The Ever Simplified Life: Rock Replaces Soap

The no soap adventure continues, in my sixth week I made a remarkable discovery - the lava rock. It happened when I walked by a pile of lava rocks and thought "that looks a lot like a pumice stone." So I grabbed a couple of them and put them by the bathtub. As previously reported quitting soap greatly reduced dry skin itch, though it did not get rid of it completely. It seems this lava rock provides that last bit of exfoliation that was needed. I'm using the rock like soap, washing the entire body with it and getting an enlivening scratch that leaves the skin feeling like it was just dipped in peppermint. Consider what has been given up: bottles of 'stuff' filled with a variety of chemicals so complex that a chemistry degree is required just to pronounce them. And what's replaced it: a rock. The former cost hundreds of dollars a year, requires an industry and it wrecks the natural systems of the world, the later costs me a delightful hike in nature. The result - life improved!


amasci.com said...

Red "Lava rocks" ...actually slag from iron production. AND THEY MELT IN A MICROWAVE OVEN. (Like glass they need blow-torch preheat in order to trigger.)

Put a red lava chunk on a small upside-down 2" flowerpot in the center of your microwave. (No glass disk, of course.) Blast one side of the rock with a torch so it's glowing orange. Slam the door and hit start (preset for 20min or so.)

The glow dims and goes out. But wait. Soon down inside the holes in the rock you'll start to see dim red peeking out. Ah, the stone is a thermal insulator, so as it heats up and becomes an electrolytic microwave conductor, the surface will cool (by radiation.) But the innards will not. The microwave heating cannot escape the inside. The temp goes way up.

The entire inside of the rock turns into incandescent slag. Finally a surface crack develops. (Bad luck if the crack faces the rear of the oven.) The crack widens. Finally the wall collapses, exposing the magma chamber. Glowing yellow molten silica/iron pours out, carrying floating bits of the rock wall, and it slowly runs down the side of the flowerpot. Open the door before it burns off the paint or perhaps eats through the steel oven floor. (Feel the IR radiation on your face! Might singe some hairs.)


Caveman soap-less living was tried ten years back on the "Kill BO" website. They found that all body odor came from bacteria, and your clothes washer breeds the stuff. So, if you scrub off and then go shirtless, no underarm stench. But wear a shirt, and the BO clouds appear after a couple of hours. The shirt brings in the contamination (and boiling temperatures in the dryer do nothing. Perhaps they even increase the problem! Maybe these are thermophile bacteria?)

So, if you sterilize all your shirts in 1/3 cup of chlorine liquid bleach (mixed well in half-full tank in the washer, THEN add the shirts and wash normally,) the bacteria is gone. They're very sensitive to chlorox. You can wear one of these shirts for days, and no stench appears.

I found that original caveman washing wasn't good enough. By afternoon I was stinking. But with sterile shirts, problem solved.

1/3 cup bleach doesn't affect colors even after numerous washing. But always make sure to dump bleach in slowly and mix well, otherwise you risk getting some dark gray stripes on your collection of black t-shirts.

johanna said...

i thought pumice stones ARE lava rocks... ??

Michael J. said...

The comment by amasci.com was far more interesting than the original post.

Wendy Jehanara Tremayne said...

thanks amasci.com. very interesting indeed.

wexzone said...

Awesome post, Wendy! I let our no soap/shampoo community know about your info:

Wendy Jehanara Tremayne said...

Folks, some of the funniest posts I've ever read in my life have appeared as a result of Boingboing's repost of this post. Check them out if you're ready to fall off your chair laughing.

Now I trust you all know how not to overuse a rock on your skin. Use it, understand it and don't over do it - obviously!!!!


withheld for privacy said...

Ah, yeah.

Aren't you describing the experience of a Turkish bath?

Red Pooka said...

Another way to deal with the stinky bacteria is to make your skin more acidic. Dousing yourself with lemon juice will take most of the BO away, and it doesn't require doing stuff to your clothes. If you're particularly stinky, it may take a few days, but it works.
Another good thing to do is, after handwashing sweaters, rinse them very clean and soak in water with about a quarter of a cup of vinegar. Vinergar is a mordant, meaning it will help keep the color stuck to the wool, and it's acidic enough to have the same effect on body odor as lemon juice.

Meg said...

Wendy, I'm impressed. I tried no soap for about 2-3 weeks and couldn't do it. My hair wouldn't cooperate. I love the idea, but I think the fact I'm a minimal shower-er 2-3 times a week max was working against me. That and perhaps the super dry winters here in Alaska. I think I'll try it again this summer.

I just came upon your blog yesterday and I've been enthralled by your adventure.

wendy said...

Hi Meg. . . I too could not quit shampoo. I'm now poo'ing weekly. I have no problem giving up soap on the body though.

Killbox said...

In response to amasci, the bleach is also not too bad for the greywater too, it oxidizes/kills bacterium and spores in the water, and then pretty harmlessly breaks down within a few hours.

saichah said...

When I was a kid, my mum would scrub me with a polished rock (gallet in french). Unfortunately, we're loosing these traditions in Mauritius. People don't bath with herbs anymore to get rid of blemishes, they prefer expensive creams. Likewise, my grandma used ash, bamboo and papaya leaves to wash clothes, especially white ones.It's a great idea to use rocks.

Kate's virtual Home said...

I watched this you tube video and am thinking of doing the same: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1pNirZDII4

The author/publisher is a woman who lives simply and documents others through the world who do so also. This is her video on using backing soda and vinegar to wash her hair and the results.