Sunday, December 18, 2011

Make Your Own Hand Soap

*** I've updated my recipe - read about it here ***

The recent flurry of bar soap to hand soap DIY projects on pinterest piqued my interest!  Between being cheap and liking to know what goes into the products I use, I was sold.  It's tough to find hand soap without antibacterial triclosan polluting it.  You could also use up those little gift soaps or hotel soaps you never know what to do with.

All it takes to make hand soap is:
  • A bar of your favorite soap
  • Vegetable glycerin (I found mine at Whole Foods for $6)
  • Water
  • About 15 minutes


Here's how to do it:
  1. Grate the bar of soap into small flakes.  The smaller they are, the quicker they'll dissolve.
  2. Add 1 cup of flakes and 1 T of glyerin to 10 cups of water in a large pot.
  3. Simmer for a few minutes until the flakes dissolve.
  4. Let it cool.  ALL THE WAY.  I'll explain later.
  5. Refill all your hand soap pumps and store the rest for later!
     

    Did you get that?
    1 c bar soap + 1 T glycerin + 10 c water = oodles of hand soap = $3.50

    It cost me $8.00 to make my first batch of hand soap, and I didn't even use up all my ingredients!  I would guess it's more like $3.50 for about a gallon.  Now I have healthy and cheap hand soap with a smaller carbon footprint because they didn't ship water hundreds of miles.

    Some issues I encountered: Ok, so I let my mixture cool to about the temperature of bath water, and it was still super runny.  Some googling told me that sometimes happens, so just add more soap and glycerin if it does.  I did.  Still watery.  I also read that you can put the mixture through your blender.  Lots of suds.  Still watery.  So I gave up and went shopping.

    When I came home, I found all my cooking stuff was full of soap the consistency of lard!!!  Apparently it goes through a phase change of sorts around room temperature.  I added enough water to get back to the original recipe, boiled it down, let it cool, and finally had the right consistency.  Patience is a virtue!

    Also, my future in-laws and many coworkers decided I was a crazy person for making my own hand soap, so be prepared for skepticism.  I think when I bring them samples to try they'll change their tune!  I'm not sorry that I have over a gallon of cheap, healthy hand soap!

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    24 comments:

    1. I love it. Let me know when you get to using rendered fat and lye to make your own soap. It's also very easy. Just not as easy to get the ingredients if you don't have access to a restaurant or someone who eats A LOT of bacon.

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    2. What is the T of glycerin? Is that a Teaspoon or a Tablespoon? Thx!!!

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      1. Capital "T" for Tablespoon. Thanks for clarifying!

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    3. Hi there. I had the opposite problem. I made it as directed and it cooled down to the consistency of spongy jello. Do you have any suggestions?

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      1. Yep! That happened to me! Heat it back up and add more water. Just be wary of adding too much water, because you don't want it to be too runny. I like to err on the thick side, because it'll still squish out of the dispenser, and my fiance complains less about runny soap :)

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    4. Do you know if the glycerine that Hobby Lobby sells in the cake section is the right kind? It does not specify if it is vegetable or not...

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      1. Walmart sells it in the bandages dept. Very cheap!

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    5. ok I did this today - this morning around 10 am - it's now 1:45 and my soap is room temp but it is the consistency of water/milk! Help!

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      1. Add more soap!

        Also, all may not be lost. I kind of like the ones I have that are more watery - I find they lather better.

        Thanks for trying it out!!!

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    6. I did this project 6 months ago, and I am STILL using this soap! My fiance is tired of it! So crazy that one bar of soap can last two households more than half a year!

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    7. I just started this yesterday and I am still going. I have added over 6 bars of soap at this point and it is still not thick. 10 cups of water is way too much. It has cost me more to do this than it would it would've cost to buy 10 bottles of generic liquid hand soap from walmart.

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      1. Hi Mel, I'm sorry to hear it's not working out for you! This recipe worked great when I've done it. The big trick for me was allowing the mixture to completely return to room temperature...it's almost like it went through a phase change once it had time to truly cool off.

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    8. I have tried this with a bar of vegetable Glycerin Soap and it seems to have a strange consistency of extremely thick and goopy as it pours into the pump bottle, then very watery as it is pumped out onto your hands. Do you think it could be too much glycerin? Should I try it with a different kind of soap? Thank you for your advice! :)

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    9. If you bought your glycerin for $6, you're paying way too much! It's an industrial by-product, and is therefore relatively inexpensive.

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    10. I bought a gallon of glycerin on Amazon for $40. Is that expensive? I've been using it to make my liquid detergent for clothes and now I am ready to try the bar soap recipe ^_^

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    11. I bought a gallon of glycerin on Amazon for $40. Is that expensive?

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    12. Hi, I bought my glycerin for $3.50 @ Walmart. My pot is simmering now; I hope this works. I appreciate the trial and error postings of those who've given this a shot. Great idea!

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    13. Hmmm... Well, I followed your recipe exactly and even adjusted the amounts and nothing.. It's so watery.. What cheap brands of bar soap would you suggest? I used Dial grape seed oil & lemongrass. It already had glycerin in it too.. Not sure how to achieve that thickness.. I'm gonna have to give this a thumbs down, sorry.

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      1. Hi there! I'm so sorry it's not working out for you! I would try adding more soap to achieve the desired consistency.

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    14. I tried this with homemade lye soap. Did not thicken after adding more twice. I grabbed a couple of hotel soaps we had collected over the years. Thickened up beautifully. Used it this morning as my body wash. I think I'm in love.

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    15. Would this recipe work the same way if you grated a bar of glycerin soap and omitted the liquid glycerin?

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