I make a lot of things myself, because I’m crafty, I’m bored, and I’m cheap. (Seriously cheap. You’re not getting anything for your birthday.) I make my own bar soap, bread, laundry detergent, knitwear, I grow my own vegetables, and I raise my own eggs. Which would make me a self-satisfied hipster, except I’m also lazy, so it leads to a situation in which I learn to make something, and then I no longer have it in the house. I can make my own bread, but that’s hard, so I should buy bread at the store, except PUT IT DOWN, I COULD MAKE THAT CHEAPER AT HOME. This is why I don’t own any knitted sweaters. It’s a vicious cycle.

NonBread

My homemade bread. Yum!

So today I’ll be teaching you how to never have dish soap.

It’s not hard to find recipes for cleaning supplies on the internet. Deodorant, detergent, soap, facial scrubs, shampoo, toilet bowl cleaners… you name it, it can be made with baking soda. There’s an entire world of bloggers who have dedicated their lives to green living tips and homemade cleaning products, although if you’re not one of those people who thinks vinegar cures everything from tile scum to cancer you might not have heard of them. (Mostly these people seem to be middle class, stay-at-home moms, with children in Montessori schools and the sort of expensive hybrid cars that make saving a few bucks on soap seem silly, but hey, no judgment. You do you.) Ideologically, I’m not the greenest, but homemade cleaning supplies tend to be cheap as all get out, so I spend a lot of time on these blogs. During my winter unemployment (Or do I mean “WIN-PLOYMENT”!? Positivity!) I’ve spent quite a bit of time testing some basic recipes, and I’ll be sharing the results with you as they come in. Some of them rock, some of them do jack, and some of them make you smell like a pickle, so hopefully I’ll be able to tap into the historically undervalued pickle fetishist market.

Here’s the simplest liquid soap recipe I could find:

1 gallon of water
2 tablespoons liquid glycerine (found in the first aid section of your local pharmacy)
8 ounces of bar soap

Soap GratingGrate your soap. Throw everything into a pot and melt on low heat. Let cool. Blend until smooth.

Most of the blogs recommend using something like Meyer’s or Dr. Bronner’s; the kind of soaps you find in co-ops and organic aisles. The focus of these blogs is making “all natural” cleaning supplies, with “no chemicals,” so naturally if that’s your goal you’ll be using a swanky soap. These soaps ARE cheaper if you convert from bar to liquid, and if you’re a real soap snob then be my guest, but for me it seems like a bit of a waste. I recommend just using the cheapest bar soap you can find, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. I like Ivory, myself.

NSFW

I would like to be delicate about the following information, so pay close attention.

Most of the blogs mentioned that the main downside of this homemade soap is that it has the consistency of mucus. “Snot-like,” I think was the term. When the soap cools it will be quite solid, like gelatin, and the blender will smooth it out. I did not use a blender, the first time I made this soap. To use the blender I would have had to get it out of the cupboard, and I don’t have time for that. So I whacked the soap with a wooden spoon until it was more or less liquid. And it did not look like mucus.

It was chunky, and slimy, and whitish. It looked like a bodily fluid alright, but that fluid would not be coming out of your nose unless you did something VERY WRONG. I really hope you get what I’m implying.

(I’m implying it looks like sperm. I SAID IT WAS NSFW.)

Ew

Oh. My. God.

This is basically the most disgusting soap I have ever encountered. Naturally, I find it absolutely hilarious. I use it for everything. I keep extra soap in a gallon milk jug, carefully labeled so no one tries to pour it onto their cornflakes. (Although that would also be hilarious.) I use it for washing dishes, and scrubbing counters, and generally everything one would use dish soap for. I also use it for cleaning the tub, in a system I call The Sei Shonagon Patent Paint-On Tub Scrubber.

The Sei Shonagon Patent Paint-On Tub Scrubber

I discovered this system by accident, one night when I tried to wash the dog and the boiler pilot light blew out. I plopped some soap into the tub and ran a bath, which ran colder and colder until it was obvious the hot water was nixed. While I was fussing with the boiler I forgot to drain the tub, so as the water gradually dribbled out, the undissolved boogers of soap settled on the bottom, where they sat all night. The next day when I ran the shower I noticed something interesting: where the soap blobs had sat, the tub was bright white!

We have hard water, so white porcelain is a big deal for me. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hard water I can describe it in one word for you, and that word is “mother-effing-pain-in-the-arse.” You can scrub that shit until your elbows bleed, and you’re still never gonna get your tub back to factory white. So I have developed the following “low-scrub” tub cleaning method, which I will now graciously share with you.

Step 1: Glop a mess of disgusting porn soap into the tub. Grab a wide paintbrush and brush it all over the tub surface. This will be the grossest thing ever, so definitely DON’T slap your slimy brush on to your significant other, especially if he or she was not there for the soap making and has no idea what that shit is, because we are mature people, and that would not be hilarious in any way.

Step 2: Wait. Possibly overnight, or until you can’t wait to wash off the day’s accumulation of misery and self loathing.

Step 3: Grab a scrub brush, splash some hot water around, and give the tub a nice going over. You shouldn’t have to scrub too hard – just work it enough to foam up the soap. Rinse!

If one treatment isn’t enough you can repeat. I do it about once a week, and I find I put off cleaning the tub less, because it’s pretty easy. After a few paintings and a little gentle scrubbing, your tub will be visibly whiter, and you’ll feel less like a filthy animal when your friends come to visit!

Cost: $1.39 for 8 oz Ivory soap (2 bars); glycerine for $1 at most. Water, free. Total: $2.39 for a gallon of liquid soap.

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