If you are on a mission to save money and use healthier products in your home, hear me out…
When I was little, my mom bought those cute liquid antibacterial hand soap containers, like the ones that had an aquarium theme. As time went on, we were going through a lot of hand soap, and my mom came to realize that antibacterial soap actually wasn’t a healthy choice. After investigating, she decided to use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap to make foaming liquid hand soap. Fast forward to a couple of years ago: My husband grew up using liquid hand soap, so that’s what he wanted used in our home. When he realized how expensive those little bottles were and how fast we were going through them, he agreed to the switch to foaming hand soap.
I did my own investigating, and found castile soap is far more natural than the chemical ingredients found in the popular brands sold at the store. Compare the castile soap ingredients with a leading brand's ingredients below:
Which would you rather be putting on your hands and your kids’ hands? Remember, skin is the body's largest organ and absorbs what you put on it.
In addition to being a healthier choice, the homemade castile foaming hand soap solution is also more economical. You can buy foaming hand soap at the store and bulk refill containers at the store. These are convenient, however, but you pay a price for it. I found I can save money making my own refill solution by taking concentrated soap and diluting it with water. See my note below about choosing a foaming hand soap dispenser, which you will need because regular soap pumps don’t produce foam.
I currently use Dr. Bronner's Baby Unscented Castile Soap, as I can use it for washing fruit and vegetables, too. (Finding products that are multipurpose is very important to me.) Purchased at my local Walmart, a 32 ounce bottle currently costs me $14.97. I can make a total of 128 ounces (one gallon) of foaming hand soap using that size bottle. This boils down to 11.6 cents per ounce of hand soap. Compare this with Dial, which at the time of this writing is 15.5 cents per ounce at Walmart. This may not sound like a huge difference, but it will save you about $5 per gallon of hand soap.
Making your own hand soap solution is very simple. The basic dilution for foaming castile hand soap is 1 part soap + 3 parts water for a total of four parts. I found it to be a hassle to measure out this ratio every time I had a dispenser that was empty, so I started using a bulk mixing method that saves me a ton of time. Here’s how:
1. Save a clean old bottle or jug that would work well as a refill bottle for your soap dispenser. (I chose an empty plastic water gallon from Meijer since it is pretty hefty. I do not want to have to make soap very often, so the large size is worth it to me.)
2. Calculate where the ¾ full mark would be on said bottle. (For a gallon-sized container, which consists of 128 ounces, I need 96 ounces of water. 128 x ¾ = 96)
3. Add the appropriate amount of water (distilled is best.) Use a permanent marker to make a line on the bottle to indicate how far to fill it with water so next time you won’t have to measure. (I added 12 cups of water to my gallon jug. 96 oz ÷ 8 oz / cup = 12 cups)
4. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with your castile soap of choice. (In my case, I needed to add 32 ounces. This is conveniently one bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.)
5. Gently shake the container to mix the soap solution.
This method of making and storing your own foaming hand soap is easy. Now, every time you go to make soap, all you have to do is fill your container with water to the marker line and add soap until the bottle is full. When a dispenser is empty, it is as simple as grabbing your premixed solution and filling.
A note about selecting a foaming soap dispenser:
I personally buy cheap pre-filled dispensers and replenish them with castile soap. I have found that more expensive pump bottles end up breaking just as fast, although they do look much nicer. You could look for prettier dispensers like the ones from Bath and Body Works.