I don't think there's a more simple pleasure than foaming handsoap. Sounds silly, but compared to the drizzly liquid non-foaming soap, it's a party. And, when you have a young child, you realize washing your hands obsessively can be the difference between having a normal life and being sick for large chunks of a year at a time.
So, I've been cruising the net looking for why soaps foam and how to make my own and believe it or not, the only reasonable links I've found to attempt to make my own is from Cockeyed in this and this post! These links imply it's all in the dispenser, but I'm still hunting down the reason. If these Cockeyed expts. are valid, it's going to be amazingly inexpensive to refill a typical foaming handwash dispenser.
I'm still searching for why these work (if this is the case) and will keep you posted.
Fun expt link for a foaming soap.
Found what I needed:
Foaming Soap Patent, a calculator for concocting a liquid soap formulation, in the patent is a dilution factor and finally, all I need is a pump (or a recycled one that we already purchased) to make it foamy. It's actually the pump that makes the liquid soap foamy!
... to the lab.
The potassium hydroxide's been ordered and the recipe formulated. Stay tuned for the recipe.
First attempt recipe: not done yet (3/28/07)
palm oil, 150 g
coconut oil, 50 g (both oils melted in a 2L plastic bottle)
water, icy cold, 240 g (and eventual dilution to 2.0 L)
potassium hydroxide, 90% w/w, 42 grams
lemon verbena scent, 10 mL (added after saponification)
-add KOH to icy water (very exothermic process, icy water keeps fumes minimal), let cool to ca. <100-deg-F
-melt oils in hot water bath in 2L soda bottle
-charge KOH/water solution to fats and wait until the resulting solution is homogeneous (saponification finished)
-add essential oil, dilute to 2L with distilled water, mix gently, done.
-refill dispensers with el cheapo liquid soap
Don't miss the breathtaking Part II in this series ...