You might have heard the FDA recently decided that antibacterial washes will no longer be marketed in the US due to evidence they are no better than regular soap and water, and may even be harmful over the long term.
My husband, very quickly, sent me the news article about the decision and I just laughed. My thrifty ways are vindicated!
I've been making our hand soap for a few years now. Not really to avoid the antibacterial chemicals, but because it's cheap (and I don't like lugging heavy things home from the store. #carlesslife)
Three years ago I bought a whole case of Castile Soap from Amazon (that's 48 bars), and I'm still using it!
I essentially convert the bar soap into a liquid soap. It's easier than you think.
I came up with this version after trying a number of recipes on Pinterest that were either too difficult, too time consuming, or did not work consistently. Consider this the busy person's DIY hand soap!
Here's what you'll need:
1 Bar Castile Soap
Tea Tree Essential Oil
8 cups Water
Directions1. I grate the whole bar of soap, using a fairly fine grater, into a bowl large enough to contain the water as well. I recommend metal or glass as you will be pouring boiling water into this bowl.
This is the most time consuming part of the process, but this makes things much easier later on.
Helpful tip: Do NOT set your grated soap on the counter when making Italian food. #AskMeHowIKnow
2. Boil the water.
I just use my trusty grimy tea kettle for this. The water amount does not need to be completely exact in this recipe. I normally just fill the kettle and set it on to boil while I'm grating the soap.
3. Fun part! Pour all of your boiling water into the bowl with the grated soap. Gently stir to make sure all of the soap is dissolved, but you don't want to be stirring up too many bubbles.
4. Add about 10-15 drops of Tea Tree Oil. I'm told this has some natural antibacterial properties, but I also just think it smells good.
You can add a few drops of other oils at this point for fragrance, but make sure you research them to verify they are safe for direct skin contact.
If you don't have oils, I don't think they're strictly necessary. The soap will still work without them.
5. Now leave it in a safe place and don't touch it! Seriously, walk away and forget about it for a few hours. The soap needs some time to be still so it can start to thicken into a liquid soap consistency.
Often I make soap at about 8am and it has thickened enough by lunchtime, so expect 4 hours.
6. After you've gotten in some good doing-anything-but-messing-with-the-soap time, come see if it's thickened!
Do not be worried if it looks solid on top, I promise it's not.
Take your big spoon and stir it around to break up the big clumps. Once that's done you should be left with a bowl of liquid soap!
Troubleshooting: Did your soap sit too long and now it's an unbreakable mass of solid, jelly, soap? Boil some more water and pour a little bit on at a time while stirring. Make sure not to add too much or you'll be stuck waiting for the soap to thicken again.
7. Time to store your soap!
I've found an old liquid laundry soap bottle to be the perfect size for storing my homemade soap.
My trick it to stopper a funnel with my finger, ladle soap into the funnel over the bowl, then move the funnel over the laundry soap bottle and let the soap flow into the bottle.
Making each batch of soap comes out to about $2. Thrifty happy dance!