Friday, October 2, 2009

Use What You Have . . . Homemade Hand Soap

You are probably all wondering whether I am ever going to stop talking about my produce co-op. Well, have no fear, I am not blogging about food today.

Regardless of what your finances are, there are always things that we can do to save money, reduce waste and reuse things. I know I am NOT the only person who upon checking out of a hotel, takes the little soaps, shampoos and lotions home with them. Now I am NOT one who takes the toilet paper off the wall, tissues and extra trash bags. I worked housekeeping for a summer at a resort and the other ladies and I used to talk about the guests who would do that. VERY TACKY! The worst guests were the ones who took towels and linens. We had to report those and those people got charged for those items. But, I digress . . .

Anyway, we have a box of extra toiletries under the sink in our bathroom. You know, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray and the like. There is a Ziploc bag of hotel bar soaps from everywhere from Econo Lodge to the W Hotel. Some are nicer and more luxurious having designer scents and fancy wrappings while others were just plain old soap. If you are like me, then you understand the aversion I have to a bar of soap sitting on the side of the sink all slimy on the underside with dried dirt from someones hands all over it. YUCK!!! I also don't like using bar soap in the shower because it gets dropped and gets hair stuck to it. Just being real here, folks!

The other day, I noticed that we were running low on liquid hand soap . . . mostly because of a four-year-old who thinks he needs three pumps of soap to get clean. I hated to go out and buy one of those big refills of hand soap when I knew I had tons of bar soap that was just sitting in the cabinet. So I searched the Internet for recipes for homemade hand soap. I didn't want to buy any ingredients that I didn't already have on hand. Alot of them called for glycerin, which I did not have. I thought about how I make our laundry detergent and thought, "it should work the same way for hand soap, right?" So here is what I did:

I weighed various bars of soap with similar scents until I had 4 oz. I grated them on my cheese grater. This batch was lemon and sage/rosemary scented soaps.

I poured 1 gallon of water into a pot and heated it until it was steaming but not boiling.

I then poured the soap shavings into the pot and stirred it. I took the pot off the heat and set a timer for 15 minutes. See that there are still some shavings visible.

After the 15 minutes was up, this is what it looked like.

Then I blended the mixture using my immersion blender until there were no more soap shavings.

I then let the mixture sit overnight uncovered. It was hard on the surface the next morning. It almost looked like the hardened fat on top of homemade stock that has been refrigerated.

At this point I used the immersion blender again to get a creamy, liquid soap consistency. I didn't get a picture of this step . . . SORRY!
Then I used a funnel to ladle the soap into our soap pumps around the house and poured the rest into a gallon sized water bottle for use at a later time.

I filled the pump in the background and here is what I had left.

The cost of this project was $0.00. I also made a gallon of body wash and a gallon of tear-free soap for the kids using a Johnson's Baby Bar that I had from my last son's baby shower (5 years ago). It all smells good and washes well.
(NOTE: If you have chlorinated city water, you might want to use distilled water for this purpose. I used distilled water for the first batch and regular well water for the others but I think that the chlorine in municipal water supplies might change your results.)
This post is being linked to:
Frugal Friday at Life As Mom
Hooked On… at Hooked On Houses
Food On Fridays at Ann Kroeker’s
Family Recipe Fridays at Vanderbilt Wife
Recipe Swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge
Friday Feasts at Mom Trends
Foodie Friday at Designs By Gollum


The Blossoming Skillet said...

I totally agree. I hate bar soap. ewwwie! Thanks for the genius tutorial! I have probably 10 hotel bar soaps looming around.

christy said...

how do I subcribe to your blog..I didn't see the link for email.. Thanks!

Courtney said...

very cool I will have to try this. it seemed so easy!

Michelle said...

Now THAT is brilliant. I have all those soaps sitting under my sink the guest bath, too. Now I have an idea of what to do with them. thanks! :)

Abbie said...

Oooh! I've started making my own laundry detergent and now I'm off to look for bar soap to make into hand/body wash! Thanks!