For years I've used a 1:1 dilution of Dr Bronner's liquid soap for hand soap, shampoo, baby soap and body wash. It works great and I feel better knowing that we're not sudsing up with a chemist's science project. But I did move to a farm last summer and we are now 17 miles from a gas station and the closest neighbor is a mile through the woods. Things are different here.
For instance, we have only a few options for dealing with waste: compost it, burn it, TerraCycle it, return it for a deposit, or bring it to a waste transfer station. Every single thing that comes in must be dealt with and this makes us think twice about new purchases and the packaging it comes in. We try to buy in bulk from the co-op which allows us to bring containers from home and they use the tare weight to charge us. This is a great system except for things that I need in the size the co-op buys it in. If I only needed small amounts of the doc, it would be fine but I go through gallons of it. Every gallon I buy, I have the plastic bottle to deal with and there is no recycling program here (which is why I love TerraCycle, read more HERE).
But after my friend, Ruth, starting making her own liquid from the bar soap (find her HERE), I knew I found an answer to all that plastic waste! Castille soap comes in nice paper wrappers which I can either compost or burn. We heat with wood and burning paper is a regular part of our disposal system. But, I was worried it would be a hassle. So many of those homemade cleaners are so much work that they get skipped in the homemaking routine. If it was too hard, I knew I wouldn't do it and I'd be back to buying it.
No problem there. This is stupid easy.
You will need two bars of Castille soap, the good Doctor comes in 5oz bars and Kirks comes in 4oz bars but only one of Mrs. Meyer's because it is an 8oz bar. If you buy the soap in bulk, you can make a gallon of soap for around $3. Given that my diluted soap used to run me $27 a gallon, with my new natural soap I'm cleaning up, saving up and greening up all in one fell swoop. This soap works best in foaming pumps and you can add your own essential oils to each one. I stick with baby mild or unscented and add EO only when and where needed. It will be thin, that's fine. It will still foam beautifully.
Just grate up two bars of either Kirks or Dr Bronner and only one if you are using Mrs. Meyer's (which gets thicker in the end) and add it to a gallon of water in a nonreactive pot. Heat over medium heat while stiring occasionally. When it is clear and the soap is completely dissolved, remove from heat and cool. Pour off into canning jars for storage. It's already diluted, all you have to do is fill up all those foaming hand pumps and you are good to go.
Want to dress it up?
- Add ten drops each of lavender and vanilla for a soothing hand soap.
- Add ten drops of tea tree oil for disinfecting or treating dandruff.
- Add ten drops of peppermint oil for a refreshing hand wash but do not use it on sensitive or broken skin and not as body wash. Beware the minty fresh burn, people. Minty. Fresh. Burn.
What essential oils would you add?