Is the hot yoga studio clean? – Bikram Yoga Portsmouth

A couple of students expressed concerns about the cleanliness of the studio in our recent customer feedback survey. I’m here to address all of those concerns.

The main take-away that I want to offer with this post is: We’ve got you covered. All of your concerns are ours, too. We’ve been in this business for 16 years and your best interests are also ours. We are always working to offer the most effective, green, sustainable environment possible so that we can all thrive, together.

Is the studio clean? I’ll start to answer the first question with a question back: have you met my husband, Jaylon? He steam cleans our carpets at home for fun. At the end of a long, hard day, he just wants to mop the kitchen floor.

Jaylon after a 12-hour day at work

We employ an army of cleaners to keep the studio in top condition so that you have a beautiful, welcoming, and clean space in which to practice.

The studio and all of the flooring is cleaned every day. We have one cleaner whose job, twice a week, is to wash your sweat streaks off the walls. We have another person who cleans the air vents, fans, and moulding every single week.

As you can imagine, our bathrooms get a lot of use. That’s why we have cleaners to scrub the bathrooms, including the walls, every single day of the week. The shower curtains are changed three times a week and the bath mats are changed after every class.

Am I going to catch something? In sixteen years, we have never had an outbreak of anything at the yoga studio. We have never had students get or pass on foot fungus. We once had a student with MRSA practicing at the studio for four months without telling us. The number of students who contracted MRSA during that time is zero.

Why not? First, the studio is really clean. We wash down everything, frequently. Second, your sweat contains two natural and powerful antiseptic compounds: sebacid and the heavy-hitter dermcidin. In clinical studies, dermcidin is more effective at killing Staph than Lysol. It functions by actually ripping off the cell membrane to kill the cell, so it is not an antiseptic to which an organism could develop a resistance. Feel free to cover yourself with this free, antibacterial solution daily!

For all of my real germophobes, rest assured that you’re much safer in a hot, sweaty yoga class than you are opening the door to your doctor’s office or pushing a grocery cart.

In addition, we run an Odorox hydroxyl generator between classes and overnight. This product is the most advanced solution today for eliminating odors, decontaminating surfaces, and purifying the air that is both 100% green and safe for use around humans and animals.

Further, our Humidifall improves air quality and reduces our use of natural gas by increasing ambient humidity while simultaneously filtering airborne contaminants and destroying bacteria, viruses and fungi with a secondary UV filtration system.

We also diffuse doTERRA On Guard Protective Blend throughout the studio. This study shows a reduction of 40-90% in the flu virus dependent upon concentration.

Isn’t your flooring breeding fungi? Our hot room flooring is Flotex Flocked Flooring by a green company, Forbo. This product was originally designed for nursing homes to be both non-slip and antiseptic. It is NOT carpet. Carpeting has loops and coils that catch skin cells and hair and liquids. Flocked flooring is short, straight bristles that cannot catch debris. It is 100% moisture-backed, so no sweat can seep under the flooring (like happens with wood, cork, and carpet). You can dump a whole bucket of water on Flotex and suck every last drop of it up.

Our flooring is vacuumed at least once every single day of the year. It is steamed with hot water extraction every weekend. We add melaleuca oil to the hot water to further enhance the antibacterial aspect of the process.

Why does it smell sometimes? We can control a lot of the things in the studio, but we can’t control the people. Sweaty people smell like sweat. We run the Odorox between classes to clear the smell, but if you’re in class and people start sweating, you’re going to smell sweat.

The sweat that cools you off comes from your eccrine glands and doesn’t really smell. It’s mostly just water. Clean bodies don’t smell strongly of sweat.

The sweat that does smell comes from your apocrine glands and does not significantly contribute to cooling. These are found mostly in the armpits and groin and this “smelly” sweat is where a large amount of our pheromones are excreted. Your apocrine glands are not activated during a hot yoga class, so if you smell a strong armpit smell, it’s usually from something that stimulated the system earlier in the day to produce these “communication” odors.

Some behaviors contribute to a stronger sweaty smell. For some, eating garlic, onions, or cumin creates a powerful smell the next day. Individuals who drink alcohol or smoke marijuana often have a strong smell of ammonia or “cat pee” to their sweat.

What can I do to help?

  • First, bring a yoga mat and towel large enough to catch all of your sweat. If you find there is a puddle around your mat during or after class, you don’t have a big enough towel or enough layers.
  • If you did leave a puddle, please be sure to use the mini wet-vac provided by the door to suck up your sweaty puddle. Your fellow yogis in the next class will appreciate it!
  • Please brush your teeth before the morning classes. The Saturday 9 am always complains about the “bad breath” smell from the 7 am.
  • Please refrain from wearing scented products like perfume, cologne, body spray, hair spray, and spray deodorant. One in five Americans has chemical sensitivity. This condition produces nuisance symptoms like stuffy nose and sneezing, in addition to more serious effects from exposure like hives, wheezing, and asthma. If you can’t live without your Axe Body Spray, just apply it in the car after you leave.
  • Bring home all of your sweaty items with you after class. We’ve all been yoga space cadets before. Take an extra moment before you go to look around and be sure you’ve collected all of your wet, sweaty things.
  • Towel off if you’re a massive sweater. Dripping in the shower line? Ask the teacher for an extra towel to stand on or towel off with it so you don’t leave a puddle in the lobby.
  • Come to class clean. You don’t have to shower before class, unless you smoke, wear perfume/cologne, or have a job that has a powerful odor. If you do, grab a quick shower so the people next to you can inhale deeply without worry.

Yours in sweat and service,

Sara