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Angelarae Knits: March 2012

Angelarae Knits

...and Crochets

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Location: Raleigh, NC, United States

Hello! Welcome to my Blog! I live and enjoy the fibery crafts here, in Raleigh, NC with my husband and 5 children! I love to share patterns, tips, and recipes along with my spinning from time to time. I hope you'll enjoy your time here and stick around a bit!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap Pictorial

I saw this on Pinterest and had to try it...homemade liquid hand soap.  The recipes I saw for this DIY project all recommended that you use your favorite bar soap to make this recipe, doesn't matter which one.  I always favor natural soaps, if I have the extra cash to purchase them.  So, my choice was a toss-up between Whole Foods 'One With Nature' bars or Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Geranium Bar.  Since Mrs. Meyer's comes in an 8 oz bar, I decided to try that one, though I wasn't sure I was going to be able to find it in Raleigh.  I usually buy the liquid hand soap.  But, thanks to this recipe, I shouldn't be doing too much of that anymore!

Score! I found all varieties at Lowe's Foods...look here if you live in North or South Carolina!
As you can see, the price is $5.59 per bar, my cost, so far. Next, I got my hands on the other ingredients I need: 1 bottle of liquid glycerin and a gallon of water. The glycerin cost $5.49 and the water is filtered from my home.  I'll break down the savings later on in this pictorial.

Here's the recipe. You will need:
1 Gallon Water (Spring water or distilled water are probably best) You will also use the empty container to hold your liquid hand soap.
1 Bar Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Soap in your favorite fragrance.
2 T liquid glycerin - I purchased mine at the drug store in the first aid section
Large stainless steel or enamel pot with lid
spoon for stirring
cheese grater

If you don't have a funnel, try this:

Yup, that'll work!

A natural by-product of soap production, glycerin is often extracted from commercial soaps to be used in lotions, cosmetics and other beauty products. That is why commercial soaps can be drying to the skin...the glycerin has been removed.  Glycerin is extremely beneficial as it helps the skin maintain a natural water balance.  I could not tell, by reading the ingredients on this soap, whether or not the glycerin had been extracted or not, so adding some is a good idea.  Mrs. Meyers is a castile soap, which means it is an olive oil base soap.  The essential oils used for this fragrance are geranium, rose and clove.  It does smell wonderful, but if you have allergies to any of these, I recommend using something else like the One With Nature soaps mentioned above.  That being said, on to the steps for making your own gallon of soap.

*A word about additives.  I did not add anything else to my soap except the basic 3 ingredients. To my way of thinking, there are several essential oils in the bar, and I was really looking for a basic soap.  However, if you are feeling adventurous, you could add any of the following:
Aloe Vera Gel: get as close to 100% as possible. I would not add the actual aloe leaf as I can not be sure that it would not degrade over time, and this much soap won't be used up in a week. Also, add aloe after the soap mixture has cooled, just before you pour it into the gallon jug. Mix well with your hand mixer.
Vitamin E:  You can snip a gel cap or two and squeeze the vitamin E liquid into the soap mixture but wait until after the soap cools a bit, but is still a liquid.  Be careful with this one, though. Vitamin E can be a skin irritant to some. Test a small place on your arm before adding it.
Cocoa Butter: Melt down about 1 Tablespoon over low heat and pour it in while the soap mixture is warm, but not hot.  Stir well and allow mixture to sit the full 12 hours.

Here we go!

Start by grating your soap, all of it.  I recommend wearing latex gloves while grating with a hand grater. It's hard to scrape you knuckles when you are wearing these!

Next, heat the gallon of water, but do not boil. When it starts to steam, it's ready to add the soap and glycerin. Turn off heat and stir in all of the grated soap and glycerin.

At this point, stir this mixture until you are certain every bit of the soap flakes have dissolved.  Put a lid on the pot, and let it sit for at least the next 12 hours.
When you remove the lid, it should look like this.....mine smells wonderful!

This is pretty much a solid on top with some liquid underneath, but when I mixed it with my hand mixer..

It still came out a little thick, but much more like liquid soap.  Add a little extra water until your soap is the consistency you like. Unless you want to add some other ingredients, like vitamin E or Aloe, you are ready to pour this into the gallon jug. I used my recycled funnel and a soup ladle to spoon mine into the jug.

I did end up with about a quart more than the full gallon, I am guessing, because I added a little extra water and introduced air with the mixer.  If this happens, no biggie...more soap. Find another container for the rest.

Now let's break down the numbers to see what our savings are.  
Glycerin - one 6oz bottle - $5.49
I used 2 T, about 1 oz. , so $5.49 divided by 6 equals $0.92
Soap - full bar Mrs. Meyers $5.59
Water - no cost/ filtered tap water

Total cost: $6.51 (+ tax)

Mrs Meyer's Liquid Hand Soap comes in a 12.5 ounce bottle. The cost for the one you see above was $3.99.
There are 128 fluid ounces per gallon, therefore, I should be able to fill this Mrs. Meyers bottle at least 10 times with this gallon of homemade soap.

10 Mrs Meyers Liquid Hand Soaps - $39.90
10 refills of homemade soap - $6.51

That's a savings of $33.39

Wow.  I love saving money! Hopefully, this gallon will last me through the summer, our dirtiest month!  I hope this works as well for you as it has for me. 
As always, feel free to post questions in the comments, or email me.  

**Update: My soap came out a little too thick to pour reasonably, so I did add water until it was the consistency I wanted. The soap still works really well, so don't hesitate to add water if you need to.:0)

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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sunshine On A Stem

On this gray, rainy day,  I wanted to share a little sunshine from my garden....

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Friday, March 02, 2012


For my Pinterest challenge this week, I decided to give the homemade laundry detergent recipe a try.  There are several versions floating around the internet, some with or without varying amounts of water, but they all have the same basic ingredients: Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels Naptha Laundry Soap. I found all of these on the same shelf in the laundry section at Wal Mart.

Begin by grating 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha into a pot with 6 Cups water. Heat and stir until soap is melted.  Then add 1/2 Cup Borax and 1/2 cup washing soda and stir until dissolved. Some of the recipes call for up to 1 cup of each of these, according to whether or not you want a more heavy duty detergent. Use whatever you feel is best.  Pour 4 cups hot water into a large bucket. I used an old kitty litter container.
Then, stir in the melted soaps and stir.  Next add one gallon of water plus another 6 cups.  You now have 2 gallons of mixture.  Stir the mixture, replace the lid and let this sit for a few hours. Mine turned to a watery, stringy gel within a couple hours, just as it is supposed to be.  


I washed a load of Jeans and towels with this mixture and it cleaned very well.  I am happy with it. Now, when I crunch the numbers, I'm more pleased.  I'll detail my costs here. 
I should note that I used this website's weight/per cup of the dry ingredients. My numbers are assuming her weight of 4.2 oz for 1/2 cup of washing soda is correct. 
My cost for each item is as follows:
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz box) $3.24 so .06 cents/oz and .25 cents/half cup
Mule Team Borax (76oz)  $5.95 or .08 cents/oz and .34 cents/half cup
Fels Naptha Soap (5.5oz Bar)  $1.99 divided into 3rds, .66 cents

I am not adding cost for water or the bucket.  Therefore the total cost of ingredients for one batch comes out to $1.25. Each batch makes 2 gallons.  16 cups to one gallon X 2 is 32 cups. Since each large load uses 1/2 cup of the mixture, that means each batch does 64 loads of laundry.  So now, if I divide $1.25 by 64 loads, that comes to .02 cents per load of laundry.  Pretty big savings, and I have enough ingredients to make 2 more batches before I have to buy more Fels Naptha. 

I have an empty liquid detergent bottle I plan to fill with my homemade gel to make dosing easier.  

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