Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WFMW: A gentler antibacterial soap

We don't use many antibacterial soaps in our home anymore.  My children have contact irritant dermatitis when they use antibacterial soap too much.  The backs of their hands become redder and redder, then they start to itch, and can even bleed.  In winter, when they also have winter dermatitis, just washing their hands ONCE with an antibacterial soap can make their hands bright red and bleeding.  This is often how they come home from church on Sunday, after using the soaps provided in the bathroom.  We have to use thick moisturizing creams to heal their skin.  It is an ongoing battle in cold weather.

Several years ago, we accidentally found  a solution to this problem.  I had friends who were using the foaming soaps, and then refilling them!  They talked about how it was saving them money, and their kids tended to use less foaming soap than regular liquid hand soap.  (Does anyone else's kids use three pumps of soap?)  So we decided to give it a try.

We started out using baby shampoo in the soap pumps, but finally settled on using liquid castile soap, which is more natural and also very concentrated.  I can put 1-2 Tbsp. of liquid castile soap in the foaming soap dispenser, and then fill with water until I am about 1 inch below the top.  Close the bottle, gently shake it up, and voila!  Your own bottle of gentle foaming soap.  It didn't take long before we noticed the children's hands were improving ... until we went somewhere and used a different soap.  Aha!  THEN we realized that the cold weather wasn't the only culprit causing their red rough hands.

When we are fighting an illness or it's cold and flu season, I also add a couple drops of  tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to the castile soap and water mixture.  This provides a more natural and gentle antibacterial soap than anything I can buy.  My children can use my home-made natural antibacterial foaming soap, without their hands turning bright red ... even in winter.

Every now and then I buy a new bottle of foaming soap at the store, to replace a failing dispenser.  I place the new bottle in the kitchen where it is mostly me washing my hands, and not the children.  Sometimes if it's a really "yummy" scent, I will pour half of it into another container, add a little castile soap and water, and use the new "yummy" scent  diluted with my home-made version.  It still smells nice, but isn't as harsh on our hands ... plus we get two bottles full out of it!

Natural antibacterial foaming soap works for me!  Hopefully it will help someone else, as well.

Trusting In Him,


  1. April, I like your post today. It makes sense to use the liquid castille & I would add the tea tree oil. I'm going to try that. Thanks, Heather

  2. That's a great idea. We have one child whose hands always get so chapped in the winter, and maybe this year we can avoid that.

    Thank you.

    Annie Kate

  3. Thank you so much for this idea. One of my daughters and myself have suffered from some kind of contact dermatitus through the use of liquid soap, and some moisturisers. I've had to buy some expensive organic replacements. Now I will look out for the liquid castille soap and some natural lavender oil!


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