No Single-Use Items: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

In our recent travel episode, Rich and I mentioned packing light. One thing that can reduce the load you carry substantially is to pack non-single-use items, or items that can be used for multiple purposes. You may be wondering why I’m writing about soap on this blog, but Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap is one of my all time favorite multi-use products. Let me tell you all about it.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

There’s a good chance you’ve run across Dr. Bronner’s before. The label is absolutely covered with the real Dr. Bronner’s religious beliefs, the “Moral A. B. C.s” and other, very text-heavy proclamations. I admit this put me off a bit and I didn’t try this soap as soon as I might’ve. But when I did I realized this is good stuff! I’ll let you go to Dr. Bronner’s official website to read the ingredients and the production process, but the ingredients in this stuff are clean and the end result is awesome.

Dilute, dilute, dilute! Maybe the most amazing thing about Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap is that it is meant to be diluted. A gallon of it seems expensive, but if you’re a judicious user it goes a long way. I bought a gallon earlier this year and I’ve yet to come close to using even a quarter of it. Though the bottle says you can dilute up to a 1:10 (1 part soap, 10 parts water) I don’t go quite that far. I’ve found a 1:3 mixture to be about ideal for me. The soap retains its viscosity and still foams up extremely well.

The Multiple Uses of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

In my opinion this is one of the ultimate travel items. A small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s goes a long, long way and can be used for just about every purpose imaginable. I’ve used it for most of these purposes. Obviously this is an excellent soap for use on your body. With a small shower “poof” you can get a nice, thick lather going in no time. But that’s not all.

I have also used Dr. Bronner’s as laundry detergent. As have mentioned previously I frequently travel with just my EDC bag, which contains a single change of clothes. As long as I can wash one set while wearing the other, I can travel indefinitely on two changes of clothing.

I have also used Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap to wash dishes. It does an admirable job at getting your belly irons clean. Though I’ve tried it, I don’t really recommend it for use in a dishwasher. It lacks the grit contained in many dishwashing soaps, and leaves an unsightly film. But, if it’s all you’ve got, it will get the job done (and yes, I’ve tried it).

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Finally, I have also used Dr. Bronner’s as toothpaste. Yep, that’s right. It’s not the best toothpaste, but it will do in a pinch. I’ve found the Tea Tree and Peppermint scented versions work best for this purpose.

The only thing that prevents this soap from being the perfect soap is its effect on my scalp. I attempted to use Dr. Bronner’s as my only soap product, but unfortunately over longer-term use it dries my scalp out something fierce. For short duration trips (of up to seven days or so) it’s fine, but I would test it before planning to use it long-term as shampoo.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

Dr. Bronner’s is available in about every size under the sun. It comes in bottles ranging from a travel-friendly 2 ounces to a very economical 1-gallon size. The gallon will set you back a few bucks, but it’s well worth it. Diluted, that will actually be somewhere between 3 and 10 gallons. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap also comes in a number of scents including (but not limited to) unscented, peppermint, tea tree, citrus, eucalyptus, and lavender. If you have no idea where to start, they even sell a pack of 5, 4-ounce bottles in a variety of scents. If you don’t want to purchase through Amazon, Dr. Bronner’s is also available from health food stores and even some mainstream grocery stores.

If you’ve never tried this stuff before, give it a go. Having one soap than can do it all is awesome for travel. It’s also great for preparedness, as a couple gallons of soap can be reserved for all your soap uses, instead of having to stock a bunch of specialized soaps.

NoN-Single-Use Items (NSUI)

This article introduces a new, loose series called Non-Single-Use Items (NSUI). Rich and I are big fans of multi-use items, and Dr. Bronner’s Soap epitomizes this philosophy. In the future if you see an article with “NSUI” in the headline, you’ll know we are reviewing an a awesome product that has multiple uses and can probably replace two or three things in your inventory.

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Justin Carroll