Foaming Hand Soap

After I started to make my own cleaners/soaps, I examined the ingredient list on the back of the bottle of my favorite foaming hand soap. Yep, you guessed it; all my hand soaps are from Bath & Body Works. There is a lot to learn about ingredients, and this is just the tip of the iceberg: Ingredients ending with "-eth" are the ones to really look out for, and this soap, like many others, contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), along with a host of other chemicals. The presence of these 
"-eth" chemicals indicates a process called ethoxylation took place. Ethoxylation produces a byproduct called 1.4 Dioxane. This is typically not listed on any labels because it is not considered an ingredient; it is a byproduct of the manufacturing process. Anyhow, the California EPA suspects 1.4 Dioxane to be a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant, and respiratory toxicant. Any product that lists ingredients with "-eth" have the potential to contain 1.4 Dioxane. 

(It is important to note that products with the USDA Organic seal undergo rigorous certification, and no product with this seal will contain "-eth" ingredients.)

Here's my recipe for foaming hand soap:
This recipe will refill one bottle. Upcycle an old foaming hand soap dispenser. (I peeled the labels off the old B&BW bottles and reused them!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap (any one you like)
  • 1-2 vitamin E capsules or 1/2 tsp oil or 1 tsp vegetable glycerin (if you use the unscented soap, you can add 1/2 tsp essential oil)
Here's the logistics:
One bottle of B&BW foaming hand soap costs about $3 (on sale). Making your own using this recipe costs $0.92/bottle. How did I keep the cost down? I buy in bulk:
1 gallon Dr. Bronner's = $0.47/Tbsp
50 vitamin E caps = $5.39 ($0.11/capsule, I used 2)
TOTAL = $0.92/bottle

Oh, Bath & Body Works, how I loved your soap. I used to buy a lot of these soaps, especially when the big sales hit, and paid about $3 a piece. I would go through probably about 18-20+ pumps a year, that's $54-60+/year. Once I started making my own, I no longer feel compelled to check the B&BW site on a weekly basis to see if it is on sale.

Per year savings:
B&BW Foaming hand soap = $60
Homemade foaming hand soap = $18.40

*Tip: Start saving your foaming hand soap bottles now! Once you've used up all the B&BW soaps, make one batch, refill all the bottles at once, and put the unused bottles in storage. You can grab a refill any time you need it, and put the empties in their place, refilling again when your homemade supply is low. I keep all my bathroom extras in dishpans in the linen closet to keep things tidy. (Also makes searching easier, and avoiding knocking down all the bottles to get to what you want.)


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