Monday, February 14, 2011

Cheap green tip: foaming hand soap

I know I haven't finished my series on "But what about charity?" I'm still without a car, so my days are really long, which makes blogging hard. But I do plan to revisit it!

Meanwhile, here's a cheap green tip: foaming hand soap dispensers are a big saver of liquid soap. The soap and water are mixed in the dispenser at a ratio of one part soap to four parts water.

To keep this going, purchase large soap refills when your foaming soap runs out. However, this can be a challenge. It's hard to find large soap refills that don't contain tricolsan, the antibacterial agent that's contributing to so much antibiotic resistance. The greener alternative is to buy a gallon of castille soap--but that costs about $55.

So here's an alternative to both bad-for-the-environment and green-but-expensive liquid soaps: I use dish liquid instead. I can buy a 135 oz. jug of Kirkland Environmentally Friendly dish soap at Costco for about $8. I take a large container (a clean, empty gallon milk or juice carton, for example, as long as it has a resealable cap), fill it one-fifth full with dish soap and the rest with water, and give it a good shake. When I need to refill one of my smaller hand soap dispensers, I shake the large carton again just before doing so. I have found that pouring in pre-mixed soap creates better suds than if I mix the soap in the hand dispenser itself.

A gallon of this mixture (cost: about $1.50 for less than a quart of the dish soap) lasts about 6 months, while filling up hand dispensers in two bathrooms and the kitchen!

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