People who’ve known me for a while probably know that two things I’m adamant about are to not needlessly spend money and to use products that aren’t dangerous. As it happens, there is something that is used in most households in developed countries that is quite harmful when used as intended. Yet, it does have a use that is a huge money saving on the laundry, namely as a laundry pre-wash.
That substance might surprise a lot of people; hair shampoo. There is no joking about this. Every single top selling name brand hair shampoo, without exception, contains exceptionally harsh chemicals that are extremely bad for your hair and others that are equally bad for your skin. The brand makes little difference and the expense of the shampoo doesn’t make it safe; inexpensive and expensive are equally dangerous.
As an example, one major brand contains (among other things) sodium Lauryl sulfate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium chloride and several other chemicals. These are extremely powerful chemicals that are designed to cause suds, break the surface tension of water, dissolve oil, and they actually remove the outer layer of hair to make it feel “soft”. In actuality, if you looked under a microscope at a strand of hair that has been treated with this stuff, it looks like someone went at it with an axe. That is basically what happens when the outer layer of the hair is removed.
Some of the most common chemicals used in shampoo are also known carcinogens. That is, they are overwhelmingly implicated in causing cancer. They are legal for use in shampoo only because they aren’t consumed, as if that is the only way a person can absorb carcinogens. It isn’t.
As bad as this stuff is for your hair and scalp, shampoo is great for use as a spot stain remover and laundry prewash. Indeed, this fact should make you think twice about using it on your head. However, if you want a powerful pre-wash that does better than any of the name brands, to a pint of water, add 1/4 cup of shampoo (any kind) and 3 tablespoons of vinegar. It can be dabbed on or put in a spray bottle and sprayed on. Use this like you’d use any pre-wash and stain remover. It fights stains and removes odors. Best of all, it is far cheaper than the store-bought kinds, yet it does a much better job.
Want a safe alternative for your hair? That one is extremely easy. While homemade lye soap remains easily the best, not many people make their own soap anymore. So instead, use Dawn brand dish soap. It is safe for use on wildlife, so it is safe on your skin and in your hair, without damaging it. If you simply must have something that smells strongly, like most shampoos, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
The bottom line is that if you care about yourself, your loved ones, and the condition of your and their hair, you’ll leave the hair shampoo in the laundry room where it belongs. In the bathroom, replace it with a bottle of Dawn. You won’t believe the beautiful, shiny, and nice looking difference you’ll see in only a few weeks. Yet, your clothing will end up looking cleaner, too. If you don’t believe me, give it a try.
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I have just seen this post and have been having this conversation online just today and it is old news , people just don’t listen. Almost all major brands are bad for us and full of parabens and sulphates. I have something similar to what you use here and use it for a lot of things ..it cleans really well even the oven and no gloves required … Good post and sound advice Rex 🙂 Shared 🙂
Thank you. I firmly believe that the biggest reason that people use unsafe products, to the tune of millions of dollars spent on them yearly, is because we live in an instant gratification society. It is more convenient to purchase poisonous, dangerous, and damaging goop in a bottle to use on the hair than it is to make our own. Truth is that even bath soap is better for the hair than shampoo.
I know there are harsh chemicals in so many things we use. Never thought about shampoo for a pre-wash in the laundry. Great idea!
It has the advantage of smelling good and being much cheaper than pre-wash. The clothes don’t even mind that it is so harsh. lol
I learn something everyday! Thanks for the info.
It is my pleasure! I only thought of writing this post after my wife came in and asked me to mix up some of “that good homemade spray-and-wash”. lol It occurred to me that others could benefit from knowing how, and it is very easy and inexpensive to do.
Wow, Rex, that is new information for me. A lot to think about!
It is information that has been out there for a long time but suppressed so that a lot of people don’t know about it. Not many people make their own soap anymore, but that practice is far safer.
My daughter took cosmetology in high school and has told me the same thing!
It is sort of scary, isn’t it? People worry about trace chemicals that might remain in their food and yet think nothing about putting dangerous or deadly chemicals on their skin that are readily absorbed. Then they wonder why they start going bald and feeling ill all the time. Of course, those at greatest risk are the people who shampoo every day, but even shampooing less often isn’t safe. Interestingly, lye soap, which is far safer, is really quite easy to make.
I agree about shampoo. It’s been a few months I just wash my hair with baking soda. For me the results are magical. Earlier in the past few years, I had felt strange with my head and back after my head was sweating. I often feel a strange smell that I never smelled when I was younger, and the smell is now gone. I think it is the benefit of the loss or decrease of chemical deposits in my head and back.
You may be right. Some of the additives don’t make a lot of sense, either. What good is ‘vitamin E’ enriched shampoo going to do? The vitamin E ends up going on hair, which is dead and can’t use vitamin E, and the harsh chemicals are going to wash it away anyhow. Conditioners are just as bad. Why shampoo the hair to get rid of natural oils, then use conditioners, which are designed to put oil back into the hair (oil that isn’t naturally produced by the scalp).
Anyway, you’re right. Baking soda is safer and works better. Vinegar will also work.
Yes, I should combine the use of baking soda with apple cider vinegar, but I have not found the right method to overcome the acidic odor too long.
The vinegar smell should dissipate fairly quickly. You can also make scented vinegar by soaking rose petals, lavender, etc, in vinegar for several days, then strain out the plant material. It doesn’t remove the vinegar aroma, but it helps to mask it.
Wow… these are great tips! Thanks Rex. I will soon practice it.
I’m happy if the tips help!