Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.
-William Osler (one of the founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Okay ladies and gents, I did it. I made my own soap! I used the basics of the recipe found here, and that is how Crunchy Betty makes her body wash. Of course, mine is quite different, since I didn’t have all the ingredients C.B. would use. I also omitted the use of Calendula petals to make an infusion. I’m a little scared to play around with plants, with my allergies, but maybe I’ll branch into that next.
- 2 c. water (filtered or distilled)
- 1 T. honey
- 3 c. liquid castile soap (unscented, I used the Baby-mild formula of Dr. Bonner’s)
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 30 drops essential oil or your choice
In a small pot, heat your water. Whisk in the xanthan gum, and immediately afterward whisk in the castile soap. Because I was making a double batch to split for body wash and hand soap, I poured half into a different bowl. I made tea tree oil body wash for the Hubby, and Sweet Orange scented (smells almost good enough to eat!) hand soap.
For those of you who are wondering, the honey does not make the soap sticky. Since I didn’t have the shea butter or the sweet almond oil, I thought what do I have on hand that is supposed to be moisturizing? Well, I keep hearing about how good honey is for your skin so I figured, what the heck! So I squirted in about a tablespoon from Mr. Bear and it melted almost immediately into my warm water. As for the xanthan gum, the jury is still out on that. I was unable to get all the little, tiny globs out of the mixture, but it is still useable. Maybe it’s something I’ll figure out with practice. I’ve already washed my hands with the hand soap twice, and it makes bubbles like “regular” soap. My skin feels different, but in a good way, like I’ve put on a good, non-greasy moisturizer….kind of like Avon’s Silicone Glove hand cream, but after it’s been on for a while.
I’m going to try to break down the cost of the soap for you. I’m going to use an “average” measure for the essential oils, of 600 drops per ounce. Here’s the break down, by my best math. (Okay, stop making those “Jawsie does math” jokes!)
- Distilled Water: $0.12
- Castile Soap: $11.76
- Sweet Orange Oil: $ 0.15
- Tea Tree Oil: $ 0.30
- Honey: I have NO idea what I paid for Mr. Bear, so I would assume it’s less that $0.50 per tablespoon, so that’s what I’m going with.
Total: $12.83 for 6 cups of soap.
That’s $2.14 a cup. Or for me, $2.56 a bottle (remember, I filled 5 pump bottles). Think about how much you spend on a 24 oz. bottle of body wash. I spend 5ish bucks for Dove or $10.50 for the Bath and Body works flavor I prefer and $9-11 for the Hubby’s tea tree body wash at the natural food store. So for us, this is actually more cost-effective. Again, it’s not about what “everyone must do” but about what works for Us. I have the time to do these things, the time to do the research for these things, and the desire to do it. I’m just sharing the things I find interesting and that are going on in my world. I may keep some hand soap under the sink as a reserve, who knows. My main goal is better skin health for the Hubby and myself. We both deal with some not-so-fun skin issues and we spend a lot of time either treating the results of using products that are bad for our skin or trying new things that may prevent skin flare-ups. To give you a little bit of a glimpse into my skin issues, first, I have to use a facial cleanser that can be taken off without water, and formulated for sensitive skin, if I wash dishes with ANY brand of dish soap and I don’t wear gloves, my knuckles crack open, bleed, become very painful and itchy. If I screw up and use a soap product with chamomile in it I develop a rash (or worse if I use a shampoo with chamomile), as it is in the same plant family as ragweed. I buy a special lotion from the pharmacy called Vanicream, which they use in making topical medication compounds, and it contains no parabens, fragrances of any kind (even masking fragrance), and dyes. I also have to use a special brand of sunscreen formulated for babies, and have to be very careful with my makeup choices, which is part of the reason I wear almost zero makeup most of the time. Now, I hope that doesn’t come across as whiny. It just is what it is. So, you can see why I’m doing this.