Sunday, November 25, 2012

Soap

So what did you do to prep this weekend? Buy any ammo? Load any into strippers? Maintain your firearms? Buy any soap?

Soap? Yeah, soap. You know, that bubbly shit you spread over and over on your num-nums because it tickles and makes you feel good? You've heard me preach soap before and you'll hear me preach soap again and there's a reason for it. Life without soap is a short life, but a life full of infections and viruses. Again, a SF medic that I talked to once told me that 90% of the diseases that he treated on his civic action sick calls in Vietnam could've been prevented with soap.
A lot of people don't think of soap when they prep but you're going to be using it more than you think. True, water supplies may be short and you might have to cut your bathing schedule from once a week to once a month but you're going to have to be especially diligent about other things like food preparation sanitation and wound cleaning. Remember, antibiotics are going to be scarce too, so when Junior scrapes his knee you'll need to cleanse the wound thoroughly before slapping a SpongeBob Sqarepants band-aid. Every single cut and scrape needs to be cleaned to keep the germs out before they can spread into a full blown life threatening infection.

I had a discussion with one of my friends and he said he didn't worry about buying soap, he'd just make his own.
"Really. You know how to make soap?"
"Yeah, you take animal fat and pour it over ashes and then boil it to thicken it up."
Okay, this friend lives in Kansas. I know for a fact trees (and therefore ashes) are pretty scarce in Kansas. I've been there once. And by his soapmaking ideas, he'd ruin the only tree they have there.

Here's a basic idea of how soap is made. I'm not giving you quantities and times because I'm doing it from the memory of being taught by my grandmother about a million years ago and I have a hard enough time remembering what I did yesterday.
First you build a hopper up off the ground, then you fill it up with about a years' worth of hardwood (yes, it has to be hardwood) ashes. Then you pour water through it. The run-off is your lye. Be careful, that shit will burn the skin off of you - it's extremely caustic. Then you take a few gallons of lard and pour that into the lye to neutralize it and start to simmering it until it thickens up.
There you have lye soap. It's rough, it's nasty and it's fine for washing clothes and dishes but I'm not sure I would want to use it on my body any more than necessary, much less wash a wound with it.
Oh, I forgot to mention that you can bypass the straining of wood ashes completely if you run down and buy yourself a shitload of Red Devil lye but then you run the risk of getting turned in for manufacturing methamphetamine. It's easier to buy the damned soap......

So yeah, soap. Buy soap every time you go to the Dollar Store. Sure, the best kind to buy would be Ivory, something that's purer and non-perfumed, but get what you can get. Remember, the worst kind you can buy today is probably better than lye soap. Plus it's more fun to wash your num-nums with over and over and over again.....