Learn how to make inexpensive natural or regular liquid soap for your family!
Our skin has liked this soap, too, and it was quick and easy to make the bars of soap, enough to last a year - at least. And at around 75 cents per bar, this is a price that really appeals to me!
But we were still wanting to have some liquid soap that was healthy for our skin. Regular liquid soaps found in the grocery stores and shopping "marts" haven't gone through the traditional saponification process, so most commercial liquid soap is actually in the "detergent" category, not the soap category.
Strange, isn't it? You think you're using soap for your hands and in the shower, but you're actually using detergent. No wonder our skin reacts in such a negative way to so much of the soap on the market these days!
I spent a couple of days this summer researching how to make liquid castile soap for myself. I learned a lot, but still hadn't given it a try. Finally, because I got brave - um - really, because I was literally completely out of liquid soap one day, I decided I'd better use what I'd learned to make my own liquid soap.
Guess what? I learned that you can turn BAR SOAP into liquid soap!
Here are some important points to keep in mind when making liquid soap from bars of soap:
1. If your skin needs a more natural soap, you'll want to look for a higher quality soap - not detergent. It will need to have gone through the saponification process. Detergent soaps are made from synthetic chemicals produced in a lab, usually from petroleum products. Non-detergent soaps are made from naturally-occurring ingredients such as water, animal fats, vegetable fats, lye, and sometimes, glycerin, although normally glycerin is a natural by-product of bar soap if it has been made and cooled correctly. Just look at the labels, and you'll see what not to buy if you have sensitive skin. I've heard that Kirk’s Castile Soap works well with these directions, but I haven't tried it yet.
Here's a list of ingredients found in Lever 2000 bar soap:
You'll want to avoid soaps like Irish Spring, Palmolive, Dove, Ivory, etc. if you need something that will be a lot easier on your skin.
If you prefer to use Dove soap, you will need an entirely different recipe, found here: http://www.savvyhousekeeping.com/turn-a-bar-of-dove-soap-into-liquid-hand-soap/
2. If your skin isn't sensitive, and you just want to save money on purchasing liquid soap, you have more freedom to use a variety of soaps on the market. Avoid Dial or any soap that has a "softer" feel to it. Choose soaps that have a harder feel to them. Look at the list of ingredients on the label and don't purchase any soap that contains citric acid.
3. The price of the bar soap doesn't determine its quality. Yardley of London soaps ($1 at Dollar Tree and inexpensive at other stores) will work really well for this tutorial, if your skin can handle that type of soap. But you can also use homemade soaps that are more natural.
4. Don't expect this liquid soap to behave exactly like liquid soap from the stores. If you do, you will probably be disappointed. If you are willing to be flexible, you should be pretty happy with this soap. It may not lather up in the same way that commercial liquid soap does, where chemicals have often been added to make the soap extra "bubbly".
Tools You'll Need:
Let's make homemade liquid soap!
First, grate up one bar of soap. There are several methods of doing this:
Method #1: Microwave
They said that in a few minutes, the bar of soap would start to foam up as the air inside the bar of soap expanded. I was supposed to take the soap out of the microwave when the foaming stopped. As the soap cooled, the foam was supposed to crumble into small particles, or could be placed into a food processor to get the crumbled pieces into finer bits.
Take my word for it. If you leave the soap in the microwave for a few minutes, you'll not only be buying yourself a new microwave, but you may end up buying yourself a new house. And you won't have to worry about having friends, in-laws, or out-laws coming over to visit for the next twenty years. The smell of burning soap is horrendous!
So, for the second time around, I reduced the power level to 60% and set it for two minutes. After about 30 seconds, I could tell that it was going to start burning again if I didn't remove it from the microwave soon.
Like in about 1.3 nanoseconds.
I don't recommend this method. Your house will stink; your family will not thank you. You will probably end up wasting at least one bar of soap. And maybe at least one microwave. No thanks.
Method #2: Cheese grater
Method #3: Food Processor
After you have grated up one bar of soap, measure 1 cup of soap flakes. Place any extra soap flakes into a container or zip bag for future use. (Can you see yourself frugally saving those small soap scraps or those extra hotel soaps or gifts of bar soap until you have enough to make 1 cup of powdered soap?)
In a large pot, combine in this exact order:
1 cup soap flakes
10 cups of cool water
1 Tbsp. glycerin
Over medium-low to medium heat (it will depend on your stove), stir the soap mixture until the soap flakes have completely dissolved. This will probably take about 10-15 minutes. Do not let the soap boil! I have a very inexpensive electric range, so I needed to turn the heat up to medium in order to get the soap flakes to melt completely. Your range may heat liquids faster, so watch closely.
When the soap flakes have completely dissolved into the water/glycerin mixture, you'll notice that the liquid soap is the consistency of water. At this point, DO NOT POUR THE LIQUID SOAP INTO YOUR SOAP CONTAINERS! The soap isn't quite ready to be used. If you pour it into your containers right away, and it becomes very thick, you might not be able to get the thickened soap out of the containers so you can thin it down.
Let the soap cool completely. If the cooled liquid soap has the consistency of water, let it sit out for 12-24 hours. It should thicken up nicely, and it may also have a pearl sheen to it, depending on the type of soap you chose to use. Next time I make this soap, I'm going to let it sit for about 12 hours, to see if it makes a difference. (It's okay to stir it once in a while, to check the consistency of it.)
Here's the thing. I don't normally talk like this, but this is the only way I can think of for you to understand the consistency of the soap after 24-48 hours: snotty. Snot-like. Like snot. Blech!
And no, I didn't let my children talk like this when they were younger. But that's because they're girls. And I'm female. If they had been boys, and my husband was in charge of the boys for the day, well, who knows?
But that's really the only way to explain the viscosity of the liquid soap. It's just plain odd.
Now, here's the part where you'll need to be flexible. If your liquid soap seems too thin, you can follow some or all of the suggestions found below. If your liquid soap seems too thick, you can thin it with water, or you can dilute it greatly and use it in a foaming soap dispenser.
If your cooled liquid soap seems too thin:
Option #1: Stir 3 tablespoons of table salt into 8 oz. (1 cup) hot water until dissolved. Whisk a small amount - a tablespoon at a time - of the salt solution into the cooled runny soap mixture until the soap reaches the thickness you prefer. You might find that you need more of the salt solution to help thicken up the soap. Let the soap sit for another 8-12 hours, if needed.
Option #2: If your liquid soap is still too runny, use your hand blender or hand mixer to blend the soap. You'll be surprised at how quickly it will become thick and creamy.
Option #3: There's always going to be an odd one in each bunch. If your soap is still too thin, bring the mixture to a boil (no lid needed). Skim off any bubbles or suds as it boils. Allow the soap to boil for a minute or two; then, remove the pot of liquid soap from the heat and set it aside to settle and cool. This may take a few hours.
Option #4: Add some xanthan gum to the liquid soap. I haven't tried this, so I can't give you any advice on how to use it.
In my case, I let the soap sit for 48 hours (I used homemade goat milk, olive oil, and coconut oil bar soap), and it had thickened up nicely without being overly thick. However, to reduce the snot-like consistency of the soap, I went ahead and used my hand mixer to try to blend it a bit better. I think it would have been better if I had only let it sit for 12-24 hours at the most. You may find that you just need to experiment with it a little bit.
Watch closely so the soap doesn't begin to form lots of bubbles on its surface. But if you accidentally mixed it too long with the hand mixer, like I did, and you now have bubbles soaring out your kitchen window, no worries. It will settle back down in about four hours. Ask me how I know.
After two weeks of using this homemade liquid soap, how do we feel about it?
At this stage of the game, since I now have almost a gallon of liquid soap, I'm definitely not going to call it quits and assume that there's something wrong with the soap. It's just not working as well in a foaming soap dispenser. I'm going to check our local Goodwill store to see if I can find a gently used soap dispenser (non-foaming), or I'll purchase an inexpensive bottle of liquid hand soap and empty it out to try it with our new homemade soap.
I'll let you know what I find out. Should this soap be a bit more inconvenient to use around the house, we're still going to use it until it's gone. I'd really enjoy trying to make a batch of this with Yardley of London's Lavender bar soap, to see how it interacts and works, but I haven't decided yet. I've heard online that Yardley of London soaps work really well, even though they are made from a long list of chemicals and possibly haven't gone through the full saponification process. It might not work so well for my own family's hands, but it might be a nice gift for someone else.
If you decide to give this a try, I'd enjoy hearing how it went for you! Just leave a note in the comments section and share with us the type of bar soap you used and how it is working (or not working). Or, if you already make homemade liquid soap and have a different technique that works better for you, please let us know!
The way this soap feels on our hands is different than the liquid hand soap we've used in the past. But I do believe it's going to work well enough for us that it will be worth spending 30 minutes of time every 6 months to make a new batch of homemade liquid soap!
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