My aunt is a firm believer in making homemade hand soaps. A soap making recipe would never be complete without her usual claims-to-fame. She says that it’s easy to make, efficient, won’t make you itch or burn due to allergic reactions (that admittedly does happen with some new, store-bought soaps), and is wonderful on the family budget.
Hand soaps can be used for a lot of things – you can use it to clean little dirt particles or small screw-ups on a clean table (of course, with the fantabulous help of the ever-reliable sponge), you can take a bath using it (provided that the soap you made is not for kitchen, cleaning-of-cookware-grime use) and of course, the most obvious: you can use it to soap, wash and disinfect your hands.
Interested? Well, when my aunt shared her secret, the simplicity of the recipe came as a shock to me, but it really made perfect sense. Why? Because this only has two ingredients: distilled water and leftover soap. (Some organic oils may be used, but this is optional.)
– You can buy a plain detergent-free soap (all natural and organic, but free of small exfoliating bits such as almond and oatmeal), or you can dredge up all the remaining slivers of soap that would make up at least 3 ounces of a bar. Grate or chop into really small pieces – chop, grate and shred until you have the perfect slivers. (This is to help in the melting and blending process you will do later on).
– Put at least 3 to 4 cups of water in an old saucepan and boil. Add the soap by mixing it in little by little. Lessen the heat, putting the heat to a low boil, and let it sit for a while.
– You can add more soap and/or water, depending on the thickness of your concoction. Repeat the process: Add the soap or water, boil, put it to a low boil and let it sit for a while. Mix it occasionally.
– If you feel that you have the desired thickness, do a last-minute mixing, just to melt out any remaining slivers or soap hardened pieces. Let it cool a bit, and then put it in the pump. Let it sit overnight. If it’s still too thick, heat it again and add some more water.
It is a possibility that you may not get it on the first try, but that can’t be helped, especially if you’re just starting out on soap making. But you can go on doing it until you learn how to do it well, setting the timing of the heat just right, as you gain this knowledge through experience and trial-and-error.
Who knows? With constant time and practice, you may get encouraged to experiment on how to do other soaps, making you a hand-soap magnate in the future.