Let's talk soap. You probably use it. Bodies, dishes, hands, clothes, it's all over us.
If you look on the label of most any commercially available soap today, you'll see "Sodium Tallowate" listed as an ingredient. Sodium Tallowate is the byproduct of mixing lye with tallow or beef fat. (Technically, tallow is fat (beef or other) that has been rendered.)Yup...the #1 ingredient used in most soaps is beef fat.
Yikes! It's true. I just checked my stock of body bars. Now I'm smelling beef on me...
So here's my submission for you to consider. Try a soap made without animal by-products and while you're at it, made without animal testing. While your on a roll, go for organic and fair trade, too.
Here are my top pics (though there are literally thousands of good options out there):
Dr. Bronners Magic All In One Soap This stuff is the best. Offers organic and fair trade. The label is pretty heavy-handed with scripture, but magical it is. It comes in a liquid concentrate, so a big bottle lasts forever and costs about $8. I use it, diluted, in our hand soap bottle, to wash my baby, to wash delicate clothes, I have washed my car with it, the floor, everything. I give the unscented kind as baby shower gifts. Peppermint is yummy. It's even at Smith's grocery store (in the health foods section).
Kiss My Face for body/face. They use olive oil for their fat, have some good scents, and comes in a nice, big bar soap.
Ecover or Seventh Generation for all household needs: floor soap/cleaner, dishwasher, liquid dish soap, laundry detergent, etc. These brands are big enough that most all grocers carry them and they are good, eco-responsible companies and products.
p.s. Here is a great post on the 7-Gen blog