We have all been taught the importance of washing our hands to prevent illness. It seems like common sense, but it didn’t used to be that way. In fact, hand washing campaigns didn’t start in the USA until the 1980’s, when a large outbreak of foodborne and healthcare related infections brought hygiene into the public limelight.
For the last 200 years, some have tried to promote and even prove that proper handwashing saves lives. While many tried to raise awareness, the news often fell on deaf ears. One famous example is of “the Father of Handwashing”.
In 1846 Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, made the connection between women dying from infection after childbirth and doctor’s lack of handwashing after examining patients and cadavers. Unfortunately, his colleagues became angry that he was blaming their lack of handwashing on the deaths of new mothers and many stopped washing their hands in protest. It is hard to even imagine medical professionals not washing their hands!
Thankfully, society has adopted hand washing as one of the best and easiest ways to prevent the spread of illness. Handwashing went from an optional way to get dirt off your hands, to a widely-accepted act to keep all of society healthy. Of course, plain soap wasn’t good enough, and along came the antibacterial soaps. While the idea of killing all bacteria on contact is not necessarily bad, the side effects from the antibacterial chemicals were and the FDA finally put a ban on the antibacterial chemicals (Triclosan and Triclocarban) in 2016.
We have learned a vast amount in the past 30 years about bacteria and viruses, how they spread and how to prevent them. While many practices have been proven wrong, hand washing is still the best way to keep our families healthy. Today I am sharing with you the basic recipe I use to make foaming hand soap. This soap is gentle on your family with safe, effective ingredients that get rid of bacteria. It is also very easy to customize for your family.
How to Make Foaming Hand Soap
In a foaming soap dispenser (I use 8.5 oz. PET plastic [BPA free] foaming soap dispensers purchased from Amazon.) add ¼ Cup Castile Soap, plain or any scent. If your dispenser is smaller or you like a thinner soap, decrease the castile soap to 2 tablespoons.
Next, add 1 tablespoon almond, jojoba or olive oil. This helps keep skin moisturized as the castile soap can be drying. It also keeps the pump in the dispenser properly lubricated. If additional moisture is desired, you may also add 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin.
Finally, add up to 10 drops of essential oils for extra cleaning power and a lovely scent. The essential oils are optional, but many offer germ fighting protection. Find a combination of oils that smells good to you, or purchase a synergy blend. My current favorite is Current favorite is Germ Ease by Edens Garden
Fill with ¾ Cup water and shake gently to combine. This soap recipe doesn’t contain an emulsifier, so occasionally giving it a gently shake before use helps the ingredients to blend together.
Additionally, this foaming hand soap doesn’t contain any preservatives. I have never had a batch go bad, but we use a bottle of soap within a few weeks in our family. I encourage you to make and fill each bottle as it runs out and not make this soap ahead of time in large batches, unless you will be able to use it within 2 months.
Making your own foaming hand soap is cost effective and you have control over the ingredients your little ones use to clean their hands. This basic recipe can also be used as a body wash.
Again, the recipe for Foaming Hand Soap:
¼ Cup Castile Soap I get my favorite here
1 T. oil (almond, jojoba and olive are all good choices)
¾ Distilled water
10 Drops essential oils, optional for scent and germ protection
Best essential oils for germs:
Tea Tree (melaluca)
What is your favorite hand soap scent? Leave a comment below and share your favorite combination!