Do you know what rice bran is? Bran is the outer layer of rice grain, and rice bran is a byproduct of the milling process.This is how brown rice is converted to white rice. Bran contains various nutritional ingredients that have beneficial effects for human health. However, rice bran can be used for other things too. In Japan, before cleaning detergents were invented, people used rice bran for washing dishes. Also, people used to extract oil from rice bran for cooking. These days, however, we have many products from outside Japan, and most of the time, imported oils are much more reasonably priced than ones made locally. Factory-made dish soap is also pretty cheap. So rice bran has not been used that much in the last 40 years. But, these days with widespread global warming and environmental and health concerns,many people are reconsidering the products they use. Organic, sustainable products appeal because they are good for the environment and for the people who use them. My mother started using rice bran for washing dishes 3 years ago. Of course, when she makes a deep fried dish such as Kara-age (deep-fried chicken) the rice bran isn’t enough to get the pot clean. But the rice bran works very well for general dishwashing, such as rice bowls, miso soup bowls, and fish plates. My mother also uses rice bran for body wash. She has a skin allergy, and feels that rice bran helps to soothe her skin. I think it is not for everyone, but it is a great, sustainable alternative to factory made products. Personally, I cook rice a few times per week, and I use that water from rinsing my rice for dish washing. Sometimes I need a second wash with soap, but this way I use less water than I used to.