I scoured the Internet for soap recipes, tips and tricks. After lots of research, and combining of methods, here's the best way I've discovered to make liquid hand soap from one bar of soap!
For the soap:
1 bar of your favorite hand soap. From my research I found that types that have a lot of lotion, like Dove, won't work as well. Finding something with pure ingredients like Mrs. Meyer's will work best.
Glycerin. The glycerin helps keep your hand moisturized and helps the soap thicken. If you don't see it at your local health food store or drug store, ask your pharmacist to order it for you.
1 gallon of water. You will use 3/4 gallon of water to make the soap, plus the other 1/4 for thinning once the soap has thickened.
1 Tablespoon honey. The sugar in the honey will help the soap foam and it's a humectant a.k.a it'll make your skin soft.
1 cup hydrosol (floral water), or a 1/4 teaspoon pure essential oil. Smells extra yummy.
Jars, large Ziploc bags, or a 1 gallon jug.
A funnel and a spoon
1. Grate your bar of soap with a cheese grater, or the grater attachment for your food processor.
2. Put 3/4 gallon of water and your soap in a large pot. Turn the heat on to medium high. Add 2 Tablespoons of glycerin. (Optional: also add 1 Tablespoon of honey, 1 cup of hydrosol, or 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil.
3. Once your soap has dissolved, remove from heat. Let it cool overnight.
4. In the morning it should have set and thickened.
5. Break up the soap using a whisk before transferring it to a stand mixer, or in batches to a blender.
6. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 of your gallon of water until the soap reaches your desired thinness.
7. Let the soap settle, use a large spoon to scrape the foamy stuff off the top (discard the foam).
8. Using a measuring cup, transfer your soap into jars. Or, using a funnel, pour it into a soap pump.
9. You can store the remaining soap in a large Ziploc bag, big jars, or a 1 gallon container.
A few notes:
The soap consistency is a bit like egg whites. It can be a little globby, therefore, it can be a bit tricky to transfer. I highly recommend using a funnel. You may find it helpful to use a spoon to push the soap through the funnel and into your container.
I have yet to find a recipe for this method that does not come out a little slimy. Once in a dispenser the soap works great and smells lovely.
You can easily double this recipe. The day I made this soap, I actually made 3 gallons. It was really fun and easy.
I found that the white, scented bar worked better than the hard, lavender bar. Not sure why, but consider that when soap shopping. The white soap was definitely a little softer and easier to grate. The white soap came out a little better too. The food processor worked best on the slightly softer soap (basil) and not so great with the harder (in this case, lavender).
A stand mixer, or handheld mixer, will work best since a blender foams up the soap a lot. It will take longer to settle if you use a blender.
Some photos of the process:
Grated soap for our separate kinds. Basil (white) and Lavender (green).
Add the water and hydrosol (from when I helped my Dad and Stepmom distill lavender oil). Note: I only used the hydrosol in the lavender soap.
Adding the grated soap, turn heat up to medium high and stir.
Keep heating and stirring until the soap is totally dissolved. Remove from heat and let it sit overnight.
This is what our soap looked like once it rested overnight. It was a bit like jello.
Break the soap up with a whisk. Then whip it up in a stand mixer or blender adding water until you get the consistency you want. Let it settle, scrape the foamy bubbles off the top.
Use a measuring cup to fill your jars. You may end up wanting to skim the bubbles off the top again here too, especially if they are gifts. If it's just for home use, transfer it to a Ziploc or jug.
While our soap settled we made simple gift tags out of watercolor paper. Just cut out the desired shape and make a small "X" slit for your ribbon or twine.
Use a funnel, and a spoon if needed, to fill your dispenser. I also found adding a tiny splash of water helped make it easier to fill...
...or fill up your jars and attach little gift tags!
Danelle and I both gave these out as our Christmas gifts this year and everyone loved them. The best part, the total cost was about $45. That includes 36 jars ($8/12), glycerin ($6), 3 bars of soap ($5/bar).