Best Travel Yoga Mat in 2020 + How to Choose

The most eco-friendly, durable and portable yoga mats available today!

travel yoga mats

As a full-time travelling yoga teacher, I’ve had a lot of experience trying out travel yoga mats all around the world. In this guide I pick my favourites and help you choose the right travel yoga mat for your adventures.

While I travel the world teaching yoga, from Bali to Ho Chi Minh City, to Vancouver, to Norway, I often get asked for advice on choosing the best travel yoga mat.

During the last six years of travel, I’ve had a chance to try out almost all of the mats on this list and many more besides. So I feel completely comfortable using the word “best” to describe my favourite yoga mats.

For me, a good travel yoga mat should just work.

It needs to be sticky and sturdy, while also being easily packable and lightweight. It’s also important that my yoga mat is eco friendly, not full of crazy chemicals, and is made by a responsible company.

stephen doing yoga on the beach in vancouver bc

You don’t always need a mat for yoga. Sometimes, like on this beach in Vancouver, I just make a mat out of whatever is handy.

Currently, I carry the Jade Voyager, which I’ve had in my carry-on suitcase for the last several years. Jane, my lifelong travelling partner, has had the Yogo travel yoga mat for about a year now. Both these mats are excellent choices, providing everything I look for in travel mat.

I also wrote a guide to the best eco-friendly yoga mats for your home practice, so don’t miss that if you’re looking for a more everyday mat.

Below, you’ll find answers to your questions about travel yoga mats, including whether you need to get one at all! Plus, I give you all the details and my honest opinions of the best mats on the market right now.

Keep reading to find the best mat for your next adventure.

Our Top Travel Yoga Mat Picks

Our 3 Favourite Travel Yoga Mats
Stephen’s pickJadeYoga Voyager
Jane’s pickYogo Travel Mat
Best for hot yogaYoga Design Lab Travel Mat

The travel yoga mat that has earned pride of place in my carry-on suitcase is the JadeYoga Voyager mat.

green jadeyoga travel yoga mat

I love having JadeYoga’s Voyager yoga mat in my carry-on suitcase.

One of my teachers, who also travels with the JadeYoga Voyager, recently told me that the best thing about it is that “it just works”.

It’s sticky, not stretchy, and offers a little padding. All the other features are just icing.

It is a natural rubber folding yoga mat and the lightest of the mats I have reviewed. It folds up small enough to stick it in my carry-on luggage.

See details & reviews →

purple foldable yogo mat

Yogo — as in “yoga on the go” — folds up small to fit in your backpack or suitcase.

The YOGO travel mat is Jane’s first choice. It’s a highly portable mat and is easy to keep clean, too. It’s got a few extra features that the Jade Voyager doesn’t have, so when I need a new mat, I might be tempted to switch.

Read Jane’s review of her YOGO mat.

For hot yoga fans, we recommend the Yoga Design Lab travel mat, which was made specifically to grip and slide as appropriate during hot vinyasa sessions. When you get sweaty, the Yoga Design Lab mat keeps on performing.

Read our review of our Yoga Design Lab mats.

Do You Even Need a Travel Yoga Mat?

For a long time I travelled without a yoga mat, making my practice work on whatever flat surface I could find, be it the beach, a springy lawn, or a hard, cold marble floor.

Once I started carrying a mat, I noticed how much its mere presence encouraged me to practice. Now, when I roll out my mat (or even spot it in the corner of my hotel room), it sends a signal to my brain that it’s time to practice.

Having a mat prevents slipping and sliding across unfriendly surfaces and helps me feel a little cleaner than placing my hands, feet, and body all over the floor does.

Travel yoga mats are also thin enough that you can throw them over a borrowed mat in a studio, which is a nice homey touch when you’re far away from your home studio.

So, do you need a travel yoga mat?

Not necessarily, but I’ve found that having one makes practicing on the road easier and more pleasant.

(Don’t miss: Want to learn to pack like a pro? Check out our guide to perfect packing the minimalist way!)

What are the Advantages of Using a Travel Mat?

An alternative to getting a travel mat is to just bring your everyday yoga mat from home. Of course, that is a perfectly fine thing to do! However, there are several reasons a travel mat might be the better option.

Easier to pack. I’m a firm believer in minimalist packing, which means that I fit all my travel gear in a single carry-on sized suitcase. My small, lightweight yoga mat goes in my suitcase too, which means I don’t have to keep track of an extra item on the plane, on busses, and when moving from hotel to hotel.

Less hassle at the airport. You can usually carry a rolled-up yoga mat onto the plane without it counting as an extra piece of luggage. Most flight crews understand that it’s not going to take up enough extra space to make an impact.

I say “usually” because, sometimes, if the airline you’re flying with has decided to be extra strict with their baggage policy, they might try to charge you extra for your yoga mat. Having a foldable yoga mat that hides away in your suitcase can make things go more smoothly at check-in.

Less hassle at immigration. When I used to carry a rolled-up yoga mat — especially when visiting places like Bali and the US — the immigration officers at the airport would often give me a hard time. They could see that I was carrying a yoga mat and thought it meant I was planning on teaching illegally in their country, even though I wasn’t.

Though they never stopped me from entering the country, there was that one time US immigration took me into secondary questioning for two hours! That extra stress on top of jet lag is pretty unpleasant. Now that I can pack my yoga mat away inside my suitcase, no more hassle!

stephen practicing without a mat in germany

You can practice one the road without a travel yoga mat but there’s something special about rolling out your own mat to practice on.

What are the Disadvantages of Using a Travel Mat?

The big disadvantage of a travel yoga mat is that there is not nearly as much padding as you get with a standard yoga mat.

If you have sensitive knees, elbows, or spine, practicing on a travel mat takes some getting used to. It might not be advisable at all, depending on what’s going on with your body.

However, for me, I have found that most of the discomfort from practicing on a thin yoga mat can be solved by improving my alignment — so practicing regularly on a thin mat has actually improved my body awareness when I practice!

Just be aware before you buy that a travel yoga mat is not like your thick, cushiony home mat. And remember that you can always cushion your knees with a towel or blanket to protect them.

What Should You Look for in a Mat?

1. Mat portability & durability

Most travel yoga mats are designed to be ultra-light and ultra-portable but this sometimes means sacrifices have to be made on durability. If you travel a lot, you’ll want to make sure to get a mat that is both portable and durable, so you don’t need to keep replacing your mat every few months.

2. Stickiness & mat comfort

Travel mats don’t tend to be that comfortable because an ultralight mat can’t be weighed down with padding. You can always use a folded towel or blanket to add cushioning as needed while you travel.

Of course, it’s also important that the mat surface feel nice to the touch and provides the appropriate level of stickiness for the type of yoga you practice.

3. Eco friendly materials and manufacturing

This should probably be point number 1! As yogis, we should always be conscious of the impact of the things we buy on the planet and the people around us. Yes, your practice is for yourself, but it should also be about how you engage with the world around you. Choosing an eco friendly yoga mat make a good foundation for this engagement!

4. Mindful manufacturing

Along with eco friendly practices, we look into how each manufacturer on this list gives back to local communities and the yoga world. If there’s a choice, we always want to support businesses who have social responsibility at the heart of what they do!

JadeYoga Natural Rubber Mats

Best overall mat for frequent travellers
JadeYoga Voyager, 0.7 kg (1.5 lb), 1.5 mm thick
JadeYoga Travel Mat, 1.4 kg (3 lb), 3 mm thick

green jade travel yoga mat

The JadeYoga Voyager travel yoga mat folds easily.

Environmental impact

JadeYoga made the original natural rubber yoga mat — they basically invented the eco yoga mat — so they have a lot of experience when it comes to minimizing environmental impact. Jade Yoga travel mats are made sustainably with natural rubber and they do not contain PVC, EVA, heavy metals, or synthetic rubber.

Portability and durability

The Voyager folds up to about the size of a yoga block, so it’s super easy to pack in my suitcase. If you’re looking for a light yoga mat, at 0.7 kg (1.5 lb), the Voyager is the lightest on the list! However, the company recommends the Voyager only for travel use because its portability reduces the durability. If you want something a little more durable, but still portable, the Jade Travel Mat might be a better option.

Mat stickiness and comfort

I have tried the Voyager and I really like it. It feels similar to the Manduka eKO SuperLite but the Jade Voyager weighs a couple of hundred grams less. Like most very thin travel yoga mats, you won’t get any padding out of the Jade Voyager. If you have sensitive knees, go for a heavier, thicker mat.

How Jade gives back

JadeYoga has one of the most impressive giving programs we’ve seen. First, they plant a tree for every product they sell. They also give $5 from every mat sale to various causes, including breast cancer charities, ovarian cancer research, and autism causes. They also regularly donate yoga mats to community charities and give money every Earth Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.

By the way, the Jade Voyager qualifies as an inexpensive travel yoga mat, too. I wouldn’t spend less on a yoga mat, as cheaper ones tend to be bad quality, bad for the environment, and bad to practice on too.

Check Prices & Reviews →

UK/EU readers check prices here →

Yoga Design Lab

Best mat for hot yoga adventures
Yoga Design Lab Travel Yoga Mat, 0.8 kg (1.8 lb), 1 mm thick

yoga design lab blue geometric pattern mat

The Yoga Design Lab travel mat is a great choice for travelling yogis who like to sweat.

When Yoga Design Lab contacted us about their eco-friendly, foldable travel yoga mat, we were immediately drawn in by their story. Owner Chad started the company while on holiday in Bali, after seeing a sea of boring single-coloured mats at the Yoga Barn. He created his own line of mats, with a silky-soft texture and gorgeous prints, using recycled materials. The mats are also machine washable, so what’s not to love?

(Don’t miss: My guide to the best yoga in Ubud, Bali)

Environmental impact

Yoga Design Lab mats are made from two layers: one is natural tree rubber and the other is recycled plastic water bottles. In case you’re worried about practicing on plastic, rest assured that the bottles are completely sterilized before being turned into the colourful microfibre layer of the mats. The designs are created using eco-friendly water-based inks.

Portability and durability

The Yoga Design Lab travel mat folds up small enough to fit easily into my suitcase. Plus, because of its two-layer construction, it seems to be a little tougher than the travel yoga mats made by JadeYoga and Manduka.

Mat stickiness and comfort

The Yoga Design Lab mats have been specifically designed to perform well in hot yoga classes – they stick better when wet. The soft absorbent surface takes the place of a yoga towel when you’re practicing hot vinyasa.

Tips for a Stickier Mat

Since Jane and I don’t really practice in hot studios, we sprinkle a little water at the top and foot of the mat before practice, which turns it from slick to sticky. We’ve also heard that after a few washes this mat gets much stickier. Jane will be folding this up and carrying it in her suitcase, so we’ll update you in a few months!

As far a comfort goes, the silky, fluffy texture of this mat is so different from most yoga mats, it makes just lying on it a pleasure. The mat is a little thicker than most travel mats but obviously won’t provide the cushioning of a non-travel mat.

How they give back

Yoga Design Lab gives $1 for every mat sold to support various urban youth yoga programs around the world.

If you like the sound of these mats, check out our in-depth review here.

Check Prices & Reviews →

YOGO Travel Yoga Mat

Best mat for minimalist packers
YOGO Travel Mat, 0.9 kg (2 lb), 1.5 mm thick

grey foldable yogo travel mat

This is the mat that Jane carries in her suitcase. It’s great because it’s ultra-portable and YOGO has designed it specifically for yogis who travel a lot.

When I asked my Facebook fans what travel mat they would recommend, the YOGO name kept popping up again and again. This thin yoga mat is the most packable yoga mat on the list and is the one Jane carries in her suitcase.

Since it’s designed specifically for travel, the YOGO travel mat folds up tiny and even has built-in straps to keep it folded. It’s also machine washable and can be hung from its straps to dry.

Environmental impact

As with all the best yoga mats, the YOGO Travel Mat is made with eco-friendly materials. It is biodegradable natural tree rubber that comes from renewable rubber plantations.

(Don’t miss: Our guide to the top eco retreats around the world)

Portability & durability

YOGO makes much of the tiny proportions of their mat when folded, and it IS small – though the JadeYoga Travel Mat also folds to about the same dimensions. I do love the inclusion of the straps on the YOGO mat, to keep it compressed when it’s folded. As for durability, the company claims it can be used as a travel mat or an everyday mat — though we can’t back that up since we haven’t tried it.

Mat stickiness & comfort

The YOGO is most sticky when dry, so it’s a great choice for non-sweaty yogis who don’t practice hot yoga. If you’re a hot yogi, grab the YogaLab mat instead! Comfort-wise, it is very similar to all the travel mats on this list, so don’t expect much cushioning!

How they give back

The YOGO team partners with two NGOs, Trees for the Future and Sustainable Harvest International, to plant a food tree for every mat sold. These initiatives help support poor communities in Latin America and Africa by creating a sustainable source of food for communities, while also helping to restore the environment.

If you like the sound of these mats, check out our in-depth review here.

Check Prices & Reviews →

Manduka Ultralight Mats

Best mat if you need extra grip
Manduka eKO SuperLite, 0.9 kg (2 lb), 1.5 mm thick
Manduka eKO Lite, 2 kg (4.4 lb), 4 mm thick

green and blue travel yoga mats from manduka

Manduka eKO SuperLite travel yoga mat.

Manduka offers two options for travel yoga. First is the eKO SuperLite, a super lightweight yoga mat. Then comes the eKO Lite, which is a little heavier, but adds more comfort. If you’re looking for a non-slip yoga mat, a Manduka mat might be the right choice.

Environmental impact

Since I first wrote about yoga mats a few years ago, Manduka has made improvements in their production line as a result of inquiries by customers like me. They now have zero-waste production for many of their mats, including the eKO Lite.

Both the Lite and the eKO SuperLite are made from biodegradable natural tree rubber and no toxic chemicals are used in the manufacturing process.

Portability and durability

The eKO SuperLite is totally foldable and will fit snugly into your suitcase or backpack. The eKO Lite is a bit thicker and heavier, so provides more padding but it is a slightly less portable yoga mat. Manduka mats are famously durable, but don’t expect a lifetime guarantee for their travel mats like you get with their PRO yoga mats.

Mat stickiness and comfort

I do love practicing on the eKO SuperLite travel yoga mat. Yes, it’s very thin and light but it provides really good grip on the floor and for your hands and feet. If you’re looking for a really sticky yoga mat, then a Manduka eKO yoga mat is probably the right choice.

There is no padding to speak of in their travel yoga mat, which means that you’ll feel very connected to the floor. On the other hand, if your knees or spine need extra padding, you won’t get it from this mat (or any travel yoga mat).

Bonus tip: I had two students using the eKO SuperLite recently in Hamburg and both of them turned their mat over to use the bottom as the top. They said they find the mat slides around on the floor if it’s the “right way” up. Good tip!

How they give back

Manduka’s Project OM supports various causes including the Susan G. Komen foundation’s fight against breast cancer. In addition, in the US, they have a mat recycling program. When you buy a new Manduka mat you can send them your old mat, of any brand, to be recycled into new products by The Renewal Workshop.

Jade Voyager vs Manduka Superlite

There’s not a huge amount of difference between these two mats. The Manduka eKO SuperLite is probably a little more durable while the Jade is a little more natural feeling. I can’t see being unhappy with either one.

Check Prices & Reviews →

Liforme Travel Mat

Best dual-purpose travel yoga mat
Liforme Original Travel Mat, 1.6 kg (3.5 lb), 2 mm thick

green liforme yoga mat with alignment marks

Liforme’s Travel Mat is unique and very environmentally friendly.

While I think Liforme makes the best yoga mats for home practice, their travel mat is a little heavy for a frequent traveller like me. If you’re looking for a mat to use at home that you can also take on occasional trips, this one is a great choice.

Environmental impact

Before launching the Liforme yoga mat onto the world, Liforme did years of research into environmental best practices, putting together close partnerships with local manufacturers and creating one of the best, most environmentally conscious, and technologically advanced yoga mats on the market.

Liforme manufactures in a no-waste process, which I love. Plus, their raw materials are environmentally sourced and there is no PVC in sight. Their mats are made of natural rubber and eco-polyurethane that is biodegradable in normal landfills.

So if you want to start a new tradition (maybe host a ceremonial full-moon mat burial in your local park?) you’re good to go with this mat! But I jest.

Biodegradability is a serious issue as Liforme founder James Armitage explained to me:

“The main thing is the biodegradability of the mat and the issues with certain other mats. For me, this is the single biggest ‘ethical con’ out there. Those very heavy duty PVC materials, apart from being potentially harmful, take far too long to degrade when they end up (as they inevitably will) in landfills. Those materials can take thousands of years to degrade (and they’re not doing any good for the soil/earth during the process).”

If you’re priority is to get an eco friendly travel yoga mat, then Liforme is the mat to choose.

Portability and durability

Liforme’s Travel Mat is about the same size and weight as the Jade Travel Mat and the Manduka eKO Lite – so it’s not quite as light and packable as I’d like. But if you’re not a full-time travelling yoga teacher like me, Liforme’s Travel Mat is great for commuting and less frequent travel.

In terms of durability, here’s what Armitage has to say:

“We are proud of how durable the material is, even though they are clearly not meant to last a lifetime. That should be a selling point, not the other way round. Once discarded, all the materials we use in our Liforme mat will degrade within a few years in normal soil conditions.”

Mat stickiness and comfort

I really love the texture of Liforme’s mats, which provides stability and comfort without being overly sticky like some mats. The etched laser markings that offer alignment guidance are a brilliant feature and I can imagine that they might transform your practice.

How they give back

In addition to their commitment to environmentalism in their production, Liforme also gives a part of its profits to Friends of the Earth, Yoga Gives Back, and the RSPCA.

Check Prices & Reviews →

Mats to Avoid

lululemon Yoga Mats

grey lululemon travel yoga mat

The lululemon (Un)Mat is light and portable.

When I first wrote this post, I recommended the lululemon travel mat — and in fact, I still love to practice on the (Un)Mat. It just feels good for my practice. However, I no longer recommend lululemon yoga mats because there are just so many preferable options out there. The (Un)Mat is too thick to be foldable and honestly, I’d rather support smaller companies who are focussed on yoga — especially those who prioritize environmental concerns and social responsibility.

Gaiam Yoga Mats

Since the Gaiam foldable yoga mat is a popular travel mat, I felt that I should explain why we decided not to recommend it in this post. This is because it is made from PVC.

We’re concerned about the already overwhelming plastic pollution problem on earth — and we think our yoga gear shouldn’t add to that! Gaiam does not provide any information about the eco-friendliness of their products on their website, leading us to believe that the environment is not a priority for them.

More great yoga & travel resources

We have lots of other blog posts you’re not going to want to miss.

I hope this guide has been helpful in making your choice! We want every journey you take to be transformational and doing yoga while you travel is a great way to make that happen. Get in touch by email or Instagram if you have any questions!

Happy yoga adventures, Stephen

Some of the links in this post are our own personal affiliate links. That means that if you buy a yoga mat after following one of these links, we’ll make a small commission. There’s no extra charge to you so it’s a free and easy way you can say “thanks” for the info here. Your support means so much to us! –S&J

Find the best travel yoga mat for your next adventure. I'm a full-time travelling yoga instructor. In this guide I pick my favourite travel yoga mats and help you choose the right one for your practice. Click to find yours. #yoga #travel #yogamats #myfiveacres #adventureyoga #mindfultravel

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  1. Comment by Megan

    Megan October 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    I have a yoga mat from jadeyoga and I totally love it.

  2. Comment by Jenna

    Jenna July 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I don’t travel with a yoga mat because I try to pack as light as possible, but these are some great options if I decide to bring one at some point! As I was reading through, the JadeYoga mat stuck out to me most as well. Looks like it would fit into a carryon well and I love that they have so much focus on being environmentally friendly!

  3. Comment by Sabine

    Sabine July 14, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I’m going to sound like an absolute beginner (well in fact I am), but I really thought there was only 1 type of yoga matt. You know, these ones that exist forever already and are not very comfortable. This post really made me realise what else is out there and is really very informative. I’m clued up again :)

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 14, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Beginners are very welcome! There are hundreds of kinds of yoga mats (probably way too many really!) but they can each make a big difference to how you feel when you practice and how your body feels on the floor. The sticky mat really is a piece of technical equipment for our “sport”! Thanks for your comment :) J

  4. Comment by Paige W

    Paige W July 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I always say that I wish I could travel with my yoga mat, but never did any research to find one that you can travel with. I didn’t know that there mats you could fold up like that! I’m going to have to check it out before out big year-long trip we’re about to embark on!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 13, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      I thought the same, Paige! After travelling this last year without one and then getting one a few weeks ago, I’ve discovered how much better and consistent my practice is with a yoga mat around. I really want to get one of the foldable ones now – but I will have to get rid of some other items in my carry-on first!

  5. Comment by Jolene Ejmont

    Jolene Ejmont July 12, 2017 at 2:50 am

    I really love having my own yoga mat with me! For some reason I never thought of taking it with me on travels but it is such a great idea!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      It’s hard to fit in a suitcase that’s for sure. We recently picked up a mat in a local town here in Vietnam and it feels so good to practice on a mat again!


  6. Comment by Archana Singh

    Archana Singh July 11, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I am not much into Yoga but I am sure these mats could definitely push me. I liked how you chose the best ones keeping in mind the Environmental impact, portability and durability and mat stickiness and comfort

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 12, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks! Environmental impact is the most important factor to us, since so many mats are made of plastic and just end up in landfill after a year or so.

  7. Comment by Josh Skipworth

    Josh Skipworth July 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I assume these work just as well for homebodys? My wife does yoga but not typically when we travel. I shall have to investigate further!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      For a home practice, I would suggest one of the thicker Lifeforme mats. They are my favourites right not, but just not as portable!


  8. Comment by Kavey Favelle

    Kavey Favelle July 7, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I think these would make really thoughtful gifts for friends who love yoga and travel. I’d never have thought about the environmental aspect so really helpful to understand that criterion.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 10, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      You’re so right! To be honest, I’d love to get one of these as a gift this year :). -J.

  9. Comment by Kaila Yu

    Kaila Yu July 2, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Thank you for this review! I definitely love the Jade Yoga mat and the foldable travel mats are definitely most ideal for travel. The only issue is that I have sensitive knees but adding a towel underneath always helps

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen July 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Sensitive knees can make these thinner mats a bit troublesome, but fortunately there are towels as you say.

  10. Comment by maegan

    maegan July 1, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    These are so much more versatile and compact than my current mat! Thank you!

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen July 2, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      You’re welcome! Let us know if you get a new mat and what you think of it!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane July 4, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Hey Maegan,

      The best mat is the one you can carry around easily – especially if you bike or walk to class! Or travel a lot :).

      Thanks for commenting.


  11. Comment by Erin

    Erin May 10, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    LuLu is notoriously evasive about their ethical and environmental practices. There was an expose on faux fur items on the news when I was in the USA last year and they featured in that. So this is not surprising to me, apart from the other companies you mentioned here, their ethos seems to be more in line with high street shops and less in line with environmentally conscious yogis than the others. I happen to love my Manduka ekoLite for portability and stickiness!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane May 11, 2017 at 5:37 am

      I agree. I do not like lululemon’s vagueness on the topic. They’re Canadian and should know better! I’ve practiced on that Manduka and really liked it too. – Jane

    • Comment by Stephen Ewashkiw

      Stephen Ewashkiw May 11, 2017 at 5:47 am

      Glad you love your ekoLite! You’ve not had any problems with it being slippery on certain floors? Maybe it has to do with the ultra-thinness of the SuperLite, But, I guess if you ever do, just try flipping it over… #yogahack

    • Comment by Erin

      Erin May 11, 2017 at 5:50 am

      No, I haven’t had those problems before – great to know if it happens though! If I’m using it I’m either in a hotel (with carpet) or in a studio and covering up a mat of uncertain cleanliness.

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