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.