I am a little behind already on my 12 New Things projects. The first was to make at least three new (for me) homemade cleaning products. Hand soap was the first experiment (although I decided not to make antibacterial hand soap for various reasons). I tried three approaches. In the end, any of them seem like good options to me depending on what I have on hand or can get for the best deal.
Just a tip on the pumps: Obviously, buy the cheapest kind you can find, but note that it’s hard to de-gunk ones that have stickers on them. I tried rubbing alcohol and then goof-off and then quit trying. It may not matter to you, but I wanted clean looking, sticker-free containers. They may sell them empty but I didn’t look. The best I found were the Dial foam pumps that just had the clear brand indented in the plastic.
1. Diluted Castile Soap
The idea of castile soap makes me happy – having a product (that smells like peppermint, lavender, etc) I can use to clean pretty much anything and make a variety of homemade solutions. But it’s expensive. Apparently you can make your own castile soap very cheaply, but it involves handling lye. I saw Fight Club… I think I’ll pass for now.
If you can get cheap castile soap, give it a try. I used a small bottle of lavender Dr. Bronner’s my sister gave me a while ago and I love it. If you can find castile soap cheap, it may be a good option. The cheapest I found online, including shipping and handling, was Shadow Lake Peppermint Castile Soap for $.26/oz, which would be 26 cents per bottle of hand soap. Not bad, but not the cheapest possible either. You might find castile soap cheaper online or on sale at a local store.
Recipe: Add 1-2 tbsp castile soap to a clean empty foaming pump, fill the rest with warm water, shake gently.
2. Diluted Dish or Regular Hand Soap
I’ll likely do this a lot, especially for the kitchen area. That way I can use it to clean dishes and our hands as well. We used a gentle lemon-scented bottle of dish soap that I bought on sale and using coupons (30 oz for less than a buck). That’s about 3 cents or less per bottle. 🙂 Mommy likey.
Recipe: Add 1-2 tbsp dish soap to a clean empty foaming pump, fill the rest with warm water, shake gently.
3. Liquified Bar Soap
I don’t know about you, but I have a habit of taking the little bars of soap every time I stay at a hotel. Years later… I have a lot of little bars of soap. I had hoped to make foaming soap out of this too so I could put pumps in the showers as well as the bathroom sinks, but it was too much of a gel for the foam pump. Still, I put it in a regular pump and it works great.
Recipe: Grate a bar of soap into fine shavings into a saucepan. Fill with water until there is about an inch of water above the soap. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until all the shavings are melted. Add a tablespoon or two of lotion and/or a few drops of essential oil if desired. If it seems too thick, add water and heat again, stirring until smooth. Let cool completely and then pour into a clean pump. With the little bar of hotel soap in the picture, I made enough to fill two large pumps.
So I’d say the hand soap project was a success! Using the second two options especially will help cut costs simply by using free or cheap ingredients and then diluting them. You may have to mess with the ratio of soap to water until it’s suitable for you. There are other ways to make hand soap from scratch, but I just didn’t see the time and cost benefit for me personally.
Let me know if you try these or have any other ideas! I may try making a cheap body wash later as well.