Friday, October 21, 2011

Frugal (Yet Manly) DIY Shower Soap

As I switch over to homemade versions of store-bought versions of homemade household products (it does make sense, let it sink in a bit), I often have to practice a good deal of self-restraint. There are so many amazing ideas out there, and I want to try them all. Self-restraint. Must ask myself "Do we need it?"... or in this case, "Do we need it yet?".

And speaking of amazing ideas... have you checked out Pinterest? No? There's a red Pinterest button on the left side of your screen right now. Go click on it and wander around in there for a while. I'll wait.

Are you back? Did you see the possiblities? It is the only "social media" doohickey that holds any interest for me. And hold my interest it does. A little too much sometimes. Ahem. Cough cough.

One of my friends "pinned" a link for making liquid soap out of bar soap... it sounded so frugaliciously easy I wanted to make some immediately. Except we don't need any liquid soap right now. We've got most of a gallon jug we bought from Cost Co 12 years ago. O.k. last year. Anyway, I told myself I'd have to wait on making my own until we ran out... someday.

But earlier this week, Hubs asked if we had a bar of soap for the shower. Said he had been using the Coco-Castile shampoo as a bodywash (no wonder we were going through it so fast) but that it didn't quite cut it... didn't have enough oomph. Not enough man-power.

I don't like the idea of leaving a bar of soap in our shower since it would never dry out and would get all scummy, but we did still have some bars of manly "deodorant soap" from 6 years ago (really, they're at least that old)...

Lightbulb! I made him some liquid shower soap with the deodorant-soap bar! It was quite the journey. Took me most of the week to finally get it right. I can't believe we used to buy that smelly stuff... it's strong alright, strong enough for a man. Needless to say, I won't be using it!

Anyway here is what I did, inspired by this post, this tutorial, and this one too...

Frugal (Yet Manly) DIY Shower Soap
  1. Shred/grate half of a 4.5 oz. bar of soap either with a grater or with a food processor. You should have about 1 cup of shredded soap.
  2. Add 6 cups of water to a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the shredded soap (about a cup) to the boiling water. Stir until it's completely melted.
  4. Bring heat down as far as you can while maintaining the boil. Cleaning up after soap spills is pretty easy, but you really don't want a boil-over.
  5. Boil soap for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Take off heat and let cool uncovered overnight. (or for 8 hrs. if you start in the a.m.)
  7. After 8 hours or so, it should be firmly gelled. Whisk it up really well to get rid of any lumpiness. It should loosen up considerably but will have a mucilaginous texture. Yep, mucilaginous.
  8. Pour into a squeeze bottle for the shower and store the extra in a lidded jar or other container for future refills. Yield = approx. 32 oz. of liquid soap... from 1/2 a bar of soap.*
Notes: I made this twice (with a lot of futzing around trying to salvage the first batch). I started with the basic instructions that I had chosen and went from there.  My suggestions if you want to try this yourself...
  • Read everything you can find about it, including all the comments. Especially the comments.
  • Make notes of what worked for others... and what didn't.
  • Keep notes of everything you do and how it worked (or didn't).
  • Know that every soap will yield different results! Be ready to adapt.
  • Don't expect it to be exactly like the store-bought stuff. It's not.
*If you like how it turned out, go ahead and shred/cook up the other half of the bar from Step 1... If you don't like it, you still have a perfectly good 1/2-bar of soap to use... and the liquid soap can be used to clean the "porcelain fixture" in the bathroom. It is still soap after all.
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