21 Ways To Use Bar Soap

Photo by my friend Ashley in La Maison du Savon de Marseille 

The easiest way to reduce plastic in the household is by switching to bar soap. It's healthier, too, with everyone from the CDC and the FDA to Scientific American warning against the dangers of so-called "antibacterial" products. For instance, triclosan (detectable in blood and breast milk) kills human cells, bioaccumulates in fat, resists antibiotics and is linked to increased occurrence of certain illnesses in children. Far better to remove germs mechanically with simple soap and water.

I always preferred vegan castile over glycerin soaps, derived from energy-intensive soybeans or animal fats. This is entirely subjective, but high-density olive-oil soaps seem to last longer and clean hard surfaces better, and I prefer the creamier foam. It's kind of hard to shave with a slippery glycerin soap.

In the US, it was easy making my own castile soap and homemade lye. The resulting cleansers (substitute coconut oil if you can't find olive oil in bulk) were gentle for skin and hair, refreshingly unscented, and plastic-free. I cleaned everything from laundry to the bathtub and floors with it. When I, like so many of my generation, moved back home and worked 40+ hours a week while going to school full-time, I switched to whatever soap I had lying around, from Korean herbal bars shipped loose in a trunk by relatives, to the latest (package-free) sale item at Whole Foods. Hemp, castor, tea tree oil, etc. washed clothes and linens safely, moisturizing better than shower gels. The only mishap happened when I tried making soap out of bacon fat and smelled like a Wendy's Baconater, right down to my hand-me-down wool socks, which, to this day, faintly bear the scent.

I felt assured I was washing nothing toxic down the drain- no fish scale-dissolving surfactants, no endocrine disrupting micro-plastic particles. The first chapter of Silent Spring (which I bought for a dollar at Goodwill) felt like a freshly inked tattoo in my mind. When I moved to Paris, I'll admit, I fell head over heels for Aesop products, which made my skin scratchy and my wallet lighter. Their Montmartre shop was around the corner from us, and the bold typeface on pretty amber bottles, plus the promise of cloth bags and samples, sucked me in. One day, angry about spending 55€ a month on products with significant environmental impact, I came home with four blocks savon de marseille, for dishes, laundry, hands, and the shower. They were cheap, unpackaged, and lasted forever. We were hooked.

There are only a handful of true savon de marseille manufacturers left today. The labor-intensive process can take up to several months and involves mixing Mediterranean water with ash and lye. I like Aleppo soap a lot better, since the former contains palm oil (I only buy the green kind, but even that, I worry, is too unethical and toxic for cats). Rumored to be a favorite of Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, it's one of the purest soaps around, chock-full of antibiotic, cancer-inhibiting laurel oil. You can use either soap on babies, children, sensitive or irritated skin, hair, and conditions like poison ivy, psoriasis, or dermatitis. They're excellent facial cleansers and makeup removers, often used as masks, or to treat and prevent infection. Here's how I use bar soaps in our home.

Cleaning

Dishes: Rub a wet brush against a block of soap and wash dishes as usual
Toilet bowl: Apply soap directly to flour sack towel and wipe away build-up
Floors: Dissolve in water to remove gum and dirt, safe on marble
Fixtures: Shines and disinfects
Tub / sink: Use on an old dish brush head or flour sack towel to scrub away grime
Upholstery: Spot cleans and launders couch cushions and pillows
Cabinets /countertops: Removes grease stains and odors from cabinet doors or butcher block countertops
Closets: Freshens, deodorizes, and repels moths. Dissolve in water first or apply directly to flour sack towel and scrub

Wardrobe

Laundry: Grate, dissolve in boiling water (optional), and use as normal detergent on silk, cashmere, wool, etc.
Moth repellent: Place a small cube in wardrobe 
Shoes: Spot clean and condition leathers, patent leather, nylon, canvas, silk, etc. Cleans and freshens shoe interior 
Coats: I wash or spot clean my winter coat with this, and scrub my trench inside and out periodically with a wet flour sack towel and soap 
Umbrellas: Cleans and removes mildew smell from all materials
Bags: Spot cleans, removes grease stains, cleans interior. I know moms who use savon de marseille to clean sticky diaper bags and car seats.

Health / Beauty

Toothpaste: Apply to wet toothbrush and proceed as normal
Shaving cream: Lather with hands, follow with safety razor- no aftershave necessary  
Shampoo: Conditions and cleanses, my husband loves the lather 
Body wash: Moisturizes, deodorizes, and tones skin, great for after a workout
Hand cleanser: Guests often compliment the scent and moisturizing effect
Toilet paper: Self-explanatory substitute.
Skin treatment: Disinfects cuts and scrapes, treats mosquito and insect bites



Some people use Aleppo soap to wash their pets, too, but I'm scared it's too alkaline for Kar and Toffel. I guess 600-2000 years of experience can't be wrong, though. Experts recommend these soaps for cleaning antiques, art / painted items, or delicates. They're generally safe for sensitive skin or allergy sufferers (you can even clean your Mooncup with it). Save the leftover dishwater and bathwater- it's great for plants.

If I didn't live in France, I wouldn't use savon de marseille UPDATE: I have since switched to exclusively pure olive oil (no palm oil) or Aleppo. I used volcanic soap in Iceland, sustainably harvested soap nuts in Indonesia, tamarind soap in Thailand, neem oil in India and black charcoal in Japan (all of which washed my white t-shirt surprisingly well). The point is, you don't have to buy the same kind of soap as me to multitask and streamline your household products. A nice local soap, preferably cold-processed, made with ingredients and methods you approve of, is even better. Click here for zero-waste soap stockists in Paris.

This post contains Shopstyle affiliate links. If you click on them, I make a small commission. Thank you for all your support!

Paris to Go

54 comments:

  1. A huuuge hug !

    I learn so much out here.

    Am looking into making the switch once I run out of what I have.

    I have a suggestion for you. I think you should have a page for people just starting out. A comprehensive plan. Easiest baby steps first. And then the big steps. It can get overwhelming when there is so much to think about and to do.

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    1. Hi Archana, you are always so sweet. That's a great suggestion, thank you! I had a post similar, not as good as I liked, but I have a pin on it so far:

      https://www.pinterest.com/pin/506443920571540860/

      I'll get working on a better post :)

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    2. Ariana. Thank you for your informative and inspirational blog! Can you detail, or direct me to the post if you have done so already,how you wash your wool coat? Thank you.

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    3. Hi Margot! Thank you, you are so sweet. I wash it in the bathtub with aleppo soap- just dissolve the soap in two to three inches of water, and put the coat in it- and then rinse with a little cool water and vinegar. Then, I roll it up in a towel to get the excess water out and lay it flat to dry, with another towel over it because otherwise my cats would lay on it.

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  2. I agree with this! I would love to see a post like that.

    As a side note, thank you for finally including links. I can understand why you'd be hesitant with a blog like this, but it's so helpful and you always link to products and articles I never heard of. Who knew there was neem oil soap? Great!

    I can buy hemp soap here from a farmer's market. Do you know if it has the same moth-repelling and insect-bite-treating properties? As always, thank you for the wonderful post.

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    1. Hi Sara! Thanks for the feedback! I'm never sure if I'm going overboard, but I hope they are all plastic free links and to secondhand items where possible. Hemp oil is antimicrobial and I know it has protective and moisturizing properties but as for moths and insects, I don't know. If I get around to researching it I'll let you know what I find! The plant itself is sometimes used as a pesticide and pest repellent. I can't imagine that those properties wouldn't transfer to soap.

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  3. Looks like my first comment disappeared so I hope this one works.
    Hi Ariana!
    First time commenter, but I've been reading your blog for a while and I really enjoy it. Without a doubt, I can say I've read every post twice, if not more times; I really hope that level of dedication (perhaps that would be the most complimentary way to put it) really doesn't scare you. If it's any consolation, my reading didn't happen in a single sitting but instead happened over the course of weeks and months, haha. (On the topic of delving into your archives, it seems like some of your past posts have been deleted or edited?)
    Archana's idea sounds great and I (along with many others, I'm sure) would be interested in seeing a beginner plan for people looking to improve their lives with minimalism and sustainability. I'm nowhere near your level in terms of both those things, but I'm hoping to gradually make changes to improve my habits and choices over time, especially since I'm hoping to study something I can relate to sustainability. While I do enjoy squirreling away all sorts of info you sure, I think a separate page dedicated to that type of thing would be even more helpful. If/when you do take up Archana's suggestion, I would be one of the first to eagerly read that page or post :)

    A question- where do you get some of the statistics and research that seems to support the choices you've made? Are there certain sources you consistently read, say websites, journals, the like? Or is it more a matter of googling and slowly wading through things until you find some relevant information? I've tried to read up in the past by searching for research journals or something but nothing I found seemed to be particularly accessible to the average person, whether that be due to scientific jargon or the need for a subscription or anything else.

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    1. Hi Alice, thanks so much for your kind words! Yea, I deleted or edited some older posts, ones that I didn't like the quality of or that didn't go with the topic of the blog. It's crazy, but I'm a perfectionist, and I noticed some people couldn't find the posts that they wanted when it was obscured in unnecessary topics. I have the drafts still so if you want a particular post back just let me know :)

      I studied chemistry and biochemistry in school and majored in sustainability. I spent 7 years working in a lab and some of my studies were, for instance, the effect of SLS on fresh water fish, the efficacy of major sunscreen brands (most of what I tested did not work), the amount of laundry detergent you really need to clean your clothes (much less than is labeled on the package) and the effects of antibacterial products on favorable bacteria lineages. This informed a lot of my choices. I still read the same sources- Scientific American, Toxological Sciences, peer-reviewed journals, etc- and probably should have cited these articles in the post, but here's some interesting information on triclosan:

      http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/scientists-discover-that-antimicrobial-wipes-and-soaps-may-be-making-you-and-society-sick/

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-key-antibacterial-soap-ingredient-must-go/

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9584909

      This study shows that antibacterial soaps have no advantage over plain soaps:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18556606

      It's got lots of jargon, but it should be free. That's a great idea to make the zero waste guide an easily accessible page. I'm excited to start working on it! Thank you so much!

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    2. P.S. That's AWESOME you're going to study something sustainability related! What would you like to do after your studies are over? Many of my classmates started majoring in science and switched to sustainability because it had all the science courses but with a business component. Just don't get an MBA in sustainability, it's a waste unless your company pays for it...

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    3. I understand why you would have edited or deleted some of the old posts. Everything flows a little nicer when the posts all focus on a set of core topics, right? No, I won't need to read any of the old drafts though thanks for the offer. I'm glad my mind wasn't playing tricks on me :)

      Wow, it sounds like you got to do some pretty interesting research! I'm particularly curious about the sunscreen efficacy study. How was that conducted? What was the duration of the study? Where (on the body) was the sunscreen tested? If you've got links to any of the data you collected in that study, I would love to read it. Only recently have I started paying attention to how studies are conducted, which is pretty fascinating. For instance, whenever I read about the oil cleansing method, there are always people who caution against using certain oils due to their comedogenicities. Turns out that in the 60s (or sometime around there), scientists tested comedogenicity on rabbits' ears. In recent years, tests have been done on the skin of humans' backs, though there has been some debate regarding the accuracy of the data collected.
      Thank you very much for the links and your sources! I'll set those aside and take a look whenever I get a chance.

      I'll actually be studying engineering but I hope to connect that to sustainability. My family doesn't really "get" sustainability so I picked a major that will hopefully be quite versatile, especially if I change my mind later. Originally I wanted to do something related to food science (food waste in particular), but I've started to question whether that's really for me. Now I'm probably aiming to have a day job relating to science so I can afford to spend the rest of my time making sustainable products that combine affordability and practicality for a wide range of people. I wouldn't want the latter to be my main endeavor though because I feel like focusing on money would take away from my reasons for wanting to make the products in the first place. Maybe making a job out of a passion works for other people, but it's just not for me.

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    4. Alice, you are so smart! I hope to use / read about some of your products soon. How nice of you to consider your family :) I don't have any links to the sunscreen study and I wasn't allowed to keep a copy, but we tested the filtering of UV light and photodegradation of each product at every wavelength (UVA / UVB spectrum). We tested 24 common ingredient combinations and then measured MPF in the lab based on UV transmission. There is a sunscreen simulator model that accounts for the texture of skin (like if someone has acne or raised moles) and the way most people apply sunscreen (unevenly). Then we calculated the UVA light absorbed using the MPF. Other studies typically use human volunteers and collect sunburn data too. I was on the project for three months in the winter but the study took six months to complete. I just remember how surprised I was at how effective red raspberry seed oil was (coconut oil, despite what I've read on the internet, didn't really work, according to the BASF simulator), and how zinc oxide remained stable but other ingredients basically disappeared after awhile. It was based on methodology by Bernd Herzog, but I can't find the study. This is the only one I could find:

      http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v130/n10/full/jid2010144a.html

      We used an earlier study though. Did you see this report:

      http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/executive-summary/

      They also measured the hazards of each ingredient, which we didn't do.

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    5. Thank you Ariana, you're too kind! I still have lots to learn before I can start making anything but it is nice to dream :)
      I'm so fascinated by the sunscreen study. Maybe I'll have to see if my school does studies like that ice I get there in the fall. You've given me a lot to think about and read. I'm looking forward to going through all the links you've shared so thanks once again for them.

      P.S. I do apologize for my incredibly wordy comments. In my head, they're never quite that long...

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  4. would you mind linking to the studies about the cancer fighting properties of laurel oil?

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    1. Hello! I linked to it above but forgot to make it blue, I'm sorry! And here's another interesting study:

      http://www.nrjournal.com/article/S0271-5317(10)00045-X/abstract

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  5. Notting Hill GirlJuly 12, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Thank you for these fabulous zero waste posts. I like how you spell everything out and are so open about your lifestyle. It's really off-putting the way other zero waste bloggers don't respond. I can actually relate to you even though our lives are very different (I am nowhere near close to zero waste). Perhaps this is a result of your writing style more than any similarities? Like Alice I enjoy reading and re-reading old posts. They are so practical, helpful, and inspiring.

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    1. Thanks for this sweet comment! I'm glad you enjoy them.

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  6. Oh, the "Savon de Marsielle" is wrapped in plastic in Vancouver (mine is from the Gourmet Warehouse)!
    P.

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    1. Oh no :( I suspect that in other countries it's basically impossible to find it unpackaged. Have you been to the Soap Dispensary in Vancouver?

      http://thesoapdispensary.com/

      I do tend to find unpackaged soaps in other countries, but they're all based on ingredients easily available in their locale- like in Amsterdam it's unpackaged hemp soaps, and in Cleveland, geranium or lavender castile soaps. I love the look of the stamped blocks but I'd probably give them up if I lived elsewhere.

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  7. following off alice's question, how did you know you could use it for dish soap? do other parisians use it? i saw it in every naturalia when i studied there but very rarely in my classmates' homes. many were exchange students like me though. do you have a source for zero-waste soaps in cleveland?

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    1. Hi, I actually didn't research savon de marseille until just now :) I don't think more French people outside of Paris use it. I just saw people rubbing their dish brushes on a block of soap and washing dishes in Toulouse, Provence, Bretagne, etc. I think here in Paris it's more of a guest soap type thing. People here do use it for laundry, though. They grate it and put it in the machine, whereas I just peel flakes using a vegetable peeler. In Cleveland, I think this is a nice local brand:

      http://www.barrsbarsltd.com/

      But it's cheaper to just use whatever's at Whole Foods, the farmer's market, or make it yourself. It's pretty easy to find unpackaged castile soap in the US, based on the cities I've visited or lived in.

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  8. I use castille soap for almost everything too and love it.
    recently i 've even found a way to make diswasher pastilles with it.
    Loved the " as paper toilett ", i laugh a lot because it took me a minute to understand !

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    1. Dishwasher pastilles, that is great! I know people who flake it into the dishwasher but I did not realize you could make capsules out of it.

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  9. I gather Paris also has very hard water, as do we, so just wondering how that affects the use of savon de Marseille? In particular because you say you flake it into the washing machine (soap compartment?) and I'm blanching at the thought of the soap scum build-up in my machine if I did that - or do you use a lot of vinegar to counteract the limescale build-up? I don't see into my washing machine so much as into my dishwasher and that needs a lot of scrubbing…!

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    1. I don't use vinegar to wash my machine, sometimes I use it in the rinse compartment but I often forget! I know a lot of people who use Ariel or traditional soaps need to run empty cycles with full bottles of vinegar to clean but in three years my machine stayed very clean, and when the men came to maintain the machine they couldn't believe how nice of a condition it was in. I've read that when people switch to savon de marseille, their machine comes out very clean. I sometimes use baking soda instead of soap or as a water softener and it rinses away clean. Maybe it depends on the machine? Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home wrote once that baking soda left her machine a mess but mine's never been cleaner!

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  10. Ariana, I love your web site! I've enjoyed all your posts! Funny, when I was reading the beauty posts, I was meaning to ask you what you use for sunscreen and if there was something out there more natural. Reading through these comments, I saw you mentioned red raspberry seed oil. I have to use a really good SPF because I have melasma :( Zinc oxide is great but it often leaves that white cast. Based on your research, how much protection did the red raspberry seed oil provide? Do you have any good recommendations on where to buy good quality red raspberry seed oil. Thanks so much!!!

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    1. Hi, thank you for your sweet comment, this made me so happy! The SPF seems to test between 28-40. Here is the post on sunscreen with links to the studies on red raspberry seed oil:

      http://www.paris-to-go.com/2014/11/diy-homemade-plastic-free-zero-waste-all-natural-organic-sunscreen.html

      I wouldn't recommend it for your condition though because the lab results don't always translate to human skin. I guess that's why a lot of branded chemical sunscreens don't work either. It seems to work for me- I burn without sunscreen, but I am also naturally darker complected, and red raspberry seed oil keeps even my exposed skin sunburn free. Are you based in Paris? I only know local sources, I don't know of any online, I'm sorry! In Paris, Buly has an excellent raspberry seed oil, though I haven't been there all year. I got excellent quality oil for much cheaper in Marrakech at the souk.

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    2. Hello - If I may jump in, I have some recommendations for where you can get raspberry seed oil. I live in the US, and I have been using raspberry seed oil for a cleanser/moisturizer/sunscreen oil blend. There is Berry Beautiful, a company based in Washington state that uses local raspberries to make their oil. They sell the pure oil, as well as some skincare products, and they ship globally:

      http://www.berrybeautiful.us/

      They also sell their products through Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BerryBeautifulWA.

      Their raspberry seed oil is pretty great, and it has a natural sweet berry-ish smell - no need to worry about synthetic fragrances or any allergic reactions to essential oils.

      I hope this helps!

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    3. Ms, thank you so much for sharing! That is awesome.

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  11. I feel like I'm the only one missing the toilet paper one :s Do you use your hands and then wash them, or do you quickly rinse off in the shower after?

    I'm going to have to track a brick of this stuff down to try. I have a hard time with conventional shampoo, it breaks my scalp and adjacent skin out in spots and welts. I read your water only post as well (and I have to say, I loved it!), but I never quite got the water only method to work for my hair. It seemed like my hair was always really heavy afterwards. Ditto for both co-washing and castille & coconut milk. Do you find the rubber bristles in your hair brush distribute the oil better than other brushes?

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    1. I use my hands and wash them after in the shower. Please try the soap! Although my husband said this morning you should try Alep because he likes it better :) The bristles in my brush are wood actually, but in a rubber base. I don't have much to compare to, but it seems like it distributes oil really well, including olive oil. It really seems to clean hair and my hair seems fuller and shinier since I started using it. Because I have curly hair, I didn't really brush my hair much before. Even after I got it straightened I couldn't brush it because I'd lose so much hair!

      That is interesting about the heaviness! What type of hair do you have normally? I had the same problem with shampoo! What is in that stuff to make us react like that???

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    2. My hair is unevenly curly - tight curls from the backs of my ears down, and kinda frizzy loose waves up top. My hair is fine in size, but I have a LOT of it. For some reason despite it being fine, it's also very persistent in staying the shape it wants to be rather than the shape I want it to be.

      I'm not entirely sure what it is that we're reacting to. I know my mom has really poor reactions with skin care products as well. My hair dresser gave me some samples of paraben and sulphate free shampoos, so I'm going to give them a try. I'll let you know how it goes. The shampoo is made in Italy, so maybe being in Europe you'd be able to find a no waste way of buying it?

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    3. Cassie I didn't know your hair was curly! It looks so sleek and straight in photos. What's your secret lol? Only the Biocoops outside Paris seem to carry shampoo in bulk :( Please let me know how it goes. Water only works wonderfully for me at least. No smell and my curls are more even and my hair (and nails, weirdly) is growing super fast. I just cut 5 inches off and it's already grown significantly.

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  12. Hello
    The first question is : how to recognize a real "Savon de Marseille" ? Coming from Marseille ... ANyway, using a bar soap is the real good alternative to plastic soap container !
    Thanks

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    1. Hello! I agree the real soap is so hard to find now. I read the real stuff has this logo stamped on it:

      https://www22.corecommerce.com/~kenshaw581/uploads/image/Savon%20de%20Marseille.png

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  13. I remember you talking about you washing your teeth with soap. At first I tought is was a bit.... euh....yeah, but then I gave it a go. Yesterday I was at my dentist and she was raving about my teeth. Kind of weir. 'Perfectly cleaned, perfectly cleaned and the perfect color...a pleasure to the eye.' Your tip saves money and recources but also gets dentists their high :-)

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  14. Hi, I've been flicking through your blog and I'm lovin' it! It so good to see more and more people getting into the healthier more sustainable and natural way of life! I adore you! Personally, I'm very much into healthy, gluten-free, non-cancer-causing candida-feeding foods and natural handmade beauty products. I have a small shop on Etsy that I sell some of my products. If you're interested you can check them out here: https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/naomipurebeauty

    I look forward to more posts from you and I will be a regular reader! Keep it up, great job! <3

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    1. Hi Naomi! Thank you so much, I will check it out!

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  15. Personally I love Savon De Marseille soaps, they smell great and are luxuriously silky on the skin, as well as being natural so delicate with you skin, I have found Savon De Marseille soaps here http://e-naturalproducts.co.uk/125g-marseille-soap-vanilla/ in many flavours. They are also brilliant for shaving with.

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  16. Hi Ariana, great information thank you. Quick question - how do you store your soap in between uses? I just find mine always goes sludgey and slimey and generally just a mess when I keep it in a soap dish. Would love to know how you keep yours. Many thanks!

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    1. Hi Kimberley! I keep two at the side of our sinks, just bare, and another in a soap dish as well. If there is a little bit of sludge I usually scoop the bits up with a tampico brush and use it to scrub something. My husband likes to keep the soap dish on the windowsill next to the shower where the steam makes it less slimey, but I know that's not possible for everyone. Sorry this isn't helpful!

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  17. Soon I will be making another trip to that store for more soap!

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  18. I have a beautiful second hand designer blazer. It ended up getting some weird stiff stain on it. Paid to have it dry cleaned and it didn't come out. Took a chance with hand washing it in cool water with SAVON DE MARSEILLE. Instant success!!!! Rinsed it till the water ran clear, rolled in two towels then hung to dry. No stains, fresh smelling and looks amazing! I would not have tried that and lost the blazer if it wasn't for you! I'm continuously amazed at what the Savon de marseille will clean. Thanks for all you do!

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    1. Kate that is awesome! Savon de marseille gets everything out. The only thing I haven't seen it get out is tea but otherwise, spaghetti, ink, etc., it's perfect :)

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  19. Hi Ariana,

    I've been on a journey to a better life for a while now (oh how much you learnalong the way) and find your blog really handy. I'm trying to reduce the use of plastic etc, but it'snot easy when you're a working mum of two.
    I have been using Savon de Marseille for years now and it's been gradually replacing other products. I'm just stuck for one thing - automatic dishwasher detergent.
    I'd like to replace that with savon de marseille as well.
    I still have a huge bottle of Marius Fabre savon noir for cleaning, that I tried using in dishwasher. It got disher really clean (with vinegar as a rinse aid), but the filter is full of gunk.
    I'd rather use savon marseille instead as I find it more user friendly than savon noir, but not sure how to. And it has to be user friendly, hubby's on board with all the zero waste, as long as it does not involve too much effort.

    As for the best way to keep the soap dry: I cut mine to 100g chuncks and use magnetic soap holders. Best thing ever, keeps the soaps dry and they last ages.

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    1. HI Magdalena, that is a great tip! I just got a dishwasher for the first time so I haven't tried myself, but I found this recipe on Consoglobe and I've heard from others that it works:

      Mix 2 soup spoons each citric acid, washing soda, and grated savon de marseille (at least 72% olive oil) with one tablespoon of sodium percarbonate and ten drops essential oil. Pat into molds or an ice cube tray and wait 30 minutes. Right now I don't use savon de marseille, but I use these tablets we can buy in bulk here made of baking soda, washing soda, citric acid, and epsom salts. I'm sure it's cheap and easy to make at home but the tablets are so cheap and unpackaged at Biocoop, I figure why not just buy them?

      The recipe in French is here: http://www.consoglobe.com/fait-maison-les-dosettes-lave-vaisselle-au-citron-cg#xzwXMzabZSWpvsDV.99

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  20. Hi Ariana,

    Thank you for the recipe. I have tried the ones without added soap previously, but was not happy with the results (might be London's hard water), and they can also damage aluminium coating on certain items, so I gave up.
    I gave my dishwasher a thorough wash with two cups of baking soda and will try just popping a flake of savon marseille like a tablet. I'll let you know how that works.

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  21. Hello Ariana

    Thank you for a great post. I am looking to make some changes when I finish the current products I have, however I am having trouble finding pure soap in Australia. All the 'pure soap' in the supermarket contains fragrance. Any suggestions would be great!

    Thanks

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    1. Where do you live in Australia? I think the Source chain carries fragrance free soap. Depending on where you live, one of the zero waste bloggers may live nearby and know better than me where to find fragrance free bulk soap!

      http://zerowastebloggersnetwork.com/home/where-we-are/

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    2. Thanks for the reply... I have actually been doing some reading and have decided to have a go at cold pressed olive oil soap! I am feeling a bit nervous though about using soap in my washing machine. Do you dissolve your soap first or use a hot washing cycle?

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    3. I've done both, but most of the time I dissolve a big batch of soap in leftover hot water from my tea kettle and store it in a glass jar :) If you have a sensitive washing machine that's probably best.

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  22. To add my two pennies here, I use grated soap, washing soda and borax substitute mix in the detergent drawer. Works like a charm.
    Found the recipe : https://thedoublelifeofmrsm.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/a-little-extra-from-mrs-ms-laundry/

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  23. I wanted to ask about using the Marseille soap as a shampoo. Do you need to do an apple cider vinegar rinse afterwards? Can you use it every day, or should you cut back on washings?

    What about with the Aleppo soap? How do the French markets get the Aleppo soap, when Aleppo is torn apart right now? Just curious how that works.

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    1. Hi Chanda! I don't recommend using ACV in hair because it was too acidic in my case, although lots of people swear by it. I recommend cutting back on washings. There are outposts making Aleppo soap in Lebanon and that's how we get it in France, but it's more expensive now. I still think it's worth it to support these craftsmen who are trying to preserve a 2000+ year old tradition.

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