Friday, February 15, 2013

Shmancy Liquid Handsoap

If you’re like me, you take home every little toiletry item on the bathroom counter when you stay in a hotel.  There really is no need, but you justify it to yourself. “These would be great for when I’m traveling,” or “I’ll put these in my guest bath for others to use,” or even “These are so cute!  I can’t leave them behind.” But inevitably, they sit in your cupboard for months, even years, just waiting to be used. Well, I found a solution for those itty-bitty bars of soap that have been doing just that- liquid hand soap!

We ran out of hand soap at our kitchen sink recently, which proved to be very inconvenient. It’s one of those you-don’t-appreciate-what-you-have-until-it’s-gone kinds of things. You don’t realize how often you wash your hands until there is no soap to do it with. I remembered a post on One Good Thing by Jillee about how she had made her own “resort quality” hand soap using those little space-hogging soaps, so that’s exactly what I did.

Her recipe made about a gallon of hand soap. Since we’re tight on storage space, I decided to ¼ the recipe.  If you want to do the regular batch with no math, you can find her original recipe here.

Shmancy Liquid Hand Soap

2 ounce bar of soap (I had 1.25 oz bars so I just used 1 whole one and 3/5ths of the other)

1 quart of distilled water

1 ½ teaspoons glycerin

Essential Oils (optional)

This bar of soap was obviously obtained with the excuse, "This is so cute!  I can’t leave it behind.”  I mean look at it! You can't blame me, right? Most adorable bar of soap ever. It was hard to make myself cut it up.

Mine was such a small batch and my bars of soap were so little that I just used a knife to shave off pieces rather than grating it or putting it in the food processor. I heated up the water on the stove, added the soap shavings, and waited for it to dissolve. Once it’s completely dissolved, I took it off the heat and added the glycerin. I added a few drops of Lemon essential oil for a little extra boost of fragrance, but that’s entirely optional. I transferred it to another container to cool off.

Jillee recommends waiting 24 hrs for it to thicken up a bit, but I’m impatient, so I checked on it after about 8 hrs.  It was like rubber. It had formed to the shape of the container it was in and there was no breaking it up.  She said it would thicken up, but that’s not what I expected. I tried whisking it, like Jillee recommended, but that wasn’t cutting it, so I dumped it into my blender, added about a ½ cup of water and hit high speed. That definitely did the trick.  I filled up my old soap dispenser and put the rest in a Tupperware until I need it. 

There are definitely some differences between your run of the mill soap and this stuff.  It's a little thinner and it doesn't really get sudsy when you use it, but that doesn't mean your hands aren't getting clean.  Its natural for us to think "If it bubbles up, than its cleaning." I mean, think about it- is there a cleaning product in your life that doesn't? That's what all the cleaning products I grew up using did. It took me a little while to get used to the idea of no suds when I first made my laundry detergent, but after seeing our clothes were just as clean, possibly even staying in good condition for longer, I was converted. Now its never a big deal when I make something that doesn't produce any bubbles.

We’ve been using this soap for a couple days now and I must say that I’m pleased. However, I would be pleased with anything homemade (I made it, I’m automatically proud of it), so I had my husband put it to the test.  He washed his hands with regular soap and then I had him try the homemade solution. Even he could tell his hands felt softer after using the shmancy soap. My hands definitely feel clean and moisturized and the savings are nothing to snub your nose at.  The only expense I had was the glycerin for about $9, which will last me a long time considering I’m using less than 2 tsp. each time.  I’d say this qualifies as a success.


  1. Love this idea!!

    I have a blog too!

  2. Ah!!! This so awesome, thanks for sharing!!

  3. Walmart has glycerin for 3.88 6oz bottle

    1. Thanks for letting us know! I'll definitely buy mine there next time.