Toiletries are some of the most annoying things to buy. Not because I don’t love perusing the scents or intended benefits or that I don’t love treating myself the occasional totally unnecessary but fun to have makeup or lotion or whatever. It’s because it is all super expensive! All of it, even the stuff you HAVE to get, I’m talking about toothpaste, soap, and lady products here. And you just have to keep buying it it. In an effort to skimp some cash since I became a stay-at-home Mom one of the things I’ve tried to do is buy a lot of generic toiletry stuff, especially body wash. I’m a big fan of Dove but at somewhere between $5-7 a bottle it was one of the first generics I went for. I stopped using bar soap even though it is cheaper a long time ago because I hate cleaning the scummy mess it leaves in the shower and supposedly it’s a little easier on your pipes. Anyways, when I saw THIS PIN from Stacy at the The Brady Bunch to make body wash soap from bars of soap I knew I had to try it. I chose the specific Dove pin because that’s my brand of choice but I have seen it claimed with random types too. According to Stacy’s math it costs only a $1.72 for a bottle… super awesome!
The pin says to shave down the bars then add to water, heat until melted then cool. Pretty straightforward right? The ratio is a 4 oz bar of soap to 2 cups water. Stacy said it came out a bit more watery than the actual Dove bodywash so I tweaked mine to about 4 oz to 1.75 cups. I put all the water in a pot over med-low heat and started grating the sops right into the pot.
It took me 10 minutes to do 2 bars of soap using a straight grater. I had to reduce the heat a bit. Overall it took about 30 minutes of heating and stirring occasionally for the soap to look all melted and without clumps. I let it cool for quite a while but it still seemed warm so I let it sit overnight. By morning it was obviously ready to bottle. And that’s where I ran into a problem. Because I made it thicker I could not pour it into the bottle (empty generic soap bottle) and a funnel didn’t work either because of the thickness. I ended up making a giant mess scooping the soap into a ziploc the cutting the corner and using like a pastry bag. This worked well enough but I ended up with a very soapy situation!
Bottom line – do it! great money saver!
After using for a few days I can say it’s better than the generic and as good as the real thing. The only real difference I noticed is that my homemade soap has a stronger fragrance than the actual. I’m thrilled with the results and feel like I’m getting a little bit pampered in the shower but only spending a little over a dollar on a bottle! :) Compare the dollops yourself – bet you can’t guess which is the “real thing”!
The one on the left is the homemade.
A few tips if you’re going to try:
1. grate over a large bowl before starting to heat the water. Just grate all your soap first over a large bowl to keep the mess down. I ended up with soap shards all over my stove.
2. Turn on the heat after adding all your soap. It doesn’t take long to heat up and you won’t have to monitor the heat while trying to grate.
3. Once the soap is cooled enough that it’s not steaming etc but warm enough that it’s still more fluid, that is when to pour into your container. Or if you wait until completely cooled see if you can pour thicker soap into a large ziploc. Another set of hands to manage the bag while you pour/scoop is a good idea too.
Have fun! I’m sure that this would work for any soap but you’ll need to do some trial and error for the amount of water. I would think that the creamier the soap is the less water it needs but I’m just guessing. Buy a trial size or try just one bar at a time to get it right.