Mud Shampoo + Old School Soap

Conversation with Ma about mud shampoo + banana leaf soap from her childhood


Me: Remember you told me once about how you used to go to the pond and put mud in your hair?

Ma: That wasn’t really my idea. I had an aunt whose family couldn’t afford to buy soap. It was winter and she went to the pond to bathe, so I was waiting by the pond talking with her, waiting to bathe because it was cold. Then I see her pick up some mud from the banks of the pond and put it in her hair. So I asked her what she doing with the mud, she replied that she was washing her hair with the mud. So I did the same thing by watching her. ( laughs)

Me: Did you put the mud in the hair and let it sit?

Ma: We put the mud in our hair and rubbed it around, then dipped our hair in the water to wash it off.

Me: And what about using it on the body?

Ma: No, I didn’t put it on my body, just my hair

Me: People put mud on their faces now

Ma: She ( her aunt) did that too, she put it on her face and her arms and rest of the body too. People do it now, they use expensive clay, all kinds of things

Me: What else? What else would people in the villages do?

Ma: What else? The poor people in the villages would rarely use soap to wash their clothes. Bed sheets, Blankets, Pillows, you know how they’d wash those? They’d use the “daaugra” of the banana tree

Me: Which part is the daaugra?

bottom part of banana tree leaf pictured here. Image from

Ma: The bottom parts of a banana leaf. When it dies, it turns a golden color and dries out. They’d use it for firewood and when it became ash, they would use the ash in boiling water and put the clothes in. The poor people would use that to wash sheets, blankets, all of that. I used to watch them.

Me: Didn’t they use ash to wash dishes?

Ma: Ya, people in Dhaka ( the capital city of Bangladesh) still do that. Don’t you remember seeing my mom would buy ash and always keep it in the house? She’d use that to wash the dishes.

I got called by uncle, and I was in a rush, but I wanted to start the recording series. The format will evolve as I delve deeper. Let me know what you think!

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