I am a smelly, prepackaged, totally judges the book by it's cover, kinda gal. Yep, the more pretty, sparkly, clever, and yummy smelling it is the more I am drawn to it. This was one of the first impulses I had to break when entering eco-hood. It's something that Crunchy Betty discusses with regards to smell in her most recent post (don't know her? you should, she rocks!).
Especially in the Yoga-verse, marketing and manipulation is key. For the most part, us North Americans (which I can speak to) are cultured into the consumerism mentality, we have been since we were old enough to watch tv (which shouldn't happen before the age of 2 years old... just saying).
It's been years that bloggers have denounced yoga's entry into mass consumerism and obviously, as yogis, we're really just not that great at saying "Gee, I don't think I really need those specialty yoga socks that are made in China from petroleum based products such as nylon and shipped overseas polluting our oceans and packaged in mountains of plastic wrapped in plastic. Thanks though!". Since the ________(insert random useless yoga gear) industries remain a thriving part of Yoga. I mean, you can even get a Chakra oat bar (first ingredient is love...) for goodness sake!
Something that you should never, ever need, is specially made yoga mat cleaner. We've talked about this before. Quite a bit. It's irritating to me when I see yoga studios selling them, as if they are somehow an essential part of yoga mat care. If I'm honest, the truly disappointing part is that by selling something so completely unnecessary, the studio is inherently buying into the "consumerism culture" that manipulates individuals into believing a product is needed.
Let's take a look at what these prepackaged in virgin plastic and shipped all over the world truly have that is so special for yoga mat cleaning.
Organic Yoga Mat Cleanser:
The actual cleaning ingredient here is castile soap. Which is ridiculously easy to purchase (for cheap) at any local health store and would be laughably easy to add to a water mixture in an old spray bottle yourself. Or you could pay 50$ for a refill.
Manduka's Mat Restore:
This cleanser is vinegar based. So.... you could pay money and waste plastic, or you could add half and half with some thyme oil for bacteria and be good to go. If you'd really like, add some castile soap for extra "cleaning" goodness.
Gaiam Yoga Mat Wash:
This doesn't even have an ingredient list. The "refreshing scent" could be anything from synthetic essential oils which can be irritating to the lungs and eyes to hiding harmful toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde behind "fragrance".
Just because you're yoga mat cleaner comes in an old spray bottle, with a slight hint of vinegar, and requires you to actually rinse and air dry your mat in the bathtub, doesn't mean it is any less effective than a wasteful, unnecessary, prepackaged bottle of vinegar and essential oils.