One of the easiest ways to save money, support sustainability, and avoid unnecessary toxins in your daily life is to make some of your own household products with simple and sustainable ingredients. The Internet is overflowing with recipes on ways you can do this, but I don’t like many of those recipes I’ve tried over the years. Some contain far more ingredients than are necessary, and others are more complicated than I care to get when it comes to things like simply washing my hands. We go through hand soap pretty quickly around here, and I don’t have the time or the desire to be concocting time consuming soap recipes on the regular. I finally found a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to make hand soap that I like. (Bonus: It smells great!) You only need these three things:
- A foaming soap pump
- Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (1-2 TBSP)
Just put a tablespoon or two of castile soap in the soap pump, add water until it’s full, and put the lid on. Give it a little shake once in a while, as the soap will settle to the bottom.
If you have hard water like we do, you would be better off using filtered water for this recipe, but tap water is fine as well. Since this recipe does not have preservatives added to keep a long shelf life, I recommend using distilled water if you don’t go through soap very quickly, and only make it as needed.
* Please note: This is not a thick and creamy soap like many of the store bought ones, which have added thickeners, emulsifiers, and foaming agents, but it gets the job done, and your hands, the earth, and your budget will thank you.
The soap pump
For best results, you really do need a foaming pump. I tried it with a regular pump I recycled, and it didn’t work out very well. You can recycle an old foaming pump, or they are pretty inexpensive to purchase on amazon. Plastic ones are cheaper than glass ones, but we try to avoid plastic where we can, so we have glass.
The castile soap
Castile soap is concentrated, so it lasts a long time since you are supposed to dilute it. Therefore, even the tiny bottle you see in my picture will last us for months. It is available in different sizes, and sometimes you can find a deal on Amazon, Thrive Market, or Vitacost. It is also easy to find at most health food stores and even big retailers like Target. I have a friend who buys a whole gallon of it at a time, and that’s even better if it’s in your budget. It can be used for a lot more than just hand soap.
Dr. Bronner’s comes in many different scents, and even a gentle unscented option. I love the lavender one for hand soap. (Peppermint is nice around the winter holidays if you get the fever for mint everything.) There are some big box corporations making their own brand castile soap now, and that’s okay if that’s all you have access to, but I want to tell you why I specifically buy Dr. Bronner’s. They are still a family owned and operated business, and they have great ethics, as well as great products with truly natural ingredients. (Read more about their company here.)
You don’t have to throw out and replace all of your household products at once. The easiest way to transition to using more natural products is to simply replace one at a time as you run out of the ones you have. One step at a time, you can make a difference and find yourself heading strong down your own green path.