We have all used the phrase “money down the drain” to describe high-cost, low-return products. But there is one product that is literally going down the drain with each use: liquid hand soap.
We love the no-mess convenience of pump bottles, and the foaming pump bottles make it so much easier to interest our youngsters in good hand-washing hygiene. But the refill bottles are expensive and can be a different kind of drain – one that soaks the family budget.
Making hand soap is a simple process that can be done quickly whenever a refill is needed and can keep hard-earned money from going down the drain. With a little creative flair, one can create fragrant, luxurious soaps that rival those sold in boutiques, and which make lovely, personalized gifts. Here are a few recipes for cleaning up at a fraction of the cost.
Fast Refill Soap
Liquid castile soap
Distilled or filtered water
Foaming dispenser or regular pump bottle
Fill soap dispenser with a small amount of liquid castile soap. Castile soap is a vegetable soap traditionally made from pure olive oil, water and lye. Use roughly one tablespoon, depending on the size of the dispenser and the “thickness” you prefer. Fill the remaining space with water. Swirl the dispenser gently to mix the ingredients without creating excessive bubbles.
Simple Foaming Soap Refill
12 ounces of water (use distilled or boiled water if the soap will not be used within a few weeks)
2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap
1/2 teaspoon of liquid oil, such as olive or almond
Essential oil of choice for fragrance (optional)
Fill the soap dispenser to about 1 inch from the top with water, leaving room for the pump and the soap to be added. Add at least 2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap to the water mixture. Add the water first so the mixture will not bubble over. Add the liquid oil and any essential oil for fragrance. Close the dispenser and lightly swirl to mix ingredients.
DIY Liquid Hand Soap
1/2 cup castile soap
1/2 cup water (distilled or boiled if the soap will not be used within a few weeks)
1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil
1 tablespoon of nourishing oil, such as sweet almond or jojoba oils
15 drops of tea tree essential oil
5-10 drops of lavender or peppermint essential oil (optional)
In a mason jar or recycled soap dispenser, add the water first to prevent bubbles, then the liquid castile soap followed by the oils. Shake the ingredients together. When using in a soap dispenser, shake the dispenser before using.
Enough to Share Soap
2 5-ounce bars of pure castile soap
1 gallon of filtered or distilled water
Essential oils or vanilla extract (optional)
Shred the soap bars with a grater. Heat the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Add soap and stir continuously until the flakes dissolve. This can take a few minutes, depending on the size of the grater. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken. Stir in essential oils or vanilla extract to desired level of fragrance. Pour the mixture into tightly sealed containers and soap dispensers.
Medium-size mixing bowl
2 ounces (one-quarter cup) of shaved soap
4 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Essential oil (optional)
Grate one-half bar of soap, or mix together different scented mini soaps from your travels to yield around two ounces or one-quarter cup total. Castile is a good soap to include. Place shredded soap in a mixing bowl. Add coconut oil and cover with boiling water. Mix gently until soap dissolves. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then whisk lightly and add essential oils. Pour into dispensers with a funnel. Yields 32 ounces of soap.
Simple Foaming Soap
2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap (unscented)
1 tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil
10 drops of essential oils of choice
Pour castile soap and fractionated coconut oil into a bottle. Add essential oils. Slowly add the water, leaving room for the foaming pump. Secure top and shake to mix.