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Making liquid soap

Homemade hand wash
by Cybele
I have decided that our house has a magnetic force, drawing mess and dirt towards it. An astrophysicist might be able to explain the phenomena.
My dear friend, Nick, used to say that if black holes absorb all matter there must be grey holes that absorb things and spit them out in random locations. Grey holes are worst around washing machines, where you can put a pair of socks in and by the end of the cycle you’re left with one odd sock, only to find it has been spat out under the armchair.
Perhaps, our place is like the sun and has a gravitational pull for grubbiness instead of planets and this is why we go through a lot of hand wash in our household. Without it I feel like we might compact enough mass and create a black hole and the whole family would disappear in a general relativity mystery.
Pottering around on the internet. I kept stumbling across recipes like this great homemade hand wash, making it all seemed pretty easy and so cheap, you’ll love it looong time.
Technically, all you really need for this is a bar of soap and pretty much any will do, except for the fancy moisturising ones and castille soap can end up with a funny texture, so I don’t use it for this. I just added lemon and tea tree oils .and zest, for a bit fragrance and extra cleaning oomph (available at a lot of chemists or online from aromatherapy suppliers, like Mountain Rose Herbs -AFF, for those in the US and Canada). The glycerine is a humectant, so water finds it simply irresistible and it stops the hung out to dry feeling. You should be able to find glycerine in the baking section of your supermarket.
I have been trialling quite a few of these hand wash recipes and this tea tree and lemon is my fave household and everyday option, while this Orange and Vanilla moisturising hand wash stops my hands and body drying out.

Homemade Hand Wash

This recipe will make about 1 ½ litres or 1 1/2 quarts of hand wash.
You will need: Making liquid soap
half a bar of soap (they’re usually around 125 g or 4.4 oz, so you’ll want about 60g or 2.2 oz), grated
6 cups water
1 tbsp glycerine/glycerin
Zest from one lemon (optional)
20 drops tea tree oil (optional)
20 drops lemon oil (optional)
A pump bottle and some large glass storage jars.

How to make the hand wash:

Pour water into a saucepan and add lemon zest. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and take zest out with tongs. Add the grated soap and stir until all the soap has dissolved. Add glycerine and essential oils and leave to cool and set. Wait a day before using.
If you’re storing in glass jars (not plastic) you may find it easier to pour the hand wash into the containers while it is still warm, to save decanting later. Label with a used by date of six months and shake regularly to keep it from separating.

If you’re after a quick homemade hand wash this one is my new favourite!

Anyone else suffering from self-perpetuating mess?
* Always test products on a discrete spot, before going gung ho. Whilst, I try and use natural ingredients wherever possible for countless reasons, sadly it’s still possible to be allergic to these ingredients.

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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  1. Very cool recipe. Practical, safe and green! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi, love this easy recipe, im just wondering if it has a sell by date at all sounds silly but id love to make some for gifts 🙂

    • I have given these as gifts and they go down very well!
      Good question about the date. I forgot to talk about used by dates in this post. This is always a dilemma for homemade/preservative free products. There are a couple of things you can do to prolong the life: use sterile implements and jars. The tricky thing is pump bottles always have plastic parts that are difficult to sterilise, so when I made them as gifts I did not recycle old pumps, but bought new ones to fit on my recycled ceramic bottles that I was able to sterilise. The other factor is that light can break down natural products, like the fragrances and it’s impossible to know if the recipient will be storing on a window sill. To overcome this, I would try and use dark glass or ceramic bottles and suggest the hand wash is stored out of direct sunlight.

      To encourage the recipients to use the hand wash quickly (when the fragrance is stronger) I put a ‘best before date’ of six months and to ‘shake bottle every now and then’, because natural products without all the chemical emulsifiers means the fragrant oil can float to the top. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong.

      I hope this helps. Let me know how you go.

  3. Hello. Am eager to give this a go as I make bar soaps at home using lye. Do you think I could use my left over bits that I cut off of soap instead of buying bar soap? What is the shelf life like?
    Thank you conny

  4. Hi Conny, I have used homemade lye soap for this recipe and it worked well. It’s a great way to use up the scrap pieces. I usually put a use-by-date of six months. Having said that I found a batch the back of my cupboard that’s a nearly a year old and I can’t see any signs of deterioration. I’d love to hear how you go. Enjoy x

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