In public workout spaces — such as gyms and yoga studios — exercising on a personal or borrowed mat is commonplace. While performing sit-ups, push-ups, or contortionist yoga poses, a little perspiring is inevitable. If the mat’s borrowed, basic decency calls for the wiping clean of the sweat left behind. And if the mat’s brought from home, sanitize it all the same, because the next time you visit your public space of exercise, you don’t want to plop down your dried-sweat-laden mat on someone else’s clean floor.
Even this, however, is not enough, according to John Burnaby, the founder of Matsana, the self-described leader in chemical-free mat sanitizing.
“Personal mats that come in direct contact with public floors and our bodies should receive the same kind of routine hygienic practices that we afford our mouths, hands, and clothing,” Burnaby said. “It’s not being germophobic — it’s being respectful of others and ourselves in a shared exercise environment.”
Burnaby started Matsana with his wife, Laurie. Both are environmentally minded yoga enthusiasts who saw this problem and wanted to offer a revolutionary solution that was simple, inexpensive, and sustainable. “The mat-cleaning process can not only be time-consuming for studios and gyms that wipe down mats and hang them to dry,” said Burnaby, “but also the quality of the cleaning process depends on available employee time and attitude.”
The Burnabys’ invention has no “attitude” and works fast. Like a fax machine, the Matsana draws in the exercise mat from the top and spits it out at the bottom. There’s a bar fixed above the insertion point where you slide on your rolled-up mat, and, like a roll of toilet paper, the mat unravels as it’s sucked down through the cleaning slit. “In about 20 seconds for a standard yoga mat, Matsana sanitizes both sides of the mat, so it’s not [just] good for health — it’s also good for business.”
Inside the cleaning slit lies the revolution in mat-cleaning technology. A barrage of high-powered UV light strong enough to cause cancer washes over the mat, destroying 99.9 percent of microorganisms like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus by dismantling their DNA. And these results are lab-tested. Daniel Duron, the lab director at California-based Applied Microbiological Services, remarked that even though E. coli is notoriously resistant to standard UV treatment, “The Matsana was able to destroy the organisms with one pass through” the slit, he said.
The Matsana — which is essentially a sauna for your mat — was designed with durability and energy efficiency in mind. It’s almost 100 percent recyclable and requires only 20 cents of electricity for a full 10-hour day.
For more information, visit matsana.net.