Going Green: Recipe for DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning and Personal Care Marseille Soap

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I first discovered European Soaps at a showroom in Atlanta called Simblist Group. They carry the full Pre de Provence line, and since I help them out a couple times a year during show season I have been trained to sell the line. My favorite product, the Marseille soap, is made of 72% olive oil and is VERY similar, and sometimes mistaken for Castile soap (extensive research has taught me that Castile soap originated in Spain and Marseille soap is from France). The percentage of oil in Castile soap varies by brand. But I digress; this soap is an amazing product. It gets stains out of virtually any surface, including blood and oil! I wanted to explore all the different things I can do with this soap. More specifically: I wanted to be able to use it to make some non-toxic, chemical free dish soap and shampoo.

The reason for this is twofold:

1. Having a child has led me to explore the ingredients in the foods we consume and in the products I use to clean my home.

2. I am trying to live my life on a budget, and these products can be costly.

So, I have been called a hippie over the fact that I have been making my own liquid hand soap, laundry soap and as of this week- a concentrated liquid made from the Marseille soap bar. Sure, call me a hippie, but I am looking to live a longer, healthier life, which I can’t do if I continue to poison myself with the hidden chemicals in so many of the products I use everyday.

Since the birth of my daughter, I started looking at all the products in my home- all those ingredients I cannot even pronounce. Not to mention the artificial dyes and perfumes! I began to do my research online for some recipes on how I can make my own toxic free products and many of them boasted about the magical liquid Castile soap known as Dr. Bronners. They come in many luscious scents and you can use it straight out of the bottle or dilute it to clean just about anything. But, purchasing a $12-15 bottle of soap doesn’t fit into my budget right now, and I already have this bar of Marseille that I used to make my homemade Laundry detergent. I started using it as a detergent booster, grating it into to the laundry detergent I was already using in my wash. I knew I could use it for so many other things, though. [For more information on the chemicals found in laundry soap, read this article by Dr. Mercola. There is a broken link to a recipe for home made detergent at the bottom on the page. I found a great recipe here.] I will get MY laundry detergent recipe published soon, and I will be sure to update my readers when I do.

After calculated research, I decided to make a very concentrated Dr. Bronner’s type solution using the bar that I had on hand, since it was just lying around and all. I plan to use this solution in place of Dr. Bronner’s in any of the recipes I find. I would just need to cut the measurement in HALF and dilute with more water. I followed these basic instructions on how to do this, choosing to use a mason jar, which is much easier and less messy than using a saucepan.

Here are the supplies I used:

  • 2.5 grams Marsaille or Castile Soap {Note: Most Castile bars are between 4-8 grams. I basically used a 1:1/weight:water ratio to create an ultra concentrated liquid, so just a little basic math is needed to get the amount of water you need. For example: if your are using a 4 gram bar, use only half the bar and 2 cups of water- 1 cup per gram.}
  • 2.5 cups boiling water
  • Mason Jar (pint sized)
  • Digital scale
  • Cheese Grater
  • Optional: Essential Oils

 

First, I grated the soap into fine pieces, and weighed out 2.5 grams on a digital kitchen scale. Then, I put it in the mason  jar.

 

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Don’t let the scale fool you in this photo. I really did measure out 2.5 grams.

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The next step is to boil the water in a saucepan, and then to pour the boiling water into the jar over the soap shavings. You will instantly see the soap begin to melt. Let it sit for about 5 min, and stir around if needed- until the soap is completely melted. It will create a clear amber liquid, but when you let it sit overnight- it begins to harden and become cloudy and jello-like. Be sure to add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice once the liquid has cooled, but before it cools completely. I chose to make my liquid unscented because I plan on blending different essential oils later, once I mix up my products.

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I made sure to shake the jar throughout the next day to whip up the mixture so it wouldn’t solidify any more. The mixture is slimy, but once diluted for making my toxic-free products, I’m sure it will be fine. I plan on adding lemon, orange and grapefruit seed essential oils for cleaning, and peppermint and vanilla for shampoo.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This soap will have a very slimy consistency, but once diluted with water I’m sure it will work just fine. My hand soap also came out really slimy, I’m still trying to tweak that recipe.

*Don’t forget to only use HALF the amount of what the recipe says if it suggests to use Dr. Bronners.*

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NOTE: After trial and error, I’ve discovered that the recipe is triple the concentration of Dr. Bronners. That means, when a recipe asks for 1 Tbsp Dr. Bronners, you use 1 tsp of this liquid. 2 Tbsp Dr. Bronners, use 2 tsp of liquid marseille, and so on.

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