One of my 5 goals for No Plastic July was making my own handwash.
Whilst I generally prefer bars of soap (cheaper and less packaging) we have two slightly awkward basins in the house which need to have soap by them but a bar won’t fit. A slim handwash dispenser fits perfectly and so I’ve been grudgingly buying handwash for 2 basins for a long time. I always try to get Ecover as I figure it is more environmentally friendly but I’m still chucking away plastic bottles no matter how much I pretend I’m paying for it with Ecover.
I ordered Dr Bronner’s soap from the Ethical Superstore and was delighted to see that it comes in a paper wrapper and the Ethical Superstore re-use shipping boxes and make their own packing material be recycling cardboard. There was a thin strip of plastic sellotape on the box but otherwise all packaging is plastic-free so far (that is a sneaky packet of disposable nappies you can see – we normally use cloth but we are temporarily doing disposables at night time to help clear up some bottom-related troubles).
The link recipe is for making a (US) gallon of handwash. Seriously, that is nearly 4 litres of handwash! I don’t need that much. So instead I started with 1 litre and just over half a bar of Dr Bronner (and to this I grated few tiny scraps of bar soap left from around the house – waste not want not!).
Also there are two recipes but I only tried the first. The second doesn’t have the cost savings and uses plastic since the handwash is already diluted so comes in a bottle. The first version is cheaper, plastic free and still really really easy!
1 litre water (I used tap water)
Essential oils (I used 30 drops of Bergamot (10 drops) and Lavender (20 drops))
1/2 bar Dr Bronner Baby Mild Unscented Soap (plus a few old scraps of bar soap from around the house!)
1. Grate the soap.
2. Bring some water to the boil, reduce the heat until it is no longer boiling and add the soap. Stir until the soap is dissolved. Turn off the heat.
3. Leave for 12-24 hours to get more solid.
4. Stir in essential oils of your choice (a little bit of plastic in the caps of the oils here).
5. Bottle (use a funnel you will not regret it).
So far it has been pretty easy and the results are really good. The Ecover Handwash bottles are very sturdy and easy to decant with a funnel. They are going to last through a lot of re-uses and I have a litre of handwash from half of one bar. That is going to last ages!
But importantly it is about £0.16 (I’m over-estimating here) for 100 ml of handwash. The cheapest handwash I can find at Sainsburys is £0.36 for 100 ml and Ecover (probably comparable in other ethical ways with a bar of Dr Bronner) is £1.35 for 100ml.
A good reminder that when you buy handwash you are paying mostly for packaging and water!
This is a massive win all round and I’ll definitely carry on doing this once Plastic Free July is over.
Now off to Lush to get back into solid shampoo bars!
Edited to add:
I totally forgot to add the other fantastic No Plastic Bloggers to my post so I’m correcting that now!
There are some other amazing bloggers, going even further than me and I’m going to get a lot of inspiration from them over this month.
Check out their links and cheerlead them to the finish line!