Liquid soaps often have chemicals in them that aren’t considered good for the environment. The soap ingredients naturally tend to separate from the water ingredients over time, and the chemicals are what keeps them from doing that. Without those chemicals, you eventually get lots of heavy soap at the bottom that won’t come through the pump, and more watery stuff at the top which doesn’t have enough soap to get the job done.
Bar soap, of course, doesn’t need those chemicals. It’s just a soapy blob, and you add the water as you use it. But it’s messy, it’s slippery and it tends to collect hairs (we’ll say no more about that). So if you hate bar soap, but you want to avoid those chemicals in liquid soap, what can you do?
Transforming the bar
I used to make liquid soap by just sort of melting a bar in water, and continually pulling off the sludgy bits and putting them into a jar. I’d add just enough water to get it all moving like liquid, and then shake, shake, shake to keep it separated. The separation never lasted long, so I was always having to shake – pretty much with every use.
It turns out there are some better ways:
- Cut your bar soap into chunks
- Put the chunks into a saucepan and barely cover them with water
- Heat the mixture very slowly
- Once it’s melted, set it aside to cool.
- Once it’s cool, check the consistency – is it too thick? If so, add more water and melt slowly again If it’s too watery (unlikely), that’s okay – it’ll just be less concentrated, so you’ll have to use a bit more, that’s all.
You can also just grate the soap and put it in a blender or food processor, and adding water slowly until it liquifies to the desired consistency. This method and Method 1 are about equally difficult – it depends whether you’d rather cook or grate.
You can also grate the soap into a microwave safe bowl, add some water, and heat it in the microwave in 30 second intervals, checking the consistency after each interval. Add more water as needed, and heat more until you get the consistency you want.
If you want to add some ingredients, feel free. Check out my page on homemade soaps to get some ideas. What you add may affect the consistency, so your recipe may have to change a little. The trick is always just to add the water slowly and check periodically to make sure you’re not getting it too wet.