Why You Should Use Biodegradable Soap
Today we’re going to show you why it’s important to use biodegradable soap, and in particular, biodegradable dish soap.
Why it’s important for the environment, for camping and hiking, and for your septic tank.
You’ll also learn how to choose truly biodegradable soap.
Let’s get to it!
Why use biodegradable soap?
Back in the 1950s, soap and detergent manufacturers began replacing traditional soap—that is, saponified natural oils—with surfactants, which are foaming agents created in a laboratory.
As people began using these surfactant-laden soaps, the foamy surfactants traveled down the drain and ended up in municipal water systems.
But water treatment plants weren’t able to filter them out.
Lake Erie, for example, had 3-feet-high bubbles at its shore.
Think these bubbles were healthy? Nope; they were highly toxic to aquatic life.
Luckily, in 1972 Congress passed the Clean Water Act, which forced manufacturers to replace some of the worst ingredients.
But since 1996, the regulation was weakened in a way that made it easier for dangerous chemicals to be used in household products.
That’s why even today, the surfactants contained in most conventional soaps, including nearly all dish soaps, can pose a danger to nature.
Soap is a mass-market product with global annual sales of about $100 billion, meaning that a lot of people use them.
The more people who use conventional soaps, the more the chemicals inside them spread out into our environment, including the water bodies that supply our drinking water (learn more about eco-friendly soap).
There’s something you can do, though.
You can switch to biodegradable soap.
If you care about your local watershed, or if you like camping, or if you live in a household with a septic tank (as 25% of Americans do) --or if you quench your thirst with water-containing beverages (as 100% of Americans do)—then biodegradable soap may be exactly what you need.
Why biodegradable soap is better for the planet
1. Doesn’t harm aquatic life – i.e. ingredients don’t affect the reproductive development, don’t lead to early mortality, and are not responsible for the blue-sac disease in fish
3. Doesn't damage animals’ body functions because biodegradable soaps don’t include ingredients that act as endocrine disruptors or nerve toxins.
4. Doesn’t kill bees.
5. Doesn’t cause algal blooms.
6. Doesn’t harm septic tanks in your home or at campgrounds.
All of these are ways in which biodegradable soap can help.
Let’s find out more.
What is biodegradable soap?
Biodegradable soap is a kind of soap that safely returns to nature after one year.
How is biodegradable soap able to do this?
Because its ingredients come from nature in a more or less whole form, rather than having been intensively engineered and synthesized in a laboratory.
If your soap contains a bunch of surfactants, petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens and other harsh chemicals, bacteria and other living things have a hard time breaking them down because they are so foreign to the environments the bacteria evolved in.
So how are, let’s say, natural dish soaps any better?
Because in contrast to conventional products, natural dish soaps are made of natural oils and fats.
These are biodegradable ingredients that are found in nature, and that microorganisms can break down in a short amount of time.
For example, here’s the ingredient list of a biodegradable dish soap:
See the difference?
Just six natural ingredients.
That’s what an easily biodegradable dish soap looks like.
Find out more about truly natural and biodegradable dish soap in this video:
Now you have an idea of the general kinds of products to look out for, and what kind of soaps are best to avoid.
But are all biodegradable soap brands equal?
What you need to know about biodegradable soap brands
Many wannabe biodegradable soap brands have gotten slick when it comes to promoting their products.
They include a few ingredients that are biodegradable, and use this as a basis for marketing the product as a whole as if it were biodegradable.
But they still keep harsh toxins in their formulas.
And then they bet that no one is going to look closely enough to notice, let alone hold them accountable.
Another issue with biodegradable soap brands is that many of them don’t release their ingredient lists at all.
In such a case there’s no way for you to find out for sure if a product will indeed be safe for nearby streams once it goes down the drain, or safe for your septic tank.
There’s a solution, though.
Here’s a truly biodegradable soap made of 100% natural ingredients.
Its ingredient list is openly available, and it contains no phosphates, parabens, petrochemicals, surfactants, antibacterial toxins, artificial colors or fragrances, or any other non-biodegradable substance.
Just 100% natural ingredients.
All easily biodegradable.
Great for your next adventure in “the wild”, or for everyday use in your kitchen.
It’s also much more than just a dish soap.
It works great as hand soap, because it’s made of mild ingredients that don’t dry out your skin.
That’s why some folks even use it as liquid hand soap or a shower gel.
It cleans off stains just as well as conventional dish soap, and can be used as a floor cleaner, or as an all-purpose cleaner around the house.
And if you have a septic tank, it’s especially important that you choose a biodegradable dish soap.
Why use biodegradable soap for your septic tank?
First, let’s look at the meaning of “septic”:
It means “infected with bacteria”.
This is important information for septic tank owners. Here’s why:
Before wastewater in your septic tank returns to the groundwater, bacteria need to break down anything in it, including soap residue.
If they don’t, you’ll get a massive soapy buildup in your tank.
Water will not be released from your tank.
First: it will stink.
Second: water may back-up into your home.
Third: you may need to get your tank pumped, which can be costly.
All because of using soaps and detergents that contain harsh chemicals.
If your soaps and detergents don’t allow bacteria to break them down, sooner or later, you’ll be in trouble.
Antibacterial soap is the worst offender in this department, because it actively kills of the bacteria that make a septic tank work.
A truly biodegradable soap, on the other hand, can be broken down.
This lets wastewater flow out of your tank and into the ground safely.
No bad odor.
No extra maintenance costs.
Everything is hunky-dory.
So does this mean that biodegradable soap is safe to use without limitations?
No, it doesn’t.
We’ve put together some steps you still need to follow.
Things you still shouldn’t do (even with biodegradable soap)
No matter how pure and natural the ingredients in your biodegradable soap are, you should never use soap (of any kind) in a lake or river.
You should also never pour soapy water down a storm drain. Usually, storm drains are different from sewer systems. They empty directly into a local water body instead of going through a water treatment plant.
Just think of the animals drinking downstream. If you wouldn’t want to drink something, that’s a good sign you should not use it in a body of water, or pour it down a storm drain.
When using biodegradable soap in nature, always do it 200 yards away from water.
And dig an 8-inch-deep hole, and dump the soapy water into it to allow the bacteria in the soil to break it down before it reaches the water body.
Finally, use as little soap as possible.
Remember, the more you take care of nature, the more nature will take care of us… and the more other people can enjoy the beauty of wild places too.
Now it’s your turn
Whether you’re camping or hiking, whether you live in a home with sewer service or a septic tank, biodegradable soap helps to keep water clean for everyone and everything.
It puts less strain on your septic tank or your municipal water treatment plant, and on nature as a whole.
In short: it makes it easier for your wastewater to become clean, drinkable water again.
Wanna start protecting your groundwater, lakes and rivers?
Then check out this really awesome, multi-purpose biodegradable dish soap now.
(When you make a purchase from links in this post we might receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.)