Despite health risks, local cleaning materials gain popularity in Ras al-Ain

Homemade cleaning materials in the city of Ras al-Ain in northwestern al-Hasakah - February 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Homemade cleaning materials in the city of Ras al-Ain in northwestern al-Hasakah - February 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)


Enab Baladi – Ras al-Ain

The city of Ras al-Ain in northwestern al-Hasakah is witnessing a noticeable increase in demand for handmade cleaning products, due to the high prices of ready-made products in the market, and the decline in the financial situation of the locals in the area. However, these products are not without their health risks.

Residents are seeking alternative solutions to meet their cleaning needs, thus turning to local manufacturing. The daily wage for a worker in any profession such as construction and agriculture does not exceed 30,000 Syrian pounds (approximately two US dollars).

A cost-effective alternative

Amidst these circumstances, and with most of the locals relying on agriculture as a main source of income, residents find themselves compelled to change their consumption habits and look for alternatives to meet their needs.

Amina a-Salmo, a housewife from Ras al-Ain, said that she heavily relies on handmade cleaning materials because of their low cost, noting that their prices are less than half of those of the ready-made commercial cleaning products, which have become expensive.

Meanwhile, Omar al-Zaki mentioned that he has been purchasing locally-made cleaning materials for over five years due to their reasonable prices. He explained that he works in daily jobs earning 40,000 Syrian pounds a day and cannot afford to buy ready-made cleaning products.

Al-Zaki gave an example that the price of a kilo of medium-quality homemade dishwashing liquid does not exceed 6,000 Syrian pounds, while the price of a kilo of the ready-made version can exceed 20,000 Syrian pounds.

Home industry

Saeed Fadlallah, a shop owner selling cleaning products, said that the variety of locally made cleaning products has become apparent to consumers and has seen great demand due to the low prices and the weak purchasing power of citizens, in addition to the high prices of ready-made cleaners.

The seller added that he works from his home in cooperation with his wife and son, where they make dishwashing liquid, shampoo, floor freshener, and liquid soap.

He mentioned that the basic ingredients for manufacturing these cleaners include sodium silicate, sodium lauryl sulfate, glycerin, fragrances, and sulfonate.

He pointed out that he imports the raw materials used in the manufacture of cleaning products from Turkey, through the Tal Abyad crossing, and the raw materials are transported to the city of Ras al-Ain by commercial shipping.

Commercial shops offer a variety of cleaning products sold by the kilo, including several types of dishwashing liquid, which vary in quality according to price, with prices ranging from 5,000 Syrian pounds for the light type, 6,000 for the medium, and 10,000 Syrian pounds for high quality.

As for shampoo, the price per kilo for the regular type is 7,000 Syrian pounds, 8,000 for medium quality, and 10,000 pounds for high quality.

Ready-made canned products are priced at 20,000 Syrian pounds per kilo of dishwashing liquid, while a bottle of shampoo reaches 35,000 pounds, and chlorine to 22,000 pounds.

Health risks

Homemade cleaning materials carry some health risks, as continuous exposure to them can cause skin inflammation, allergies, respiratory problems, and more. Some cases may require medical intervention for treatment.

Mohammad Mustafa, a resident of Ras al-Ain, shared with Enab Baladi his experience with using a cheap locally manufactured shampoo and said that he started using the shampoo a month ago, but was surprised by the appearance of red spots on his body and severe itching after use.

He mentioned that he has been receiving treatment for over 15 days at a dermatologist due to the severe allergies that appeared on his body and called for supervision by responsible authorities on the manufacture of these materials under the appropriate health conditions to protect consumers.

Dr. Riyadh al-Farouq, a dermatology specialist in Ras al-Ain, highlighted in his conversation with Enab Baladi the importance of buying cleaning materials from trusted stores and ensuring that the product has a label that accurately explains its components, with an emphasis on reading the warnings and instructions on the package.

He pointed out the necessity of avoiding the use of substances containing harmful chemicals and seeking natural alternatives or products manufactured by trusted companies that guarantee the safety of their ingredients.

He said that his clinic regularly sees patients suffering from allergies or skin itching, or people with dry skin and rashes due to the use of shampoos or cleaning materials from unknown or untrusted persons or commercial shops.

Al-Farouq recommended raising awareness about the dangers of using unknown cleaning materials through educational and awareness campaigns targeting all members of society, especially housewives.


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