Homemade soaps, cleaners and stain removers are all over the internet. Most promise substantial savings...a good thing. The older I get the more I have decided it is also a good thing to know the ingredients of what goes in, on or near the body. So, when I saw The Farmer's Nest recipe for using a bar of hand soap to create liquid hand soap I knew I would give it a try.
All the project takes is bar soap, a little glycerin and a gallon of distilled water. The lady at The Farmer's Nest used a favorite 8 oz. scented bar soap. I used a mix of small bars of soap gathered in hotels while traveling. I mixed three bars of moisturizing citrus soap with about four bars of very plain soap hoping they made roughly 8 oz. (Note: I am not a stickler for details.)
Grate the soap bars with a regular cheese grater. Over at The Farmer's Nest the scented soap grated evenly and smoothly. My hotel soaps each had their own style. The citrus bars grated nicely. The more "pure" soaps broke into chunks or disintegrated into dust. The good news is that the soap shavings need not look pretty to work well in this recipe.
The Farmer's Nest used a gallon of distilled water keeping the bottle it came in to store her final product. I would have done the very same if I had previewed the recipe before attempting it at 11 p.m. Instead, I filled a plastic jug designed as a guide for the amount of liquid to drink the night before having a colonoscopy with water from our filtered water dispenser. The filtered water worked fine for the recipe as did the 4 liter medical bottle. (Turns out 4 liters is slightly more than a gallon.)
Add 2 TBS of glycerin after adding the soap shavings. Heat until the soap scrapings are completely melted. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for several hours.
Once it cools it first turns into a gel substance and then quickly moves onto a consistency that reminded me of kids' green "slime" product. This step was pretty cool to watch.
It was time to transfer the soap from the pan to the bottle. The thing about slime is that it comes with a high degree of transport difficulty. I tried to scoop it with a ladle. Each scoop oozed completely off the ladle and back into the pan. Not one drop made it into the bottle.
Daughter #1 came to my aid at this point. Having just graduated with a degree in chemistry, she was the perfect candidate for the job. She had the scientific explanation of why we were having every single difficulty we encountered. She also came up with the idea of moving smaller portions of the soap into the Pyrex mixing bowl with the pouring spout.
We poured the soap from the Pyrex bowl into a funnel stopping periodically to encourage the glops through the funnel and into the bottle. This step was a huge mess. Huge mess. Huge.
The Farmer's Nest waited until the soap was cooled to the slime-like substance before transferring it in case the consistency needed any adjustments. The next time I make it I think I will transfer it to my bottle while it is warm and less slippery. I will just hope for the best on the final consistency.
Making the soap was really easy. My assortment of soaps worked well together in the end. Only the citrus type was scented so I didn't have to worry about competing fragrances.
Based on some comments at The Farmer's Nest others who tried the recipe had some problems. She includes suggestions for trouble shooting that are worth reading before attempting the hand soap.
Stop by The Farmer's Nest to see her neat and tidy version of liquid soap making. It is like the City Mouse companion to my Country Mouse version of this project.