Today’s blog is an updated repeat of one that we published back in early 2014. There is so much interest in this topic and misinformation, that we are sharing it again. Our goal is to help settle some of the confusion surrounding soap scum, what it is, and where it actually comes from.
It’s not your soap, it’s your water.
So, what causes soap scum? As we speak with customers, we run into people who blame their soap scum directly on and only on evil “bar” soap. They have decided they will only use “gels” or “liquids”, believing this will solve the problem. In reality, the amount of soap scum you experience in your tubs or sinks is directly related to your water supply. Commercial shower gels typically do not leave soap scum because they are not SOAP, they are chemically laden detergents. Detergent based soaps are not skin friendly. Most detergent based products do not create soap scum because they do not react with calcium and magnesium ions found in hard water. However, the detergents themselves can contain endocrine inhibitors, high levels of sodium, sulfates for lather enhancement ……quite a toxic combination for our skin.
Soap scum is comprised of dirt and oils, but most importantly……minerals.
Even without soap, a scum will appear from these minerals over time. Here is how it happens:
As the water in the atmosphere condenses, it dissolves carbon dioxide from the air, forming a weaker carbonic acid. This acidic rainwater eventually falls to the earth and then percolates through the soil to the bedrock, often limestone. Limestone is composed of calcium and magnesium carbonate. The acid dissolves the lime, then the calcium and magnesium ions become part of the water supply.
When hard water mixes with dirt, body oils, and sodium laden soap residue, the result is soap scum. If allowed to build up over time, the deposits can harden and become very difficult to remove. A water softener installed in the home is one solution.
Commercial bar soap contains sodium, sulfates and chemical hardeners.
These are major soap scum contributors versus a botanical based soap which contain none of these. Do a side by side comparison. More residue remains after using a commercially made bar. It is also why your skin will feel drawn and tight.
While commercially made shower gels and liquid hand soaps are extremely convenient, they do nothing in the way of improving your skin health. Many also contain tiny exfoliating particles which are now showing up and clogging filters in the City’s water purification systems. Due to the liquid composition, a preservative is necessary to prolong the shelf life. Be proactive in your skin care, read the ingredients on that bottle in your shower and look them up online. I guarantee disappointment in what you will find.
If soap scum is the bane of your life (house cleaners….yes we hear you), you can mitigate the effect by using a natural, botanical based soap rather than using liquids and gels.