I just finished the 20 liters of Sancen Lava Ropa that I bought on January 15th and it is May 6th! So, almost 4 months of doing all my high season massage laundry plus all my personal laundry for $800 pesos or $44usd. I think that is a pretty good DEAL! My next 20 liters will last much longer as I won’t be working as much so doing way less laundry. It seems I buy two a year.
Here is a shout out for Sancen Natural Cleaning Products which are available at Co-Conamor, which is directly across from Chedroui in Tulum Mexico. It is a great little natural restaurant with a pretty complete health food store in the back. These products come in bulk, so you will want to bring the container you want to use with you. I happen to know she made a big delivery recently, so they are fully stocked. The do sometimes run out of things, so this is why I buy in bigger quantities. If you go and they don’t have what you are looking for, let them know and they will let you know when they have more. Also, let me know, and I will bug Tamara to get us some more. They have other natural cleaning products in bulk, but I have never used them so can’t tell you how they are.
Tamra Lashbrook is the genius behind Sancen. She is a woman very committed to sustainable energy, building and cleaning products. She moved to Tulum about the same time I did, and there were not many gringa women here then, so we became friends. A couple of years ago, she moved to Xcalac so she doesn’t do home delivery anymore, but sells through Co-conamor. If you are a business that would like to buy in big bulk from her, let me know and I will ask her how she wants to proceed. You can go to her website Greentulum.com but not sure how often she updates it.
She started making her products as she could not find any alternatives to the harsh chemicals that the Mexicans were using and knew this was not sustainable. She also knew that most “natural” or “biodegradable” products were not a whole lot better than the commercial brands. We didn’t have so many options as you have here now.
She once bought a natural product company in Cancun as they would not reveal to her what the ingredients they used were. When she went to pick up the liquids, they were very toxic chemicals, and she was afraid to even transport them. She’s a bit of a radical about these things!
I am grateful to have found her, as my family is very alergic to perfumes, so I have had to seek out alternatives to commercial cleaning products all my life. I actually have to be careful where I live. I can’t live next to a Mexican family that uses all the laundry and cleaning products normal in a Mexican home. In the states, I have a hard time walking through a neighborhood in the evening when everyone has their dryers vented outside and dryer sheets full of perfume filling the air. This is not a choice, this is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Idiopathic Envrironmental Intolerance in the medical world. When my allergies were at their worst when I was in my 30’s, I could not enter a grocery store because of the laundry products inside. I don’t mean I had to avoid the isle, I mean I could not go inside the store at all! There are people here who get their clothes done by Mexican Laundries, that I have to avoid hugging, as it will make me sick for a full day. Thank goodness I am better than I was! But I am still sensitive. If I go to a restaurant and they just cleaned with fabulousa or Piñol, I can’t go in. My mom, my sister, my brother, my grandmother all share this alergy. Mom has been hospitalized a couple of times over things like varnish. My sister gets MS type symptoms. Any super strong smell does it for us, but mostly chemical cleaning products. I also stay away from rose and jasmine essential oils and most incense. I can take a little copal, but not much.
For 8 years, I have only used Sancen cleaning products in my home. My clothes are very clean, my floors shiny and my dishes which are clear glass actually sparkle. I will talk about the products I use the most and how I use them. I have heard many complaints about how quickly people go through these products, but you don’t have to over use them. They are not going to foam up as much as commercial brands no matter how much you use. If you use them the way I do and the way it is recommended, you will find the cost is not much more than the commercial brands.
I buy the Lava Ropa laundry soap by the 20 liter container (same as the big water garafones) because massage therapists do a LOT of laundry. It lasts me usually about 6 months and costs around $800 pesos or 44usd. I buy in bulk as I don’t like to make lots of trips, and don’t like using smaller containers. There is really not any scent to this at all.
I use half a cup to a cup (125 to 250ml) of Lava Ropa depending on how big the load is for my normal laundry. I will admit, I add a few drops of the Greenland dish soap to my loads of massage laundry as they are soaked in oil, and it helps cut the oil, but I don’t add it to my regular laundry. I also sometimes add a cup of vinegar to my massage laundry. I double rinse when I use the Greenland as the smell is strong for me.
UPDATE! I just finished the 20 liters that I bought January 15th and it is May 6th. So about 4 months of my high massage season laundry for around $45 usd. My next 20 liters will probably last me until January as I won’t be doing as much laundry.
Lava Vajias is the dish soap. (Not sure I have that name correct) When I lived with my roommate Lou, we would buy about a gallon (4 liters) every 6 months. We were both cooks, each of us cooking usually 2 times a day, so we did a lot of dishes.
I do dishes the Mexican way, I keep the dish soap in a olive oil dispenser with the bar top on it, and I keep a little dish next to the sink, and when it is time to do dishes, I put a teaspoon (5ml) of dish soap in about 3/4 (200 ml) cups of water in my little dish. Then I use my sponge to get it bubbly, by soaking up the liquid and expelling it back into the little dish a couple of times. Then I use the sponge to wash all my dishes, and then rinse them all at once. This is enough to do a BIG sink of dishes including pots and pans. This is a difficult sell on cleaning ladies! I have had other expats say they go through a liter in a week, so they quit using it, but I am telling you, I use about a liter every couple of months and cook daily. See the photo above, I can’t seem to figure out how to get the photo here……hahaha!
Multi Uso con Clavo is the multi purpose cleaner I use for bathrooms, counters and floors. It smells like cloves. I also buy it by the gallon. To do my basic floors and such, I mix about quarter cup (60 ml) in a half full bucket of water. You don’t really have to rinse it off, but I do. I also keep a spray bottle with it handy in the kitchen for the counters and such. In the half liter spray bottle I put about 2 Tablespoons or 30cc’s of muli-use and fill it the rest of the way up with water. It is pretty strong. I use this on my bathroom sinks and countertops in the kitchen. Also clove oil is one of the ways to cut down on critters, and I honestly do not have any cockroaches and rare that I see a scorpion. Maybe 4 times in 3 years of living in my house. But I have lots of geccos! She has another scent too, but can’t remember what it is.
Limpia Vidros is the glass cleaner. I cut it about half and half with vinegar and then dilute it again with half and half water and I have a lot of mirrors. One of her spray bottles lasts me well over a year.
She has other products, she makes one for wood, also one for cleaning toilets, but I don’t use them, I just use plain old baking soda (bicarbonado) and vinegar for toilets and use a pumice stone to get hard stains off the toilet….did you know they wash up on the beach certain times of the year?
If you do insist on using the chemical cleaning products, please dilute them. One liter bottle of dish soap is so concentrated that you can actually dilute it 100 times and still get bubbles! They concentrate it so you will use a lot and buy more. And also please rinse your glasses better. When I drink something at your house, I can taste it.
And remember It’s also personal cleaning products such as shampoo and soaps that go down your drain as well. Sort of grateful for my allergies as it has forced me to be way more conscious. Don’t get me started on Insecticides! ANd if you are in a restaurant and putting on repellant, please step way away from people eating…….nobody wants to eat your poison. ANd with the wind, it will carry, so consider this please!
I have written a note to a friend of mine who is a scientist in the area studying the effects on the cenote and reef systems about how much of the problem is from chemical cleaning products I will let you know what he says when I hear back from him. When I see the amount of them going out in baskets at Chedroui it is a bit frightening to me. It just can’t be good. I am grateful not to be part of that problem.
Thank you for your attention, I hope this helps many make better decisions! I have also put this on my website and blog if you want to share it you can do so from there.