If at first you don’t succeed

I’ve been getting a bit introspective of late. It’s time to lighten up.

I have posted previously about my attempts to save the planet – well, doing a bit of litter picking around the place where I live.

Recently, I have been obsessing about single use plastics and how I can reduce my household’s use of the same. First in my sights are the plastic dispensers of liquid soap which we have in our bathrooms. Got to go!

Easy enough, I thought, just buy bar soap in future. That’s what my parents used, back in the day, and they were always clean. Off I went to purchase a selection of sweet smelling soaps and soap dishes (plastic, I’m afraid, but not single use), which I duly positioned in the bathrooms.

All went reasonably well at first until I quickly realised that regular use of the soap resulted in a scummy pool of watery soap in the hollow of the soap dish with random soap splashes all around the sink. This necessitates more cleaning of sinks, which is not part of the plan. Additionally, after time, black lines opened up in the soap, which looked very uninviting. Then I read that bar soap harbours bacteria. Yuk and thrice yuk!

I know, I thought. I will see how to make my own soap. I quickly realised this was a non-starter due to difficult process and need for chemicals. I would probably blow us all up.

How about making bar soap into liquid soap? I googled and sure enough this appeared to be reasonably straightforward and there are plenty of recipes to be found on the internet. Measurements and advice varied from recipe to recipe, but I was confident I could make a go of it.

Nothing difficult or expensive is required in terms of equipment – a grater, plastic bowl and pan, all bought new as I don’t want soap-flavoured stews and cakes. Additionally, I bought a glass tight-seal jar and cleaned up some old jam jars. I have some saved, empty plastic soap dispensers to re-use as well.

On y va, as the French say, though I doubt French ladies would spend an afternoon grating soap, but I may be wrong about that. I’m sure they would look far more chic than I did.

Reader, I  can tell you it was time consuming, I lost some skin on the grater but I finished up with rose and geranium scented soap confetti, to which I added a quantity of boiling water, as directed. The consistency looked disgusting, so I added a bit more water here and a little more soap confetti there, then dribbled in some glycerin, not really understanding why I was doing that. I boiled and stirred but the mass looked worse and worse. Eventually, I just left it, convinced it would settle into a smooth and fragrant concoction of delicate scented liquid soap.

So here is what I finished up with.

Frankly it looks and feels like something an alien would excrete. It has a gloopy, mucous-like consistency and slithers off the fingers. My partner refuses to use it. With my lovely mum’s old adage of, “Waste not, want not”, ringing in my ears, I feel obliged to chase the soap slop around the jars in order to wash my hands, rather than tip the stuff down the plughole. It worries me that if I do, I’ll block the drainage system in south-east England.

Today I bought more bars of soap, as I hate to fall at the first fence or soap dish. What I would like to know is, can anyone help me with any tips? I think I need to grate the soap more finely, add more water and refrain from too much boiling and stirring. As for the glycerin, what’s the point?