Monday, August 4, 2014

Adventures in (extremely easy) liquid soap-making

I have become a convert to liquid soap. It has its pluses - the small person enjoys squirting it out (and anything that encourages hand-washing round here is a plus); it's handy to use when your hands are very dirty - say, covered in sheep poo just for example; and thirdly, I'm hoping it will be resistant to my mother's soap destroying tendencies - as someone who always washes the bar of soap after using it, she somehow manages to turn our soap to a bowl of goopy liquid within but a few hand washes. 

So, liquid soap is the new flavour of the month round here. But jaypers* **, the stuff is expensive. 
 A quick intermediate-length internet search later and a little tweaking, and I have an easy recipe for it that works. And is really cheap, hooray!

This recipe is for making liquid soap from bar soap, but it seems that not all soaps are made equal. I used olive oil soap - cheaply available from health food shops and known as Castile soap in the States. I believe a good quality handmade soap would be good for this recipe too. And smell even nicer. 

Without further ado:

How to make liquid soap from olive oil soap.

You need:
50g olive oil soap, grated
600ml water
Some essential oils if you want a smell

 Bring the water to the boil, turn off the heat, throw in your soap and whisk or stir to melt.

 Leave for 12-24 hours.

 That's it! Yes, it is THAT easy.

This recipe makes about 2 bottles worth of soap.

I added some essential oils to half of it and popped it in an empty soap dispenser. I had to use a whisk to get the oils mixed in as it was pretty set by then, so I wonder in the future about leaving the soap to cool for a while - just until it is cool enough to pour in a bottle, and then adding the essential oils and pouring it in your bottle - it would be much easier to pour in as a liquid than a soapy gel.

Perhaps my life has been reduced to a shell of its previous excitement pre having kids, but I found this extremely satisfying. I think that is because nice liquid soap (of which I have bought 2 bottles in my entire life) is 5 or 6 euros + a bottle, and this one cost me about 50c for 2 bottles worth. 

A note on essential oils:
I added 12 drops of lavender oil, 2 drops rosewood and 1of neroli to half of this quantity of soap but could easily have doubled that as it is quite mild smelling. But use your own nose for that one.

A note on quantity:
The ratio is 1:12 soap to water, so it is easily scaled up to make lots. I just wanted to make a couple of bottles worth and stored the excess in an old jam jar.

* Project stop-cursing-in-front-of-the-child is working.
** I was going to try and explain what jaypers is for those not familiar with Irish habits of mild cursing. But I have no idea what jaypers is really. Feel free to enlighten us all if you know!