Though I usually make my own foaming hand soap concentrates from all-natural ingredients, every once in a while I still love to splurge on special occasions and buy a favorite fragrance or two from Bath & Body Works (especially around the holidays). But the penny-pincher in me cringes at paying so much for a little bottle that the family will most likely burn through in a week or less.
I have also found that since we have switched to mostly natural products, I have become more sensitive to manufactured fragrances- what used to smell perfectly scented now smells overpowering, and a little bit now goes a very long way. Thus, my sensitive sniffer together with my love for stretching our budget brought me to a fun solution- we now extend each bottle to make a gallon of foaming soap concentrate! It’s quick and easy and the kids love to help me mix and measure!
You will need:
- a bottle of your favorite foaming hand soap
- a good, natural, hand-friendly liquid dish soap, unscented or with a scent that compliments that of your foaming hand soap
- a few drops of food coloring (only if you want to try to replicate the color of the original foaming soap liquid)
- a quart or gallon-sized container
To maximize savings, I make sure to purchase my favorite scented foaming hand soaps when they go on sale, and I try to combine a coupon too, whenever possible. If I’m careful, I can usually save 50% off the retail price on foaming hand soaps. (As of the time I write this, Bath and Body Works currently has a sale on select soaps and Christmas scents: $3.50 a piece!).
I also wait for liquid dish soap to go on sale as well. My favorite brand to use for this project is Seventh Generation. I also make sure to combine a coupon when buying Seventh Generation as well whenever possible. (If you’d like to try Seventh Generation dish soap for free, use this link to receive a $10 credit plus a free household item and free shipping with your first order at ePantry!!!) Seventh Generation has a Free and Clear variety which is perfect if you want to preserve the exact scent of your foaming hand soap. However, I have found that even the scented liquid dish soaps from Seventh Generation work well and do not seem to clash with the foaming hand soap scents I have used thus far. I have successfully used their Lavender, Clementine and Citrus Ginger varieties together with Bath and Body Works’ Island Margarita and Meyer Lemon hand soaps, and they all smell wonderful together. I can usually purchase Seventh Generation liquid dish soap for $0.49-$0.99 when combining a good sale with coupons. To give you a cost breakdown, I purchased my last bottle of foaming hand soap from Bath and Body Works for $3.00 and my last bottle of liquid dish soap for $0.49. I used $0.16 worth of dish soap and the whole bottle of foaming hand soap, which yielded an entire gallon of foaming hand soap concentrate for only $3.16! Not bad, considering that Bath and Body Works foaming hand soaps usually run around $6.50 for an 8.75 ounce bottle! To purchase a gallon of soap directly from the company would cost $95.09 ($102.69 including 8% sales tax). That means you can make $102.69 worth of foaming hand soap for only $3.16! That’s a savings of $99.53!!! Not bad!!!
For every quart of finished solution, you will need:
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) foaming hand soap
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) hand-friendly liquid dish soap
- 2 drops blue food coloring
- 3 drops yellow food coloring
The bottle of foaming hand soap that I most recently extended was Bath & Body Works’ Island Margarita hand soap.
In this particular batch, I used Seventh Generation Lavender liquid dish soap. I found that the Lavender scent smelled great combined with the Island Margarita foaming hand soap.
I made a gallon of concentrate, but divided it between 4 quart jars for ease of handling. I combined 4 tablespoons of Island Margarita foaming hand soap together with 4 tablespoons Seventh Generation Lavender liquid dish soap in each quart jar. The kids love to see the layers as the dish soap sinks to the bottom (makes a good lesson on density!).
After combining the two soaps, I very carefully filled each quart jar to the top with water. At this point, it is important to tilt the jar sideways and run a steady, gentle stream of water down the inside wall to minimize the formation of bubbles. Otherwise, you will end up with two inches of water and the rest of the jar brimming with bubbles! After filling each jar with water, I added two drops of blue and three drops of yellow food coloring.
I usually prefer to leave the coloring out of my solution, but I colored one here for you so that you can see the difference made by the food coloring.
And here is the finished product- a full foaming hand soap container with many, many more refills to come! All for $3.16, with a savings of $99.53!
This solution yields a soap that is nicely scented and not overwhelming, and a foam that is thick enough to hold its form. You may want a foam that is even thicker, and if that is the case, I suggest adding an additional ounce (2 tablespoons) of liquid dish soap to each quart of solution. This increases the concentration of the dish soap by an additional 50%.
Enjoy extending your soaps and saving quite a bundle! With just a bottle or two of Bath and Body Works concentrated foaming hand soaps and a bottle of Seventh Generation liquid dish soap, you’ll finish with enough foaming soap liquid on hand for months and months on end! Happy blending!!!