By: Leah Prescott
As always, I am trying to make adjustments in the products my family uses as I learn more about what may be safer and healthier. I used to buy whatever soap was on sale or the one that smelled the best, but I’ve started to take a closer look at the products we are using all over our bodies and home. Since then, we have switched to Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap. This stuff is amazing, very safe and natural, and has tons of uses. Because it is so concentrated, I have found that a gallon lasts our family a very long time. However, a gallon costs over $50 so that’s pretty spendy for my budget. So, I started reading up on making liquid soap from bar soap.
Now, a lot of you may say this is crazy and you could be right. But before you give up on this tutorial, take a quick look at the cost breakdown:
- 1 gallon of liquid Castile Soap from Amazon= $59.99 list price
- 1 gallon of liquid Castile Soap made in my kitchen= 1 gallon distilled water for $1.19 + 2 bars of Kirk’s Original Coco Castile $2.40 = $3.59
Even if you add in the costs of equipment or a container or jar to store the final product, you are still looking at a huge savings. I was done with this project in about 20 minutes tops (not counting leaving the soap out to cool). So the time investment was very minimal and there was nothing complicated about the process at all. (Please note this recipe will yield a little over a half gallon of soap, so what you see here cost me about $2.40). Now that I’ve convinced you, let’s get to the tutorial.
DIY Liquid Castile from Bar Soap
- 8 cups of distilled water
- 1 bar of Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap (I was delighted to find a three pack at Publix for only $3.49)
- Cheese Grater or Knife
- Large Bowl
- Boil eight cups of water while you grate up the bar of soap. I used distilled water to cut down on the risk of bacterial growth. I am not a scientist but it seems to me that boiling the heck out of tap water would be just as good. My guess is you could bring your cost down to $1.20 by skipping the store-bought water. I was happy to find that Kirk’s soap has a really nice scent and shaved up into lovely little flakes with minimal effort. The finished product looked like a nice big bowl of coconut and smelled just as good.
- Pour water and soap flakes into a large bowl. Allow this to sit for a few hours, covered. My soap immediately started to dissolve and after about 30 minutes looked totally clear.
- Evaluate the consistency of your soap. I read multiple tutorials and this is where quite a few people had problems. Depending on its thickness, your soap might be ready to go. If you feel it needs longer to thicken, you can leave it for another day. If it seems to be separating, you could choose to whip it up for a smoother consistency. Once it seems like the right thickness, you are done!
The first time I tried to do this, I poured my soap immediately into a narrow neck bottle, only to have it later solidify and become difficult if not impossible to remove. This time, I left my soap overnight to see what consistency it would take before proceeding. The next day, when I realized it was fairly thick, I took my hand mixer and whipped it up into a smoother consistency. Even so, I found that my soap later separated slightly. This isn’t a problem for me, but I wanted to mention it. Remember, the final product is concentrated, so you will find it can be diluted for cleaning or hand soap. I used about one part soap to four parts water for our soap dispensers. This is working great for handwashing and also in recipes for cleaning products calling for liquid castile soap.
Extra tip: I have seen many tutorials on Pinterest and across the web for DIY Mason Jar soap dispensers. I’m not sure if it’s the nostalgia of homemade jam or just the endearing quality of being staunchly non-plastic that appeals to me, but I just love Mason Jars. I liked the idea of Jar Soap Dispensers and tried to make one. Not a week later, I saw this cute little number at Target. For $3.99, it looks like a great way to “DIY” without the angst I had trying to punch a hole in a jar lid with an ice pick on a Sunday afternoon. You can totally afford it because of all you saved on making your own soap. Pair it with a vintage pale blue Ball Jar and your whole family will be begging to wash their hands!