Liquid recycled soap

Last week I finally got round to a recycling project, I had planned for a while.

A couple of years ago I switched to using solid soaps (even solid shampoo) in an effort to bring down my carbon footprint. The argument was that when buying liquid soap mainly water gets moved around. I never knew exactly just how much water liquid soap actually contains, but I thought that it must be a lot.

Sadly I could not convince my family of this advantage. So we still have lots of liquid soap bottles, which my husband buys at a discounter and the packaging ends up in the recycling bin. I am not happy with this.

On the other hand we still have a good collection of little soaps, which we brought back from hotels in the distant past...

When I stumbled across Sara Tetreault's recipe for liquid soap I decided to recycle those bits of old solid soap into new liquid soap to keep my family happy and my environmental conscience clean.

So I slightly adapted Sara's great recipe to:

  • 70 g of shredded solid soap (use a cheese grater to shred it)
  • 1 Tbsp of glycerine (from our local drug store; can also be used for soap bubble mix)
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 5 drops of an aromatic oil ("Millefiori"), which I once got as a freebie with some cosmetics
  • 2 litres of tap water
According to Sara's recipe, I shredded the soap and dissolved it with a few cups of water in a sauce pan at a medium temperature together with the glycerin and olive oil. It took about 10 minutes until all the soap flakes had dissolved (careful not to let the mix boil). I then stirred in the aromatic oil and the remaining water and let the mix cool slightly.

It had turned into a milky liquid with a very pleasant flowery smell. Before the liquid cooled completely, I poured it into bottles for storage.

Still very sceptical about the outcome of this experiment, I let the soap cool and set overnight. The next day the liquid had turned into a kind of a gel and I thought something had gone terribly wrong. But after shaking the bottles vigorously for a bit, the liquid soap ended up with exactly the right consistency. I was amazed that this little amount of soap, glycerine and oil can give water such a completely differrent consistency!

In the end I filled my new liquid soap  into a soap dispenser which I had recycled earlier and put it straight into our bathroom.

Evaluation of the results (sounds very scientific, doesn't it?):
  • Easy and fun to do
  • Very frugal (cost me a few cents for 2 litres of liquid soap)
  • Taught me that about 95% of liquid soap is actually water, which I now get out of our tap instead of having it shipped all over the place in a disposable soap container
  • None of my family have noticed the difference!
Now the soap still needs to pass the test of time, but I am confident that it will last. If not I will keep you posted. And I am looking forward to making my next batch soon - maybe for Christmas presents...


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