Monday, May 13, 2013

DIY-land: The Wonders of a Foam Pump

My most recent lesson in DIY-ing... soap may not always thicken as the recipe says it should.

After trying for TWO days to get my homemade liquid soap to thicken, I finally had success today by simply putting it in a foam pump dispenser.

Two days ago, I set out to make a liquid soap from this easy recipe: grated bar of castile soap and heated water.  As you can see on the linked page, the recipe calls for two 5 oz bars of castile soap and 1 gallon of water.  Well, since my bars of soap were 4 ounces each and I didn't have a container to hold a gallon of soap once it was made, I winged it a bit.  I used one 4 ounce bar and 56 ounces of water.  (My empty old liquid soap container was 56 ounces, so why not?!)  This did NOT turn out as I hoped it would.


Beyond those adjustments, I followed the directions from the page I found to a tee:  heating the water, grating the soap, combining the grated soap and heated water, and letting it sit for 24 hours.  
Twenty-four hours later and my soap was still quite liquidy.  So, I grated about 1 more ounce of bar soap, reheated the liquid soap, and added the new soap gratings. 

Another 12 hours later and the soap was just barely thicker, so I added glycerin (1 Tbsp) although I knew my castile soap had glycerin in it.  (I got the idea for adding glycerin from here.)

Another 12 hours later... just barely thicker.

So I whipped it with my handmixer, as suggested on this page and this page.  Great foam on top.  Not really any thicker.  UGH!  By then, I was frustrated, but I refused to toss out the batch.  It still functioned as soap and cleaned my hands properly, but it wasn't much thicker than water, and I knew my toddler would say "momma, it's water" just as he did the first time I tried the soap and it ended up quite liquidy.

So, then I googled "what to add to liquid soap to thicken it?" and found this page that suggested that using a foam dispenser would dispense the soap in a better, less liquidy way and voila!  Problem solved!

Thank goodness I had a foaming hand sanitizer bottle that was nearly empty; I was almost out the door to go buy a foam dispenser until I remembered that bottle.

So, woohoo!  I don't have to go out of my way to thicken my handsoap; however, I'll still keep tweaking my recipe and methods to get the soap the consistency I want it without fighting with the soap and getting frustrated because it isn't doing what I want it to do for two whole days.

So, there's my recent lesson in DIY-land.  Over these few days, I've learned that the projects won't always turn out how you want them, but the end result is worth it.

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