CASTILE SOAP : voluntary steemplicity : part 3 :
My life got simpler when I made some difficult choices.
Our choices and lives have inverse levels of ease. Choices that are easy to make often complicate our lives. The reason for this is that "life" is really just the result of previous choices.
One of the ways I simplified my life was to stop literally buying into the consumer culture that tells us we need a variety of expensive chemicals to clean the house. Leaving the consumer culture was, in some ways, a difficult choice. We're conditioned to want a variety of flashy, sparkly cleaning chems, not just by advertising, but by public economic policy itself. Your government wants you spending money. And manufacturers find as many ways as possible to get you to do just that, with the government's blessing and help.
The major chemical manufacturers peddle different cleansers for different jobs, when one cleanser would work for them all, and then on the flip side, they also push variations of the same cleansers, just packaged differently. I finally realized one day that I had bought the same product -- diluted bleach spray -- several times over. All the different "versions" of this product were sitting simultaneously in my cleaning closet: mold & mildew remover, kitchen disinfectant, bathroom cleansing spray, etc.
The conditioning and encouragement to spend money, over and over, on the latest cleaning chemical is powerful. But I learned to let go of that, and now I clean stuff with just a few simple basics: vinegar, baking soda, and in some cases, castile soap.
Today, let's look at castile soap.
As with everything, it has some drawbacks, and we need to start with those. First of all, it's flipping expensive! If you like to use it, my best advice is buy it once a year when it's on sale. And if it ends up on a clearance shelf, snag it.
Secondly, because it's an oil-based soap, it's not the best choice for repetitive cleaning. You know, things you clean weekly like tubs, toilets, floors. No matter the brand, castile soap leaves a slight oily residue that actually attracts dirt over time. If you're wiping down a counter top daily, it won't be a problem. You'll enjoy the aroma of the various essential oils typically infusing liquid castile soaps, and you'll be constantly removing any dirt the oils attract. But it becomes an obvious problem when you use it, over time, to clean something like a bathtub.
Now, I'm not opposed to the idea of using oils to clean. I wash my face every day with grapeseed oil. Oil can remove dirt, and then replenish the skin with fresh, clean oil. I sunburn much less when using grapeseed oil as a body wash (tip: apply it to your shoulders daily, especially if you live in Florida). But ironically, castile soap is too drying for my face. Despite its use of and coconut, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils, the corners of my mouth crack after just a few days washing my face with castile soap. Word to the wise, there.
Now that we've covered what it's not good for, we can celebrate a really great use for castile soap: it removes grease spots from clothing. But, it does need a little help to do this. I put about half a cup of baking soda in a bowl, and then mix it with liquid castile soap, combining into a paste. My favorite "flavor" is almond. You'll end up with a mixture that resembles frosting and smells divine. It's all I can do not to eat this fabric treatment for my clothes!
Smear this paste on your grease spot and leave it for several hours, preferably overnight. Toss the hardened clothing (it will cake overnight) into your washing machine and virtually any oil blemish will be gone. (If you're dealing with an old spot that's been washed, dried, and set, it may take more than one try.) And you can keep this paste on-hand in a jar with a tight fitting screw top lid.