A Not-So-Brief Note About Soap

I’m interrupting my discussion of cleaning things because I just have to tell you about soap.

Humans make this cleaning thing so very hard on themselves! If one goes to a store and looks at the cleaning supplies there, is it any wonder they are unable to get anything done? What a disaster! They have a different soap for every possible thing you can imagine, and many for things you cannot imagine, even as a faerie I could not believe what kind of stuff they came up with to clean!

(I even saw a soap for washing cats! Can you imagine such a thing? While The Cat and I seem to be living peacefully enough, I cannot imagine she would allow our truce to continue if I were to try it. Don’t cats wash themselves?)

I write this in a jumble because it is simply boggling that beings who are quite finite in their time on the planet would wish to spend so much of it going through all the different soaps and kinds and things and which brush or spounge to use on what and what is scented with which scent and what is natural or not, even though most of it still looks like chemicals to me.

All very mad.

So because I wasted my day reading blogs about cleaning, I will try to simplify things. Category by category, of what is actually needed. Not that you can’t go off and spend lots of human money on chemicals and things. I have done quite a bit do research and believe I have found a few good places to start, at least.

The Body:

The human body needs to be cleaned, sadly. I used to very much enjoy the occational bath in fresh streams, articularly when I could have an audience of admiring onlookers (I have a weakness for satyrs) as I poured the glittering clear water over myself and splashed my friends and we had a laugh and then would go off and find a lovely patch of sun to dry off in and nap away the afternoon.

But the human body seeps and oozes sweats and oils and it gets dirty and even cleaning can cover one in dust, and of course there is no magic breeze to request come and whisk away anything dirtying the self.

So humans must rely on soaps for their body to apply under running water called a shower, which is much like a little personal waterfall that you can turn dials to create the perfect temperature.

I do enjoy the shower a lot, actually. And bathing. It is fun, and reminds me of more carefree times, though I never had the luxury of being able to set the temperature of a personal waterfall before.

So to clean the body, there is a good deal of work to be done.

(For some reason the neighbor likes to come over when I’m obviously in the shower, and he likes to ask me through the window if I’m all soapy. Maybe he is as confused about soap as I am?)

You will need a separate soap for the hair and the body and sometimes the face but I have chosen to choose a soap that I can use on both my body and face without whatever issues there are supposed to be when one chooses a soap for the face.

The hair needs to be “conditioned” in order to prevent tangles and damage, so this requires at least another soap… If it is soap.

And it gets only more complicated from there. The entire house needs soaps and cleansers, an every expert has a different list of what to use and not use. It’s exhausting!

Indeed, they remind me of the Great and Knowledgeable Council in their tendency to all think they know best, yet all disagree.

Here is a list of what I can figure out:

Baking Soda – I have no idea what this stuff is, but it is completely miraculous. It can be used to scrub sinks and walls and even to unplug drains if you mix it with salt. You can rub it on your skin gently to scuff off the dead skin that human bodies accumulate if they aren’t careful. It absorbs odor somehow, and it you can leave it in your refrigerator or shoes or anywhere and it makes things smell much better. You can even put some on a brush and scrub your teeth with it!

Vinegar – Again, I am a bit unclear about what this is, a far as I can tell it is wine after it is left out too long, it can be made from all different stuff. It is great for mopping floors and scrubbing refrigerators, and is supposed to keep bugs out of the house if you rub it on the floor, though I have yet to know if this theory is true. You can rinse your hair with it mixed with water, and it will get rid of something called “soap scum” (this soap scum is the subject matter of lots of bathroom cleaners, and it sounds very gross, like pond scum, but is really just minerals in the water that runs through pipes and mixes with soap residue and turns into a white film). There are many uses and I continue to discover more.

Dish Soap – this seems like it ought to be simple. A soap that can help clean grease and food from dishes. But no, they have confused it with scents and colors and some of the soaps have moisturizers in it for keeping hands from getting dry (why not use gloves if this is a worry?) and then others say they disinfect and others claim to “cut grease” better, though to cut anything I thought one needed a knife of some kind, and then there are all the possible scents and if it is biodegradeable or not and all kinds of other stuff that I just ran out of room to think about. I settled on a clear kind that is labeled environmentally friendly and it seems to work just fine.

Clothing Soap- this can be for delicates or not and there are kinds that get rid of stains and kinds that are natural and kinds that are for dark clothing or light clothing or both and some that are scented, there are many differnet scents, and may that are not, and this can even come in a powder or a liquid and that is also confusing because how can a person tell which is best or not? I searched and searched and finally ended up with a nice big tub of one that was labeled free and gentle and clear and unscented, and it is a liquid concentrated stuff and seems to work well enough, but the is no way of really knowing how well a detergent works as far as I know. As long as things get clean, they are clean, right?

Floor soaps – imagine any different kind of floor and there is at least five soaps for them. Some condition, some wax, some do all kinds of other things. Humans seem to have a current fascination with the oil that comes from the peels or oranges and they want to put it in everything from floor soap to “air fresheneres”. For what reason i do not know. I have never been a keen fan if the smell myself, and the oil is positively caustic, no matter how natural it may be. I gave up on floor soaps before I could get too far into their anthropology once I decided I would see just how many things I could clean with vinegar instead, because it is natural and cheap and easy to use and seems to do a good enough job in every room and not just the one room, then another and another.

The bathroom is the place that has the largest variety of soaps and things, because there is a certain fascination with cleaning things that might involve bacteria and anything else that might be living. There are soaps for soap scum and soaps for mildews and soaps for toilet bowls and the inside of the tank and scrubs to clean the bathtub and scrubs to clean the sink and things to pour down the drains to get them to clear up if things get stoppered and there are all different varieties of each, which seems like it is just a lot of bother to do something that only a couple of cleaning agents at can be used in the rest of the house as well will take care of.

Then, of course, the kitchen has a similar array of options. There are sprays to use in the oven, and some on the stove and powders to polish the sink and the metal bits that control the water, and there are wipes to clean the counters and things to use to disinfect anything you can imagine and there are disinfectants of all different kinds for just about any surface and any purpose anyone could imagine.

Honestly, there are just so many things to choose from and I cannot believe humans would give themselves such difficulty for such small things as cleaning the house. There is so much more life to life than simply sitting around and trying to figure out what chemical you are supposed to use where. It is simply ridiculous.

All of this bother just to avoid a little dirt and small things called “microbes” and “salmonellas” (I wonder if these are some small kind of fish that make food taste bad? I’ll have to do more research – but all the disinfectants seem to think they are the best at getting rid of whatever the salmonellas are).

Whew! That’s enough for today. I will keep you updated about what works best.

For now, I’m going to go feed my cat and try cooking a flower for dinner.

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