Clearing Up Cleansers

When something is dirty and we want it to be clean, soap is a good choice. Deciding which soap to use makes it a bit trickier. There’s hand soap, dish soap, shampoo, body wash, facial cleansers, car wash, kitchen and bathroom cleaner, hand sanitizer – the list goes on and on. Some of these soaps clearly have special purposes, for example, we need a degreaser for dishes, while a stain remover is best for clothing and upholstery. But is stain removal really a bad thing to have in our dish soap? Is a degreasing agent out of place in body wash? Once we start to believe the lie, that we really need all these different soaps, our life becomes complicated by the myriad of choices, but soon we will see there can be only one.

A great deal of soap diversification is due to the cleanser industry’s complex marketing strategy. They want us to buy the latest product specifically designed to help make our life easier. This seems reasonable, until one day we open our cupboard and find it’s full of Tide; we open the fridge to grab some milk and realize we’re holding Mr. Clean and when we try to start our car we discover that the gas tank is full of windshield wiper fluid. An interesting fact, windshield wiper fluid was recently ranked as the most useless among marketed consumer soaps. Anyway, we need to get back to the basics; we need to know what it means to be clean. defines clean this way:

  1. Having stopped taking drugs.
  2. Something nice or tight.

In light of these insightful definitions we can conclude that something is clean when there is no visible, tangible or smellable residue and when bacteria levels are within a safe range. When we view cleanliness from this perspective, it begs the question, can’t there just be one soap?

Why must men and women bathe with different bubbles? Their bodies can’t be so different that they require alternate chemical mixtures to remove dirt from their skin and hair. And why can’t we wash our hair with dish soap? Everyone’s hair should be clean enough to eat off. The idea that our skin requires a certain form of soap makes no sense and, to crown their absurdity, soap companies would have us believe that certain parts of our body require different cleansers, as if the skin on our face shares nothing in common with the rest of our body. Unfortunately, as each new detergent is dispensed upon the public’s hands, social pressures ensure that no one dares break the lathery laws of soapery.

One can only imagine what’s next for soap. Certain sources cite Rump Rinse as the next big thing, a cleanser specifically designed for derriere care. After all, our bottom is a unique and special area, so it could require special treatment. Soon it will be unthinkable that body wash could service our rear end, and those who use these suds on their scalp will likely be called butt-heads.

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