Friday, September 18, 2015

Liquid Castile Soap

I have soap-making on my agenda this fall (and even a castile -vegetable- soap) but this day I spotted my almost-empty bottle of Dr. Bronners, and decided it was a good day for making potions.

I knew I had a bar or two of Kirk's castile soap, and I knew that was pretty much all it took to make two quarts of liquid soap.

Liquid Castile Soap:

  • 8 cups boiling water (distilled, though I used tap)
  • a 5oz. bar castile soap (I used Kirk's--cost is about $1.60.)
  • essential oils, for fragrance and added cleaning power (optional)

Kitchen Cleaner Concentrate:
  • 3 cups liquid castile soap
  • 4 Tb Borax
  • 1 cup lemon juice (or you could use vinegar, if you absolutely insist. I do not enjoy the smell of vinegar.)

  • liquid castile soap
  • bit of extra glycerin, if you like.

I use liquid soap for two things; the three handsoap foaming pumps (my family loves and prefers these pumps), and my wonderful, favorite, magical kitchen spray.

Though I've been making my household cleaners for almost ten years now, I only started making bottles of concentrate maybe a year or two ago.
Eric often keeps our kitchen clean for us, and I'd find the kitchen spray bottle empty, with him no clue of what to do.
And while I love making my cleaners and scrubs, it does take at least a minute or two, and it's nice to have a just-add-water concentrate ready!

So.  I got to grating soap.  I got out the coconut oil, in case I found one bar of soap to be not substantial enough--thought maybe I'd use it for a thickening, creaming agent. (Taken out and on hand, but not used.)

I set 8 cups of water to boiling, and when it did, I put in those lovely soap flakes.

The soap melted quickly, and I turned off the heat.

Stirred and cooled to room temperature, I then added essential oils--grapefruit, lemon, and orange.

I wanted to have my kitchen concentrate in a 32 oz Doc's bottle, so I planned accordingly.

I put two cups of my now-liquid soap in a small pot on the stove, and added to it four tablespoons of borax.  I heated the soap only long enough for the borax to dissolve.  (Watch it carefully, you don't want to cook and waste your essential oils.)

I poured this into a bowl, and to it added a cup of lemon juice, and another cup of the liquid soap, bringing my amount to a quart.

I stirred and stirred, then poured it into my bottle.

'Tis done!

In making the handsoap, I added a couple of tablespoons of glycerin.  There is glycerin naturally occurring in vegetable-based soaps, but I wash my hands very often, and the glycerin makes a big difference in my skin's moisture in the wintertime.  (And I suggest that if you love a creamy soap, and have hands that crack in the winter, add a teaspoon or so of glycerin to your pump.... it's luxurious.)

For the handsoap, just add a bit of soap to your bottle, then fill it up with water. The ratio I use is about 1:6.  (Use less, if you find your soap very thick.)

This 32 ounces of kitchen cleaner will last us quite a while... we'll use about 1/3 of a cup in a 26 ounce spray bottle.  So that's a dozen spray bottles.... all ready for cupboards, walls, countertops, the kitchen table, and best of all, it easily cleans the refrigerator and the stove top.  It cleans marvelously well--cuts grease, no residue (due to the borax and lemon), and it smells good and feels good.
I also use it in our bathrooms, along with a thyme disinfectant spray (water, alcohol, thyme oil).

The soaps will thicken over a few days (castile soaps contain coconut oil), and as they have no harsh chemicals in them to preserve the texture, you'll need to take it out and shake it when you fill up your next bottle. 

But it's easily done, and I am certain you'll be quite satisfied with it.

And there we are.  About $40 worth of feel-good soap for around $1.50, and things I had (and always have) in the house.

That'll do.  ♥


  1. I love it! The citrus essential oil combination sounds divine. And my hands do dry and crack in the wintertime. I never like to use hand lotion, because I'm always working on a project and don't want to stain the fabric. So I will definitely start adding a little glycerin to hand soap refills. Thanks!

    1. Hi Aunt Kathy. It helps soooo much! xoxo

  2. Hi Stephanie, thank you for this post, I am excited to try these potions.
    Do you use bottled lemon juice or fresh, hand squeezed? And does it makes a difference either way?

    1. Hi Emily!
      I use the bottled kind.... I always have ReaLemon in the fridge!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!