We switched to bar soap at all our sinks a few months back and it has been great!! I initially made the switch from liquid soap for several reasons: it was hard to find a liquid soap that didn’t have lots of yucky ingredients, the ones that didn’t have the yucky ingredients constantly clogged up our pumps, the pumps would empty so fast that I felt like I was constantly filling them up or being yelled at that we were out of soap, and I refused to buy liquid soap in disposable containers because I really try hard to reduce waste as much as possible. So I made the switch to bars. It felt a little old-fashioned, but I’m cool with that.
We bought these soap dishes for each sink, and they are AWESOME! The soap never sits in water and gets mushy because the dish is angled, allowing the water to run back into the sink. The dish is plastic so it doesn’t break if the kids knock it into the sink basin, yet it actually looks porcelain at a glance.
I started out buying bars of soap, but then I got the itch to make my own. Well, sort of anyway. I’m not talking about buying lye and whipping up my own batches from scratch. I’m just talking about melt and pour. And let me tell you, it’s soooo easy that the kids and I made our own Autumn-themed soap from start to finish in just about an hour!
Melt & Pour soaps are not as “natural” as some handmade soaps you can buy, but if you want to customize your bars yourself without actually making the soap from scratch, it’s a decent option in my opinion. I found the soaps at Bramble Berry to have pretty clean ingredient lists and when I entered each ingredient into the Skin Deep Cosmetics database, all the ingredients were rated “low hazard.” They do have a disclaimer that some ingredients are not disclosed by the manufacturer.
I couldn’t decide what kind of soap I wanted to use, so I bought the Melt and Pour Sampler Kit which comes with a full pound each of 7 of Bramble Berry’s different soap bases: clear, white, hemp, aloe, honey, shea, and goat milk.
Now, I have never in my life made soap, but it was really simple. Of course we did some things that worked out great and some that didn’t, but it was a fun learning experience for us all. I used this tutorial as a basic guide.
First, we selected a block of soap to use. We chose the clear melt and pour.
I used a knife to cut the block into smaller cubes. The kids thought the soap blocks felt funny!
We put the smaller blocks into a microwave safe container and covered with plastic wrap.
I microwaved for one minute and then stirred. I kept doing this until the entire thing was liquidy and without chunks. It only took two or three minutes, though I’m sure it depends on how powerful your microwave is. I tried to stir very gently so that air bubbles didn’t form in the soap.
We didn’t color or scent our soap because that’s part of the reason I don’t buy most commercial soaps anyway. I know it isn’t as fun, but having kids who still put their hands in their mouths often, I choose to err on the side of caution.
Next, we poured our melted soap into our pumpkin and leaves silicone muffin pan. The 1 lb. block of soap was the perfect amount to fill up all 6 muffin cups.
Then the kids helped me to sprinkle coffee grounds (saved from morning coffee making and dried) into the pumpkin molds and little pieces of cut-up rosemary into the leaf molds.
Of course there was a little cross-contamination since the kids were mostly in charge of this part, but it was fun!
Most of the additions either sank or floated and thus the ingredients aren’t very evenly dispersed in our soaps.
Next time perhaps I will try letting the soap cool just a bit before gently stirring the additions in to get better suspension before pouring into the molds. Overall, what we did worked okay though.
Why coffee grounds and rosemary?? Well…we added coffee grounds because DH likes “gritty” soap and because coffee can help take away smells on your hands, so it’s perfect for in the kitchen! We added rosemary because we have a rosemary plant handy and thought it would add to the leaf motive, while also adding a little bit of scent.
We popped the molds into the refrigerator once we were finished, and then an hour later, popped out our new Fall bar soaps! They looked perfect! It was easy to pop the soap out of the silicone and the soaps took the shape of the molds PERFECTLY, complete with little detail ridges and everything. The soaps are still a little frosty from being in the refrigerator in most of the photos…
I put a few of the soaps at our sinks and wrapped the remaining ones in plastic wrap so they won’t dry out too much before we use them.
I’m happy to report that the clean-up from making melt and pour soap bars is super easy because everything is already soapy! Most things I just threw into the dishwasher. 🙂
We will definitely be experimenting more with melt and pour soaps. I just love how we can personalize the soap in our house in about an hour’s time, it’s a fun science, craft, and art experience I can share with the kids, AND the kids actually LIKE to wash their hands with the soap they helped create! It’s definitely win-win-win!
I figure I can make about 6 bars of soap from each block in my sampler pack, or 42 bars total! After shipping, my order cost $33.55 so that works out to just under 80 cents per bar. The coffee grounds would have otherwise been trashed, and our rosemary plant grows more rosemary than we can use for cooking, so those additions were basically free. We have been using two of the leaf soap bars we made for almost 3 weeks now at our highest traffic sinks (the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen sink) and I’d estimate they probably have another 2-3 weeks or so of life left. At this rate, we can easily have custom soaps at all our sinks for a whole year with just this one order! And I can have at least some control over the ingredients used in the soaps. I can live with that. 🙂
Do you have any tips for us??
Disclosure: I am not affiliated with any of these companies or products in any way, and I purchased all of the products used in this post. Just sharing a fun activity we tried! 😉
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