By Jess Handley
As the quest for a greener, greater tomorrow continues, there are the inevitable things which although may appear to be small hindrances to the individual, have a great impact on environmental stability.
The hindrances to which we refer are the cleaning materials we use in our homes, as even those most adamant eco consumer will admit to using certain products for tough cleaning jobs. When it comes four day old dirty pans, under the bed, toilets and other unsanitary places, one can never clean thoroughly enough.But the often strong reaction to this kind of dirt need not be filtrated down into choice our cleaning products. For the larger part of our human history, people were cleaning with products that weren’t combined with things such as petroleum, making them much more biodegradable. We are not suggesting that one should follow the route of King Louise “The Sun King” of France, who only took three baths in his 77 years of life, but by simply changing our materials we are potentially preventing a vast amount of non-biodegradable waste.
For example, making soap from natural materials is very simple, such as soapnuts (originating in India). For soapnut liquid:
1/ Place two handfuls of soapnut fruits in a medium saucepan, half filled with water (about 1.5 – 2 litres of water).
2/ Simmer your fruits gently for 5-10 minutes. Don’t let them boil over.
3/ Strain off the liquid and bottle it.
4/ Place the soggy soapnuts on a dinner plate to dry for further brews.
5/ Once the soapnuts liquid has cooled, place the bottles in the refrigerator and leave some out for use. The bottles will keep for a week or so when refrigerated. You could add a natural preservative such as grapefruit seed extract to prolong the life of the soapnut liquid.
You can order soapnuts online from: http://www.naturesoap.co.za/
For serious cleaning and other grimy tasks which soapnuts may not handle, softsoap will work a treat. Soft soap (formerly known as black soap) is made from linseed oil, which can dissolve in water and is ideal for tough grease. (Arguably this soap has a longer proven track record of success-since the 12th century in fact- than any modern commercial product eager to encourage widespread panic of germs taking over the world)
This original article was sourced from: http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/short-history-soap-pre-petroleum-age-how-make-your-own-biodegradable-plant-soaps