Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Works For Me Wednesday: Homemade liquid hand soap

You can read through this post to get the general idea of what to do and what not to do*, but I'll tell you the simple thing I do now:

I use 4 cups of water for 1 grated bar of soap (I use Ivory).   Heat the water, stir until the soap flakes dissolve completely, and let the soap mixture cool enough to handle the pan you've used.  Use a funnel to pour the still-warm soap mixture into a storage container (an empty Softsoap refill container works great) and/or go ahead and refill any soap pumps you have.  That's it.  I don't use the liquid glycerin anymore, either.  Super easy!

*Here's one thing not to do...forgetting to let the soap mixture cool first before putting it in a storage container is definitely not a good idea.  Not that I've done that or anything, of course...


I saw a recipe for homemade liquid hand soap on Pinterest recently and decided to try it out this week.  The recipe calls for liquid glycerin and a bar of soap of your choice.  I bought the liquid glycerin at Hobby Lobby for $2.08 (it is in the soap making section and is $3.47 for 8 fl. oz.; you can print a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby's website) and I bought the Yardley of London oatmeal and almond soap at Dollar General for $1.00.

There was no special reason for buying the Yardley soap except that it was the soap I found with the faintest fragrance, which I needed to prevent problems with asthma.

I followed the directions for the recipe, which are basically:
  1. Grate the entire bar of soap (an 8 oz. bar)
  2. Heat the soap shavings, 2 Tablespoons of liquid glycerin, and 1 gallon of water over medium-high heat on the stove top
  3. Stir until the soap shavings are completely dissolved 
  4. Let cool 12+ hours
  5. Stir and pour the mixture into a container for storage

If you've made liquid laundry detergent and want some comparisons, the hand soap is much quicker to make because these soap flakes dissolve much quicker than the Fels Naptha soap flakes and, of course, there are fewer ingredients to measure out.  Before the soap cools, it looks so watery that you think you've done something wrong.  You haven't; it just needs to cool.  The finished consistency after the hand soap has cooled is very similar to the liquid laundry detergent.  I will probably use less water the next time I make it so that the soap will be a little thicker. (See my note below.)

As you can see in this photo, I ended up with less than one gallon of hand soap simply because we had a spill as we were transferring the soap to the clean milk jug.  It may or may not have been after my husband asked me, "So, is it tomorrow that we make our own butter?" 

OK, so the spill was actually from an overflowing funnel.  But Jason really did say that.

And subsequent times I've made liquid hand soap, I put the cooled mixture in an old Softsoap refill container.

Even though our current batch is just a little thinner than I'd like (thin liquid soap = messy countertop), I like the recipe enough to make it again when we finish off the gallon jug.  I figure this homemade liquid hand soap will save us some serious money, especially with the way my children use copious amounts of this stuff every day.  And that works for me!

See the original recipe for more detailed instructions and hints.  I am just now seeing that I should have used two bars of the soap I bought since the recipe says to use an 8 oz. bar of soap.  Hmmmm...guess that's why it's a little thin!  Still, there is plenty of lather with my batch even though I went a little light on the soap.

*Since this post, I have made another batch of soap using a different recipe:  2 bars of grated soap, 1 Tablespoon of glycerin, and 8 cups of water.  I used Ivory soap and liked the results even better.  Click here for my post for more details about that recipe. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Same time, same channel next week on The Little House in the Suburb

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