About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Liquid soap for cheats

It is possible to make liquid soap from scratch, using potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide, and I intend to try it someday. In the meantime, we've run out of shower gel and I have no potassium hydroxide. It's pretty easy to make solid soap into liquid; just grate it into hot water and stir.

Soap in hot water

You can stop there if you like, or you can add glycerine if you feel like it, and anything else that seems appropriate. For the first attempt, I added a very small amount of glycerine, because that was all I had, and a bit of shampoo, which turned it pink and scented it surprisingly strongly. This shower gel was rather drying on the skin, probably also due to the shampoo. That one went into a handwash bottle and a second batch attempted. This time I just added glycerine, but quite a lot of it (having bought some more in the meantime*) - probably about one fifth of the total quantity.

This soap-in-water is most peculiar stuff. After it's cooled it remains the consistency of water for some time. It's only about 24 hours later that it becomes a gel.

Yes, this picture is supposed to be this way round. I'm showing you the jelly-nature of the shower gel.

This one is much less drying, though I did get complaints of 'tackiness' on the skin. Maybe not quite so much glycerine next time.


*Glycerine is sold in Boots as budget cough medicine, at £1.69 for 200ml. It is also sold in supermarket home baking sections, from 65p for 38ml, which is twice the price and much more packaging.


  1. Very inspiring! I've been making soap (on and off) for a few years but never tried shower gel. I think I will now, though!

  2. Do try - it's much easier than you'd expect! If you're using home-made soap it already has glycerine in naturally (as you probably know) so it should be quite moisturising even without added glycerine.


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