Fun & Frugal Foaming Hand Soap

This *barely* counts as a tutorial, since it is sooo easy you’ve pretty much got it from glancing at the pics, but I get enough comments on these countertop dwellers that I thought I’d show ’em to you, especially since I’m in the process of re-doing one of them to be more thematically appropriate for the upstairs bathroom.  I had been hesitating to post it since I’m not technically working on this bathroom for a while, but I just have to get over that.  If every tutorial I did tied in to the work I was doing in whatever room I was currently telling you about, you would probably never get any new tutorials.  I don’t just START a room like a bang from a gun, I collect stuff and formulate and work on little projects for a while, and then when I’m ready to tackle the space, I only have to work on big, hard things like wallpaper or finding the right dust ruffle.  (Oy.)

Space Soap

Space Soap

We have three bathrooms and a little boy in this place, so we go though quite a bit of hand soap.  It seems like a crazy lot.  I tried a couple of tutorials to make it myself by grating and melting down bar soap and adding some stuff like glycerin, but the issue I think with that is just that there are too many variables in the choices of bar soap.  All of my attempts failed miserably.  I made some of the weirdest, sweet-smelling goop you could *possibly* imagine.  We resorted to storing it in emptied kitty litter buckets and giving the kid chunks of it in his bath to play with.  Anyway.  I was seriously trying to do the frugal hand soap thing, and was being thwarted at my attempts.

Phineas & Ferb Foaming Soap Bottle

Phineas & Ferb Foaming Soap Bottle

One of my trips to the grocery– we’re usually Food City shoppers– I ended up grabbing a couple of dollar spot foaming hand soap dispensers, because the two of them were still cheaper than buying a refill to the regular pumps I had at home.  That’s sad, isn’t it?  When its cheaper to just start again, rather than buy a refill?

I put the citrus one (which had sort of an off-putting aftersmell) in the main bath, and the floral one in the downstairs bath, and on their own they lasted a surprisingly long time.  A couple of months, at least.  And I also discovered that kiddo is soooo much more likely to wash his hands with the foaming soap.  He likes that the soaping up part is done for him, and he loves slathering the foam all over his hands and carefully rinsing it all off.  BONUS.

When they started running low, I had a little bit of a problem with just buying another two pumps– even though we recycle, that is a wasteful act, as the pump parts themselves have to go in the trash.  Plus they’re kinda ugly.  I mean, the good aspects like having kids with cheaply cleaned hands drastically outweigh the negatives of the look, but still, I like pretty.  Soooo– lettin’ it ride on the ugly pumps by regularly buying newer ones seems like a really bad idea.

My Refills

My Refills

I started thinking in terms of dressing-up the current bottles I have, and just refilling them, but I found no ‘foaming soap’ at the grocery store.  This is because it is the bottle that is special, with the foaming mech in the pump, not really the soap.  (This is also why I can’t just decant the ‘foaming’ soap into a more appealing bottle.)  I experimented a little, and not only does this method work, it is SO CHEAP.  Ohmigod.  This is the new way of life for me when it comes to the liquid hand soap thing.  What I did:

*I bought uber-cheap, generic foaming soap pumps for $1 at the grocery store.  We used it all up over the course of six weeks or so.

*Once they were empty, I peeled the clear plastic labels off the front and back, took the pumps apart from the bottles, and submerged both parts in hot water for a bit to soften the glue on the outside of the bottle and clean the previous soap residue out of the bottles and pumps.

*At this point, the glue just rubbed off with a good washing, although I did scrub hard enough on a few places that I frosted the plastic a little on the spacey/ Phineas & Ferb bottle.  (If you look closely you can probably see it.) I would recommend patience for a better finished product.  And maybe a little Goo Gone if that glue is stubborn.

Soap Bottle For the Downstairs Bath

Soap Bottle For the Downstairs Bath

*Dry your bottle, and decorate with vinyl stickers, like the clear or metallic ones.  Mine were cheap and simply came from the craft store sticker isle.  Nothing fancy or hard-to-find, I promise.  We’ve had the space bottle stickered since well before Christmas, and they actually resisted me a little when I peeled them off to change the bottle to be more suited to my Phineas and Ferb decor.  Up until now, the decals on both our bottles are wearing like champs, with no real indication that they will be sliding off anytime soon.  I will give you this one little tip however, if you round a corner with a decal, you should put the turn at about the halfway point of the sticker, if that makes sense.  Little points wrapped around corners tend to not have enough adhesive to stay bent around with any longevity.

*Get a huge hand soap refill bottle, this is a Food City generic that is a knockoff of the Dial Gold.  This stuff has “Amber” written all over it.  Literally.  The giant bottle in my pic was only a couple of bucks, and it is missing one “serving” of foaming soap, so imagine how long that is going to last me– like, for.  Ever.

*Put a small amount (about a quarter of a cup) of the regular hand soap in the bottom of your soap dispenser.  Since I don’t *love* the scent of the Amber, at this point I add five drops of orange/ citrus oil in the bottle as well.  Something about these two actually combine very well together scent-wise, it doesn’t have the oddball aftersmell that the store-brand citrus had.  I rather love it.  (The other bottle is just a pink floral scent soap refill that I got at the dollar store, watered down the same way as the other, but minus the orange oil.)

Puttin' In the Ritz

Puttin’ In the Ritz

*If you want plastic floaty gew-gaws in yours, now is the time.  I put a few vending machine toys–  hollow plastic rocks, aliens, robots, tools and a tiny TV– in the bottom of our spacey/ P&F one, and some plastic daisies and butterflies in the one for our downstairs bath.  You could also use buttons, LEGOS, Barbie accessories, plastic gems, marbles, there are SO many options here.  (Just remember to keep it free of metal– you don’t want rust in there!)  The pump bottles have nice, big openings, I’m pretty sure that’s a standard feature due to the pump mech in the dispenser.  So you really have a wider range of options than with the regular soap bottles, and since some plastic floats– hollow stuff, those glow in the dark stars, my plastic daisies– and some of it sinks– the alien figures, most buttons– you get a more compelling bottle if you mix up your bits a little.

*Now top off the bottle with warm water, filling to about a half an inch below the opening.  The pump contraption takes up space in there and you don’t want any of that valuable soapy stuff seeping out.  Close it up, but don’t shake.  This will cause bubbles you don’t want to deal with, instead, just tip it to one side and then the other rather gently.  Like those weird old professional desk toys where the waves wash back and forth for you to watch.  (Does anyone still have those?  Just Michael Scott?)  It will combine within a couple of minutes, and it’s perfect foaming soap.  Watering it down doesn’t diminish the effectiveness at all, and it takes a loooong time to go through one of the larger refills this way.  And those refill bottles are completely recyclable, so zero guilt in that department!

I consider that to be an all-around WIN!  They don’t look terrible (I mean, they’re not gorgeous, I’m not fooling, but at least now they are fun and don’t stick out like a store-brand thumb.)

Agent P, Ready To Kill Evil Germs!

Agent P, Ready To Kill Evil Germs!

Lemme see ’em if you try this, I know there could be some reeeeally cute bottles of soap out there!  I’d also love to know if anyone tries different combos of cheap refill soap and essential oil scents– there are a lot of ‘plainer’ soap scents (like I have a milk and honey that might be good with almond or vanilla or even mint) out there and I bet there are some yummy scent combinations!  I would love to know what you’ve tried….

 


 


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.