Soap—that seeming embodiment of cleanliness—is not so clean for the environment. The packaging and shipping of soap leaves a carbon footprint and there’s a lot of embodied energy consumed in its production. But you can make your own homemade organic soap with a simple soap mold, a base of clear glycerin, and whatever fragrance tickles your nose. The scent can be natural herbs from your garden or spices from your kitchen – you decide.
In the small number of cases, in rural areas when soaps get washed down the drain and end up in waterways, that’s where its an environmental impact. For instance, triclosan, a chemical found in antibacterial soaps, is toxic to algae.
Personally, I have never liked commercial soaps as most of these soaps leave my sensitive skin dry, itchy, or even red. But I am not the only one hurt by commercial soaps. Unfortunately, triclosan has been linked to allergies and other medical downsides.
So, I combined my love for the environment with my need for safer, healthier, and more effective products: I created my own soap.
I enjoyed making (and using!) the soap. I still get that sense of accomplishment and purpose with every completed project. Below, I have outlined my recipe for soap. The recipe is flexible; the only limit is your imagination (and maybe your wallet, as sometimes organic ingredients can be a bit pricey).
Basic Ingredients for Organic Soap:
- Soap base – solid, clear glycerin base
Mold of some sort – you can purchase plastic soap molds or use a plastic food container of your choice
The soap base is just that: a base for you to add whatever scents, oils, etc. that you want. I found this great recipe for marmalade soap on eAudrey.com.
- 2 3/4 cups of grated glycerin soap (your soap base)
Orange coloring or 2 tsp mace powder mixed with 4tbsp of veg. oil. The original recipe calls for orange coloring, but I mixed the coloring in my soap because of my sensitive skin. It doesn’t change the effectiveness of the soap.
- 1 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil
- A pinch of dried marigold, chamomile flowers, or dried orange zest
Melt your soap base on a double boiler over low heat. When the melting is almost completed, add in the coloring and turn off the heat. Stir in the orange essential oil, and then put your soap into molds. As the soap cools, mix in the flowers and dried orange zest with a toothpick.
Creating your own soap allows you to reduce your carbon footprint and your exposure to the dangerous chemical triclosan while being creative.