It is unrealistic to think we can swap out all our house cleaning products, personal products and cosmetic product cold turkey. Plus it is wasteful to throw out unused soaps (even if I know they aren't what I should be using, we bought them and will finish them). So Simon and I agreed that I could find replacements for our current items as we run out of the old ones. First on the list was..
Da da da daaa...
Liquid hand soap.
So, after seeing the prices, online and in stores, for liquid hand soaps free of synthetic fragrance and harmful chemicals, I decided I would try my hand at making my own.
The recipe I decided to use calls for bar soap, distilled water, vegetable glycerin, and any essential oils you decide to add in for scent or other reasons.
The distilled water is to avoid adding chlorine and other chemicals present in most tap water and the glycerine aids in the creamy, soft consistency (and is optional).
I bought this unscented three pack of soap at Whole Foods for $6.00. It is made of olive oil, water and salt, and has no added fragrance. I bought vegetable glycerine on Amazon for $6.00. I had a hard time finding it in stores, and when I did, it was very expensive. I only need a little for this recipe, so it will last me awhile.
I bought Tea Tree and Lemon essential oils at the Herbal Medicine store in our building. I could have purchased them online but they weren't much more expensive in-store, and I like supporting our local shoppes. I chose tea tree to make the soap a disinfectant/anti-bacterial, and the lemon because it combines well with tea tree for a renewing, fresh scent.
Here is a step by step tutorial for this liquid hand soap:
Step 1: Grate three 6 oz bars of soap with a cheese greater.
Step 2: Bring 1 gallon of distilled water to a boil and add in soap slivers, 2 tablespoons veg. glycerine, and any essential oils you would like. Stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes on medium-high heat until all of the soap has dissolved. It will be very watery. Like a broth. It won't burn, so don't worry about not stopping in time.
Step 3: Turn off heat and let the soap sit, uncovered, OVERNIGHT (10-12 hours).
For me, after a night of thickening, the soap still looked the same as the picture above: brothy. I realized my soap was smaller than the soap in the tutorial. So I added some salt (I'd read it helps thicken liquid soap) and boiled it again until it had noticeably lessened in volume. Then I let it sit one more night. The next morning it was nice and thick, just like soap should be! Woohoo!
YES, I know it looks super gross! I didn't think about the fact that a nice green bar of soap isn't quite as nice in creamy liquid form. Oops : /
Step 4: I funneled it into this empty hand soap bottle for refilling ease, and into this soap dispenser. About 70-80 ounces total. It would, obviously, have made more if the soap to water ratio had been correct from the beginning (woops).
Changes I'll make next time:
- double check soap ounces. duh!
- find a soap that is naturally scented. While, in theory, the unscented soap was a good idea, I underestimated the potent scent that the non-scented ingredients would have. They overpowered the essential oils. It doesn't smell bad, it smells pretty boring and earthy; not how you envision your freshly washed hands smelling. So, splurge (a couple dollars) on NATURALLY scented soaps and plan to add essential oils for wellness rather than scent.
Overall, texture and function success! Color and scent... Meh. But nothing terrible. An acceptable first attempt from where I am sitting. :)