Health, Hygiene, Illness, Injury
Here are ideas from various sources about soap and washing ...
- How to make simple soap
- Pour water through ashes - the result is called lye.
- Collect the lye (filter it through a cloth
or anything) in a container.
- But be careful to not use a container that will react with the lye, such as aluminum! You will find that the aluminum
will get eaten away by the apparently boiling lye.
- Be careful it will burn (seriously, it will)!
- Mix with melted animal fat. This step requires some heating and thorough mixing. The mixture may require cooking
for some time to ensure complete "saponification", perhaps as long as an hour. Otherwise, you will be washing with a
mixture of lye and fat. (Yuck!)
- Allow the result to cool down.
- You got soap.
- You can also add some flowers/needles infusion of some sort in order to get a nice smell
- Bottom line: Be careful with the lye!! It can burn you quite seriously.
- Why do wood ashes mixed with water burn? Yet when the mixture is dry it doesn't?
Lye is Sodium Hydroxide. NaOH
As a solid, the Na and OH are bonded and unreactive.
When you mix with water, you break the bond and voila, you've got Na+ and OH- floating around.
For neutral pH water, the number of OH- and the number of H+ are equal.
When we have more OH- around, we say this is a base.
When we have more H+ around, we say this is an acid.
Both OH- and H+ are reactive with (burn) lots of stuff - like skin.
- soapwort plant
- fireweed plant
- just use water and sand as an exfoliant....
- Yucca: Loaded with saponin, a well-known lathering substance, the large
root of the various yuccas has been the principal source of soap for the
Indians living throughout the southwest, both past and present. When
pounded, the roots froth with suds. In the old days yucca root suds
undoubtedly were employed for all manner of cleaning jobs; hair shampoo
stands out as the most enduring use. Among other native peoples, the Navajo
say a yucca shampoo will make your hair long, shiny, and black, and several
Navajo ceremonies incorporate yucca washings."
from Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners, p.
- Do without. Realize that we live in a clean-obsessed society. Most
primitive peoples were a lot less clean than we in this society are.
Reorient your attitudes towards this issue. Get used to being a little (or a
lot) less clean. It won't hurt you. If you're one of those people who counts
germs on door handles, well, you've got a long way to go. Start letting go
of your obsession, and practice being a little less clean. The Inuit people
of far northern Canada, for example, rarely if ever washed themselves (too
cold where they lived). They got along fine.
- For washing clothes ... most "primitive" cultures simply used water.
Water is naturally soft (surface water, as in streams and rivers), and so
will wash clothes fairly well. Millions still wash their clothes that way in
India and other countries around the world.