We all like to be clean. By doing so, we feel better, much more secure, and confident of ourselves. This is especially important when the power of the circumstances surrounding you are like a windstorm and have transformed your entire world. The inability to buy deodorant, toothpaste, and similar products makes our self-esteem tank down to unreasonable levels.
It´s hard to stand up and fight if we feel we are inferior to our enemies. It´s just the way it is and Communists use this to keep people under control. For those of us who are more or less civilized, at least. The dictatorial regimes know this. They´ve used that scarcity against the populations they need to enslave, for decades. Whether if this works or not, will depend on us.
There’s been a soap shortage in Venezuela
I want to make a parenthesis to present a couple of proofs that evidence the engineered scarcity in Venezuela of the hygiene products. Check this link
Please use your browser to translate, would you? Back then, a guy called Fleming said: “there was not lack of production”. Knowing the corrupted practices involved in laundry schemes with our currency and the exchange controls…I find very hard to believe anything coming from someone with such strong ties to those powerful positions.
And three years later, after the failed State took “control” of the production, just read this article, informing than the scarcity was worst than ever.
2016 was a though year. Zika virus became almost epidemic, like Chikungunya disease. Basic goods like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and TP, almost inexistent. Not for us, though. We had a decent amount and we resisted until 2017.
Beware of hastily made commercial products
This being said, I´d like to mention there is an important fact here, which must be carefully registered.
This is the logical result; scarcity made people look for affordable and available options. The result is, hundreds of improvised chemical facilities all over the country, mixing the different chemical compounds brought God knows how from other countries, to manufacture the different products people are used to using.
However, this article, as recent as 2018 describes how people have substituted the conventional odorized soaps of major brands that once (before big mouth Hugo seized the factories) were produced in the country. The negative side is, many of these products are being manufactured without the sanitary regulations our laws provide, and the health of the users can be compromised.
Industrial products for the masses will cease to be produced in the numbers they are being produced nowadays. They need electricity and a myriad of different raw materials, and specialized workforce in many instances. Once all that production chains are controlled by the State (and these guys couldn’t care less if your kids have soap, shampoo, toothpaste or toilet paper, and if you are in some developed country, this can happen there and even worst), you’re done. The black market will swallow every little bit of profit people are making. I´ve seen this happening. Unless you have your supplies stockpile, of course.
What to do when the soap disappears
I will focus especially on soap. Medical supplies and other stuff deserve an article of their own.
Once the soap bars disappeared off the shelves, all of a sudden, people started to look for some other alternatives, ranging from dishwashing soap up to clothes detergent.
While I was in a hardware store looking for some tools and supplies like sandpaper and wood stain for my CNC machining work, I ran across several gallons of liquid soap, the kind used in public bathrooms dispensers. Bingo. The labels were in English, the reason no one would know what they were. Next to them, there were floor wax products, exactly the same bottle, and the same color. Maybe that was the reason they hadn’t been sold.
Anyway, I happily grabbed the 8 gallons, paid for them, and went home with the other tools. Took two gallons to my folks, recommending to use it with some dilution to make it last. It resulted much better than bar soap, which would last only like 15 days per bar. I used it as shampoo alternating it with real shampoo. It was great this way. Always keeping my hair very short and well-groomed.
Note from Daisy: Making your own soap is always another option. Here’s an easy DIY for homemade soap. You can make it fancier once you get the hang of it.
Soap is valuable when it’s in short supply
I am sure someone is going to be quite surprised after reading this article.
I will summarize it: Venezuelans barter soap for gasoline. Maybe regular people (not preppers, of course) see with some degree of horror how the people of the article pays for a gas tank with a bar soap.
We don’t, because our mind setup is different.
We know this is how a real collapse smells, tastes and looks like.
I sometimes get mad with some acquaintances when listened (or read in the chats) they complaining like idiots about “this bad government”. They’re so out of the real context, out of the reality that is sad even to remember it. They just don’t have a clue about what happened, and that became them PART of the problem. Just like a bovine in the middle of a road, getting hit by a semi-truck. Never knew what happened nor why.
That’s why so many people like myself can’t be happy, though, except for those special occasions where we forget about the future and the destiny of our loved ones, for a few hours at least.
We think too much, look for the root causes…and try to make the world a better place. (Sorry about that cliche).
Soapnuts are another option
As far as I know, no one looked for the soap our ancestors used before the Spaniards’ invasion.
I just did some research and my kiddo and I learned we have a tree in the tropics able to produce some small berries that ground and mixed with a little clean water will make a great liquid soap. A variation of this soap is being sold in Colombia now like an “organic” one. And this is a tree widely spread in my area. I find now odd my friends and I haven´t seen it while roaming around like wild rabbits all over the place.
I am used too, but I know that using as well natural products like that plant I mentioned you growing in the wild in our tropical forests, we can extend the lifespan of our conventional soap bought with hard-earned money.
I prefer roaming in the deep woods until finding one of those trees, collecting the nuts, getting the shells, warm some rainwater to prepare the soap and take a Japanese-style bath, very relaxed, after hand-washing my clothes, everything while seated peacefully, instead of being in a city in the middle of this mess:
And I have good news for you. The Sapindus Saponaria can be found from the USA South all over down to Argentina. With the shells of just a handful of nuts and water over 30 Celsius, you can make soap for adding to your laundry machine, and this will work as well as a shampoo.
According to this site, the foam is quite light and the scent is nice.
The “natural, artisans-made” soap actually being manufactured is made with products imported in bulk from Colombia, where the chemical industry is much bigger than ours.
So if you are interested in using this as an alternative, please do your own research so you don´t poison yourself, don´t predate your ecosystem (on the contrary, you should plant this trees everywhere if you have the acreage) and remember these solutions should be for maximizing the durability of your supplies.
Thanks for reading, and look forward to your comments!.
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations: paypal.me/JoseM151