I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe, y'all. I'm the mom at Chick-fil-A hosing her kids down with Purell when they come out of the play area. Once when my kids were very little, I had a one come out of a play area with a half-licked lollipop in his mouth...and he didn't go in with one. Pretty sure that incident scarred me for life.
But, as a germ-fearin' mom, I was curious about all of the DIY posts I was seeing with people making their own soap. Especially the Mrs. Meyer's ones. Because I love me some Mrs. Meyer's Basil Soap (but, being a tight wad, I kind of get annoyed at the price).
I really worried about introducing water to bar soap to bring it back to its liquid consistency. Because introducing water can also introduce lots of germies. And that sent my germie-radar on full alert.
So after lots of research, I concocted a recipe that works well for me and my family. I did not add any type of preservative, so using the soap within a month is the key to avoiding germs. I split the final bottle with my mom so we can make sure it is gone by the end of March (and start the fun over again). Using purified water is another factor...soap making really needs to use purified water...don't turn on the tap for this one. Using tap water for soap making is like taking the bus to germ city. ;)
You'll need half a bar of Mrs. Meyer's soap (her bar soap is not readily available in my area, I purchase mine from soap.com...if you spend at least $25 on their site or their sister sites, they give you free shipping), 1 tablespoon of Glycerin (this is at any grocery store in the first aid area...trust me, if my grocery store has it, so does yours), 1/2 gallon purified water and a cheese grater (I bought a cheapie for this project, I wasn't going to use my micro ones from Pampered Chef for this).
Put your water into a clean pot (I used my oldest one that I never use anymore...although this is just soap we're making...probably okay to still use it for cooking).
After you grate the half bar of soap, add it to the water.
Be sure to save the unused half for next month's batch.
Add one tablespoon of glycerin.
Heat over medium-high heat while stirring constantly to prevent clumping. It will take about 10-15 minutes for all of your soap to dissolve. Congrats! You've now turned bar soap back into it's liquid form. Once all soap is dissolved and you basically have a batch of soapy water on your hands, remove your pot from the heat and let it sit undisturbed for several hours.
As far as storage choices, I would use something sturdier than one of the plastic gallon containers. This is a well-washed and disinfected 2 quart juice bottle that I used. Also, thoroughly clean your soap dispenser when you switch out your soap each time.
To compare costs, a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's (in my area) is $4.
The supplies used for this project include the Glycerin (4 ounces for $2 about $.40 per tablespoon), the purified water ($1 for a gallon, $.50 worth used for this project), and the bar of soap was $5 (and only $2.50 was used for this project and the rest will go to the next batch I make).
So, $3.40 for 1/2 gallon of the soap...compared to the $4 for the 12.5 ounce bottle from the store. Not too bad for about 20 minutes worth of work.
I do have to add a side note regarding my husband's reaction to this project. When I told him I would be making soap, he was like "really? making your own soap?" with a joking eye roll and slight chuckle. That being said, he hasn't really noticed the difference in the soaps since I added the homemade version to his dispenser on his sink in our bathroom. Even the fact that it's white and not clear hasn't thrown him off. But, he did mention his hands feeling softer not realizing the connection (glycerin!)...heehee!
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