Two Letters Re: Beans, Bullets, Band-Aids and Hygiene

Mr. Rawles,
 Another comment on home made laundry soap. There is a difference between Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate and using the wrong one will make a difference in the quality/effectiveness of your product. If you are having difficulty locating Sodium Carbonate you may want to consider checking with your local swimming pool supply store. Soda Ash (sodium carbonate) is a commonly used chemical to raise the pH in swimming pools. – W.V. Willard

Mr. Rawles:
There are several easy solutions, and a few economical difficult ones. I make my laundry soap out of grated Ivory bars, Borax, generic Oxy-Clean, and baking soda. My laundry soap works way better than the store bought detergent, is cheaper, and takes less per load. There will come a day when those ingredients are not available. I’ll probably then just use homemade lye soap and boil the clothes after scrubbing them on my passed down washboard.
The solution to toilet paper is to use fabric rags and re-wash them (in my homemade laundry soap). It’s a fairly easy solution. I have a dispenser in my bathroom where I have big rags and little rags in two separate compartments. I have a little canister with a lid, into which I put the soiled rags. I like it better than toilet paper.
Instead of paper towels, I use fabric towels. Again, these solutions are boringly old fashioned, but amazingly foreign to our present culture.
For soap, I use old fashioned lye soap, made my yours truly. I use store bought lye at this point in time, but later, when we will be heating with wood, I will take the ashes and run rain water over them to make lye. I use the lye soap to wash my skin and my hair.
For shampoo, I use this mixture right now:
Step 1: Wet hair. Use a tiny amount of dandruff shampoo, scrub into scalp. Wash out.
Step 2: In an empty shampoo bottle, fill it up with water, and squeeze some (only 2 squeezes) of your favorite shampoo into bottle. I use generic Pantene moisturizing shampoo. Shake up. Squeeze a little bit onto your hair. Lather. Rinse.
Step 3: Take a bar of lye soap. Rub in hair. Lather. Rinse.
Step 4: In an empty conditioner bottle, fill it up with water, and squeeze some (I’m talking 2 squeezes) of your favorite conditioner into bottle. I use generic Pantene moisturizing conditioner. Shake up. Squeeze a little bit onto your hair. Lather. Rinse.
Step 5. In an empty spray bottle, put about 1/4 of bottle in vinegar, fill up with water. Spray all over your hair.
I have long, thick hair to my waist, but I use very little shampoo or conditioner. The key is to use a lot of water. The shampoo is actually damaging to your hair. All shampoos contain several strippers; that’s what makes hair tangly and dry. The lye soap contains glycerine, a natural by product of the chemical change that happens in the soap making process. Glycerine is very good for hair and skin. Few store-bought soaps that I know of contain the glycerine. The vinegar is also very good for the hair. Someday I will make some vinegar. From what I read, it’s fairly easy to make if you have the apples.
It is very confusing to me to understand the thinking behind the large stores of stuff (paper, etc) that people talk about having. What will happen when they run out of those stores? Why not learn to cope without them now? Is it really self-sufficiency to just go buy everything in large quantity? I don’t know, maybe it works for some people, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I understand that I will probably still have to buy some things, but I want to be producing or have non-perishable things for most of what I need. – Mrs. A.L.