Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making soap

I'm starting to wonder if reading the "Little House" books to the kids at an early age was really such a good idea afterall.....Eli would rather live in a log cabin, eat outside via campfire, and milk a cow everyday than sleep in our warm house and drink milk bought from the store.  In one of the books (I can't remember which one), the Ingalls family spends an entire day making enough soap to last them all year long.  Well, recently on Pinterest, I saw a recipe for homemade hand soap and it sparked my interest since we had read about it.  Of course, I'm pretty sure that Mrs. Ingalls did not begin her soap-making with a bar of actual soap, so maybe I cheated a little....

The original recipe that I used can be found here.  I found pomegranate & mango scented Softsoap bars that I used for a sweet, fruity handsoap.  The same recipe can also be used for your favorite body wash, if they make it in bar soap.

8oz bar soap, any scent (I used two 3.9oz bars)
2 Tablespoons liquid glycerin (found at Wal-mart with the band-aids)
1 gallon water (plus a little extra)

Other items you will need:  cheese grater, stock pot, empty gallon size milk carton or other storage container, kitchen funnel to fit in milk carton, hand mixer

Please ignore the small bite taken out of the soap...My 18 month old couldn't resist the sweet-smelling temptation
 1.  Grate all of the soap.
2 cheese graters and 2 sets of hands....makes for quick work

An extra set of hands nearby...just in case

All of the grated soap....Thankfully the 18 month old was in bed by this point.
 2.  Add the soap shavings and liquid glycerin to a gallon of water in a stock pot.  Heat on medium-high until the soap dissolves.

Stirring occasionally as soap dissolves.  It will look like soapy water.
 3.  Once soap is dissolved, turn off heat and let sit for 10-12 hours to cool.  It will thicken as it cools.  I did this overnight, so it was ready in the morning.  It will most likely be completely congealed, so use a hand mixer and mix in a little more water slowly, until it is the liquid soap consistency that you want.

4.  Use a funnel to pour into clean milk carton.

My $5 56oz Softsoap refill next to my homemade $2 128oz refill
The savings breakdown for about 30 minutes of preparation (even less if you have kids you can pass the work off to!):

Commercial Softsoap 6oz - $1.29
  $0.22 per oz
  That's $27.52 for 128oz!

Commercial Softsoap refill 56oz - $5 (sale price...not sure of regular price)
  $0.09 per oz
  That's $11.52 for 128oz!

Homemade softsoap 128oz  - $2.14
  2 bars of soap                $1.63
  2 Tbs liquid glycerin  $0.50
  1 gallon water                $0.01
Total                                    $2.14

That is 1 1/2 cents per ounce! And it will refill your 6-8oz container 16-22 times for less than the cost of 2 bottles of soap!

 Of course, now I am also looking into making my own laundry detergent and dish soap....we shall see.

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