Well, I know this is a “food” blog. But food making isn’t the only “from scratch” thing that goes on in my kitchen. I also make a lot of my health, home and beauty products from scratch. Over the years I have started making my own body scrubs, lotions, lip and hand balms, laundry soap, cleaning products, and this body wash and hand soap– which I am sharing today. This is one of my favorites and a huge money saver in this house. The only ingredients you need are bar soap and water- glycerin and essential oils are optional. I only use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap , usually the baby mild bar, but there are a lot of other scents. I have tried Kirk’s castile soap, but I don’t care for the results. The Dr Bronner’s bars run from $4 to $6 apiece and can be cheaper bought in bulk. I know that sounds pricey at first, but consider you are making 1 gallon of body wash/hand soap (easily $20-25 for cheap stuff in this quantity, much much more if buying the liquid Dr Bronner’s castile soap). I use this gallon to refill all my hand soap and body wash containers and it lasts quite a while even with 6 of us.
For a while I was on the bandwagon with the antibacterial body washes and soaps (I know better now), especially when my family struggled with some skin infections. One day I received wisdom from above that maybe these antibacterial soaps were causing the issue. So I tried making my own body wash, adding a bit of the antibacterial tea tree essential oil. I loved how it felt on my skin and my girls stopped complaining of skin irritation. I can’t say for sure if this is what really helped, but since the switch (1 and 1/2 years ago) we have had no further skin infections!! I also use this as my face wash and it works great- I have super sensitive skin too that breaks out easily. It is a much milder soap and has reduced my eczema. I have even used it as a shampoo- it doesn’t strip your hair at all and I think it works well.
I have changed the method a bit since I first started making it and added different essential oils in here and there. It gets kinda of congealed when it sits for a while, so I use my immersion blender or blender to emulsify the soap prior to filling my containers- this makes it super smooth and creamy- way better than any store bought stuff.
- 1 Bar of castile soap- recommended Dr Bronner's bar soap
- 1 Gallon of water (I use filtered water for best results)
- 1 Tablespoon of Glycerin
- Essential oil for scenting
- Shred the bar of Soap. I have found the easiest way is to use a heavy serrated bread knife and shave the soap- it only takes a minute this way and less mess. You can also shred the soap with a box grater or food processor with shredding disk.
- Place shredded soap in a large stockpot. Add 1 Gallon of water and heat on stove over medium/low heat until all the soap pieces are melted.
- Remove from heat- stir in glycerin (if using) at this time. It will be very thin and watery. Cover and allow to sit at room temp about 24 hours- you will see it turn white and thick.
- At this point, you can just whisk in essential oils to your preference and use as is, but I highly recommend blending-- either by doing batches in a blender or food processor or my preference, using an immersion blender. This emulsifies it and makes it smooth, silky and creamy and it wont be "stringy" or "congealed" when using. I will blend it, fill my bottles, and it stays creamy for a long time.
- Store the remainder until ready to use. If has been a long time I will usually quickly re-blend it before filling my soap dispensers.
- The easiest way to fill bottles or jars with the soap is using a funnel and carefully pouring or spooning the soap in.