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Returning to Old Ways – Homemade Soap


Years ago, I made all my own homemade soap, all my own laundry detergent, only used vinegar (and occasionally bleach) to clean my home. That coupled with my aversion to doctors would probably classify me as homeopathic. (My kids are vaccinated and we do go to the doctor when necessary, but in general, I will try a home remedy before that.)

And aside from recent allergies (last year Princess was tested) and a broken bone, it worked for us. Then life got busy and stressful and I stopped.

I’ve been buying the $8 bottles of Arm and Hammer laundry detergent, a variety of cleaning sprays and Irish Spring soap…all from Family Dollar. But even so, money out the door.

We have recently transitioned back to Vinegar diluted with water for most cleaning.  It is great for floors, as fabric softener, on mirrors/windows with newspaper and even for cleaning countertops.

Back to the Basics – Homemade Soap

Yesterday, Gymnast was cleaning the bathroom and dug into my old soap making supplies for a mask and rubber gloves. All my supplies are kept in a large plastic bin in the laundry room. A constant reminder of the way things used to be.

As he dug them out, he asked if I would start making soap again. When asked why, he said it feels better. So this morning, I added it to my to do list for this weekend.

I don’t make the pretty soap you see at festivals. I use hot press recipes in a crockpot I have just for soap, set it in a silicon bread mold and slice it with a miter saw and box. (These are NOT affiliate links, just there for educational purposes.)

The ingredients in my homemade soap are pretty basic: lye, shea butter and an oil. Sometimes I use coconut oil, sunflower and others. While I order the lye and shea butter, most everything else I get locally. (What I have now is what I had in Virginia. I haven’t made any soap since our tiny living days in the apartment.)

Extra Money

I already have EVERYTHING I need for a several batches of soap. And with the process being so easy and quick, I’ve decided to do a bulk soap making day and then offer bars to my friends. When I was making it regularly, they always wanted to buy it.

homemade soap

This isn’t my soap, but this is what my soap looks like when complete. No color, no additives, and bumpy on the edges.

I never made enough to do that. I just made it for my family. I started because of eczema and sensitive skin issues, and allergies and just wanting a simple way to clean my house without the harsh chemicals around my then toddlers and dogs.

This will not be a side hustle, but maybe give me some pocket change. And since I’m always home anyways while working, it won’t take much away from my other work. I’ll just have to set a timer to check the crockpot for each phase.

Not to mention, the chemical reactions can be fun to watch. I might even be ready to let the kids take on more of the process. Lye is extremely dangerous to work with, thus the assortment of rubber gloves, masks and safety goggles in my soap making bucket.

Do you have any homepathic tendencies? I’ve been an essential oil fan for 6-7 years now, cleaned with vinegar since the little kids were just a couple years old and also preferred natural remedies to prescriptions?


  • Reply Kate |

    We like to keep a mason jar under the kitchen sink and throw citrus peels in. It takes some of the vinegar smell out when we use it for cleaning.

    • Reply Hope |

      I’ve heard of this but never tried it. As much as Gymnast eats oranges, I should try it. I love your idea of keeping a jar under the sink for this. Easy and effective! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Emily N. |

    I make my own window cleaning fluid with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, water, and corn starch. It works better than the store bought stuff and is super cheap. I experimented with a few different homemade laundry detergent recipes, but they really didn’t get my clothes clean, so I’ve gone back to conventional ones.

    • Reply Hope |

      For now I’m going to stick with the $8 Arm & Hammer laundry detergent. I think cost wise, accounting for my time it just isn’t worth it.
      But I’ve had pretty good results with some I’ve made in the past.

  • Reply Kaye |

    I’m just curious here, if lye is extremely dangerous to work with then how can it be good for one’s skin?

    • Reply Hope |

      Good question. The reason lye is so dangerous is that it reacts quickly and violently with water, quickly reaching temperatures dangerous for human contact. But after that chemical process is complete, it becomes intrepid and a fantastic cleaning agent.

      Who would have thought to collect and process the ash from fires to make a cleaning agent…but our ancestors were quite inventive!

  • Reply Marezy-d |

    Homeopathy is the practice of using small doses of compounds that given in large doses induce similar symptoms. The principle is “like cures like”. So if you were sneezing you would cure that by giving a very tiny amount of pepper. Supposedly the more dilute it is, the better it works. A belief in minimizing medication and supporting natural healing is **not** homeopathy.

  • Reply Meghan |

    I wonder if this might be something that one of your kiddos could take on as part of their summer entrepreneurship. Making and packaging it and finding ways to sell it. There is usually a booth or two of homemade products like this at our local weekly farmers market, for example.

So, what do you think ?