Soaps, Detergents, Cleaners, and Cleansers: Less is More


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soaps-emily-flickr

By Linda Foss

Laundry Detergent and Clothing Care

You aren’t supposed to fill those caps. There are lines inside showing the amount the manufacturer recommends, and that is often still more than you need.  More is not better. Too much detergent reduces cleaning power and is leaves residue in your clothes. Try throwing a few of your towels into the wash without soap and see how much suds form.

Choose phosphate free detergents. Phosphates are causing harmful algae overgrowth in our waterways. Most of it comes from fertilizer, but chemicals used in the home are not helping. Try making your own eco-safe laundry soap or use alternatives such as soapberry nuts. Spot treat potential stains promptly and reduce the amount of detergent used in the rest of the load.

Don’t wash things that don’t need to be washed. Washing damages fibers and fades clothes. Hang things to air and wear again.

Antibacterial Hand Soaps

Antibacterial soaps are creating resistant germs.  And antibacterial or not, more is not better when it comes to hand washing or bathing.  What kills germs is the friction and the duration, not being doused in soap.  Wash for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice, and be sure to get your nails.

Consider if you really need to use soap on the rest of your body. It’s not required. You are just stripping away the natural moisturizing oils. And alkaline soaps alter the natural acidity of the surface of your skin that protects you from bacteria and other microbes.  Why strip away these oils and apply moisturizers after?  The heat of the bath is going to do that as well, so don’t make it worse. I can’t sleep unless I’ve bathed, but I stopped bathing with soap two years ago and it still amazes me how much softer my skin is.  I’m just not that dirty most days.  If you aren’t, then you don’t need soap either.

Other Tips

Makeup can be removed with oils. There are commercially available cleansing oils, but plain old jojoba, almond oil, and even the olive oil you use for cooking work as well.  Check out this demonstation of the oil cleansing method.

Toothpaste

You are supposed to use a pea-sized amount, not the brush length swirl used in ad campaigns. Toothpastes are full of things that should not be digested and less toothpaste means less to accidentally ingest.  And, as with handwashing, duration is what gets your teeth clean.

© 2012 SCGH, LLC. 

One Response

  1. Sambas July 14, 2012

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