Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Soap Scum Killer

If you love and use handmade soaps in the tub/shower, then you know the awful truth - soap leaves soap scum.  That grimy, fugly stuff that accumulates on your tiles and your porcelain or your glass shower door.  It's inevitable, but not fun.

If you are not experiencing soap scum, then you are probably using something on your body that is detergent-based, rather than soap-based.  Which means that it is formulated to break down grease and dirt, rather than just dirt.  It's a little tweak in the chemistry - used for laundry detergents and dish detergents, where it's a really great thing.  But not as great on your body.

Detergent can be sort of harsh on a person's body - breaking down your own natural skin oils and stripping you to the point of scratchy, itchy, dry.  Yet keeping your shower more shiny and sparkly for weeks longer!

It's the lovely nutrient oils in handmade soap that give you the moist, fresh, dewy, young-looking skin.  With good quality soap, you don't have to spend a small fortune on creams and lotions to un-do all the damage a harsh, commercial soap, especially a detergent-type soap, does.

The trade-off is that you need to clean your shower more often.  And if you're in the mode of being all natural, non-toxic, earth-friendly and green already, then the last thing you want is to use harsh chemicals in your shower which smell awful and come into contain with your skin anyway - totally defeating the whole purpose.

I have the solution:  Vinegar and dish soap.  Give up all your expensive shower cleaning products and buy a big jug of plain white vinegar, which costs like $3 at Cash & Carry or Walmart or somewhere.  And a large size bottle of dish soap - most recipes swear by the Blue Dawn liquid, but I've used others that were scent-free or clear, and they all work.

Take an empty spray bottle (also available for very cheap at your big box type stores).  Fill it half full with vinegar.  Then add the dish soap.  If you do it the other way, you will be fighting all kinds of suds and not be able to get the ratio right.  I know - I've done this. It should be approximately half and half.  I've read recipes where they microwave the vinegar first for a few seconds to get it warm.  I did, in fact, try this the first time.  It stunk so bad in the microwave and getting a whiff of that up your nose accidentally can ruin you for a long time, ya know? So I went cold turkey the next time, and it's just as good.

Then spray liberally.  Some people swear by leaving it on for half an hour.  But again, I've tested this, and gone right ahead and scrubbed immediately - getting pretty much the same results but less "pickle" smelling bathroom.

Scrub if it needs scrubbing with a little scrub brush.  Or wipe glass doors with a sponge.  Do what you think you need to for whatever surface and grime amount you've got.  Rinse well with hot/warm water.  Repeat if you've got a real build-up - which I did the first time.  Now I do a little squirt once a week and it's squeaky clean floors.  I don't even mind the pickle smell.

In this old house we have a crappy drain too - which is almost always slow and starting to gather water around your ankles.  But the vinegar/dawn solution helps with that too.  Which is great, because I hate using Drano-like things.

So if you've tried the lovely handmade soaps, but gotten scared off by the scum issue - here's an inexpensive and easy way to make both yourself and your bathroom cleaner and happier.  You're welcome. :O