Solid toiletries, hard water & clogging pipes!

I’ve been a little quiet of late, as I’m renovating my home. But I wanted to come back to talk about the difficulties of solid toiletries and hard water. It’s resulting in our pipes clogging far too frequently. From my internet reading, apparently the fats in solid soaps react with hard water (hydrolysis of fats) to form soap scum (a precipitate of the calcium salt of a long chain of carboxylic acid).

The problem we are having is this soap scum solidifying into big chunks of white mass once it gets into the drain outside. Believe me, this is not a fun job to rectify! You need rubber gloves up to your elbows and the large part of our Zero Waste attempts in the bathroom are being ruined by the need to purchase bottles of commercial drain cleaner. Since soda crystals are not strong enough to tackle this problem! The only long-term solution I can see, is the installation of a water softener.

Like me, this may all come as quite a surprise to you – as I thought the soap obviously dissolved in water!!! But the calcium and magnesium in hard water reacts to form an insoluble curd which lodges in pipes (yes, it really is like curds and whey! Only it smells gross!!! Is that TMI?!)

So, we have a problem for the time being- until we can afford to install a water softener. I would also only want to do that if the tap water we drink can remain unaffected, since my aunt had one installed and I can’t stand the salty, soft water. Until then, I am left wondering whether you can wash with something other than soap. Or whether for the sake of our pockets which are not infinite, we shall have to return to our old methods of cleansing.

Can anyone share any tips?

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