No Soap or Poo

When I announced the 100 Thing Challenge, Rebecca commented about the lack of soap or shampoo on my list. (Toothpaste I share with my wife.) Instead of responding in a comment, I thought that this topic deserved its own post.

Some time ago, I ran across this article about not using soap or shampoo. That made me think. And so I dug a little deeper. After reading numerous articles about the subject, including this one, I decided to try out this experiment for myself.

The Experiment

Since the end of June, I haven’t been using soap or shampoo. I shower daily, but simply don’t add man-made chemicals to the process. I have continued to use deodorant. Washing of hands with soap occurs after using the restroom and before any food preparation.

Getting Started

My first reaction after reading about the concept was that it would end with me feeling dirty, and those around me agreeing. However, this was never the case. My wife didn’t even realize that I had started the experiment (though I’d told her about it) for at least three weeks. I feel just as clean, if not more-so, than before.

The articles above both mentioned a normalization period of about two weeks (a time for your body to adjust to the lack of chemicals that attack it). I think it took me about three days. My hair felt greasy for couple of days, dry for one, then felt better than normal. Nice, soft and almost never greasy.


This experiment was not conducted while working in an office, then spending the remainder of my day in my apartment. Instead, I spent the month of July living and working outside at a summer camp. 28 of those days saw record-setting highs. We swam in pools and lakes, went rock climbing, spent a night a week in a tent, and generally had a great time. I sweated, a lot.

I noticed only three times when I needed to use something extra in the shower, each time on my hair. I skipped a shower one day, and the next day I only felt better after washing twice, using shampoo the second time. After spending an absurd amount of time in a chlorinated pool each day for nearly a week, I noticed my hair drying out and threw some conditioner in there for two days.

The Results

After having avoided showering with soap and shampoo for over three months now, I doubt that I will return to using it. Not only have I saved money, but I can now shower faster. More importantly, I actually feel cleaner. My hair stays clean-feeling throughout the day, and doesn’t scream for attention after only a few hours. My skin has become less oily (which was always an issue before). I am generally cleaner-feeling over all.

This simple experiment has shown me not to blindly follow life rules just “because I always have” or “because you should” or any other reason that is not meant to be questioned. Make your own decisions and test things out. See what works for you, and do that. See what doesn’t work for you, and stop doing that. For me, soap and poo don’t work.

6 thoughts on “No Soap or Poo

  1. Ray - Pure Spontaneity says:

    I’ve been no soap no poo since March of this year. I didn’t tell my wife at all until about 3 weeks in and she never even knew it. She doesn’t mind but I couldn’t get her to go no poo. I also use flouride free toothpaste and The Rock deodorant.

    • Matthew says:

      @Ray – Congrats on the successful experiment! Like yours, my wife has no interest in trying life without shampoo (she generally is fine with my projects as long as she’s not included in them). I’ve wondered about alternative deodorants and will give The Rock a look.

      @mattack – I continue to use my washcloth, just as I did with soap. However, I now use it by itself. This may just be psychological, but I feel cleaner when I “wash” right under the water instead of out of it. It’s like I’m using the running water in place of soap. -shrugs-

      @Rebecca – Now that you mention it, I’ve heard of using apple cider vinegar and baking soda before. However, it hadn’t occurred to me to try it out recently. Once I learned that I can’t skip a day, and haven’t had access to a pool, my hair’s been fine.

  2. mattack says:

    Interesting. I haven’t used deodorant for about ten years now… Never thought about going without soap.

    I assume you use something to scrub, like a washcloth or something else?

  3. Rebecca Burgener says:

    I have read about using apple cider vinegar and baking soda as an alternative to shampoo. I think the baking soda is the cleanser and the vinegar is the conditioner. You might keep that in mind when your hair needs something.

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