When Cleanliness is next to Impossible

A guest post by Kerry Knight

Kerry is a big fan!

Living in a house with three dogs pretty much guarantees that our linoleum kitchen floor and hardwood dining and living room often have the look of a Frat house. Once a week I mop the whole area, and am always on the lookout for one product that will make the job easier or at least less tedious. I decided to try “Spuma di Sciampagna’s PAVIMENTI” and give Mr. Clean a break. Intrigued by the bottle design and the claim that it can “degrease and wash ceramic and marble floors, stairs, bathroom fixtures and wall tiles” I figured that it must be the perfect all purpose household cleanser. I bought a bottle and tried it out on the floors, and an intimidating old fan that I recently dragged out of the cellar during our last heat wave.

The citronella scent is a nice break from the industrial and chemical wallop usually associated with floor cleansers, and doesn’t leave your house smelling for days on end like a hospital. Diluted with water, it did the trick on the fan in no time whatsoever. I checked out the website (italsilva.com) and read a little about the history of the company while my laptop gurgled out Goldberg’s variations. I always like to support “the little guy”, and the fact that this company is 100 years old and employs only 250 people added to its luster. See you later Baldy.

Below is some interesting history I gleaned from the website.

Established in 1908, the Saponeria Silva company took great care in its production of bath and laundry soaps, providing quality products guaranteed by a wealth of experience. Having abandoned its old soap cutters, wood kilns for drying and ancient production methods, the Italsilva Group has maintained the traditional fragrances and properties of its detergent products, while complying to the most modern technology processes, ensuring both quality and efficiency.

A special formulation makes it ideal for all household cleaning duties; degreasing, washing and hygienizing, while leaving a fresh clean fragrance on ceramic and marble floors, stairs, bathroom fixtures, tiles… even recommended on glass and mirrors. Spuma di Sciampagna Marsiglia hygienic floor cleaner leaves a classic fresh clean fragrance of essential citronella oil.

In 1997, Italsilva enacted its great revolution of transforming a classic product, solid Marseille soap (the traditional soap “bar”), into a liquid, easy dosage and simple to use product that preserves the same characteristics as the “original” product: its exceptional cleaning and hygienizing power also has a delicate touch on fine treated fabrics (for laundry detergents) and skin (for beauty care products). Marseille soap is hypo-allergenic and presents a balanced physiological pH level.

The history of Marseille soap dates back to the 9th century. Tradition in the region of Liguria has it that in the city of Savona a fisherman’s wife first came across this soap in an absolutely accidental, “household” manner by boiling soda lye in a pot containing olive oil. Since then, this laundry soap has been produced with primary materials deriving from natural vegetable fats from olives, natural soda and essential citronella oil, which lends Marseille soap its typical and unmistakably characteristic fragrance. The development of the soap industry along the coastal cities of the Mediterranean (Savona, Genoa and Venice) was favored by the presence of olive oil and natural soda obtained from the ashes of sea plants. The first soap factories were therefore established in Liguria, specifically at Savona, where soap-making became a flourishing business already in the 15th century.
During the 1600s, due to a stoppage in industrial activity throughout the Italian peninsula as a result of frequent invasions, supremacy in the soap trade was passed on to the French: Colbert, a minister under Louis XIV (the Sun King), called in master Ligurian soap-makers and built soap factories in Toulouse and Marseille. The area around Marseille, in particular, distinguished itself immediately for the high quality of the primary materials used in its soap factories. All of which explains the close bond which still today links this soap to Marseille – even though the origins of this noble and ancient product derived from natural ingredients are distinctly closer to Italy… we need only point to the linguistic similarity between “Savona” and “savon”, the French word for soap.

The overall versatility of Marseille soap allowed its use to be immediately and widely disseminated: its success was therefore ordained. The history of Marseille soap goes back hundreds of years, and the manufacturing norms and guidelines of this irreplaceable product were established by an edict issued by the Sun King himself. The production techniques and natural ingredients employed in the making of this product are steeped in tradition, yet render it modern and capable of satisfying even the most demanding consumers.

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