26 July 2011

Do you Roma?

In June of 2009 I wrote a piece entitled "Do you Zote?" about a very versatile bar soap that is just about everyone's favorite here in the Bajío region of Mexico where I live. I decided to write a companion piece about a popular laundry detergent that is made by the same company who makes Zote. The name of the detergent is "Roma" and it comes in plastic bags in quantities of half-kilo, one kilo, 4 kilos, and 10 kilos. The detergent is in granular form and it is mostly white in color with specks of blue. It is a basic laundry detergent and is less expensive than many other brands. We currently pay 22 pesos for a one kilo bag which is about $1.89 U.S. or in other words about 87 cents a pound. My wife Gina and her mother Carmelita swear by it and won't use anything else for washing both clothes and dishes except that they use Zote bar soap for the more delicate items like me, for instance. I shower with a bar of Zote every morning.

Many ladies here are in the habit of throwing a handful of Roma into a corner of the kitchen sink and they use it to wash dishes by just touching the dish rag to the detergent so that a little bit sticks to the rag. It makes great suds and a little bit of this detergent goes a long way. Roma isn't very hard on their skin either and it is also biodegradable and phosphate free. The listed ingredients are:

Cleaning Agent - Lineal Anionic Surfactant
Water Softener - Aluminosilicates and silicate
Soil Suspending Agent - C.M.C
Optical Brightener

The company that makes Roma detergent and Zote bar soap is called "Fábrica de Jabón La Corona". It was founded in Mexico City in 1920 by a man named Esteban González. He named the company for a nearby public bath house called "La Corona". The company grew and grew and expanded into several plants and now employs over four thousand people people. Besides soaps, La Corona makes cooking oils, liquid cleaners, toothpastes, and fabric softeners. The company markets its products all over North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The most amazing thing about both Roma and Zote and the other products made by La Corona is that there is no advertising. All of their sales are made through word of mouth and customer demand. In Mexico their market share is much higher than any of their closest competitors. They must be doing something right, eh? You just gotta go with a winner.



Monica said...

of course I Zote and Roma, why deal with complicated chemistry when, like your mother-in-law probably says, this is the best? I am happy to read the history of their manufacturer since I was convinced, after having read Battles in the desert, all soap factories in Mexico were bought by multinational companies.
PS> I see only now you are studying Chinese. will follow your steps soon. All the best,

Chrissy y Keith said...

I have always Zote's but I wanted the inside track on luandry. So thank you. I will get some the next time I am at the local hispanic marketplace. I am certain I have seen it.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Thanks for the information. Our housekeeper loves Roma she uses it to scrub stuff. I've been buying another brand to wash clothes, but I think I'll switch next time I need detergent.
I use polegra to boost whitening. How about a post regarding that?


Bob Mrotek said...

I'm sorry Theresa but I don't know what polegra is. We don't have that here. If the ladies need a whitener they combine a little Zote with the Roma and sometimes add a little bit of Cloralex but there is just an isolated stain they cover it with a paste made from Zote and set it out in the direct sunlight for awhile and that works like magic.

Anonymous said...

I love Roma. It's phosphate free and works great! I'll have to let ny green friends know! Haven't tried the Zote but that's on my list!

Anonymous said...

I want to bring this wonderful product to Haiti good stuff for Haitians.

GiniD said...

I make my own laundry soap and use Roma powder instead of the Fels Naptha most DIY laundry detergent recipes call for. That way, I don't have to grate the bars of Fels Naptha which is messy and time consuming, and it is very inexpensive. It smells very nice and seems to do a good job.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.