June 30, 2015 Leave a comment
This tip is a real winner: You can make your own foaming soap in about one minute by mixing just two ingredients. Foaming soap will save you a lot of money because you’ll need less soap to get clean. Refilling your foamer will save even more money and reduce the packaging you discard. You can use plant-based soap, which is better for the environment and probably better for your health than soap made from petroleum distillates and undisclosed chemicals, without breaking your budget. You can choose whatever scent you like!
I’m recommending two specific products (a foamer and a soap) that have worked really well for me for several years. However, if you already have a soap foamer and a plant-based liquid soap, try them together! I’ve used several brands of soap and never found one that didn’t work. You may need a higher ratio of soap to water if your soap is not as concentrated as Dr. Bronner’s. Some soaps settle to the bottom overnight; just shake to re-mix.
The first step is to get a soap foamer: a pump bottle that mixes air into diluted soap to eject a burst of suds. If you’re starting with an empty foamer, skip to the next paragraph. If you buy a foamer with soap in it, use up that soap before going on to the next step. I recommend method foaming hand wash (the brand name is not capitalized–drives me crazy!) because the foamer is quite durable and works well, it’s reasonably priced, and the soap in it is environmentally friendly and works just fine.
When your foamer is empty, rinse it out (run water through the nozzle, too, to prevent clogs) and then fill it about 5/6 full of tap water–you don’t have to measure, just eyeball it. Then fill it the rest of the way with liquid soap. My favorite is Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, which is made of natural, organic, fair-trade certified, GMO-free ingredients (fully listed on the label) and sold in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle. (Post-consumer means it’s plastic that good citizens put into recycling bins.) There’s an unscented version and 7 different scents made using pure essential oils. I like peppermint for sparkly clean feeling, but almond also smells absolutely delicious! If you’re particularly concerned about killing germs, try the tea tree variety–tea tree oil is antimicrobial and has a nice spicy fragrance.
It’s important to put in the water first, then the soap. If you put in the soap first, adding water will create suds so that you’ll have trouble screwing the top back on the foamer, and then when the bubbles pop, you’ll have less water in the mix than you intended.
A method foamer plus a quart of Dr. Bronner’s soap will cost about $22 (depending on where you buy) and provide about 32 foamers worth of soap. Buying 32 pump bottles of liquid hand soap, even if you buy the nastiest kind from the dollar store, will cost at least $32, so that’s a $10 savings and helping the environment!
Both method foaming hand wash and Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap are available from ePantry. Click here for a $10 discount (and, for a limited time, a free soy candle)! This is an affiliate link that will earn me a discount, too, at no cost to you. If you can’t get method or Dr. Bronner’s products in your local stores, or if you have trouble getting your shopping done in person, a household products subscription might be right for you.
Is tap water really clean enough? I’ve seen no evidence that anything grows in my diluted soap during the several weeks it may take us to use a bottleful. However, I live in Pittsburgh, which has some of the cleanest municipal water in the United States. If you know that your local water is contaminated–or if you find that your homemade foam soap begins to smell bad before you use it up–boil the water and let it cool before refilling the foamer. If you have extremely “hard” water, the excess minerals may clog the foamer; you could buy distilled water, which will slightly increase your costs, but you’ll probably still save money compared to buying ready-to-use soap.
If any part of your foamer accumulates hardened old soap or minerals from the water, dismantle it, soak in hot water, and scrub thoroughly before the next refilling. A good scrubbing also resolves most problems with the foamer clogging or sticking. When it really stops working, it’s time to replace it. The lower bottle part of method, and most other brands, is recyclable in any bin that accepts plastic beverage bottles.
If mildew forms under the nozzle of your foamer, unscrew the nozzle, rinse thoroughly with hot water, set it upside down in a small container, and pour hydrogen peroxide on it. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, until the peroxide stops foaming. Rinse again. This usually removes the mildew and keeps it from coming back for a while.
Mixing my own foaming soap works for me! Visit the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop for more great tips!