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How to make a gentle gardener’s hand soap with shea butter, poppy seeds, and essential oil. This is a cold-process soap recipe using natural ingredients and a recycled paper soap mold.
Many handmade soap recipes focus on creating luxurious bars for the whole body but really what part of you do you wash the most? Hands! Especially if you’re a dedicated kitchen gardener. This recipe for lavender and rosemary scrubby hand soap is great for cleaning dirty hands and nails without stripping your skin of moisture. You can even use a bar of it to make liquid soap if you’d like.
Natural Soapmaking for Beginners Series
The batch is for one pound (454g) and is enough to fill one plastic takeaway box, giving you five stubby bars, or a paper milk/juice carton, which will give you four decent-sized square bars. I prefer the latter since the shape is both rustic and pleasing, making them ideal to use at home or to give as gifts. Use the instructions in the above links to make the recipe.
Recycled Mould Ideas
You can use practically any paper or plastic container as a soap mould though and I’ve seen others use margarine containers, yoghurt dishes (for round soaps), and even cardboard boxes for larger batches. In fact, I know of a professional soaper who uses USPS boxes to make her soaps.
The positive thing about using recycled containers as moulds is that you spend less money on your handmade soap, you give a container that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill a second chance at usefulness, and lastly, you don’t have to worry about not destroying it getting your soap out.
Lavender & Rosemary Scrubby Hand Soap Recipe
1 lb batch (454g) and enough for 4-5 bars
Amounts of most of the ingredients are in weight – you’ll need a Kitchen Food Scale to make cold-process soap
1/8tsp Ultramarine violet mineral pigment powder (optional)
Botanicals – Scrubby bits
1-1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds
How to Make Gardener’s Hand Soap
Follow the soapmaking instructions in this post and don’t forget to also check out what equipment you’ll need to make soap. The temperature I mix oils and lye solution together for this recipe is 100 degrees F and once you’ve poured your soap into the moulds make sure to insulate them really well with towels or blankets for at least twenty-four hours. Also, cover the tops of your soap with plastic wrap if you think they might come into contact with fabric during the time they’re insulated.
After a day has passed, take the blocks of soap out of their moulds, slice them up with a knife, and leave them in an airy place away from direct light for four to six weeks to cure. You need to wait this length of time mainly for the excess water in the soap to evaporate out. It’s also to ensure that all the lye reacts with oil, turning into soap, so using the bars before they’re ready isn’t a good idea. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap head over here
Curing your Soap
It’s hard waiting for the soap to cure, but try to forget about it and mark the ready-by date on your calendar. Use it to your heart’s content after this point and make sure to make enough to give to friends. I can guarantee that in the month between you pouring the soap and the time it’s ready that you’ll have a waiting list of friends and family wanting to try your handmade creation.
For those interested in this recipe but not able to make your own batch for a bit, I offer a Herbal hand soap through my online shop. It’s similar to this recipe but uses pumice stone for the scrubby bits and combines Rosemary essential oil with citrusy Citronella. It’s very popular and helps remove dirt, grime, and strong scents such as onions and garlic. It’s also highly moisturising and strong enough to cleanse and condition the grubbiest of hands.