Everyone knows how important it is to keep clean. There are numerous benefits associated with cleanliness. I work with a Non-Governmental Organization that seeks to help refugees live a better life. Just the other day, 15th October, we celebrated the Global Hand-washing Day, to show the importance and benefits of hand washing, especially with soap. The recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus has made the world, as a whole; realize the importance of the practice of washing hands with soap, since contact with bodily fluids, (including sweat) of someone carrying the disease, can get you infected as well. Being an NGO, of course, donor funds were availed and soap was procured and distributed to all the beneficiaries, and they were happy. But this got me thinking. What if you cannot afford a regular supply of soap? What if you’re not a beneficiary of aid from willing donors?
Soap that effectively eliminates germs are expensive. An antibacterial soap can cost you as little as $1, but not many people can afford this, seeing that the same $1 is enough for a meal in some poor countries. This therefore calls for a solution that can help millions worldwide prevent diseases caused by dirt. The solution lies in the art of homemade soap.
If you want to experiment with homemade soap, first you have to do a little research on a few things. Ingredients for soap making are available in some places, and scarce in others. So before you decide which one to go for, visit a local herbal store, supermarket, or simply search the web for how to go about it. For the purpose of this post, I will tell you of my own experience.
First of all, when my wife and I got our first baby, we got all excited and hoped we could provide all the nicest things for him. Luckily enough for us, we have loving friends. During their visits they showered him with gifts, which included all the baby soaps and detergents, and other stuff. As the months went by, reality dawned on us. The cost of providing everything the baby needed was financially strenuous. In search of a solution, one of her friends introduced her to a cheaper homemade liquid detergent, that could be used to wash the dirty baby napkins and clothes (yes, diapers can be expensive in the long run). Skepticism got the better of her at first, so she bought only a liter to try out. That one liter lasted two weeks and only cost us an equivalent of $2 compared to the over $10 we spent a month on supermarket products. It produced enough lather and sweet scent to our satisfaction. The baby napkins came out clean and white, the clothes didn’t fade much, and we were happy. The best part of it all, her hands remained smooth with no broken skin, and the kid rarely got nappy rashes. After using it for a while, another friend informed her that in fact she could make the soap herself if she got the ingredients and instructions. After a bit of research, she was able to get a few recipes including this one.
We have tried several different recipes for homemade laundry detergents and hand soap, and will probably continue to do so – you can find them all over the internet. The first few trial experiments failed because of lack of experience and impatience in achieving results. We didn’t mind this because our purpose was not to commercialize or mass produce it, but to save on cleaning expenses. Eventually she got it right and I can happily say it was the best choice we ever made (the vendor who sold us hers wasn’t too happy though). Four years on, we still make our own soap detergent for cleaning clothes. We also use a simple solution to refill the soap dispenser next to the sink in the bathroom. With the savings we are able to buy the other types of soap; scented, antibacterial, herbal, shampoos, etc, but it’s only a matter of time and maybe we will learn how to make these too. Making such a choice might not be a bad idea for you too. Recipes of how to make homemade soaps and detergents are available, if you only look carefully and know what you are searching for. We are lucky to have found this one locally and cheaply. Just make sure you do proper research because ignorance could lead to adverse effects on your skin and overall health.