Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Handmade Foaming Hand Soap
by Carla Ludington

Currently we have two kids that are mostly potty trained (meaning mostly potty trained, most of the time, lol) & a baby in diapers. No joke, I feel like I am washing my hands ALL. THE. TIME. And I don't just mean that figuratively!

I have been thinking a lot about the chemicals I am exposed to on a routine basis, and how many of them I bring into my own home. How crazy is that??  I follow Katie on Kitchen Stewardship, and I always come away with something that makes me think for a good long while about how we do things and  consider what is in my life and how earth friendly things are as well as how healthy / safe for my family they are.

We (meaning I) have been switching over to more natural products in our home as things run out and need to be replaced.  In the shower I have been trying out hand made bar soaps with a limited number of ingredients (that are easy to pronounce and traditional / well known).  However, at the sink is the standard soft soap bottle with a huge refill jug in the garage.  It is close to the last little bit of it, and I was wondering, what is out there for the sink besides a bar of soap?  Bar soaps are not super kid friendly at the sink in our house unless you really like goopy soggy bars of soap that get played with in the water X number of times a day to wash Littlest Pet Shop cats, barbie hair, and even the mirror via toothbrush on occasion (hypothetically my sons favorite, lol :0) !  I had heard of homemade foaming hand soap, and was ready to try another 'make it at home' product and hopefully find a toxic free way to do it.

Supplies I used to make my soap:
Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
Foaming hand soap dispenser bottle
Aura Cacia Lemongrass essential oil
I was surprised how many YouTube videos and blogs had instructions for homemade foaming hand soap.  There was a divergence on the recipe, half insisted the soap to water ration was 10 or 15% soap to 90-85% water (respectively), and half indicated the ratio was closer to 25% soap to 75% water. I am sure it is flexible as it is not at the same level as rocket science.


~ 1 cup water
~ Approximately 2Tbsp (for @ 10% soap) to 1/4 cup (for 25% soap) liquid soap (I used Dr. Bronner's
   liquid castile almond soap)
~ 8-12 drops essential oil. I would go easy with it to start; this could go either way depending on the oil/
   concentration. My family LOVED the Lemongrass scent - especially, (SHOCKER!!), my husband. He
   even had complimentary remarks about it that he shared voluntarily!!!

Combine and mix gently. This should literally take all of about 8 minutes, and that is only if at least 7 minutes of that is cleaning out the soap dispenser if it has been sitting under your counter for the last 2 years while you empty your jug of soft soap refill.

I recycled a previously purchased / used foaming hand soap container.  If you care to clean it out before you put in the new soap, (see above comment) it takes quite a few "squirts" to get the previous soap out. That being said, give your new soap scent some time to get through the straw and pump mechanism before you add more essential oil, since it does take awhile before it will work its way out and exhibit the 'true' scent in some cases.

That's it.   It's not like it was top secret, but I did have to look it up. Why did I wait so long?  How could something so yummy smelling and good for me (toxic free) be so easy and inexpensive?And I LOVE the smell, every time I wash my hands.  LOVE. IT.  The only way it could get any better would be if I didn't have to do it a billion times a day.....

Since I can remember the last time I refilled it, it is nice to know we are only using 2-3 Tbsp of soap per 'batch' of soap.  For future batches, I think I might try some different essential oils.  I am curious what other scents my family might love.  What is your favorite?

So, to sum this all up: I love the smell of this stuff every time I wash my hands.  This was super easy and cheap, and I will totally keep doing it.  Did I mention how much I LOVED IT ???

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  1. Ooh, lemongrass IS yummy!!! I need to try this! I think I'll use lemon essential oil for the pump in the kitchen! I believe lemon oil is also supposed to be an antibacterial. Is there anything you can add to it to make it moisturizing??? My hands are always so dry!

  2. Natalie,

    Thanks for your comment! Great idea to use the lemon oil in the kitchen, that would smell great too! After your question about adding moisturizer to the soap, I thought - good point! How would I do that? After a bit of research, it looks like you could use 1 tsp pure vegetable glycerin (you can order this from Amazon if you are having trouble finding some in your area). I also found a recipe that used grape seed oil (which would work great if you already have some on hand for cooking), but it was definitely a higher concentration in that recipe (cup for cup with the water?? Not sure if that means the moisturizer is less concentrated or if they were just wanting some REALLY moisturizing soap, lol!) I have two dispensers in my house, so maybe I will try one of each. Let me know what you think works best if you get a chance to try it out!

    Carla :0)

  3. I'll have to try lemongrass! I like using Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap for my foaming hand soap. I like to add either vegetable glycerin or vitamin E to keep my hands from drying out. http://www.ourhomemadehappiness.com/2012/05/homemade-foaming-hand-soap.html

  4. Ooh, I already have some grapesseed oil and vitamin E! Thanks for the tips, gals!

  5. id like to make a grapefruit bergamot to replace the soap i already love to use at home... wish us luck!