• Marina Harte

The Secret To Making Soap Work For You

Updated: Oct 12, 2019

I went to a Green Cleaning workshop a couple of years ago hosted by a mature aged lady with hairy armpits, and that loved to use soap. BTW I love the hairy armpits, not the use of soap.

Like - SOAP for all activities involving cleaning. Any old soap. Now I do know a thing or two about soap — the bar type. Yes, I am talking about the one in your granny's bathroom and laundry.

Windows? Ground-up bar soap and cold water. Washing? Ground-up bar soap and cold water. Deodorant for hairy armpits. Jokes, guys. Tough crowd.

So if you've washed your clothing, shoes, dishes, bathroom, linen and walls with this ground-up mixture of cold sh*!t soap here's what's happened. You'll never unknow this. Sorry.

Death Bars

Okay, so a lot of cheap soap still has tallow in it. Tallow is fat from meat processed into one big blob. Traditionally this was mixed with caustic soda and maybe a few herbs (for smell) to create a magical lather. Some manufacturers have replaced tallow with palm oil or other fats for a similar result, and others have not. Plus a few more added chemicals for fragrance/preservation.

A Better Soap

Choose a plant-based sustainable oil base if you are going down the bar soap path. Choose wisely.

Avoid This

The pure science - if you put cold water on butter or try to wash your oven with cold water. That means people who have been placing ground up soap into their washing machines on the cold cycle no longer need to wonder what that film is on their clothes and everything else — soap scum. Whatever you have been trying to wash off with pulverised soap, is still on there, preserved in a layer of fat. Really?

What Did I Do Wrong?

Since the first human decided it was a good idea to wash their clothing, soap has been a thing. Hot water and soap made a pair. Not lukewarm. Hot. Like the fat on your pan that won't melt with cold water, if you want to use soap, there must be heat and friction. That's where the magic is.

Use Hot Water

Soap is excellent in an agitating washing machine that can get to super-hot temperatures think 95 degrees Celcius. Rinse with hot. Doing the dishes by hand with soap also works, but you will need to apply, scrub and rinse immediately.


Soap isn't for soaking unless you are trying to make soap scum. Scrub and rinse. Rinse with hot and wear gloves.


Soap is perfect for showers, not so much for baths. Don't try bar soap as a deodorant. The ingredient Caustic Soda is not kind to skin over prolonged periods, so skip it on the armpits.

I am not against soap. I just don't like soap scum on my clothes. A good quality soap makes a huge difference - it's all about the ingredients.

If you've enjoyed this post please like or share! Cheers, happy lathering!

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