We used to go through about 10 oz. of handsoap a week, if we’re using the regular, non-foaming kind. I buy the giant 64 oz. bottles of it and refill our dispensers. So, ignoring our initial cost of 2 bottles on sale for $1 each, and knowing that the giant bottle costs me $4 at Walgreens when they have their BOGO sale, we were spending $.0625 per ounce, or about 62 cents a week on handsoap, or $32.50 a year on handsoap. So really, a tolerable amount to spend.
BUT, we bought a bottle of foaming soap for the bathroom because Wolfie’s preschool teacher recommended it for getting his hands cleaner and making it more fun for him. (Bubbles!) We ran through the $2.50 bottle (on sale) in about two weeks; we ran through the $5 refill in about 5 weeks. Given that this was just one sink, it would have cost us about $150 a year to buy foaming hand soap for all three sinks, even using bulk refill bottles.
However, there is a great work around. Foaming hand soap is not chemically different than the regular gel. It is just more watery, which allows it to run through the special pump in the bottle, which aerates it, causing bubbles.
Solution? Yes! I mix handsoap to water in a 1:4 ratio. 2 oz soap meet 8 oz water. I don’t vigorously shake, and I don’t mix directly in the bottle because once you clog a foaming dispenser with gel soap, it’s done; since soap sinks to the bottom, the first few pumps would necessarily clog the dispenser. I use a jar and put the soap in the water and gently stir it every now and then over the morning, before I see that it has formed a very thin mixture. Then it gets poured into the soap dispenser. If you want to fill the pump directly, put the water in first so that it doesn’t agitate the soap and bubble over. Wait until it’s mixed before using.
How much money does this save? Well, that depends on whether or not we were really going to use foaming soap at every sink. So two comparisons.
- Cost of homemade foam soap (10 oz): 2 x .0625 (cost of soap per ounce) + $0 (water) = $0.12 per refill. Annual cost= $6.24.
- Cost of continuing to use gel handsoap, bought in bulk (10 oz): 10 x $.0625 (cost of soap per ounce) = $0.62 per refill. Annual cost = $32.50
This is slightly skewed by the fact that 10 oz of gel soap seems to last a little longer than the 10 oz. foam soap in the bathroom, but I don’t know how to break it down any differently. However, there is no chance that we would have started spending $1 per week per dispenser just to have foam soap. So, this trick is saving us about $26 a year. The fact that we like foam soap better is a bonus! When Wolfie wastes an entire bottle of foam soap, I can say, “Hmmm, that was 45 minutes of fun in the sink and it only cost 12 cents!” That’s pretty cheap, even for me.