Monday, October 10, 2011

On my soap box

In one of my posts about using up toothpaste and deodorant, Dorothy recently left a comment that ends this way:
. . . Do you also mix your liquid soap with water to make it go further? Not that I want to start a miser war...
Ooh! Oooh!  I've been SO looking for an excuse to talk about soap.  No, really!  These tiny little things are the utter joy of my life.  If you're not really a miser and you don't care about picky little details, just go away now and come back later when I write about grand philosophy.  But if you love to compare and contrast, if you want to get support from like-minded penny pinchers, if you obsess about your own persnickity daily habits, then read on.  And then give me your own ideas!  

My very favorite soap-extentder is dish soap:  I add about a teaspoon of liquid dish soap to a squirt-bottle of water, and I keep this next to the kitchen sink.  We use the dishwasher for most of our dishes, but we wash occasional pots-n-pans by squirting them with this mixture, scrubbing, and rinsing.  A bottle of store-bought liquid soap lasts me longer than a year this way.

We have hand-washing soap dispensers stationed at the sinks around the home.  The containers themselves are things my son and I made as Christmas presents one year.  I refill these by buying large bottles of liquid soap, or sometimes bubble bath (which can be cheaper). In fact, this weekend I bought 1/2-gallon of bubble bath for $8; a similar amount of hand soap would have cost at least $9.50.  Do I dilute this?  Sometimes, yes.  Not always, though.  Tell me more, Dorothy!

And then there's my shower soap.   In many ways, this is a tribute to my mom, a devoted Girl Scout camper.  She taught us to make outdoor camp showers with water stored in old bleach bottles and soap stored (hung) in cut-off panty hose.  I save all the bar soap that I get from hotels and as gifts, and I toss them into one leg of a fish-net stocking that has seen better (and racier!) days.  Ooh-la-la!  This lathers up really well.  And I love the juxtaposition of getting clean by using something that used to be, well, not quite white-as-snow.

As for the rest of my family, my husband isn't quite so obviously risque.  He and my sons shower with regular bars of soap, generic versions of "Irish Spring", a choice driven mostly by my own post-shower reaction to the way my husband smells.  This post-shower reaction may, or may not, involve fish-net stockings.  My oldest son, a self-declared 'ladies man', is angling to get shower gel from several people for Christmas, and he'll slather on about a quarter of a bottle at at time, so he can attract the babes in droves.  He says: more donations welcome. 

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