I have to apologize for anyone coming to this post for the lack of images. Somehow, all my blog images from June of 2014 onward were deleted, despite multiple backups and cloud storage through Google and Picasa. I am still researching this and hoping to find them, but I will likely have to take new photos and re-upload them to this blog post. Please be patient with me until I do so. Again, I am very sorry. -Ashley
I had made the switch to bar soap in my household, mainly because hand soap is so expensive! However, despite the studies proving that bar soap kills germs just as effectively as liquid soap, my family was not on board. So, I used bar soap and still seemed to go through just as much liquid soap. I am not going to spend this much money on soap!
In addition to the extra cost of liquid hand soap, the antibacterial chemicals are really not good for people. Not to mention the fact that using antibacterial soap has many other negative effects, including drug-resistant bacteria.
Enough of the ranting about the "why," let's get down to the "how!"
1 4-ounce bar of soap
1/2 gallon of water (I used tap water, some prefer to use distilled)
1 tbsp vegetable glycerine (found in the first aid section of stores)
tea tree oil for a preservative (just a few drops per batch)
lavender oil is optional for scent
Jojoba oil is also optional, if you want to get fancy.
Pitcher or other container that will hold 1/2 gallon and seals
Empty liquid soap pump, I bought one on Amazon, but you can re-use one from store-bought soap.
Since this was an experimental batch, I used a cheapo bar of soap from Dollar Tree, it was perfect!
You can choose to either grate your soap or you can "blow it up" in the microwave, just like I did in my Laundry Detergent Post. Either way, make sure the soap is in little tiny pieces once you're done, whatever the method. Put the soap in a pan, and add the water and glycerine.
Glycerin is a very important ingredient here, don't skip it!
Turn the heat to medium-high and stir constantly until all the soap is dissolved. Don't stir too vigorously, you don't want a lot of bubbles.
Once all the soap is melted, remove from heat and add your oils. A couple drops of tea tree oil since there are no preservatives in this stuff, and your optional lavender oil too. I also added 2 tbsp jojoba oil at this point for moisturizer.
Once everything is mixed, pour your soap into a pitcher or some other container that you can seal. Let it sit for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. After that, put the whole thing into the freezer for about 20 minutes. This expedites the cooling/thickening process.
After you take the soap back out of the freezer, stir it again to get it well-mixed. It should be nice and thick at this point. Fill your soap dispenser, and then put the rest away in the bathroom cupboard for refills. Be sure to label it well and keep out of reach of children and husbands who make messes.
And there you have it: Liquid hand soap that works great, and is way cheaper than the stuff you buy in the store. As always, everyone's batch will turn out a little different, so you may need to stir this before each refill, or you may need to add more water to the batch. See what works for you, but I'm loving my compromise for soap use, and my savings. I also think my soap dispenser looks awesome.
Lastly, let's talk about cost. The cost of the store-bought liquid soap I was buying was $1.00 for 7.5 ounces on Amazon Prime Pantry.
That's pretty inexpensive, but we were going through about 1 a week in my house (or more). With a conservative estimate of 1 per week, that's 4 dollars a month for 30 ounces, and $48.00 a year and 360 ounces. I know, that's NOT that expensive, but I just don't like to spend all that money, okay?!
So, now I'm going to determine the cost for the initial supplies for this project and then calculate the cost per ounce:
2 quart pitcher: $1.00 at Dollar Tree
Vegetable Glycerin: $2.99 for 4 ounces on Amazon
1 bar (4 ounces) of soap: $1.00 at Dollar Tree
Tea Tree Oil: I had on hand, but price is $6.58 for 10 ml on Amazon
Jojoba Oil: I had on hand, but price is $7.99 for 4 ounces on Amazon
Lavender Oil: I had it on hand, but price is $10.49 for 2 ounces on Amazon
So, assuming I had nothing on hand, the initial cost for the project is $30.05. I also bought this soap dispenser for $13.05 on Amazon, but that's optional as you can use old dispensers on hand. That's not going to save me money in the first year, obviously, but over time, I'm convinced that this will almost pay for itself. so I figured the best way to calculate cost per ounce is just to go off of what I actually used for each batch. Therefore, the following calculations will be the price of the actual soap recipe, not the pitcher or dispenser.
$1.00 for the bar soap
$2.99 for the glycerin, but there are 8 tablespoons in the bottle, and only 1 tbsp for 1 batch. Therefore, $2.99/8= roughly 37 cents per batch.
$6.58 for the tea tree oil for 10 ml, I used 10 drops, and there are about 20 drops in a ml. Therefore, about 33 cents per batch.
For the Jojoba oil, it costs $7.99 for 4 ounces, and I used 2 tbsp, so $7.99/4 = $1.99 per batch.
Lavender oil is $10.00 for 2 ounces, I used 10 drops, so that's about 59 ml in a bottle and I used 1/2 a ml, so the cost per batch is 8 cents.
Therefore, total cost per one half-gallon batch is $3.77 (that's 64 ounces)
One half-gallon (or 64 ounces) of store-bought liquid soap costs $9.00 (it would take about 9 bottles to get 64 ounces of soap)
Therefore, the cost per ounce is as follows:
Store-bought liquid soap is 13 cents per ounce.
Homemade liquid soap is just under 6 cents per ounce.
Compared to the yearly cost of $48.00 per year, my recipe is $21.60 per year. Love that savings!
Whew, that was a lot of math.
If you look at the numbers, even the initial costs of materials are negligible when you are paying less than half the price for a superior product that doesn't have triclosan or other bad chemicals in it, and you can make it with whatever scents or oils you like! I'm sold.
Bonus: If you want to make a unique pump for your awesome soap, see my post for making a soap pump out of a recycled liquor bottle.