Back in May, I posted about how after watching some YouTube videos on the subject, I decided to make some liquid hand soap from a bar of castille soap and ended up with two and a half bottles of the stuff for hand washing, shower gel, etc.
Fast forward four months and my stash of almond scented liquid soap eventually ran out. It worked well as a shower gel, but was sometimes a little gloopy and hard to actually get out of the bottle, so I decided that I would probably just use it as hand wash if I ever made it again. It did keep pretty well though.
When I came to the end of my supply in September, I still had a bought natural hand wash in the cupboard, which cost me £3 and which I went on to use, but a couple of weeks in and I'm not really particularly impressed by it. It is supposed to be grapefruit scented, but doesn't smell of anything much and just doesn't foam up as well as the homemade stuff, so doesn't feel as satisfying when I use it. As a consequence, I've decided to make some more homemade hand soap.
This time, however, I decided to use up the jar of hotel soaps I'd collected previously and see if I could make a liquid soap from them. They are just sat in the jar and are not really being used now that I use more natural products. I wanted to use the jar for other purposes, so I thought I'd experiment a little and see if liquid soap can be made from any soap, not just castille soap, as I'd been led to believe. I figured it would be a good way to use them up, as my hands aren't particularly sensitive and I just can't bring myself to just throw them out, as it would seem wasteful.
I set about grating and weighing the numerous small soaps we'd collected on our travels. Being small bars, they were a lot easier to grate than a larger bar and this part of the process took a lot less time and effort and I was able to do it as I searched YouTube for more homemade recipes. Here's the result.
Having grated all this soap I found I had 6.8 oz in weight. As one bar, such as that that I used last time I did this task, weighed 5 oz, I had a larger amount to try to make into liquid soap. In spite of this, I used the same amount water this time (2 litres), in an attempt to try to get a better consistency. I used once boiled water from the kettle in this instance, instead of buying distilled water, so it will be interesting to see if this has repercussions in terms of how it keeps and works.
As before, I boiled the water in a pan and when it was boiling I added the grated soap and kept it on a low heat until it had all dissolved. As I had grated it to a finer consistency, most of the soap melted instantly, but there were a few rogue shavings that refused to dissolve, so I kept stirring the mixture on a low heat until they did so. The mixture looked like this at this point. It was slightly darker in colour than the last batch, due to a couple of the soaps being slightly coloured.
Once the soaps had all been dissolved in the water, I then took it off the heat and left it with a lid over it for over 12 hours overnight to thicken up. Apparently, it is important not to stir or mess with the mixture whilst cooling or this can lead to separation. I must also mention that using these soaps seemed to cause quite strong fumes in my kitchen and I needed to open a window to allow them to escape, as it was causing me to get a slight headache. Something to bear in mind if anyone wanted to attempt anything similar. I don't recall this happening the last time I made liquid soap.
The next morning when I came back to it it looked this.
I was pretty happy to see that it had indeed thickened up overnight. The lines you can see in the surface were made with the pan lid edge. I set about blending it with a stick blender until it was the type of consistency I wanted. This batch was a much better consistency, definitely thicker and creamier, as opposed to a little gloopy, so I think using a lower water to soap ratio did work. I then funneled it into clean bottles again and here they are filled with liquid soap.
As the soaps used were all different fragrances, probably the most pungent being sandalwood, the end result is a kind of sandalwood scent, but this is okay for a hand soap to use at the kitchen sink. With hindsight, it probably would have been better not to include this and another coloured soap, but I'll put it down to experience. It was an interesting experiment to show that you can do this with soaps other than castille soaps.
I'll let you know how this batch keeps. If it does keep well, then I will not be discouraged from using any type of soap and ordinary pre-boiled water in this process in the future, as the results will hopefully be very similar and it is a lot less expensive, giving you 3 or more months' worth of liquid soap and shower gel for next to nothing. I will be trying this soap in the shower and decanted some into the smallest bottle for this purpose as the consistency seemed so much better. I'll see how I get on with it.