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Using Liquid Castile Soap as Hand Wash

using castile soap as hand soapIf you’re familiar with our article about using liquid castile soap as body wash, you might remember how much we raved about all of the skin-loving benefits that can be obtained from using our probiotic oil-based soap.

However, you may also remember our many warnings about never keeping liquid castile soap in a pressurized or pump-style soap dispenser. This is because the thin viscosity of the soap tends to clog these types of nozzles as it dries. This clog then often results in pressurized liquid soap shooting out from around the clog in unpredictable directions. When combined with the highly-concentrated nature of liquid castile soap, this can cause injuries and burning pain, especially to the eye area.

Liquid Castile makes a wonderful cleanser for your skin. However, keeping it in a bottle or jar where it can be poured out instead of pumped just becomes cumbersome, especially with a product used as frequently as hand soap. When we found ourselves reaching for our old commercial hand soaps out of impatience, we knew we had to come up with something more manageable for daily use.

Well, good news for everyone – we have found a solution to this common problem! When liquid castile soap is combined with an all-natural thickener like saltwater, borax, or vegetable glycerine, it will more closely mimic the viscosity of commercial hand soaps! Consequently, after being combined with the thickener your liquid castile soap will not clog as readily. Plus, it won’t shoot out from around the blockage if your dispenser does become clogged, decreasing the possibility of a soap-shooting-related injury.

It’s finally here! 

Keep reading for our long-awaited liquid Castile hand soap recipe that is safe for all hand-soap dispensers, including pressurized or pump styles!

How To Use Liquid Castile Soap as Hand Soap

Preparation: Gather Your Materials

Choose your container

  • This recipe is perfect for use in a standard pump-style hand soap dispenser. But, feel free to choose whatever kind of container or dispenser suits your needs and decor best.
  • This recipe is likely to work in “foaming” style dispensers, just make sure not to over-thicken your liquid soap. A thinner viscosity is best for foaming dispensers.

⅔ cup of distilled water

  • This recipe makes one cup – 8 ounces – of hand soap but is easily scaled up as needed to fill your container(s) of choice. We usually scale up the recipe to make a large batch and store the remaining hand soap mix in a gallon jug for easy refills.
  • Adjust the amounts of water and soap using a 2:1 ratio of distilled water to liquid castile soap.
  • Since you will likely keep your hand soap mixture for more than a few days, make sure to use filtered or distilled water to reduce the possibility of contaminants spoiling your soap.

⅓ cup of liquid castile soap

  • Adjust this amount as needed using a 2:1 ratio of distilled water to liquid castile soap.
  • You can choose whatever scent of liquid Castile you prefer, or add your own essential oils to create a customized scent. Just keep in mind that some scents or essential oils can require slightly more thickening additives to achieve the desired viscosity.

Choose one of the following ingredients to thicken your soap mix:

  • Make and set aside a small batch of simple saltwater: One tablespoon of plain table salt mixed into a ¼ cup of distilled water works well for small batches. Note that you likely will not use all of the saltwater for smaller batches.
  • If making a large (gallon) batch of hand soap, we dissolve 2 oz. of salt into 4 oz. of distilled water, then add the full 4 oz. of saltwater to the gallon of prepared hand soap in Step 3.
  • Using the same ratio as for saltwater, prepare a small batch of borax water: One tablespoon of borax dissolved into ¼ cup distilled water. Note that you likely will not use all of the borax water for smaller batches.
  • For one gallon of hand soap, dissolve 2 oz. of borax into 4 oz. of water, then add all 4 oz. of borax water to your gallon of prepared hand soap in Step 3.
  • Using borax will cause your soap to turn a pearly white color. We think this is beautiful. However, if you prefer translucent soap, skip the borax and choose saltwater or glycerine to thicken your soap instead.
  • If using vegetable glycerine, in Step 3 you will add one teaspoon of glycerine per cup of prepared hand soap.
  • For one gallon of prepared hand soap, in Step 3 you will likely need to add around 2.5 – 3 oz. of glycerine, depending upon desired viscosity.
  • Glycerine does not need to be combined with water or prepared beforehand.
  • Glycerine is best for maintaining a “clear”-looking soap. It will not make your soap cloudy, and it adds extra skin-softening benefits as well. This is the best choice if you want to make a hand soap especially for combating dry skin (it’s perfect for those winter months!).

Whisk, spatula, or mixing spoon.

  • Do not use an electric mixing device, unless you want a sudsy mess!

Optional items:

  • Mixing bowl with spout: Instead of mixing this recipe directly in the soap dispenser, we have found it is more convenient to mix the recipe in a separate mixing bowl. We recommend choosing a bowl with a handle and spout to make it easier to transfer the soap to your dispensing container.
    • Using a large mixing bowl also makes it easier to scale up this recipe. That way you can make a larger batch to fill as many soap dispensers as you need at once, or to save for future refills.
  • Essential oils as desired for scent. 
    • Remember to only use true “skin-safe” essential oils and never fragrance oils.
    • Use essential oils sparingly – a few drops per cup of prepared hand soap should be sufficient.
    • Avoid scents that could be toxic or harmful to children, pets, or those with compromised respiratory systems. See our article on Using Castile Soap as Pet Shampoo for more information on using essential oils safely.

Procedure: Combine Your Ingredients.

Step 1:

Pour ⅔ cup of distilled water into your mixing bowl.

Step 2:

Into your mixing bowl, add ⅓ cup of liquid castile soap, and any optional essential oils for scent.

Step 3:

Add a small amount of the thickening ingredient of your choice – saltwater, borax, or glycerine – to your mixing bowl.

Only add a teaspoon of thickener at first. Then using a whisk, spatula, or mixing spoon, gently make sure your ingredients are thoroughly combined. You should see your soap begin to thicken right away.

Keep adding more of your thickening ingredient in very small amounts, taking care not to over-thicken your soap. You want to stop when your soap is no longer watery but still retains a smooth, flowing viscosity.

Some scents of castile soap (or added essential oils) may require more of your thickening agent than others.

If you are planning to use your soap in a foaming dispenser, remember to keep it on the thinner side.

Note: It is important to add one of these thickening ingredients so that your hand soap will be thick enough to be used safely in a pump-style dispenser. If you do not want to add a thickener, do not use your soap in a pump-style or pressurized dispenser. It can still be used safely in a pour-style container.

Step 4:

Transfer your hand soap from the mixing bowl into your dispensers, or into a larger container for storage. As long as you use distilled water, your soap should be safe to store indefinitely.

Step 5:

Wash those hands!!

Note: This soap recipe is less likely to separate upon standing than our other Castile-based recipes, but if you notice the ingredients beginning to settle, gently turn your bottle upside-down a few times to recombine without creating too many suds.

Check out our brand new Liquid Castile Soap in the “Soap + Shampoo Bars” section of our Growing Organic Shop. This is the latest addition to our Lactosoapcillus line of all-natural probiotic and vegan soaps, and you can count on it to deliver all of the same skin-loving probiotic benefits that you have come to love. We are happy to offer four customer-favorite, all-natural scents of liquid castile soap, including “Frankincense, Tea Tree & Lavender” “Lavender”, “Patchouli”, and “Peppermint and Eucalyptus”, as well as an “Unscented” option.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback, as always please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Happy Washing!

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