A household tip (from the UK).

Nothing profound in this one, not even a pretty picture.

One difference between the UK and the land of the free is the use of body wash instead of soap. It’s actually a European trend that has gradually spread west. Darn EU. Body wash is sort of like shampoo, but uses coarser detergents (typically Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate) and has fewer conditioners and scents.

In the UK I’m partial to the cheapest Tesco value product (blue coloured and 50p a bottle). A bottle lasts my boys and me almost two weeks, which is pretty good value (my wife still prefers soap). This time, after returning to the USA, I tried to find a similar product. Ivory makes one that’s 97 cents at Walmart.

You may ask “So what?”

It turns out the detergents are excellent at lifting soap scum. Soaps are sodium and potassium salts of organic acids – for example Sodium Laurate. As such they form coordination complexes with ions in the water, especially calcium, which precipitate into a hard, insoluble and scummy substance. It’s a real nuisance. The sulfate-based detergents don’t do this, and even better solubilize the scum.

Author: rharrisonauthor

International man of mystery. Well not really, although I can mangle several languages and even read the occasional hieroglyphic. A computer scientist, an author and one of the very few people who has both an NIH grant and had a book contract. An ex- booktrope author and a photographer.

4 thoughts on “A household tip (from the UK).”

  1. I generally use bar soap, but it is unscented and with no colour, as I am extremely sensitive to everything added to make it smell and look nice. Though, in Canada, both options are popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a smallish sample – my brother in law’s family (we stay with them – not like I poke around bathrooms). I know when we wander Tesco’s it’s harder to find bar soap than it used to be.


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