Soap is a staple in our cleaning arsenal, a reliable companion in our fight against dirt, bacteria, and grime on various surfaces including clothes, dishes, and our bodies. However, not everything welcomes a sudsy embrace. Some items can be damaged or disrupted by soap’s intense cleaning power. Here, we list items and materials that you should never wash with soap.
CARPETS OR RUGS
While an accidental soap spill on your floors isn’t a disaster, it’s advisable never to wash carpets or rugs with soap. Soap often leaves behind invisible residues that attract dirt, causing the area to become dingy quickly. Moreover, soap can cause color fading or fiber damage. Instead, use special carpet cleaning products, and homemade vinegar solutions, or hire professional carpet cleaners.
CAST IRON PANS
Cast iron pans have a seasoned—oiled and baked – surface that develops over time. This seasoned surface is vital because it creates a non-stick layer and enhances flavor. Using soap strips away this good and hard-earned base. Therefore, they should be cleaned with hot water, a stiff brush, and coarse salt (if needed), rather than soap.
Leather goods like purses, shoes, sofas, or jackets should never be washed with soap. The oil content in leather which gives it its natural shine and suppleness is degreased by soap. Use leather cleaning solutions or wipes instead.
WOODEN FURNITURE AND UTENSILS
While soap and water can initially make your wood items seem cleaner, if done repeatedly, soap can dry out and crack wood over time. A better alternative is to use dry-dusting methods or specially designed wood cleaners for a gentle yet effective clean.
Opals have a high water content—an attribute that lends them their beautiful shimmery appearances. Soap, however, is a desiccant and can suck the moisture out of opals. Always clean opals with warm water and a soft-cleaning cloth.
Like opals, pearls also have a water content inside them. Soap can dehydrate the pearls and cause them to become brittle and lose their luster. If your pearls need cleaning, simply wipe them with a soft damp cloth.
TREATED WATER-REPELLENT FABRICS
Water-repellant camping gear or outerwear (like ski jackets) usually have a Durable Water-repellent (DWR) coating that makes them resistant to water. Cleaning these items with regular detergents can deteriorate the coating over time. It’s best to wash these items with a specialized water-repellent laundry detergent.
Proper cleaning ensures our belongings stand the test of time and maintain their full functionality. Whilst soap can work wonders on a variety of items, it is not a one-size-fits-all cleaning madame. Several items can get damaged or lose their special properties when exposed to soap. Remember, knowledge is power, and knowing what to keep soap-free will ensure our treasures stay in top-notch, gleaming condition for years to come.
Brazilian mother of two and CEO of Sparkling Clean Pro & Green Living Supplies since 2005. Working as an ecological advocate within the cleaning industry & aiding immigrant families and women at risk.