Hydrating Bastille Soap Recipe Plus Practical Tips on Flu Prevention
What’s the story with the coronavirus? Is it really worth a full on toilet paper war? And more importantly, how can I protect myself from the coronavirus and diminish my chances of getting sick? Learn why the coronavirus shouldn’t be dismissed as your average flu. Plus easy, everyday tips on reducing your chances of becoming infected with COVID-19. I’m also sharing my favorite, hydrating Bastille soap recipe. It’s perfect for dry hand relief from overuse of cheap liquid hand soap and alcohol based hand sanitizers. Plus it’s the perfect project (new hobby?) to make while practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of coronavirus in your community.
Why Do We Need to Be Concerned About the Coronavirus?
The coronavirus has everyone up in arms. Whether you’re taking a no nonsense approach to the whole situation, are totally freaked out, or you simply think everyone is overreacting, it’s THE news right now. What I find the most troubling about COVID-19 is what we don’t know. As of yet, we have no clue if the virus will disappear once we have regular warm weather. It doesn’t act like a typical flu virus. It’s also highly contagious.
The current statistics put 3.65% people dying from the coronavirus worldwide. (In Wuhan, that number was 4.9% of the infected population. Source. With the death rate in Italy as of 3/13/20 at 6.7%.) Which, during a bad flu season, isn’t unheard of. However, approximately one in five people who develop this illness have to be hospitalized. 10% of which will require ICU treatment, per the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine.
To make matters worse, whereas the typical flu infects only 2 to 11% of the population each year, The Atlantic states that COVID-19 has the potential to infect 40-70% of people around the world. (This is now the generally accepted position among epidemiologists as well.) And that’s where it really starts to put this virus into a very sobering perspective. At that rate, it would have the ability to kills millions in the US alone.
So if this thing spreads like wildfire, like it has in China and Italy, it can seriously hamper, and even overwhelm, our health infrastructure. (Canada is already reporting that their hospitals would be unable to cope with a coronavirus outbreak.)
And it’s not just a concern for those with weakened immune systems, cancer or anyone over the age of 60. This virus is especially dangerous to anyone with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, anyone who smokes or vapes and those with heart, lung or kidney disease. Many of my friends and family fall into one of these categories. And while I’d like to believe I’m invincible to anything life throws my way, I know that I’m not. I’m especially concerned for friends who recently had cancer (and have weakened immune systems,) my brother who has lupus and my dad who has both high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. But beyond that, I care about the rest of the people in the world as well. Which is why I felt it was so important to address this topic on my blog.
I know I’ve made jokes, both publicly and personally, in regards to this being the beginning of the apocalypse and the start of the toilet paper wars. But what remains is that we all need to be diligent and treat this as a real and possible threat. Maybe not to the point we’re rioting outside of Walmart in Cleveland because baby formula is sold out and there’s nothing to cut crack with. But with reasonable measures in which we take not only our safety into account, but also the consideration and safety of others — most especially those at risk.
So if you’re over there hoarding toilet paper, ibuprofen, face masks and hand sanitizer, maybe check in with neighbors and donate some to those in need. I promise you don’t need a year’s supply of provisions to survive this thing. And we need the rest of the population to be able to protect themselves from the coronavirus as well. (If you have doubts, here’s a first hand account of someone who has actually had COVID-19.)
Common Sense Ways to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus
Taking all this into account, here are some common sense ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
- Practice social distancing. That means avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick, as well as distancing yourself from people if the coronavirus is spreading in your community.
- Avoid crowds or crowded areas and events.
- Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water. This is especially important if you have been in a public space.
- If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. (You may want to carry some with you at all times.) To use, rub hands together until they feel dry. (If hand sanitizer is sold out, here’s how to make DIY hand sanitizer that meets CDC minimum guidelines.)
- Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with unwashed hands.
- In public, stay 6 feet (or a coughing distance) from others.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Disinfect your travel mug after every outing.
- Keep disinfectant by every entrance to your home.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Household disinfectants should be at least 70% alcohol or an EPA-registered household disinfectant. Alternately, you can also use a bleach solution comprised of 4 teaspoons of bleach combined with 1 quart of water. (Or 1/3rd cup bleach per gallon of water.)
- Avoid anyone with a cough and stay away from poorly ventilated areas.
- If you need to cough, do so into your elbow or into a tissue, which is preferable, as it can be disposed of afterwards.
- If possible, work remotely from home rather than going into the office. Most people get sick at work.
- As there is a global shortage in face masks, donate yours to communities in need such as senior care facilities and caregivers to help slow the spread of transmission. You only need to wear a face mask if you’re sick, or caring for someone who is sick.
- Donate excess supplies of hand sanitizer to those in your community who have none.
- Make preparations in the chance that you do get sick and are quarantined. You will need two weeks worth of provisions, including food. (Not ten years of toilet paper.)
- Don’t share anything with other people that comes in contact with your mouth or nose.
- Ensure proper ventilation by keeping air circulation either by opening a window or using a fan.
- Use a humidifier. Higher humidity will keep the protective membranes in your nose from drying out, which makes them less effective as they try to keep pathogens out. Mid-range humidity also appears to cause some viruses to decay faster.
Hand Washing with Soap and Water
Washing your hands is still the best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus. (I mean, we can’t all hide under a rock forever.) Unfortunately, most cheap, liquid hand soaps aren’t real soap. Much like alcohol based hand sanitizers, they can also dry out your hands when used frequently. This leaves hands feeling tight, dry and itchy. Sometimes they even crack. In turn, this leads to an endless cycle of hand washing followed with moisturizers.
But what if there was a soap that didn’t dry your hands out? An alternative that left your hands clean and also offered some level of dry skin relief?
There are actually a number of these alternatives. Many handmade, cold process soaps meet this criteria. And believe it or not, bar soap is no less sanitary than using liquid hand soap. It does the same job, without the drying side effects, provided the formula isn’t overly cleansing.
Soap can’t moisturize skin. It is, after all, a wash off product. However, it can hydrate skin. And by choosing a soap with a high level of conditioning and a lower cleansing level, you can actually avoid dry skin all together. Don’t let the lower cleansing level scare you, however. All that means is that it strips fewer oils from your skin. Soap, the combination of a fat and an alkali, is still soap. What hand washing with soap does is mechanically remove germs and pulls unwanted material off skin. Bar soaps does that.
In fact, good old soap and water is more effective than alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially if hands are visibly dirty. This is because the proteins and fats found in things, such as food tend, to reduce alcohol’s germ-killing power. It’s also favorable over antibacterial liquid hand soap containing triclosan, which contributes to antibiotic resistance. Studies have shown that both antibacterial soap versus good, old fashioned soap and water perform the same against bacteria. However, when tackling cold and flu viruses, antibacterial soap has no benefits over soap and water. This is because viruses aren’t affect by triclosan.
Tips for Washing Hands
When washing hands, there is a right way and a wrong way. Here are some tips to get the most out of washing your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid scrubbing your skin when washing hands. This can easily damage skin and cause cracks and small cuts that give pathogens a place to grow.
- As bacteria likes to live under fingernails, it’s wise to keep your nails short so the area underneath is easier to clean.
- Use a hand lotion or other moisturizer after washing your hands. This helps to keep your skin barrier intact.
- Take your time when washing your hands. It takes about a minute to properly wash your hands. (Most of us take about 5 seconds.) However, washing your hands for a full 30 seconds can drop the bacteria count by 99.9%.
How to Make Bastille Soap
If you’re in the midst of social distancing, now is a great time to learn how to make soap! And with a number of wonderful soap making suppliers online, you don’t even need to leave your home for supplies. A basic Bastille soap recipe is an easy way to get started. Not only is this hydrating Bastille soap recipe great for repetitive hand washing throughout the day, if you or your family have sensitive skin, it can also help to alleviate some of your other skin care issues.
(This portion of this post originally appeared as a guest post, written by myself, on Everything Pretty.)
What is Bastille Soap?
Formulated with a high percentage olive oil in combination with additional soapmaking oils, Bastille soap is a modern twist on traditional Castile soap which is made using only olive oil. While a traditional Castile soap recipe contains 100% olive oil, modern Castile soap has a looser definition in which Castile soap is defined as any hard soap made from olive oil in addition to other fats and oils. However, purists reject any soap not made with 100% olive oil as Castile soap and instead term soaps made primarily, but not wholly, with olive oil as Bastille soap.
Like Castile soap, Bastille soap still entertains a high percentage of olive oil. Any cold process soap made with at least 70% olive oil is considered a Bastille soap. However, because Castile soap has low lather and requires an extended cure time, Bastille soap makes a wonderful substitute that results both in a better lather as well as a harder bar.
Additionally, as olive oil historically creates a gentle soap that is well suited for sensitive or delicate skin, Bastille soap tends to be gentler on skin than other types of soap. This includes many commercial soaps and beauty bars made with detergent foaming agents and poor quality ingredients. With bastille soap there is also less of a chance that you might develop an allergic reaction to the ingredients used as typically the ingredients for homemade soaps are chosen for their purity and benefits in skin care.
My hydrating Bastille soap recipe that I’m sharing with you today is comprised of 80% olive oil. I also have included coconut and castor oil for better lather and cocoa butter to make a harder soap bar, thus shortening the cure time considerably over Castile soap.
Tips for Making a Bastille Soap Recipe
While making homemade soap from scratch using fats (soapmaking oils and butters) and an alkali (lye or sodium hydroxide) involves a bit more know how than crafting your own melt and pour soaps, getting started with a basic recipe isn’t as difficult as one might presume. In fact, this basic bastille soap recipe can made in about hour and is a lot like baking a cake in many ways, though with weights rather than liquid measurements.
There are however, certain safety precautions you should take to avoid harm when working with a caustic material such as lye. These include wearing gloves, safety glasses and a safety mask that covers your mouth and nose. Nature’s Garden actually has a wonderful article on soap making safety where you can learn more about how to best protect yourself when working with lye.
If you’ve never made cold process soap before, I have an in-depth, cold process soapmaking tutorial here that instructs you on how to get started making homemade soaps from scratch. In addition, you can also find a plethora of soap making videos on YouTube, something that wasn’t available when I first started making soap many many years ago. So hopefully you’ll feel comfortable diving right in once you have a grasp of how it all works.
I know this information can seem like a lot at first for someone new to soapmaking, however, I promise you that once you start you won’t want to stop. Not only are cold process soaps a blessing for troubled skin, but they also make beautiful and functional homemade gift ideas for friends and family.
My hydrating Bastille soap recipe yields approximately six 3.5 oz. soap bars.
Hydrating Bastille Soap Recipe
1.6 oz. refined coconut oil (10%)
.8 oz. castor oil (5%)
12.8 oz. pomace olive oil (80%)
.8 oz. cocoa butter (5%)
4.85 fluid oz. distilled water (30.5% of oil weight)
2.05 oz. sodium hydroxide (8 % super fat)
1 Tablespoon sodium lactate (60% solution), optional
.5 oz. essential oil (or essential oil blend) of choice
To make this hydrating Bastille soap recipe, you’ll begin by measuring out the water into a non-aluminum, heat safe container. Next, using a digital scale, weigh out the lye.
In a well ventilated area, slowly pour the lye into the distilled water, then stir until all of the lye has dissolved. Now set the lye-water aside to cool.
Meanwhile, while the lye-water cools, weigh out and combine the soap making oils (coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil and cocoa butter) in a non-aluminum pot. Then heat on the stove over medium-low heat until all the oils have melted.
Remove the soap making oils from heat once the oils have melted and allow to cool.
Once both your soap making oils and lye-water have reached about 90° – 95°F you’re ready to make your hydrating Bastille soap recipe!
If desired you can add one Tablespoon of sodium lactate (60% solution) to your lye-water prior to making soap for a harder bar and to give your soap an additional boost in lather.
Now slowly pour the lye-water into the liquified soap making oils then blend with a stick or immersion blender until you reach a light trace.
Weigh out the essential oil you’ve chosen to use, if a fragrance is desired, then add to the soap batter.
Continue mixing with a stick blender until you reach a medium trace, then pour the Bastille soap batter into a six-cavity rectangle silicone soap mold.
If desired, you can add flowers or decorative, cosmetic salt to the tops of your freshly poured soap. I added blue cornflowers to the tops of my hydrating Bastille soap bars.
Cover the soap lightly with plastic wrap then set aside in a safe location for 24-48 hours.
Once your Bastille soap bars are no longer soft, remove them from the mold and allow the bars to cure in a cool, dry location for four to six weeks.
If you need to resize my hydrating Bastille soap recipe to fit another soap mold, or to make a larger batch, you will need to run the recipe back through a lye calculator prior to doing so. You can find more information on how to use a lye calculator as well as additional information on how to create custom soap recipes here.
Not ready to make my hydrating Bastille soap recipe? You can purchase a number of lovely, handcrafted Bastille soap bars from artisans on Etsy here.
Love my hydrating Bastille soap recipe? Then be sure to pin this recipe to Pinterest for later. Or explore more of my cold process soap recipes here. You can also find and follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram and Blog Lovin‘. Or sign up to receive an email whenever I share a new post!
March 13, 2020 at 3:35 am
Thank you for putting this informative article together, Rebecca! And I have to try your hydrating bastille soap recipe, my hands are so dry from washing hands all the time.
March 13, 2020 at 4:22 pm
Thanks so much for sharing this very helpful informative article for us! This soap is just such a great idea!
March 14, 2020 at 12:41 pm
I love this soap recipe! Thanks for sharing.
March 14, 2020 at 4:49 pm
Wow this was so helpful! There’s so much propaganda on the TV, it’s hard to know what to believe and what not to believe! I have to try this soap recipe, it sounds perfect xo
A Life Adjacent
March 15, 2020 at 1:17 pm
A hydrating soap is so perfect right now with all the necessary hand washing! Great recipe!
March 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm
This is a great resource!! And having a hydrating soap is perfect because washing my hands so much really dries them out.
Heidi | The Frugal Girls
March 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm
Great timing for this moisturizing soap recipe. Goodness knows that with all the extra hand washing, moisturizing soap is a must!
January 20, 2021 at 9:24 pm
I’ve read your bastille soap in your website and I wanna try it
I have a question
is it ok, if the curing time just 4-6 weeks?
Rebecca D. Dillon
January 21, 2021 at 5:02 pm
Yes, it’s fine with a normal cure.
Comments are closed.