Make soap at home

I like to buy Ecover, as it has more environmentally friendly credentials than other brands, but I am currently paying around £3.30 for 250ml and on a budget this isn’t sustainable. I have tried other cheaper brands but found I got dry skin and didn’t like their less eco friendly approach.
I looked into other options and googled how to make my own liquid hand soap. I’m not great at following recipes, I like to do my own thing, so I had a quick look and got the general idea.
For my first attempt at making liquid handsoap, I did the following:
Liquid hand soap recipe (I don’t recommend this one)
Ingredients:
  • One bar of pure olive oil soap 125g
  • 3- 4 cups of filtered water
  • 6 drops of sandalwood oil (approx)
Method:
  1. Put 2 cups of filtered water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  2. While the water is boiling grate the soap
  3. Add the soap to the boiling water and stir
  4. Keep stirring until all the soap is melted and mixed in with the water
  5. Once the mixture has cooled add the sandalwood drops
  6. Leave the mixture for an hour or so to see if it is the right consistency as it may solidify as it cools (compare it to the consistency of shop bought liquid hand soap).
  7. Add more water and mix further as necessary
  8. Pour into soap dispensers.
I made the mistake of leaving the room for 5 seconds during the soap melting stage at which point the mixture bubbled over and I had soap all over my saucepan and my hob. On the upside it was much cleaner than normal once I had sorted it all out. The mixture was a bit lumpy but after endless stirring I ran out of steam and decided it didn’t matter.
I bought both the sandalwood oil and the olive oil soap on holiday (2 different ones) and they had been sitting in my cupboard unused for some time. I got 750ml of liquid hand soap roughly, which I refilled my empty Ecover liquid hand soap pumps with. I’m not sure of the exact savings that I made, as I can’t remember how much the soap cost nor do I know how much I spent on gas and water, but I am sure (or at least hope) it worked out cheaper than the £9.90 I would have spent.
It was ok and did the job, but then I ran out of liquid hand soap again and needed to make more. For my second attempt I did this:
Liquid hand soap recipe (this one is better)
Ingredients:
  • 3 bars of soap (I used 2 bars of Oliva and 1 bar of Malki Dead Sea Natural Mineral Soap)
  • 25ml Glycerin (I used Boots Value Glycerin)
  • 6-10 cups of filtered water
  • 10-15 drops of sandalwood oil
Method:
  1. Put 6 cups of filtered water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  2. While the water is boiling grate the soap
  3. Add the soap to the boiling water and stir
  4. Keep stirring until all the soap is melted and mixed in with the water
  5. Use a handblender in the saucepan to ensure the mixture is thoroughly blended.
  6. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the sandalwood oil drops and the glycerol
  7. Leave the mixture for an hour or so to see if it is the right consistency as it may solidify as it cools (compare it to the consistency of shop bought liquid hand soap).
  8. Add more water and mix further as necessary with the handblender
  9. Pour into soap dispensers.
Note: When adding sandalwood oil, make sure that your saucepan/ utensils won’t absorb the oil as otherwise they may smell of sandalwood oil afterwards (might be best to use different bowls/ utensils when adding the oil)
I spent around £1 on each bar of Oliva and around £3.30 on the Dead Sea Soap. This time I got about 2 litres of liquid hand soap (around 8 refills for my handsoap pumps) and it was much silkier than the first batch. It was so satisfying and apart from letting it boil over again – doh! (It was a good opportunity to clean my hob again) it really didn’t take very long at all – 5 minutes to grate the soap, 10 minutes to boil it up and 2 minutes to blitz it together.
For my next attempt, I will be using more water per bar to start off with (I was using 2 cups a bar of soap), I will try not to let it boil over and I will add more essential oil. I would even like to try making my own essential lavender oil (I am growing lots in my garden), but one stage at a time!
I could just follow a recipe but I like experimenting, I’ve realised making soap is like any other form of cooking and a lot like making soup (although quicker). I can make it to a consistency I like with a scent of my choosing, with no harmful ingredients and at a fraction of the cost of buying it in the shops. I will never buy liquid hand soap again (well maybe not never, but not definitely not any time soon). Next time I will stick with the Oliva, which for a £3 outlay plus a bit of glycerol and sandalwood oil, will give me 8 bottles of liquid hand soap, which I would have previously spent £26.40 on. I accept there are other utility costs when making it at home, but the more soap you can make at one time, the less you spend on those utilities and the less time you spend making liquid soap.

If you are thinking of making your own liquid soap following this recipe it should be stored in a refrigerator between uses.

3 thoughts on “Make soap at home

  • Sounds a but tricky and also maybe you can make it as presents for when you go to friends for dinner, another way of saving money and people like the personal touch hey?

  • Thanks for the comment. Give it a go and you'll see. I like the present idea. I am going to ask my friends to save their used liquid hand soap dispensers for me now!

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