Soapy Success…Sort of

Have you, like me, noticed an increase in the number of available recipes for homemade laundry, cleaning, and hygiene products online over the last few years?  Maybe it’s just me and how my interests have changed; maybe it’s a move toward “greener” living; or maybe it’s the economy (I don’t want to go there).  It’s even noticeable in the stores, as washing soda and laundry bars are regularly stocked on grocery shelves now.

I have dabbled with homemade cleaners a bit, making all-purpose spray cleaner for a while (until we were blessed with a couple of bottles of a natural cleaner concentrate, but I will go back to making my own once we use them up).  I have also been trying to get my timing right to make laundry detergent–every time we got close to the end of a bottle from the store, our budget would be super short and I wouldn’t be able to go and get a lidded bucket and all the ingredients or I would need to do laundry THAT day and didn’t have time to let it sit the necessary 24 hours.  So, I finally just bought the stuff last month and made the detergent, which is now sitting ready to be used, once we finish up what will hopefully be our LAST EVER bottle of store-bought detergent.  Once I get to try it, I’ll let you know how it turns out.  🙂

In the mean time, I continue to see intriguing projects that could save us some money with just a little bit of effort on my part.  When I came across this one for body wash on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to try it.  The procedure for making the bar soap a liquid is not terribly different from making the liquid laundry detergent–grate the soap, combine with water in a large stainless steel pot, and heat to combine.  The additives are different, however.  I don’t think I know anybody who gets dirty enough to necessitate borax-laced body wash. 🙂

I did successfully make a liquid soap from the bars.  Which, my reading around on other blogs has informed me, is not always a guarantee, depending on the ingredients in the bar soap used.  However, that is only the first part of the assessment.  There are more things to consider.

To fully determine the success of this project, I need to decide if my end product is a viable replacement for the store-bought body wash and if it’s going to save us any money.  There are a couple of things about me that play heavily into figuring this out:  #1–I am cheap.  #2–I am a fast showerer (spell check is telling me that’s not a word, but I don’t care).  These two traits make the body wash aisle a pretty quick trip because so many of the options are immediately ruled out.  Up to this point I almost always have bought store-brand body wash–I have tried higher priced options and am convinced that a *carefully* chosen store-brand soap is just as good, and, even when I was couponing (which I really didn’t enjoy), was less money per ounce.  But, not every cheap body wash worked for me.  As a frugal girl who showers quickly, my body wash has to work well when I shave my legs too, because I am not going to spend time or additional money on shaving cream!

Here’s how this exact combination of bar soap and recipe resulted:

  • The texture was a little bit slippery and kind of mucus-like.  This made it a bit challenging to use and I probably wasted more than I normally do with a more lotion-like body wash. (-)
  • The lather wasn’t too great for shaving.  I read here that extra ingredients are added to all soaps to create more lather, and the body wash formulas have more than the bars.  Once you dilute the bars by melting them in the water, you’ve pretty much killed your lather. (-)
  • Even without the super-sudsy lather, I didn’t get any razor burn–maybe because of the protective properties of the glycerin?? (+)
  • It smells really good!! (+)
  • It is very cost effective, even using extra because of the lather and dropping some down the drain! (+)

Cost breakdown:

  • 4 bars of Softsoap brand “coconut scrub” $2.97; only used 2 for a 1 gallon batch=$1.49
  • 6 oz bottle of glycerin $3.88; only used 2 Tbl (1 oz)=$0.65
  • Total=$2.14 per gallon or $0.016 per oz

Compared to:

  • 18 oz bottle of Softsoap brand body wash (any scent at WalMart)=$3.48 or $0.193 per oz
  • 24 oz bottle of Equate Deep Moisture body wash (from WalMart; this is what is currently about to run out in our shower)=$3.47 or $0.145 per oz

Am I going to try again?  Yes.  I will not, however, use this exact combination of ingredients in these proportions.  There are several other recipes and tutorials out there.  I believe I will use one of them when I go to use the 2 remaining bars of soap and I will look in depth for reasons behind the mucus-like texture to see if I can avoid it next time.

So, how about a couple of questions?  (Please share your answers in the comment section.)

  • Do you consider yourself to be frugal?
  • Which method(s) of saving money do you use, or aspire to use? (ie. couponing; thrifting; stockpiling; buying in bulk; avoiding convenience products–food, hygiene, or cleaning; etc.)

I wrote this last Thursday with the intent of including it in the Thursday Two Question link-up, in a timely manner.  Better late than never…


2 thoughts on “Soapy Success…Sort of

  1. Hi Kate ~~ This is a nice two-question post. Thank you for peeking in on mine. I filled the page here so I’ll tell you more of me in reply.

    Your body wash sure sounded like it paid off really good for you! 🙂 One thing about the modern store bought items is that they don’t use any more of a person’s time than the time to shop. Minimize that and only shop once a week or so cuts the costs of transportation and time.

    But now you have to add the value of the soap the fun time you had just in the making. Do-it-yourself in is one of the cheapest hobbies going unless it requires expensive tools, pots and pans, etc.

    I am frugal. Also I like the fun in making things and knowing that I can make them good. Saving $$$ is great too! At one time I specialized in home made pizza, crusts too. I got so good that th kids and others all wanted to come over for my pizza. Finally I got tired of making them.


    • Mrs. Jim and I both do coupons. We use them at the grocery store and for eating at restaurants. I stockpile on sale items but Mrs. Jim complains that the cupboards are filling up to soon.

      We have been married for 39 years and have never purchased a new car. Most all of the time we could find a really nice 2, 3, or 4, or even older low mileage car owned by someone who took really good care of it. Like owned by the Little Old Lady (LOL).

      Both of us were in the schools which here in Texas don’t pay as good as industry. Now being retired we have very little Social Security because most teachers in Texas get none or very little because of the years we weren’t paying in. We call that living on a fixed income.


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