I am a habitual hand-washer. Because I teach high school and touch many, many things throughout the course of the day, and because I do not want to get sick myself or transfer germs to my students, I feel as if I am constantly washing my hands. That trend continues at home, where we have two “porch” dogs and one house dog that desire my attention all the time. And I just can’t pet them without washing my hands afterward. I’ve seen them roll around in the yard . . . and proudly drag our neighbor’s discarded deer skins home . . . and eat stink bugs . . . so, despite their incredible cuteness, I’m not touching them without following up with a detox. I also feel the need to wash my hands after touching our dirty clothes, sweeping the floor, petting the guinea pig, moving my daughter’s shoes to the right place, carrying out the recycling, handling dirty dishes, etc. So, I’m pretty much washing my hands all the time. Add to that the fact that I am constantly telling my daughter to wash her hands, and we’ve got soap dispensers working overtime at our house.
Well, we did have them working overtime. I had bought pretty soap dispensers, not just because they were pretty, but because I didn’t want to buy those very economical (honestly, sometimes I am amazed at the things you can buy for 99 cents), yet very wasteful, plastic soap pumps. I did, however, have to buy refills for my pretty dispensers, which meant buying a big ole plastic container. We were going through those huge refill bottles quickly, which irked me for several reasons. One, liquid soap is NOT cheap. Two, once the refill bottle was empty, it went straight into the recycling, BUT plastic can only be recycled a limited number of times. Finally, (and admittedly this may have been the biggest reason of all) when one of the soap dispensers was empty, neither my husband nor my daughter ever seemed to remember where we stored the refill soap, even though we have stored it in the same place for years. Every time I turned around, one of them would yell, “There’s no soap in here!”
So, I made a “green” decision, even though my motives were not pure. I switched to bar soap at the kitchen sink, and bar soap at the laundry room sink, and bar soap at our bathroom sink. I kept the pretty soap dispenser in my daughter’s bathroom, which is the only other bathroom in our house and also serves as our guest bath. Perhaps not as green of a move as I could have made, but greener than what I was doing before. The majority of the hand-washing I do takes place in the kitchen, and just by eliminating liquid soap there, I feel I am making a positive, earth-friendly change.
Bar soaps come in very thin cardboard packaging, super easy to recycle. Bar soaps last and last and last . . . we’ve had ONE bar at the kitchen sink for over three weeks now and I’m betting it will be good for at least two more. Liquid soap never lasted more than a week before it needed to be refilled — by me — again! Plus, bar soap is much less expensive than liquid soap.
You can’t just leave bar soap sitting on your counter, of course, so I put mine in a little blue floral dish I got at one of my favorite second-hand stores, and then sat that dish inside the dish drainer with my scrub brush and my strainer. No one has yelled at me or for me in relation to soap in three weeks now! If only I could find a solution for all the other reasons they yell for me . . .
PS: I just read this blog aloud to my husband, and he claims it was his idea to use bar soap. Whatever.
Copyright 2014 Lori Creed