Soap & Cleaning Tips
TIPS FOR USING OLIVE OIL SOAP
1. Keep your soap dry between uses with a well-draining soap holder.
Real soap has its natural glycerine intact - that’s the bit that makes soap good for your skin (think moisturising!) but it also makes soap susceptible to getting soggy if left in water. Most commercial soaps have the natural glycerine removed, and/or artificial ingredients added to keep the bar hard. So real soaps made of pure olive oil really benefit from a good soap holder that lets them dry out between uses.
2. When soap gets really small, pop it into a little soap pouch.
That way you can use up every last bit, plus the pouches give you an even bigger, bubblier lather. You can hang the pouch on your tap, or just sit it in your soap dish. You can also use the pouches in the shower - they double as a loofah for a lovely scrub. Try to source only biodegradable pouches (many are made of synthetic fabrics) so you can safely compost them once they wear out.
3. Embrace the softness of olive oil soap
Olive oil is a softer soap so does take a bit of getting used to if you haven’t used it before, and I don't add any firming agents to my soaps. Many soaps have other oils, fats, butters or synthetic ingredients added to harden the bars, many of which may not be sustainably sourced. Palm oil is commonly used for this purpose.
DISH SOAP TIPS
1. If using a dish cloth (rather than a scrubbing brush) to wash your dishes, have a separate one to the one you use to wipe benches, and keep this dishwashing one in a bowl next to your soap. This way, you don't have to rinse it out each time you have finished doing the dishes, which makes the most of every last little bit of soap as well as saves water.
2. Pop any small pieces of your dish soap into a soap pouch to use up every last bit. Use your pouch as your washing cloth, or rub your dish cloth/brush directly onto the pouch to transfer the sudsy goodness.
3. You can also use your dish soap bar as a laundry stain remover - simply rub on any stains (wet the fabric first), leave to soak in for 30-60 minutes, then pop the stained item in the wash as usual.
4. Use your dish soap to clean your sink, stove, benches or oven - just rub it over the surface, then wipe off with a damp cloth and spray of vinegar. You can also use it on carpets: dampen the stain, rub your soap over the stain, leave briefly then absorb the suds with a damp cloth.
LAUNDRY POWDER TIPS
1. A tip for washing synthetic clothes... Doing a rinse just with vinegar can really freshen up synthetic clothes, especially those heavily used eg sport/gym/workout clothes. Simply add half to one cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle (preferably on cold), or just do a super quick wash with the vinegar in the laundry powder compartment, after doing your normal wash.
2. Keep a dropper with your favourite essential oil next to your washing powder jar/tub, and add a few drops into the dispenser for the final rinse cycle (often known as the fabric softener spot!) if you want to add an extra all-natural scent to your washing. Eucalyptus oil and lemongrass are popular favourites.
3. Add a heaped tablespoon of washing soda (or you can use bi-carb soda instead) to your detergent dispenser together with your laundry powder, to boost the wash for whites or heavy items like towels. The washing soda helps the laundry powder penetrate into the fabric.
DISHWASHER POWDER TIPS
1. Don't forget to regularly do a dishwasher clean. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into a bowl placed on the bottom rack of your empty dishwasher, then run a normal cycle.
2. Also don't forget to pull your hard-working filter out every once in a while and give it a clean too! - a good way to remember to do this is to just clean your filter every time you do a vinegar rinse dishwasher clean. (Clean the filter first!)
3. To eliminate any stale dishwasher smells, sprinkle half to one cup of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher when you run the vinegar cycle (see tip #1).
4. If your dishes have a lot of caked-on food, try a quick vinegar rinse before you run the normal wash. Just add approximately one cup of undiluted vinegar, poured straight into the bottom of your dishwasher, and run a short cycle. Once completed, run a normal cycle. (If your dishes look clean after the vinegar rinse, it's probably still a good idea to do a normal wash, because vinegar is good at getting rid of visible 'bits' but it won't effectively get rid of grease and grime the way an actual soap can.) This method is just so so many times better for our planet than using the well-known dishwasher tablets - they are just so full of synthetic ingredients which are hugely resource-intensive to manufacture (and transport!), are toxic when they go down own drains, and are packaged in plastic!
PET SHAMPOO TIPS
1. Leave the shampoo on to soak for 5-10 minutes before washing out. This allows the soap enough time to break down all the dirt and oil.
2. For long-haired dogs - once you've lathered your pooch with water and shampoo, brush through so the shampoo gets evenly distributed.
3. Especially for dogs prone to dandruff - dry your pet thoroughly after a wash. Yeast, which can be the cause of dandruff, breeds in moist environments.
Feel free to let me know if you have any other soap-related tips that I should add!