When people think of French soap they usually think of deliciously scented triple-milled soap in an array of beautiful pastel tones.
However, there is one French soap that truly stands out above the rest and that symbolises Provence and its heritage in all its splendor.
As you may have already guessed, it is our beloved Marseille soap. However, we are not talking about all the Marseille soaps wannabes, but the authentic and genuine “Savon de Marseille”. The one and only, made in cauldrons in the heart of Provence by a handful of master soap makers.
If you’d like to learn how to spot a real one, check out my other blog post: How Can You Tell Your Soap Is a Genuine “Savon de Marseille”?
You may wonder: what makes this soap so unique? Well, not only the fact that it has been around for centuries, that it takes two weeks to make and that it is all natural, biodegradable and economical, but also the fact that it has a multitude of uses and virtues which should indeed make it a staple in every home.
Are you ready to learn how to use it? Well then, read on!
Face, hand and body soap
Let’s start with the obvious. If you’re looking for a wonderful body cleanser, look no further! Olive oil Marseille soap is “décapant” as we say in French, meaning it cleans so deeply and thoroughly that you will finally know what it’s like to be squeaky clean. Yet, as amazingly effective as it is, you will find it to be gentle and hydrating for all skin types due to its high olive oil content and natural properties.
It is particularly recommended for people that have allergies or are irritated by synthetic soaps and cleansers because it doesn’t contain any fragrances, synthetic products or colorant.
It is also appropriate for babies, people with sensitive skin, and those with eczema, psoriasis, and oily or acne-prone skin.
Now, can you say this much about your soap?
Marseille soap is great if you’re looking for a non-toxic alternative to wash your hair. It will give you a nice deep clean. However, from personal experience I would say that it is best for short hair. On long hair I noticed that it is harder to rinse off and it may make your hair a bit too greasy. My husband swears by it and since he has made the switch to using solely Marseille soap as his body wash and shampoo, he no longer gets an allergic reaction after he showers. You can never go wrong with natural products, right?
And in case you were wondering, yes, it also works wonders as a dog shampoo for your pooch!
Directions: Rub the bar of green Marseille soap between your hands, lather up, rinse well, repeat and voilà!
Have you ever run out of toothpaste? Or have you found that conventional toothpaste irritates your gums or even gives you mouth sores? Well, I have… and amazingly enough, Marseille soap is here again to save the day!
Directions: Rub your wet toothbrush on a piece of green Marseille soap, brush your teeth and rinse your mouth several times with water.
You can finally ditch your shaving cream and make the switch to a clean and eco-friendly solution: good old “Savon de Marseille”.
Thanks to its hydrating properties and good lather, you will never look back! I know I haven’t :)
Directions: Wet your skin with warm water. Rub a cube of Marseille soap between your hands or directly on the area you wish to shave until you have a nice thick lather, and shave as usual. After you rinse and dry your skin, you can opt to apply your favorite nourishing oil.
Now moving on to its virtues as an effective and natural all-purpose household cleaner. Marseille soap can be used on many types of surfaces: ceramic tiles, stone floors, kitchen counters, sinks, bathtubs etc, you name it. Incroyable, n'est-ce pas ?
Directions: Simply rub white Marseille soap on a damp cloth or sponge, clean and rinse!
Say goodbye to chemicals and artificial fragrances!
Directions: Cut up some white Marseille soap and mix it with hot water until it melts or simply rub a sponge directly onto the soap.
Another option is to follow this recipe:
- 1/4 cup of white Marseille soap
- 1.5 cup of hot water
- 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon of baking soda
- A few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)
Melt the soap in the hot water, then slowly add the vinegar and baking soda. Let the mixture cool. Add a few drops of essential oil.
Here goes a not-so-fun job: removing stains!
Marseille Soap thankfully makes our job much easier as it can be used to pretreat stains such as alcohol, coffee, chocolate, food, as well as make-up stains. “Savon de Marseille” also works well on shirt collars.
However, remember not to use hot water as the heat could transfer the stain into the fibers of your garment.
Directions: Rub damp Marseille soap on the stain, let it dry and wash as usual.
Marseille soap is so gentle and effective that is has become my go-to soap to hand wash all my delicate clothing: cashmere, wool, silk etc. And it is ideal for newborn clothing as it is completely natural and non-toxic.
You can also use it to make your own liquid laundry detergent!
Directions: boil one gallon of water, mix in 150 grams of grated white Marseille soap and one cup of baking soda, stir until melted and well diluted. Let cool and pour in a sealed container. Don't forget to mix before each use!
Plant pest control
I have my dear Marseille soap to thank for saving my dying houseplants. Some time ago I purchased a big beautiful planter filled with a variety of indoor plants and, a few weeks later, I realized that half of them were infested with tiny white bugs! Ugh! So I went ahead and made a mixture of Marseille Soap and warm water and treated all of my plants. I am happy to report that all of them recovered and are now thriving!
Directions: in a container, pour hot water over 2 tablespoons of grated Marseille soap. Mix well. Let cool, pour in a spray bottle and spray on affected plants. Reapply as needed.
Make-up brush cleaner
In order to avoid the build up of germs and bacteria, remember to wash your make-up brushes regularly, as this will help protect your skin from blemishes, pimples and allergies. Ideally, this should be done once a week.
Directions: wet your brush with water, rub it on your block of Marseille soap, gently massage the bristles and rinse the brush with water. Afterward, you can let it air dry, preferably horizontally off the edge of a countertop or on an absorbent towel.
Who hasn’t had the misfortune of ironing a white garment when suddenly, oh là là, the iron leaves brown marks all over it! I hope you have some Marseille soap handy next time you’re about to make that same mistake!
Directions: Rub some Marseille soap on a slightly warm iron plate. Wipe with a clean cloth.
Did you know that moths were sensitive to certain smells? And as it turns out, they do not like green Marseille soap at all!
Directions: Simply hang a slice of green Marseille soap in your closet. You can also place a cube or slice of Marseille soap in your dresser, linen cabinet or wardrobe, right in between the folds of your clothes or linens and goodbye moths!
You may now want to include a cube of Marseille soap in your first aid kit!
Directions: Rub some green Marseille soap on small wounds, burns and insect bites, then rinse.
Fog-free windows & mirrors
Now that’s an interesting one, don’t you think? Not only does Marseille soap work on windows and mirrors, it also works on eyeglasses!
Directions: Rub the entire surface with a slightly wet Marseille soap. Then wipe with a clean lint-free cloth until the soap has completely disappeared. Repeat once a month or daily for eyeglasses.
This is something I have not yet tested as I do not suffer from arthritis or leg cramps but this remedy has been passed down from generation to generation. If you suffer from cramps or arthritis, especially at night, why not try it for a few nights? You may well be surprised.
In conclusion, you've guessed it, I am a big fan of Marseille soap. And I would love to hear how you use it as well. Please share your tips and comments below and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!
Wonderful and informative article I am amazed to discover the many properties and uses my new favorite soap possesses Thanks for sharing.