Earth Month

As many of you know, April 22nd is Earth day and I have expanded it into Earth Month for myself. Recently, I joined a BuyNothing7 Challenge organized by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller. These two individuals have done amazing work when it comes to connecting with your neighbours, reducing consumerism and our need for stuff, and developing an understanding of the difference between needs and wants as part of their Buy Nothing movement (including facebook groups throughout the world) and this most recent challenge. 

Over the next month I will work to give more, ask my friends and neighbours for help with various projects, make items from their basic components, fix things that need to be fixed, reflect on my needs vs. wants, try to limit my use of resources, work to bring my community together to share and help each other, and to be kind both to myself, the environment, as well as to those around me. 

If this is something that you think would work for you, please join me on this journey. I will try to post something each and every day wherein I am working towards these ideals. My ultimate goal is to not purchase anything outside of my basic groceries, fuel, and monthly bills for this month – wish me luck!. Please join me on this journey and share with me the efforts you are making to change how to move, act, and feel about yourself and the world around you. 

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Homemade Foaming Hand Soap


Although the foaming soap dispensers tend to last a lot longer than the regular ones, it can still get a little pricey to buy them regularly depending on what brand. You also can generate a lot of plastic waste buying a new bottle every time, and some of the products may not be the best for your body or your health. Because of this I decided to try my hand at making my own foaming hand soap. We’ve been using this same one for 3 years now and it’s working out great. Best of all it uses the same ingredients as my household cleaning products plus an item or two from my kitchen, so the only thing I needed to get was a foaming dispenser. 

I found a porcelain/metal foaming soap dispenser at Winners, but may have been able to source one from a neighbour if I had wanted to reuse a plastic one. I only have to refill it every 3 months or so, so it takes very little work make. 

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 tbsp liquid castile soap

1/2 tsp olive oil (optional but moisturizing…may gum up your dispenser so caution!)

10-20 drops of essential oil of choice (optional)

Foaming hand soap dispenser

Directions

Add ingredients to measuring cup and whisk to combine. Pour into foaming dispenser. Use and enjoy 🙂

Clean Your House in 20 Minutes


All this sharing of cleaning products got me thinking about how I clean. We used to be a multi-hours-long-cleaning-session-on-the-weekend kind of family, but since adding to our family we decided to change it up for a few reasons. One, I didn’t like wasting our valuable weekend family time cleaning our house. Two, with a little one it’s hard to block off anywhere from 2-4 hours all at once and expect not to be interrupted or have various needs to meet (and carring a baby on your back while you clean makes the job a lot harder). 

I considered all kinds of suggestions including hiring out our cleaning, but because I’m a little picky on how things are done (and with what they are done), didn’t want to tidy up so I could pay someone else to clean, and I didn’t want to have to get out of the way at a particular time to allow someone to do it, I decided to break up the work for myself during the week. I now clean for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week and I’m able to clean my house a lot better than I was probably doing before because I’m not exhausted or rushing by the end of it. 

Here’s how I get it done:

Mondays: Tidying

I “tidy up” including picking stuff up, putting stuff away, folding blankets on the couches, putting laundry away, reorganizing one thing or another…depending on what needs doing. Basically, I get myself ready to clean for the rest of the week, similar to what I would do if I were to hire someone to clean my house. 

Tuesdays: Dusting, windows and mirrors

Ok, so I don’t do the windows every time, but probably every other time or every 3 times at the minimum, which is a lot more than I was doing before. I dust a lot better, too, because I have the time to do all the surfaces, nooks and crannies, doors, corners, ceilings…and I even have time to pick stuff up and dust under it so I don’t get the infamous line behind photos or my jewelry box to clean once a year. 

Wednesdays: Vacuuming and sweeping

I vacuum all the carpets, sweep and swiffer all the floors, get under the bed and under dressers, and even sometimes I get to vacuuming the couch!

Thursdays: Kitchen and mopping

I clean my kitchen up every day so I don’t have things like a big stack of dishes or junk laying around (tidied up on Monday!), so today I do a deep clean. I usually rotate through what needs doing because not every task needs to be done all the time. Regular tasks include deep cleaning my sink and stove, washing the handles of my fridge/dishwasher/oven/countertops. I will also alternate wiping down my cupboards, cleaning my fridge, cleaning out my drawers, cleaning the dishwasher…I find I am able to get to these other tasks much more frequently because I’ve broken the work down, and so it’s not an insurmountable task when I get to it. I also don’t stress about these tasks: if I have time, great. If not, I just do it the next time. 

I also mop my kitchen floor, bathrooms, and occasionally the hardwood depending on how things are looking. 

Fridays: Bathrooms

I separate bathrooms from everything else because, well, they’re gross. And a lot of work of scrubbing. And I don’t like cleaning the bathroom. Because I do the mirrors, dusting, and floors on other days, however, I only have to clean the shower/tub, sink, and toilet, making the work much more manageable in 20 minutes!

Saturdays and Sundays: NO CLEANING!

Sometimes I get busy or lazy or tired and I don’t clean the bathroom on Friday, so I have to do it on the weekend, but again, because it’s only those three things it’s so much easier to fit in around our fun family stuff. 

Oh yeah, and I do laundry every 2-3 days. That I haven’t figured out how to out-source 🙂

Buy Nothing T minus 4

Okay, I’m through my second day buying nothing and connecting more with those around me, and just four days off from my big April challenge. Today was another success, although I spent most of my day out and about driving around, and as I hope to also limit my use of resources, I didn’t do so well in this regard. 


Some wins for today:

  • Enjoyed a coffee at home and avoided purchasing one in a disposable cup!
  • Met a friend for a hike instead of our usual lunch at a restaurant AND packed a lunch so I didn’t have to buy one while out
  • Breastfed my 9 month old (ok, it’s free food so I had to put it here!)
  • Borrowed a dremel tool from a friend to work on some gardening projects I have coming up instead of buying one myself (THANK YOU!)
  • Donated on my Buy Nothing facebook page and had one of my asks replied to

I’m looking forward to the challenge coming up so soon, as well as the next few days to see what I’m able to do. I’m also excited to see my statements at the end of the month!

Have you joined me yet on this adventure? How have you done? Any changes you have or are thinking of making?

DIY Cleaning Products

I began making my own cleaning products because I found I was sensitive to some of the commercial cleaners out there (sniffles, headache…), I wanted to save some money while finishing school (after 9 years of post-secondary education I was soooo broke), and I didn’t like all the plastic and other waste I was generating. Seven years in and I would never go back. The time spent making them is minimal, the cleaning results are amazing, and the cost and waste production are significantly reduced.

Whatever your reason, I hope you consider making some of the products below. (These recipes have been adapted over the years through trial and error with some early sourcing of some great blogs out there – I’ve forgotten where I found my initial inspiration so I apologise for not given credit where credit is due). 

All the ingredient measurements below are rough estimates because, well, I’m lazy and tossing things together works a lot better than taking the time to measure 🙂 

**Make sure to consider your surfaces before using any of the cleaning products below. You should not use abrasives (baking soda) or acidic solutions (vinegar and lemon juice) on some surfaces. 

Homemade Citrus Vinegar

Orange Peels

Vinegar

Add orange peels to a whole bottle of vinegar (I find two medium oranges do well in the large vinegar bottles you can find at the grocery store) and leave for two weeks. Strain out the orange peels saving the vinegar. Toss the orange peels in the compost and pour the vinegar into whatever bottle you like. I use an old Mr. Clean Orange Floor Cleaner, the last containers I used to clean 7 years ago, and refill it with this “greener” agent.

I then use this citrus vinegar for my floor cleaner and to make most of my other cleaning products as you will see below.

All-Purpose Cleaner

3 cups water

1 cup citrus vinegar 

10-20 drops tea tree oil or lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. You can make your solution a little stronger or weaker depending on what you use it for by adding more vinegar or more water, respectively. I have found that I can add a lot more water and still have great cleaning powers. You can use other essential oils but I would recommend sticking with tea tree, lavender, or citrus for the antibacterial/antimicrobial properties. Use a microfibre cloth to limit streaks and throw in the wash between uses. 

I use this to clean almost any surface (not wood or granite), and even windows and mirrors when I’m too lazy to get my window cleaner (very similar solution, below). When cleaning my sinks I’ll use it along with the All-Purpose Scrubbing Agent (below). I even clean my toilet with this (everything but inside the bowl). I’d also like to note that since switching to these natural cleaning products I haven’t had my usual seasonal illnesses/colds, and that myself, my husband, and our baby haven’t been sick more than once or twice. 

Window and Mirror Cleaner

1 cup citrus vinegar 

4 cups water

10-20 drops of essential oil of choice (I like lavender)

I use an old Windex bottle but you can use any spray bottle. There are many recipes out there that recommend adding a little castile soap, or corn starch, or otherwise, but I find I get streak-free windows and mirrors by using a microfibre cloth. The essential oils are optional but I find the lavender adds a nice scent and takes a little away from the initial vinegar smell. Don’t worry – the vinegar smell is gone very quickly!

All-Purpose Scrubbing Agent

Baking soda

Jar with lid with holes (e.g. old parmesan container or old glass jar with nail holes hammered into the metal lid)

For anything that needs a little extra scrub I will sprinkle some baking soda onto the surface and very little effort later I have a spotless surface 🙂 I will sprinkle this into my kitchen and bathroom sink paired with my all-purpose cleaner for some extra cleaning power. I also use this when cleaning pots and pans with stubborn stuck on food – it gets my corningwear white again! I even use this to sprinkle baking sode into my toilet bowl for my toilet bowl cleaner (below).Caution use with scratchable surfaces (e.g. stainless steel).

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Baking soda

Citrus Vinegar

Sprinkle a little of each into the bowl depending on how dirty the bowl is, and scrub away with your toilet brush. If your toilet bowl is really gross, you can add in a little borax for some additional cleaning power. 

Shower and Super-Cleaning Cream Scrub

2 tbsp baking soda

1 squirt dish soap

Lemon juice

Mix the above ingredients together with enough lemon juice to make a thick paste. You can use a little more baking sode and dish soap if making a larger batch depending on the amount of surface you are cleaning. I usually will wet the surface and then, using a wet sponge, scrub away. This gets your shower or tub squeeky clean as the baking soda adds some scrubbing power to the grease-fighting powers of the dish soap, and the lemon adds some antibacterial properties to the mix. You can also use this on your sink for extra cleaning power. 

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup washing soda

1/4 cup citric acid (or 1/2 cup powdered lemonade)

1/4 cup sea salt

Mix ingredients and store in a tightly sealed container. Use 2-3 tsp per load. Use with homemade citrus vinegar as rinse agent for sparkling dishes every time!

Rinse Agent


Homemade Laundry Detergent

3 cups washing soda

3 cups borax

1 cup oxygen cleaner

1 bar of laundry soap, grated

Mix above ingredients thoroughly and store in a tightly-sealed container. Use 1-2 tbsp per load (or more if particularly soiled) 
I hope you enjoy some of the recipes above, and stay tuned for my post on body care products!

Spring Cleaning and Buy Nothing: T minus 5 days

I’m getting a head start on my April challenge today with many little projects and activities to keep me busy. Stay tuned for my blog post on March 31st for the details, but for now I’ll just tell you I’m going to be celebrating an Earth Month instead of just Earth Day this year and hope you will join me on this adventure. 

This week my goal is to not buy ANYTHING (except my basic necessities of groceries and fuel…and to keep even these to a minimum). So far today I feel I’ve done pretty well! My biggest issue with spending money is buying coffee and a “treat” when I’m either out and about or for something to do, so I’ll be working on eliminating that expense or at least keeping it to a minimum. 

Here’s what I got up to today:

  1. Made yogurt from scratch (hoping to get a chance to blog about this soon!)
  2. Collected maple sap from my tree out front (as it is FINALLY warm enough)
  3. Made DIY plant markers out of recyclables and other stuff I had around the house (check out my post on that from earlier today!)
  4. Gifted items to two members of my local Buy Nothing group
  5. Put a request out on my local Buy Nothing page
  6. Dropped a bag full of stuff people from my Buy Nothing group weren’t interested in in the St. Vincent de Paul charity bin
  7. Fixed the St. Vincent de Paul charity bin which was jammed open with a Barbie Doll (Ken, to be specific) and tossed in six bags that were sitting by the bin in the rain
  8. Sold two pieces of clothing I really liked but never wore (and made $40!)
  9. Watched some of my seedlings sprout today
  10. Enjoyed some scrap beer grain banana bread I made last night (similar recipe to my Spent Grain Apple Muffins post)
  11. Went to a free baby drop in nearby for something to do on this cold rainy day
  12. Didn’t buy a coffee or snack out even though I drove past Tim Horton’s TWICE. 
  13. Made plans with a friend to go for a hike with a packed lunch tomorrow instead of our usual lunch date at a restaurant (soooo proud of this!)

I’m pretty happy with how today went and I’m looking forward to tackling more projects and habits throughout the week! 

How did you spend your Monday? What are some of your more expensive habits you could do without? How do you try and reduce  your spending and/or consumption? 

Save a Tree Today!

Okay, we’re getting a little ambitious here. But, have you ever thought about just how much toilet paper, paper towel, tissues and/or baby wipes your household goes through each and every day? 

It was a little challenging to find clear and up to date information on what goes into making toilet paper each year and what kind of impact this may have on our planet and the availability of natural resources. I did stumble across this article, which found that the US used 36.5 billion rolls of tp each year, consuming approximately 15 million trees. Doing the standard “what about Canada math” we get a 10th of that. Still. Rediculous. Add to that paper towels, tissues and baby wipes and we’re looking at an incredible number of trees consumed just to clean up after ourselves. In addition there is all the water consumed and all the greenhouse gases produced from making and shipping these products and we have a sad little picture developing. Don’t believe me that this is a problem? There are many more websites and blogs and research articles out there for you to explore before making a decision. 

Since I’ve been home all day while on maternity leave with my little one we’ve been going through toilet paper like there’s no tomorrow! In my push to save money while I’m not working and reduce my family’s waste production/carbon footprint, I decided I’d give some good ol’ family cloth a go. (For those of you new to family cloth, it is reusable/washable wipes for the whole family. Yep, you read that correctly.) Aaaaannnnd since we are already cloth diapering and using cloth wipes, I already have a handy wet bag hanging in my bathroom and a few loads of laundry I can add them to each week. I’m not ready to consider using cloth for cleanup of #2, but as the lady of the house I think I can make a pretty big impact to our budget and waste production by avoiding tp for #1. 

If this grosses you out, consider the following tutorial one about making cloth baby wipes at home. There, now that’s not so bad, is it? 

Onto the tutorial!

Step 1: Find some material. I used some old receiving blankets someone was giving away on one of my Facebook groups. You could also use old flannel pyjamas, old sheets or pillow cases, any kind of cotton fabric….

Step 2: Cut fabric into 4.5×8 inch rectangles if making family cloth, or 8×8 inch squares if making baby wipes or tissues. 


Step 3: Stitch a zig-zag stitch along the edges. You could also decide to leave as-is depending on the type of fabric you chose, or serger the edges of you have one available to you. 


Step 4: In order to save some thread and speed up the process, once I have completed one circumference of the cloth and backstitched I move my next piece right in and start sewing away. I can then trim the little bit of thread connecting the two pieces. 


Step 5: I like to store my wipes in an old disposable wipes box (which I picked up for free off someone in my local Buy Nothing group). I fold them into each other length wise and then stack into the box so that one wipe pulls the next one through. 








There you have it. A nice pile of wipes ready to go for whatever use you have for them 🙂 

Baby Pancakes

It can be challenging to create interesting, healthy meals for your little one to eat without expending a great deal of time and effort. This recipe can be used for baby led weaning as well as for when introducing more complex foods in a traditional diet. It helps keep things interesting as well as healthy and inexpensive as compared to buying pre-made baby food. Make sure you have already introduced these ingredients to your baby prior to giving them in this combination. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baby cereal (I used oat cereal but I suspect others woud work)
  • 1/3 cup breastmilk (or formula, or milk)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 banana (optional but adds a nice bit of sweetness)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 egg, whisked

Directions:

Combine ingredients and blend until just combined. Fry up in skillet like a traditional pancake. Serve slightly cooled whole or in little pieces depending on the age of your little one. Top with berries if desired. 

Cloth Diapering

Yes, I know this has been blogged about before, but what would a green mama blog be without a post on cloth diapering?

I don’t know whether cloth diapering was even on my radar before I became pregnant, but as other moms of my generation know pregnancy leads to googling and googling leads to blogs and facebook groups and parenting philosophies before you have even told anyone you’re expecting! Early on in my “research” I decided that I wanted to cloth diaper, but like many others I wasn’t sure whether it would be too expensive, too messy, or too challenging for me and my partner to manage. Well, I have to say that it wasn’t any of those things, and instead was an easy, affordable option that I believe many other families should embrace. 

There are many reasons to cloth diaper, and I think I had them all. Here are a few of the reason why I chose to cloth diaper:

  • Cost:

Cloth diapering is cheap. Ok, so yes, there are parents out there who spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the most adorable poop devices you have ever seen, but for us, it was a very inexpensive option. We chose to buy used, saving us a considerable amount of money. In all, I have spent $300 on cloth diapers and related paraphenalia, and have enough to cloth diaper any and all children I decide to have from birth to potty trained. I also expect to be able to sell these items once I’m done with them for close to what I paid, meaning that diapering my children will in the end cost me the cost of laundry 2-3 times per week. Not bad! 

Compare that to the $1000-6000 per child you could spend on disposable diapers depending on brand and duration of diapering, and you’re saving yourself a small fortune. Add to that the use of cloth wipes and the savings is even bigger!

  • Environment:

Naysayers suggest that cloth diaper production, shipment and laundering is just as bad if not worse than disposables. There are many sites and blog posts that have done the specific math and comparison, so I’m just going to stick to a brief summary of my experience. Many pro-disposable people assume that cloth diapers are bought new and used for up to 2 children. In my experience, many families (including myself) buy cloth diapers used, and resell them to another family once done. That means that a single cloth diaper is produced and shipped once and can be used for 6+ children. (check out my upcoming post on repairing cloth diapers for a local charity). Additionally, many of these diapering items are then used for other purposes once the diapering abilities are spent.

Laundry is another story. Yes, cloth diapering families have to wash their diapers, and this is done anywhere from every 2 days to once a week. However, many families will do all the clothing, burp cloths, receiving blankets, bedding…in the same load, decreasing the wash differential between cloth and disposable families. Heck, I toss in some of my t-shirts, leggings, and nursing bras as well, saving myself a load of laundry and these items are puked on anyways!

It’s hard to get a good idea of the raw materials that go into all the cloth or disposable diapers made each year, but I think it’s fair to say that given the lifespan of cloth diapers disposables do consume more paper and plastic resources, not to mention all these resources going to the dump after only a few hours of use as opposed to years. 

  • Ease of Use:

Cloth diapering is easy. Yes, I know, many parents say how complicated or challenging cloth diapering can be, but honestly I found it super easy once I figured out what all my options were. We started cloth diapering within hours of our little one being born. He came home in a cloth diaper, and other than maybe 5 instances where I chose to use a disposable (the first doctor visit, a troublesome rash we were working on…), has been in cloth ever since. There is a learning curve and you have to figure out what works for you and your baby, but this is also true of disposable diapers and parenting in general. 

The first few months of cloth diapering I chose to use prefolds and covers because he was going through somewhere around 15 or so diapers a day and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on diapers until I knew I could do it. 

Prefold

Cover

We then branched out into covers with inserts, pocket diapers, and even all-in-ones, and vary what we use today by how we feel and what we’re up to. Some days I like to use the organic prefolds, others I like the stay dry features of the inserts, or the ease of use of my all-in-ones which go on and off like a disposable. You can get a good description of all the options out there by checking out other blogs like Dirty Diaper LaundryAll About Cloth DiapersMaman Loup’s Den, and many more!

Insert and cover

All-in-One

The first few months of cloth diapering I found to be super easy. As my baby was exclusively breastfed until about 6 months, the diapers went from his bum into the dry, hanging diaper bag on the side of the change table, and every 2-3 days I would take the whole bag, dump it (diaper contents and all) into my washing machine. My machine would then do most of the work, and I would have nice, clean diapers to either toss in the dryer or hang on the rack or line. Good resources for figuring out the best wash routine for you can be found at Fluff Love University or Padded Tush Stats. 

Once our little guy started on foods things became a little more interesting. At the same time we began elimination communication (future post on this adventure to come!) so most of the poop ended up in the toilet, but the stuff that didn’t either fell off into the toilet easily, or we swished it around in the bowl (yes, my hand went into the toilet). Some people like their diaper sprayers or inserts, but this is what worked for us. 

Cloth diapering is also very easy for us because we never have to lug large diaper or wipes boxes around, run out to the store to restock, or realize we have to size up at 8pm on a Sunday. We also have had maybe 3 blowouts since he was born, something I know disposable diapering families are familiar with 🙂 Never having to clean out the car seat/swing/highchair/couch has been nice. 

Yes, we are only 9 months into this adventure, but so far I would say it has been a very manageable and rewarding experience knowing that I have been able to limit the amount of waste produced by our household and save a ton of money. We even found a daycare that will cloth diaper! Things may get more complicated when there is more than one kiddo around, but in the end it’s just laundry.

I hope that you, too, will consider cloth diapering whether it’s your first child or your last. Please comment below with your experience, questions, or ideas and let’s help #makeclothmainstream. 

Some great resources to check out:

I Made Soap!

I have wanted to make my own soap for some time now, but I was SCARED! Over the past few years I have made more and more products we use at home (including cleaning products, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, body wash, diaper cream….) but soap making just seemed so much more challenging and dangerous! From some seemingly complicated directions, to the array of ingredients required, to the dangers of the products involved, I wasn’t sure whether I was up for the task. Well, I just completed my first batch of soap and I am so please with both the process and the results! 

I made a simple bar of castile soap made with olive oil alone, without fragrance or colour additives. We’re a fairly fragrance-free home here and try to be as chemical-free/waste-free as possible, and this project helps us achieve that. This is a bar that myself, my husband, and my 9 month old can use without worry of questionable additives, preservatives, or unecessary chemicals. Making soap at home helps me reduce our household waste, limit our chemical exposures, and reduce the amount of money we spend on toilettries. 

Before taking on this project I took a soap making course and it was a really nice step toward home soap making, helping me get over some of my fears and teaching me some tips and tricks of the trade. The course I took was with Mains the Mariposa, in Ottawa, Ontario, learning the basics of cold-process soap making. Bonnie was amazing and I highly recommend her course!

I also read a few soap making books, my favourite being Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola. It was from this book that I found the recipe I used below, however I didn’t add the colouring or fragrance. 

Ingredients:

3.4 ounces sodium hydroxide (lye)

9.0 ounces distilled water

27.0 ounces olive oil

Supplies
:

Kitchen scale

Recycled clean sour cream container (with lid)

Heat-safe measuring cup or jar for water

Heat-safe pot for oils

Pringles can and/or milk carton (with one side cut off to make the mold)

Spatula and/or spoons for stirring the lye solution and oils

Immersion (stick) blender

Plastic table cloth and newspapers to protect surface

Rubber gloves and safety goggles

Cutting board, knife, and vegetable pealer for cutting into bars

Directions
:

Please make sure that you have learned the appropriate soap making steps, whether through a course, book, or online, prior to making your soap. This post is by no means a how-to, but a description of my experience in hopes of helping others get into soap making!

I gathered all of my supplies and safety equipment, donning my rubber gloves and safety goggles. I then measured the lye by weight into the sour cream container and put on the lid (to make sure I didn’t spill it). I measured the water (by weight) into the large measuring cup and headed outside to combine the two in a well-ventilated area. Carefully, I poured the lye into the water (and not the other way around!) and gently stirred. The solution gave off a great deal of heat and likely some fumes (I didn’t sniff it) and eventually turned clear again. I left this solution outside for a while (it was -2 degrees Celsius) to cool. This process can be dangerous due to the caustic lye so it’s not a place for children or pets. By following the directions and wearing the appropriate safety apparel this step was very straight forward and not as hard or scary as I had expected. 

Leaving my lye solution to cool (in a safe area and clearly labelled), I headed inside to measure my olive oil into a large pot. The recipe I used didn’t ask to heat the oils, which was a nice change compared to a few other recipes I’d seen. Once the lye solution cooled I added it to the oils by pouring it over the shaft of the stick blender to limit the bubbles/air going into the oil solution. I tapped the stick blender a few times to release some more bubbles, and then, keeping the stick blender submerged, blended for 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until I reached a medium trace (like pudding). This didn’t take much time at all, maybe 5 minutes or so. 

I then poured it into my molds, covered them in plastic wrap, and wrapped them in a towel. I let this sit for 24 hrs after which time my soap was ready to unmold. It make take up to 4 days for the soap to set enough to unmold, but mine was ready fast 🙂

I cut my soap into bars, and shaved down the sharp edges with a vegetable pealer. 

I tried out one bar right away, and set the rest to dry for 4-6 weeks. I plan to wrap my soaps in coffee filters for storage, adding a little twine to any I give away. 

I’m so happy with the results! The bars are nicely unscented and produce a creamy light lather. I can’t wait to try out different oil, butter, and scent combinations!

I ran a few calculations, and figured with this recipe the bars cost me approximately 75 cents each to make. Not bad for a bar of castile soap without additional addtives, preservatives, or unnecessary chemicals!

I hope this post will encourage you to try your hand at soap making at home!