Soaptember – When Things Get Smelly!

It seems like every month now has a ‘theme’ doesn’t it? Such as ‘National Share A Story Month‘, ‘World Alzheimers Month‘, ‘Black History Month‘, ‘National Picnic Month‘ and so many more amazing causes (although after lockdown I think we were already over Sourdough September before it even started!).

I recently discovered that September is also ‘Soap-tember‘ which celebrates and promotes bars of soap – no more grubby plastic bottles cluttering your bathroom!

Hubby says I have a soap addiction and after a quick look in our bathroom shows I found three different solid hand soaps (including one I made with my melt and pour recipe) as well as solid shampoo and conditioner. Regular readers might remember that I did a soap-making course with local soap maker, Sharon, owner of Soap Daze here in Devon. It was so interesting learning the history of soap and what makes a bar, well, above the bar when it comes to liquid vs soap bars.

Soap making course with Soap Daze

 

There are loads of reasons to swap to soap bars rather than bottles:

  • Plastic free! Most soap bars can be purchased without packaging, or with lovely recyclable card so no nasty plastic waste;
  • Natural ingredients. Most soap bars, such as those from Soap Daze or Cornerstone Crafts use all natural ingredients such as coconut oils, shea butter as well as essential oils, coffee grounds or oatmeal. Sounds good enough to eat!
  • Palm oil free. This was a big one for me. Hubby and I were incredibly lucky to spend time in Malaysia but saw the devastation the palm oil industry and wrecked upon the forests of Borneo. We now avoid palm oil in all our products.
  • No surfactants. Liquid soap has an ingredient called surfactant to help it foam while natural soap bars use fats such as coconut, olive or vegetable oils. It’s the same stuff that’s in your washing up liquid. Now, I don’t know about you, but my hands are horribly dry after doing the washing up due to the chemicals in the liquid but soap bars leave them lovely and soft. There’s also a growing area of study as to the impact surfactants have on the environment.
  • They last longer. Have you ever asked a child to pour bubble bath into the bath? You turn your back to grab a towel and by the time you turn back, half a bottle is in the water. Well, it’s the same with liquid soap. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that soap bars last up to six times longer but wasn’t able to cite any studies. However, I have found that even if I do water-down liquid soap, the bars still last longer.
Copyright M Clark Hellery. Not to be reproduced without permission

But what do you do when you use up your soap? It’s tempting to throw those annoying little end pieces that are too small to use properly or that float around the soap dish, but don’t! In the past I’ve saved those little pieces and once they were fully dried, I’ve used my grater to create tiny shavings. With a little water they bind together to form a new bar. It can be very interesting mix but does mean no waste.

Soap saver bag designed by G Clark Hellery

 

However, in our efforts to go plastic-free here at Beagle HQ I designed a soap saver bag. Made from 100% cotton, I now just slip all our little bits of soap inside, pull it closed then get it wet and lather up! We use it in the shower as a replacement for plastic sponges or ‘poofs’ and it’s been really effective. We’ve probably had our soap saver for about 2 years now and there’s been no fraying or loss of shape. Given we all use it in the shower and it gets thrown in the wash a couple of times a week, it’s been very cost effective and well-used too. If you’re thinking of going plastic-free and want to save the ends of your soap, head over to my shop now. They make the perfect Christmas or birthday gift too!

Have you tried soap bars? Which are your favourite? Do you use a soap saver? Let me know in the comments below.

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