Since I’m always on a never-ending quest to save money in our family budget, it will come as no surprise to any of you, that I’ve found another way to make a daily-use necessity, at home. What WILL surprise you, and to be honest, knocked my socks off, (It’s okay. I prefer to be barefoot, anyway.) is that it would be totally irresponsible, NOT to do it, now that I know what I know. 🙂 I’m just like you and understand it’s so convenient to grab those cute bottles of liquid or foaming handsoap and throw them into the cart as I shop. Our family needs one in all three bathrooms, at the kitchen sink, by the sink in the basement and one at the sink in the laundry room. I don’t know many families that don’t go through lots of handsoap. And if we’re honest, most of us buy liquid, or foam, because we don’t like the mess that inevitably comes with putting a bar at the back of the sink. The problem is that if we’re going through a bottle a month in each bathroom and the kitchen and two or three a year in the laundry room and the basement, it starts to add up. And when I look at the back of the soap bottles, the ingredient label makes me flash back to a horrifying vocabulary quiz in high school chemistry! “Oxychloroparaboliemysterygoopysoapystuff”and other indiscernible things that I am actually allowing my family to rub on their skin, multiple times a day! There has to be a better way.
The cost of the soap you buy doesn’t affect the chemically-ness of them. Expensive soaps seem to have the same cast of characters as the cheaper brands. And it’s pretty challenging to find any handsoap, body wash, shampoo, lotion or even toothpaste, that doesn’t include something called “triclosan”. Sadly, it can even be found in some clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys. It’s definitely worth checking your labels!
Triclosan is a pesticide added to these products to make them “antibacterial”. While I tend to be skeptical about the forthrightness of government agencies, especially the FDA; when even THEY feel like a product needs some closer scrutiny, I don’t want to knowingly purchase products that contain it. The FDA’s own report, updated in August 2012, says, “Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation.” WHOA! I would think this would be a huge red flag for a family that deals with PCOS, diabetes, thyroid problems or any other endocrine system related disorders. They also say, “Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.” and “At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.” (Read the full FDA report here.) To be fair, they have carefully sandwiched those statements in miles of verbiage saying that there are no conclusive studies about the effects on humans. Hello!!! Don’t YOU want the evidence to be conclusive – one way or the other – BEFORE you apply it to your family or allow them to ingest it in toothpaste or chew it off their toys? I sure do! The fact that the FDA is, currently, actively investigating the potential dangers is enough for me, at this point. I don’t need pesticide in my pj’s. And I sure don’t need it in my handsoap!
So, is there a healthy, effective alternative that doesn’t bust the budget? There is! And how would you feel if I told you, that you can trade in that chemical-laden, $2 or $3 (or more) bottle of handsoap for one you make at home in about 15 seconds, that is made with all-natural organic ingredients AND costs only $ .21? Really!!! It’s only $ .21! Yeah, I thought you might like that. 🙂 I’ll give you the recipe and then, I’ll show you the math. You don’t have to pay attention to the math. I’m just OCD, about that kind of stuff – lol.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is certified fair trade and made with all organic oils. I’ve never tried another brand, so I can’t recommend another. What I know is that they are so concerned with purity, no chemicals and health at Dr. Bronner’s, that I don’t want to try another brand. Remember that list of chemical alphabet soup listed as ingredients on the store-bought soap? (See the label pictured above.) Here’s the ingredient list on my Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange Castile Soap: Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Orange Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Lime Oil, Citric Acid, and Tocopherol. When I read the list, there were two ingredients I didn’t immediately know, so I looked them up – potassium hydroxide and tocopherol.
- Potassium hydroxide is potash or lye and none is left after oils are saponified into soap and glycerin. What is saponify? 🙂 I wanted to know, too. According to Merriam Webster, to saponify is to convert (as fat) into soap. It refers to the chemical reaction that happens when vegetable oil is mixed with an alkali (like lye or potash). None of the alkali remains when the soap is done.
- The second ingredient I questioned was tocopherol. Tocopherol, a fat-soluble vitamin (Vitamin E), is a naturally occurring antioxidant which can be isolated from vegetable oil. (Source: CosmeticsInfo.org)
Phew! Not only can I now say I know what every ingredient in my soap is, I am confident that they are safe for my family. Take a look at that store label, again, and see if you can have the same confidence. I’m so excited to have found this inexpensive and healthy product. I also use Castile to make some of my household cleaners and eliminate chemicals there, as well.
Okay, so now….the math. If you live in a larger city, that has a health food store, you can purchase Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap there and it may be even less than what I pay for it. Since that isn’t an option for me, I purchase it online. Currently, the least expensive place I have found is Netrition.com. They have flat rate shipping of $4.95, so I ordered three 32 ounce bottles, at one time. The total cost with shipping was $40.92.
$40.92 ÷ 3 = $13.64 per 32 oz bottle
There are 192 teaspoons or 64 Tablespoons in 32 fluid oz. I can’t help it…..I just need to know these things. 🙂
$13.64 ÷ 64 = .213125
21¢, people! Only 21¢ to make a bottle of foaming hand soap!
You can TOTALLY do this!
It’s sad to need to state this, but in the age we live in, I feel the need to categorically state that I am neither a scientist or a doctor. The statements made in this post are my own opinion and you need to weigh the evidence and determine the best options for your own family. I am excited to share with you the things that work well for my own family and point you to information you may not have been, previously, made aware of. Busy-at-Home readers are some of the smartest, most talented and frugal women (and men) I have had the privilege to converse with; and I love being able to bring you information that has benefited my own family and to learn about what has worked for yours. You all rock! Seriously. In the marketplace of ideas, we may not always come to the same conclusions, but we respect one another’s best intentions to do what we believe is best for our own individual families. I wanted you to have this information, and this recipe, so you had an alternative for your family, should you find what you read, to be useful. I hope it serves you, well. Hope your day is blessing-filled! ~Glenda