Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Castille hand soap...

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?

9 comments:

  1. Thank you. I can't wait to try this. Do you add any scents to use it as shampoo?

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    1. I add the lavender to the shampoo for me but the teens use the tea tree oil for some dandruff issues. It works great. The baby and toddlers get plain old baby mild.

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  2. Hi Melissa. Have you ever heard if using regular soap? I make soap but so far not castile. I've tried this with my homemade soap and it sets up pretty firm. I'm wondering if I wasn't using enough water after reading ur post. Thanked for any insight. I like cheap, inexpensive, high quality stuff all rolled into one.

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    1. I use castille because we have a couple of kids with eczema and it is really the only thing that is gentle enough. When my 12 year old was little, we tried everything under the sun and used to grease him up with coconut oil, zip him in a sleeper and diaper pin it closed. When we switched soaps, his trouble went away. He gets dry but not scaly and red. What soap are you using?

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    2. They are normally made with coconut oil, lard, olive oil and maybe organic palm kernel oil,goat milk and lye. I have used chamomile infusion also. Fragrances are essential oils or ground herbs. I am almost out of my last try at l liquid soap so I'm gonna try ur recipe with one of my bars. I figure I'll find out real fast if it's the mixed oil soap I make that makes it thick or not enough water. This is really an awesome idea cause I have been resisting buying the lye used for liquid soap and learning that soapmaking. Byway,my husband has some pretty wicked eczema sometimes (starting to get a handle on it) and I have to say he hasn't had any problems with any soap I personally make. Other stuff yes but not mine. Don't really know why but I'll take it. I'll let ya know if my experiment works with ur recipe. If not ilk use it to wash dishes. Non greasy dishes that is. Not sure how my ancestors used lye soap to wash dishes. Mine didn't cut grease which was gross unless I constantly changed water which meant lots more hot water and I'm kinda cheap about the hot water heater

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  3. Anonymous3/12/2014

    This works great also without grating the soap. I just put the entire bar in the water and simmer until the soap is all dissolved.

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    1. Really? I would never have tried that! That makes it even easier! I am totally trying that out. I am so glad that you commented!

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  4. Thank you so much for the recipes!

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  5. So I made this over the weekend and put it in my foaming soap dispensers and it seems to thick. I did simmer it for a while (okay I forgot about it for 20 minutes maybe, didn't seem like I lost much water though). It seems to have separated a little and become thick. Any suggestions? I used one bar of unscented Dr. Bronner's and a half gallon of water.

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