Wash and Waste - but why? Here's a Cleaner Option

Shopping market soaps aisle. Photo by Martina Roell

We have an incredible amount of disposable plastic in our lives don't we? There's a lot of focus on removing plastic bags from grocery stores or plastic straws from restaurants -- but what about in our bathrooms?

Until recently, it was something I hadn't thought much about.

Nearly everything in our bathroom is made of plastic. Disposable plastic. Shampoo, body wash, conditioner, toothpaste tubes, deodorant, hair gel/spray, makeup containers, etcetera. This list could go on forever. These items are used once or until they are depleted and then tossed. There's no easy way to reuse them.

This also begs the question, if you can't reuse them then where does your bathroom waste normally go? Do you recycle or just put it in the trash? Yeah, me too. I rarely, if ever, fish out recyclables from the bathroom garbage because, eww. I thought about adding a recycling bin or container of some sort in the bathroom, but there isn't enough room and it would only get emptied once a year.

How do we reduce the amount of plastic we use for hygiene?

Outside of not using soap and completely channeling your inner hippy there's a better and much cleaner option.

Recently my wife, Liz, started making some homemade soaps and shampoo for me to try. Now, I was skeptical at first because well, I'm skeptical of everything. And when I find a brand or type of hygiene item that I like, I stick with it. Dove for Men for my shampoo and body wash, Old Spice for my deodorant and hair care, you get the picture. So yeah, I was really apprehensive about trying something new.

I gave it a shot and they work great. REALLY GREAT -- especially the shampoo bar. Yes, shampoo that comes in a bar. I know, I know; I thought the same thing. It's preposterous. It should only be squeezed out of a plastic bottle like it has since the beginning of time. But seriously though, I expected it to be like a regular bar of soap that was dry and didn't get lathery -- but this stuff... man, it sudsed up really good! I got my hair wet, rubbed this thing on my dome and beard a couple of times, and boom. Looking like Santa.

The best part is, my hair didn't feel all dry and gross afterwards. It was the perfect blend of moisturizing and drying. Awesome. Kudos to Liz, and bad Joe for doubting her.

The best part is... no plastic was used. And, of course, no animals were harmed in the making of it.

And now that she's figured out the soap, shampoo, and even lotion, we're going to try to make some deodorant and even toothpaste. Or at least find ways to put those things into compostable containers.

Having some Fight Club aspirations and want to make it for yourself? Do ya, Tyler Durden? Well, making it isn't incredibly difficult and takes little in the way of special equipment, and recipe doesn't need animal fats or have glycerin as a byproduct. But it does takes time to dry -- especially the soap. See the directions below.

Or you can order some from Liz.

All-In-One Coconut Soap

Before you jump in feet first, make sure you have the proper personal protective equipment - gloves, eye protection, etc. Lye is very dangerous. And please, read the warnings. For your convenience, links are provided to equipment and ingredients that we used. We may receive a small commission for anything purchased through those links through the Amazon affiliate program, which is appreciated.


33 oz coconut oil, melted.

5.29 oz lye,

10.89 oz water.



Pitcher for mixing and easy pouring, stainless steel or glass (NO ALUMINUM)

Measuring Cups, Glass

Long Spoon for mixing (stainless)

Rubber Gloves

Eye Protection

Soap Mold

Soap Cutter

**Some Cautionary Warnings (Read before proceeding)**

Be sure you have your equipment ready and protective gear on. And this should be done in a well-lit and ventilated area (outdoors is best).

Also, another quick note -- do this in order. Water first, then lye. DO NOT reverse the order or cross the streams.

Okay, let's get to it...


1. Measure out all the ingredients using scale and separate measuring cups. Be as precise as possible.

2. Pour water into stainless mixing pitcher.

3. SLOWLY. I repeat, SLOWLY add the lye and stir.

4. Let dissolve completely -- and be careful. The chemical reaction during this process will cause the solution to heat up quite a bit and will have some fumes. So don't go putting your head over it.

5. Add mixture to melted coconut oil.

6. Blend until trace and add to form.

7. Cut within 12-24 hours and allow to dry for 1-2 weeks.

Enjoy your new hand-made soap!