Replacement of Factory-Made Soap with Homemade Soap

2014 (4 pages)
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Softsoap, Dial, Mrs. Meyers, and so many others, are all hand soap companies most of us recognize or even know by name. What most people do not know, is all of the harmful, drying, and irritating chemicals that are used to make these soaps. Before major companies started mass producing hand soaps in bulk, people made their own soap. Many people with allergies to the artificial ingredients used in soap today suffer greatly when they use hand soap in public places. The same is true for people with skin problems like eczema or psoriasis. In this paper, I will talk about how homemade soap is good for your skin, benefits of making your own soap, how the chemicals in soaps today are bad for our skin, and how the chemicals in our soap affect the environment.

Firstly, soaps were not always this horrible thing. People would make homemade soap and sell it or keep it for their own personal use. When people would make homemade soap, they did not use the chemicals that are used in soaps today. Homemade soap is made out of natural ingredients that can benefit the skin and cleanse it at the same time. Some examples of ingredients used in homemade soaps are as follows; oatmeal, natural oils, goat milk, and raw honey, and other plant materials. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties in it which can help to calm down irritated skin. It also has special compounds that can help to cleanse the skin. Natural oils can help to replenish the skin of the oils it might have lost throughout the day or oils that have been stripped from the skin. Just a few examples of some of the oils that can be used in soapmaking are argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and castor oil. Goats milk is beneficial to skin because it has lactic acid which can remove dead skin cells. If you have dead skin cells on your hands, you want them removed because they will clog the pores in your hands making it harder to treat dry skin and cleanse your hands in general. Raw honey is almost essential to have in soaps that are for people with dry skin problem because it heals damaged skin. Honey is not only used in soaps to heal damaged skin it can also be used for natural medical remedies. These are just a few of the ways that making your own soap is good for you.

The most obvious benefit of making your own soap is that it will save you money. If every family in America has at least two bathrooms in their homes and they buy new soap every month, that’s 8$ a month, and that is if people buy the cheap soap. You could buy all the ingredients for soap making for less, especially if you harvest some of them yourself. May of the ingredients in homemade soap can be harvested easily. If you decide to go the organic route, you can use animal fats. You can go to a butchers shop and ask them for the leftover animal fats and it will cost close to nothing since nobody wants them. Then when you make the soap you can make it in bulk so you will not have to make it as often. Now you have saved yourself money, and the trouble of going to the store and buying soap or ordering it online.

The chemicals in today's soaps are terrible for your skin. Just to name a few there is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydroxyethyl cellulose, and Sulfonic acid. The perfume they add to soap is made with alcohol which is also extremely drying on the skin. I was always taught that if you cannot pronounce the name of something than you should not use or eat it. All of these acids, compounds, and chemicals are used to make soap thick, foamy, and cleanse the skin by stripping them of natural oils. The problem with this is that you can use natural things to do all of this. The chemicals that are used as cleansing agents in soap are way too often too hard and stripping on the skin. If you would not be able to use these soaps on the skin of a baby because they are too harsh then why use it on your own skin? This is how the chemicals in factory produced, non- homemade soaps are bad for your skin.

Lastly, the chemicals in hand soap that are made my major corporations are extremely bad for the environment. All the chemicals in the soaps are washed down the drain when you wash your hands. Where this water goes is the major problem. A large amount of the water goes down pipes and can be secreted into the ground or ocean through broken pipes or poor plumbing systems. This affects the environment greatly. If the chemicals seep into the ground they can go into the groundwater. If there is a well nearby that someone uses to supply that house with water, the water is now affected by all the chemicals in the hand soap. This same thing can happen involving the oceans. If the chemicals from the hand soap leak out into the ocean this can affect so many things. It will not only have an impact on the animals, but also the plants and microorganisms that live in the ocean. Ocean pollution is bad enough without us adding to it by using something as simple as hand soap. This is a problem that can easily be fixed by making homemade soap with completely natural ingredients. This is how the chemicals in hand soaps can affect the environment.

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Not only do the chemicals in hand soap harm the environment, but the plastic wrappers, and containers that store bought soap comes in pollutes the environment. “The US represents just 4% of the world’s population, but it produces 12% of global municipal solid waste. ” Imagine how much less plastic could be produced if even half of the US alone would stop using store bought soap. “The majority of these products are packaged in plastic, contributing to the 300 million tons produced each year. And because most people don’t have recycling containers in their bathrooms, it is easy for these plastic containers to end up in the trash. Indeed, only 10% of all plastic is recycled. The rest of it ends up in landfills or the ocean, where it will sit for 500 years or longer. ” When making homemade soap you use molds so there is no plastic involved. The ingredients used to make homemade soap can also be used many times as it does not take much to make the soap. This is yet another reason how our environment is being affected by store bought soaps.

With all the research I had done finding out just how bad store-bought soap really is, for us and the environment, I decided to try and make it myself. The process of making the soap and finding the correct ingredients that I could actually purchase was harder than I thought. To start off, I searched the internet for many different soap recipes since the one my mother had used involved using animal fat. I did not want to use animal fat as I am a vegetarian and the thought of it grossed me out. My search was not successful at first. Everything I had seen told me to use a chemical ingredient called lye. I looked up where to purchase it and I could not find any stores around this area that sold it. Instead of continuing my online search for another recipe I went out in search of lye. After going to Walmart, ACE Hardware, and about every other store in town, I found out lye is not sold in our area because it can be used to make meth. This is even more of a reason why people should use homemade soap. Why would you want to wash your hands or badly with something that could make meth?

I continued my online search and came up with nothing. I did not know what to do, until I was telling my mother of my problems and she suggested using an Aloe Vera soap base. I had not seen it in any of the recipes I looked up so I was skeptical at first. I looked on Amazon and found it right there. I purchased it and figured I would use it in place of a lye hand soap base and see what would happen.

To start off making the soap I needed to get all the ingredients listed in the recipe. All the ingredients I purchased can be found at Walmart, except for the Aloe Vera soap base which I bought on Amazon. This just shows how easy access the ingredients needed for soap making are. I purchased extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil. Along with these ingredients I purchased lavender essential oil (this was optional in the recipe) and lastly I purchased the Aloe Vera soap base. The recipe I used was as follows:

  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup of Lye
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3 drops of essential oils

As I said before, in place of the lye I used Aloe Vera soap base. This was the recipe I used to make my soap. To make the soap itself I would first have to melt the coconut oil in a bowl in the microwave. I then mixed the measured out, now liquid, coconut oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil in a bowl. I set the bowl aside to use for later, stirring it every so often to make sure the coconut oil did not reharden. I put the stove on low and put my Aloe soap base in a pot with the lid on. I checked it every 20 minutes for about an hour and it seemed to not be melting. I turned it up to high and left the lid on for it to melt. I decided to check it in 45 minutes this time. When I had come back to check it I found that it burnt. I later found out after talking to my mother that you need to pour in the water with the soap base, put it on low, stir it, and it takes hours to melt. Since I did not know this my soap had burnt. I poured in the water and hoped for the best. As the soap was melted and burnt I poured in the oils and dropped in essential oils. I then mixed it all together. After this I poured it into a cup and put it in my fridge. It took about 5 days to harden completely. The outcome was a brown colored soap, since I had burned it. The soap smells like lavender since I used the essential oils. If I would have put the soap in a soap mold it would have a nice design, but since this was just for a project I used a cup and the soap is just round.

Overall, I thought it was relatively easy to make homemade soap. Besides the fact that I burnt the soap base, I think my soap turned out okay, in my opinion. This can even be a fun activity for people who have children and might not have the time to make it by themselves. Once you know how to make it, homemade soap is a simple, easy way to save money, the environment, yourself and your family from harmful chemicals.

Therefore, there are more reasons than one as to why homemade, natural hand soaps are beneficial. Other than benefiting yourself and your family, homemade soaps benefit the environment also. The soap industry has a long way to go before it becomes environmentally safe, good for skin, and use products that are safe. I hope I get to see this happen in my lifetime. This is how homemade soap could change your life for the better.

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