I considered liquid hand soap, the kind in a pump dispenser, to be a luxury item, even though we used it constantly. Our grandmothers made out just fine with bar soap. When I started making homemade soap last winter, I figured we could adjust to using bar soap.
I bought soap dishes for every sink and the children thought the bar soap was great fun. But mom didn't. The purpose of soap is to make things cleaner. But with bar soap, the sink was a mess! There was globs of soap smeared EVERYWHERE. I was constantly searching for the bar of soap, returning it to the dish, and scrubbing the caked soap scum off the sink.
Bar soap may have been good enough for Grandma, but since I knew how simple liquid soap was for children to use, it was a source of frustration.
I turned to Natural Beauty at Home. She said that any soap can be made into a liquid simply by dissolving it in water. She uses one part soap to one part water, but said the amount of water used depended on how thick of soap you desired.
That sounded easy. I had a batch of homemade soap that didn't turn out well and was rather dry. I coarsely chopped two or three bars of soap, added an equal amount of water and heated on the stove. When it melted, I used a stick blender to thoroughly blend the water and soap together. But the mixture was far too thick. I added double the water and it seemed a nice consistency. Using a funnel, I poured the soap into an old pump soap dispenser. (Mistake #1.) The rest of the soap I stored in a plastic container.
Then the soap cooled. And hardened. It was far to thick to come out of the soap dispenser. You could barely push your finger into it. I needed to add more water. But now it was stuck in a narrow necked soap dispenser. I decided to microwave it to melt the soap. (Mistake #2.) The plastic soap dispenser melted in the microwave long before the soap melted.
I turned to my bowl of "hard" liquid soap. I poured boiling water in it and blended with the stick blender until nice and smooth again. This time I had the smarts to allow the soap to cool before placing in a soap dispenser. And again it hardened as it cooled. Again I added water. Eventually enough water was added that it stayed a nice liquid soap when it was cool. By the time I was finished, I had a gallon of hand soap - all from two or three little bars of soap.
I thought the soap and water may separate in time. But after six months, it never has. I stored the soap in sealed plastic containers with a wide mouth. And it is good I did, after a few months, the soap was once again too stiff to pour. So again, I added hot water and blended it.
By this time I have no idea how much water I added, or how much soap I got from those couple bars. I'm not sure if part of my problem was from using a failed dry batch of homemade soap. If you try this with your soap, add a little water at a time, allow it to cool in a bowl, and see if you need more water.
I use this soap for all our hand soap and even as bath soap for the children. The only fault I have with it is that the soap is "stringy". The soap dispenser is a little messier then regular soap. But again, that may be because of the soap I used. I would like to try melting other soaps - but I need to use this batch up first!
A couple bars of soap, a few minutes of my time, a melted soap dispenser = cheap soap, for a YEAR!
Have any of you tried making your own liquid hand soap?