Monday, July 2, 2012

DIY: liquid castile soap

I really love Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap.  This stuff is is lovely--all natural, very mild, and it doesn't aggravate my sensitive skin. 

The downside?  It's EXPENSIVE. 

My favorite grocery store here sells Kirk's castile soap in bars for only about $1 per bar.  Much more reasonable.  The bars lather well and have all of the above mentioned advantages of the above Dr. Bronner's. 

The downside?  I really prefer the liquid.  I can't help it.  I just do. 

So when I read this idea, I knew I wanted to try it. 

I started out grating the soap with a box grater.  It's kind of a pain, and I'm honestly not sure why I did that.  I know better.  I figured out a long time ago that a rotary style grater works better for soap.  Once I switched, the process went a lot faster.  I'd say I spent about 15 minutes grating two bars of soap.  I could have spent less time if I'd never bothered with the box grater to begin with, but we'll stick with the 15 minute time frame for now. 

Once I was finished, I had this much liquid soap to show for my efforts: 

I estimated, based on the sizes of the containers that I filled, that I have about 108 oz. of liquid soap. 

The cheapest I could find Dr. Bronner's was $14.16 for 32 oz. at Amazon.  That means to get 108 oz., I would have to spend $47.79. 

Again estimating, I spent $2.41 (once tax is included) on my two bars of soap.  I don't think the energy expended to boil water is really that significant, but I'll go crazy here and round up to $2.50. 

That means for about 20 minutes worth of work (I'm including time to pour the soap into my containers, and again I could have spent less time if I had switched to the rotary grater sooner), I saved a whopping $45.29.  If you want to figure out an "hourly wage" like The Tightwad Gazette does, that's $135.87 per hour.  Not too shabby.  If you include the hour the soap is just sitting, it's still an hourly wage of $30.19--again, not too shabby, though far less impressive sounding.  But I'm pretty content just to say I save over $45 by making my own, for only 20 minutes worth of hands-on time.

The results weren't perfect.  My liquid soap solidified somewhat overnight.  So I will definitely need to adjust something.  I'm thinking I need to remove the stockpot from the hot stove eye, rather than just killing the heat, since the blogger I'm stealing the idea from thought maybe it cooked too long. 

However, I added a bit of water to my first container of soap and shook it up and although it's still not real "liquid-y", it is more gel-like and will at least come out of the container and lather up on my pouf.  I'm satisfied with that.  I know I've read that people who make the homemade laundry detergent in its "liquid" form sometimes find its consistency strange.  It apparently doesn't get truly "liquid-y" either.  So it may just be par for the course as far as trying to make homemade liquid soap.  For over $45 in savings, I'm not going to be too picky.  The stuff works, and I have an awful lot of it for just $2.50. 

So all in all, I'm satisfied with this DIY project, and I will do it again.  I'll update if my results vary next time (especially if it ends up working better and avoiding the solidifying problem!).  But don't hold your breath--it's going to take me awhile to use up all that I have currently!  ;) 

DIY projects that I've done so far:

1. Cleaning wipes
2. Sourdough bread
3. Fry bread
4. Detangler spray (this is so ridiculously easy, it almost doesn't count)
5. Liquid castile soap

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