ringworms, Staphylococcal infections, impetigo, herpes, and warts.

Hence, BJJ practitioners cannot show any type of neglect regarding clean BJJ mats. It is highly recommended to make a regular habit of cleaning BJJ mats and the most common cleaning methods includes washing, using a vacuum and mopping.

With just a little consideration, time, and effort, you can make your training space free from germs and bacteria and keep yourself and your teammates healthy.

2. Keeping Check of Your Personal Hygiene

BJJ is a lifestyle, it is self-confidence, health, and mental balance
(Pedro Valente)

BJJ is not only limited to fighting and self-defence training. In fact, it is  a well-organised discipline to lead a balanced life with a healthy body and sound mind.  The use of clean BJJ mat  is not enough to protect yourself from viruses, bacteria, and skin diseases.

 But taking care of your personal hygiene is also essential to avoid different health risks.  Always keep in mind that your positive actions and habits will inspire your teammates also.

Therefore, follow these most recommended tips to maintain your own hygiene to keep yourself and your team-mates fit. Furthermore, it is a great way to show your personal dedication and commitment towards BJJ training.

2.1. Taking Shower

We all know that practitioners sweat a lot during intense BJJ training sessions.. The BJJ mats are covered with this sweat, dirt, and give way to bacterial infections.

So, it is recommended to take a shower with antibacterial soap immediately after each training session. Try not to share your soap and towel with others.. If you don't have time for a shower, then wash your hands and face thoroughly as they are the most exposed areas and prone to bacterial infections.

2.2. Washing GI Uniform, Gears, and Belts Regularly

It is mandatory to wash your uniform after every training session. You can easily wash it by adding a little amount of color-safe bleach and a cup of vinegar to the washing bucket or machine. It will protect you from harmful bacteria and will also remove bad odour.

2.3. Cleaning Gym-bag

If you are habitual of carrying any bag to a gym with an extra uniform, towel, and shirt, then make sure to disinfect it every time you reach home. Moreover, it is wise to disinfect your ankle braces and knee braces repeatedly as they  also make  contact with the mats and   sweaty skin of other teammates.

2.4. Brushing Teeth

It is better to always come to the BJJ mats with brushed teeth so your training mate won’t get offended by the bad breath.

2.5. Trimming Finger and Toe Nails

Always trim your finger and toenails before the BJJ class as they can scratch you and your training partner during fighting practice.

2.6. Tie Your Hair Properly

Loose hair can be quite irritating for you and for your trainer, so always tie them properly before preparing for training. Hair is quite vulnerable to bacterial infection that can be easily contracted from BJJ mats.

2.7. Using Body Spray

Obviously, all people love to have a good body odour but intense sweating can make it difficult, so always use a body spray before and after BJJ training to avoid the unpleasant situation with your team.

2.8. Covering All Cuts

Open cuts and wounds are at risk of catching bacterial infections, so always clean them properly, then put a bandage on them.

2.9. Using Slippers for Bathroom

Whenever you leave the mat to use the bathroom, make sure that you always use separate bathroom slippers, and then clean your feet with wipes before returning to the mat.

2.10. Removing All Jewellery on Mats

Any silver or gold ornaments can hurt you or your grappling partner will always remove them before rolling on a mat.

2.11. Limiting Skin Exposure

Always try to wear shirts with long sleeves, GI, and rash guards in case of open skin wounds to avoid bacterial infection via skin contact while training with others.

2.12. Take a Break When Sick

Physical health must be the top priority for any BJJ fighter, so if you are feeling sick, then just take a break from the training session to avoid physical contact with anyone during the fighting session.

2.13. Use Hand-Gel Before Training

The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is well- recommended before and after training and bouts to avoid the risk of contracting viruses or bacteria.

3. Types of BJJ Mats

Typically, BJJ mats that are used for personal and commercial use have an inner core material with an outer surface layer. The three commonly used mats are:

  1. Puzzle Mats (absorbing foam - EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate). EVA foam is very flexible with water-resistance. It is very easy to clean, wipe, and disinfect these mats.
  2. Rollout mats (made of polyethylene foam, which is smooth with a textured vinyl surface layer. These mats are easy to set and tear down with more durability and resilience.
  3. Judo-style mats (rectangular in shape, having side hooks and loop connectors, and made of  polyurethane foam (XPE high rebound foam).

All of these mats are durable and of premium-quality, but they can cause the spread of germs, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. So, you cannot ignore the regular practice of cleaning the mats directly after training. It is also to be noted that each mat has a different cleansing and sterilisation method.

3.1. Why Do BJJ Mats Get Dirty?

During the fighting practice, the surfaces of the mats get covered with sweat, blood stains, hair, dust, dirt, body oils, nails, and all types of bacteria and viruses.

Basically, you need to follow the two basic steps to clean BJJ Mats.

  1. Getting rid of dirt, dust, and loose material.
  2. Sanitising the mats.

3.2. At What Time Should You Wash BJJ Mats?

  • Don’t be reluctant to clean the BJJ mats to remove the dirt and dust after every training as it is not a time-taking activity.
  • All the training institutes may differ in size and quantity of mats, so time to clean all mats with disinfecting may vary also.
  • All mats (used for training and in changing rooms) must undergo a deep cleansing session at the end of the day.
  • All the surfaces that are in physical touch with people must be cleaned.
  • The hidden gaps between the mats must be cleaned after every six months at the training institutes.
  • The floor beneath the mats must also be cleaned, mopped, and vacuumed before setting the mats back.

4. Use of BJJ Mats Cleaners

  • You can easily wash your mats with BJJ cleaners compared to plain water. It makes the cleaning easier and soaks quite easily into the mats. It helps in removing the stains and bad smells from the mats.
  • Wherever you go for groceries  you can pick up the best BJJ cleaning products.
  • You may get confused with many products. But you just need to keep in mind while purchasing the BJJ cleaners that they must be free from harmful toxins that can damage your skin and mats. Usually, vinyl foams and rubber mats are relatively durable but still, some cleaning products may contain harmful chemicals to harm the mats in the long term.
  • You can also test a cleaning product on any mat before buying a whole month’s supply.

Following are the tips to buy the best BJJ cleaners available in the market. 4.1 Spray

The cleaner you are buying must be available in a spray, so you can easily spray on mats to remove stains whenever needed.

4.1. Fragrance

Due to intensive sweating on mats, it is more vulnerable to the growth of fungi which results in a bad smell. So, it is really important that you select a BJJ Cleaner with a mild and pleasant fragrance to feel fresh while training.

4.2. Germ Killing Power

Make sure to buy an effective BJJ mat cleaner having the power to kill all the germs and remove stains from the BJJ mats.

4.3. Sugar Soap

Sugar soap is also used widely to clean the BJJ mats. It is called sugar soap because of its powder form. It is easy to use and removes all types of dirt and oily substances from the mat. One thing you must remember, it is just a cleaning soap but not a disinfectant.

4.4. Mild Disinfectant

The BJJ mat cleaner having the properties of disinfectant is helpful in cleaning the BJJ mats to get rid of infectious diseases like HPV, staph infections, skin diseases, and ringworm.

4.5. Bleach Cleaner

At times, sugar soap or mild disinfectant is not enough to clean the BJJ mats, so then you can choose a bleach solution to remove all types of germs and bacteria. But, you need to remember that this is a good option for rubber mats but it is harsh on vinyl surfaces. So, bleach solution is not an ideal one to clean all types of BJJ mats.

5. Useful Steps to Clean BJJ Mats

5.1. Sweep or Dry Mop

The first useful step to cleaning BJJ mats is using a broom with soft bristles to get rid of dust, hairs, nails, or any other hard material. Dry sweeping and mopping are essential before moving on to cleaning spray or wet mopping.

5.2. Vacuum

We all know that getting rid of dust and other loose substances keeps us away from diseases. So dry mops and vacuum cleaners help in removing the dust easily.. It is recommended to do vacuuming of the BJJ mats once a day. Vacuum cleaners are very easy to use with their effective suction power and a single move around function on the mats.

5.3. Spray it on BJJ Mats

You can also use a spray bottle to spray disinfectants and clean the BJJ mats. But, it is more convenient for home-based training. In the BJJ gyms, you need a lot of time and effort to clean bigger mat spaces.

5.4. Sanitise and Disinfect BJJ Mats

The commercially available cleaners are a safe and reliable way to clean BJJ mats. But, always follow the leaflet instructions for using these cleaners as they require proper dilution. So, it is advisable to use it with the correct amount for effective sanitation and disinfectants. It is better to use a canister with a spray nozzle to spread the disinfectant all over. The use of a large canister is time-saving and will cover a larger surface area with even coating.

6. Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning BJJ Mats

  1.  The most commonly made mistake for cleaning BJJ mats is the improper use of bleach. Although it is an effective way of getting rid of bacteria, germs, and smell, the continuous use of bleach and strong soaps can cause problems in the lungs and asthma.
  2. Use of strong chemicals for cleaning mats can cause many health issues as they stay on mats for a long time and can get absorbed in the skin. These chemicals can cause irritation and burns during jiu-jitsu practice. So, always avoid excessive use of stronger chemicals. You may also choose some organic cleaners  like apple cider vinegar mixed with water.
  3. Try to wipe down your mats entirely with clean cotton cloths whenever you get time and let them dry for a night.
  4. Always keep a check on the condition and age of your mats. It is not advisable to use worn-out mats having slits and cracks as bacteria and germs can stay there even after the cleaning process.
  5. Although buying new mats is expensive, it still keeps all types of germs, bacteria, and diseases away. 

7. Takeaways

From the above discussion it can be easily concluded r that if BJJ mats get dirty, you must not roll on them. Clearly, a BJJ gym should clean the mats after every BJJ training session. After the global pandemic, the standards of hygiene have been raised and BJJ training institutes should meet those standards.

The health and safety of BJJ practitioners and instructors should be prioritised for happy and germ-free training sessions. It is the responsibility of the students also to take care of their personal hygiene before coming to the BJJ class.

So that each member of the team is putting an effort to create a healthy and thriving gym environment with clean BJJ mats.

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