The Truth about Biodegradable Soap

Soap-in-river-by-uncleboatshoesYou’ve all seen it. Someone jumps into the lake or river with a bar of biodegradable soap, sudses up, rinses off, and comes out a much happier camper now that they’re cleaned up. The truth is biodegradable soap is still soap and it damages wildlife and ecosystems when used in a water source. Biodegradable soap takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months to fully biodegrade but requires soil to do so. If you use it in a water source, it’ll be absorbed by the flora and fauna in the water and potentially kill or harm the health of the ecosystem. You’re not having a “one-with-nature” moment like this fellow thinks if you’re sudsing up in a body of water.

It’s best to only use soaps in the backwoods if you really need them so if you can feasibly go on your adventure without using soap, try to as much as possible. Sometimes though, you really do just need to wash up with soap.

Biodegradable soaps, however, are still light years better than run of the mill soap in terms of protecting the environment, as long as they’re used properly. Follow these tips on how to get the best out of your suds without harming critters:

  • Make sure your biodegradable soap is phosphate free (phosphate is a chemical that does a lot of harm to ecosystems).
  • Use as little soap as possible (try using a washcloth for better cleaning with less!).
  • Always collect your soapy water.
  • Suds up at least 200 feet away from a water source.
  • Bury soapy water in a hole about 6 inches deep so soils can break it down better before it gets into the water table.
  • If you don’t need to wash up, avoid it.

We have a selection of biodegradable soaps so be sure to come in and see what options we have in stock for your next trip. Don’t forget that soaps you use for washing up dishes and clothes should also be treated the same way as soaps for cleaning yourself up.

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