Supermarkets stock so many different types of soap, but how many of them do we really need?
As a single, working woman, I go to the supermarket to do my weekly shopping usually on a Saturday. I typically buy pasta, vegetables, a few tins of beans, maybe some bread and cheese…anyway I’m not a big spender. After getting the food out of the way, I then head to the toiletries and cleaning products isles and maybe pick up some deodorant, shampoo or toothpaste and I’m done, tactfully ignoring the oven cleaner, carpet shampoo, special glass cleaning stuff, the list goes on…but every time I ask myself who actually thinks they need all this stuff?
OK, well now I’ve got a bit of a confession: I haven’t even bought laundry powder for about 12 months. I got this huge bottle of shampoo a while ago, and when my housemates aren’t looking I give it a big squirt all over my dirty clothes before turning on the machine.
A few hours later my clothes are coming off the line; dry, clean and smelling faintly floral just like I’ve been a good little girl and bought a box of whatever is being advertised on TV at the time. Soap is soap, and the chemistry of how it works is pretty basic. Soap is manufactured from some type of oil or fat that has been reacted with caustic soda. At a molecular level soap has a hydrophobic (water repelling) and hydrophilic (water soluble) end. The hydrophobic end bonds to the grease on whatever you are trying to wash, and the hydrophilic enables the water to wash it away. This means that any kind of soap is probably going do most jobs, though of course some types of soaps are stronger than others. Any others have additional nasty chemicals…so just be careful!
There are only two things to avoid:
1. Don’t use strong soap or anything not designed to come into contact with your skin on your body (check the label).
2. If a product label says that the product should not be used on certain types of materials, then don’t use it on them.
When travelling, the best thing to get is a bottle of baby shampoo, you can use it everywhere on the body, wash the dishes with it after a meal, use it on any laundry you might want to do and clean pretty much anything else. There’s no need to pack heaps or spend more than you need to.
Published in: Consumer Information