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Source: Papers On Health
Those of our readers who have followed out in
practice the suggestions which we have given in these papers, will have
seen some reason to believe in the importance of soap. Probably some of
them have laughed at patients whose chief need evidently was a good
washing of the skin! But there is more in soap applications than mere
cleansing. These are found to be of immense value in cases in which
there has been no want of perfect cleanliness--in cases even in which
the skin has been habitually clean. For instance, in patients with
nerves so sensitive that almost no application of any kind can be used,
a covering of the back with a fine lather, and over this a soft cloth,
has soothed the system so effectively that a great step has been
secured by this alone in the direction of cure.
When in search of really good soap we soon find that certain soaps are
very harmful. Soaps made from "soda ash," as nearly all hard soaps are,
tend to dry and harden the skin, and if used often produce bad effects.
Soda soap does well enough for many purposes, and if it is not used
often, and the skin is strong, no great harm may be done; but when it
has to be used frequently, or is applied to a tender sensitive skin or
to parts from which the outer skin has been removed, it will not do at
For years we had been seeking for somebody who could make us hard soap
without any mixture of soda. Once, when in Belfast, we spoke of this to
a friend. He took us to a soapmaker, to whom we mentioned our desire.
This gentleman at once saw what we wanted, and told us frankly that he
could not make the soap that would suit us, and that he knew only one
firm in the trade who could do so. But he assured us that that firm
made a pure hard soap which we should find exactly suitable to our
purpose. Thus we were introduced to the manufacturers of M'Clinton's
soap. This firm, we found, made the very soap we had been so long in
It is made (by a process which is, we believe, a secret in possession
of this firm alone) from the ash of plants, and so it may truly be said
that it is Nature's soap.
There is something in the composition of this soap which makes it
astonishingly curative and most agreeable on the skin. Lather made from
it, instead of drying and so far burning the skin of those using it,
has the most soothing and delightful effect.
As yet we do not feel able to explain this, not being sufficiently
chemical for the work, but we have tried the matter, and feel assured
that this soap is by a long way the best for cleansing and curative
purposes. Even soap which possesses the same chemical composition lacks
the properties of that made from plants, a fact not without parallel,
as chemists know. The substances of the plant ash differ in some
unknown way from even those chemically the same, which have been
We trust that our noticing the thing in this way will have the effect
of calling attention to the whole question of soap-making and using. It
is one of those questions on which great ignorance prevails. Many
people judge toilet soaps by the perfume and price. If the former is
pleasant, and the latter high, they consider they must be getting
something specially suitable, and yet the soap itself may be very
injurious. Before we had some cases of bad diseases of the skin arising
from the use of certain soaps, it did not occur to us to think much of
the difference between one sort and another. Hence we just said, "use
lather from good soap." Now we see need for care as to the kind of soap
used, and especially to warn against all soaps, however fine-looking,
that burn the tender skin when lather made from them is much applied.
Very especially is it important to distinguish between the qualities of
soaps used on the sensitive skins of infants and invalids. If you ever
wash an infant in strongly caustic soap, you may look for a state of
discomfort in the child which will make it restless and miserable
without your being able to tell how it is so. You may ascribe to
unhappy "temper" what is due to the bad soap which you have put on the
skin. So with sensitive invalids, when they have to be washed or
soaped, so as to keep off or heal the bedsores which are apt to appear
on them, it is easy to see how much difference there must be between
the effect of a caustic soap and one really and delightfully soothing.
M'Clinton's soap is the very best and most lasting of the soaps we know
for washing purposes, so that in recommending it we are not promoting
the use of a merely medical thing, but of one for ordinary purposes of
a genuine and excellent character. Every grocer ought to have it in
stock, and if it is sought after with some vigour it will be soon
brought in general trade within reach of all. It is not one of those
things that flame on railway stations and on the covers of magazines.
The makers are most quiet, unpretending men, and one would think almost
afraid to take their light from under a bushel. But they are in
possession of a most valuable secret in knowing how to make this soap.
Several soap-makers claim to be makers of this soap, insisting that
theirs is as good as M'Clinton's. It is far cheaper. Well, we put it to
the test of use. It is not the same thing at all. It won't do, nor will
it nearly do: the soda is there beyond all doubt. We are compelled to
recommend our readers to make sure that they get M'Clinton's soap, with
this name stamped upon it.
There is a strong temptation to deception, because M'Clinton's soap
requires eight days at least to make, while the fiery stuff is made in
one day, or two at most. It is of great importance that the true soap
should be secured. The matter is so important that precious life and
health depend on so humble a thing as this.
Take care you are not cheated by a wrong substance. Do not say you have
tried our remedy and found it fail. If you have applied irritating soap
instead of soothing, the so-called remedy could not but fail. Make sure
you have the right substance, and you will have the right effect.[A]
[Footnote A: To prevent an inferior article being substituted if it is
asked for as barilla soap simply, it is in this edition called
M'Clinton's soap. It is now made solely by D. Brown & Son, Ltd.,
Donaghmore, Tyrone, Ireland, who have purchased the business and trade
secrets of the old firm, and manufacture the soap in the same way. If
not stocked by the local chemist or grocer, small samples can be had
from the manufacturers free on receipt of 2d. to cover postage, or a
large assorted box will be sent on receipt of 2s. 6d.]
Fortunately the makers of M'Clinton's soap are sternly honest men, and
their soap can be relied on: that we have found out, we think, beyond
mistake. We are happy to be able to say that they have not sent us even
a bar of soap for our "Papers" on their behalf, but only assured us
that they will "reward" our kindness by "making a genuine article." If
there is "puffing," there is at least to be no payment for it, and that
is a safe way of keeping the "puffer" to the truth!
The curative effects of M'Clinton's soap will be found dealt with in
the directions for treatment of various troubles throughout this
volume. See the articles on Abscess; Asthma; Blood, Purifying; Boils;
Cancer; Child-Bearing; Dwining; Fever; Hands; Hives; Pimples on Face;
Rheumatism; Skin; Sleeplessness; Soapy Blanket; Stomach Trouble;
Next: Soapy Blanket The
Previous: Soaping The Head