8 things one can do with Marseille soap

Savon de Marseille is a household name in France and throughout Europe.

The recipe has not changed in more than 100 years and consists of purely natural ingredients. And the great thing is: you can make a lot of it yourself! We have rediscovered traditional soap for you.

There are only a few handmade soap kettles left in and around the southern French port city. It was almost as if the traditional soap from Marseille was in danger of extinction. But for several years now, beauty bloggers and zero-waste fans have been rediscovering them for themselves. The real Savon de Marseille consists of purely natural ingredients and requires almost no packaging material. In addition, you can do an incredible amount with the help of countless "grandma recipes".

1. Make Liquid Hand Soap
Liquid soap can easily be made from pieces of Marseille soap. To do this, dissolve the grated soap in hot water, add a tablespoon of glycerin (available in drugstores) and let it cool. Here  you can find a number of recipes.

2. Make laundry detergent
The same goes for laundry detergents: dissolve grated soap or ready-made flakes of white Marseille soap in hot water and add baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, and an essential oil for fragrance. Cheap and waste-avoiding! Other recipes add oxygen bleaching (from the supermarket or drugstore).

3. Brush your teeth
Green Marseille soap (based on olive oil) is a very mild soap with which you not only wash your skin and hair, but also brush your teeth. Some swear by it because it is said to be good for the gums. Simply rub the soap bar with the toothbrush. With a few drops of peppermint oil it doesn't even taste like soap, but really nice and fresh. But fluoride is not in this "toothpaste".

4. Remedies for Moths
Just put a bar of green Marseille soap in the cupboard to keep moths out. Moths cannot tolerate the smell of olive oil.

5. Disinfectant
Dissolve a few tablespoons of grated Marseille soap in warm water together with household vinegar, and you have a natural cleaning agent that can be used to clean waxed tablecloths, toys and other waterproof surfaces. Works great and brings back childhood memories.

6. Make shaving cream
If you dissolve grated Marseille soap in a little water and add a few spoons of coconut or almond oil, you get homemade shaving cream.  The recipe can be found here .

7. Relief from mosquito bites
Marseille soap works against itching and skin irritation: simply rub on a mosquito bite and let it dry.

8. "Lubricate" stairs and drawers
Is the drawer difficult to open? Rub a dry bar of Marseille soap over the edges and gently slide out and back in. Do the wooden stairs creak? Put flakes of white Marseille soap in each crack and the problem is solved!

Green and white soap
For the above recipes it is important to know the difference between the 2 types of real Savon de Marseille: there is a green variant that is made from at least 72% olive oil. This is the mildest soap that is also suitable for personal hygiene. The white soap, which has been made for centuries from a mixture of palm oil and other vegetable oils, is in turn more suitable for laundry and all household applications.

Are you going to Marseille soon?  A Museum du Savon de Marseille has opened in the old port. This is definitely worth a visit!

©  NA ten Hoeve 08\08\2008

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