Thursday, June 7, 2012

DIY Body Wash

I used another of my pinterest finds for an experiment in class today.  When my 7th graders did the Laundry Detergent Lab to reinforce the concepts of  'products and reactants' and 'chemical v. physical reactions', they LOVED it.  They had a blast, wanted to do it again, wanted to take it home and try it, etc.

When I saw a DIY body wash, I was a little skeptical, but scientist that I am, decided to try it and see if it worked.  I knew that this is something that my kids would love, especially if I could find a way to let them take some home.

* Plus, who could complain about them getting soap???? Most middle schoolers stink and several of ours have told us their parents can't afford soap.*
I'm all about killing two birds with one stone if possible.  It looked inexpensive and relatively simple for middle school students.  So, I tried it at home.  I really didn't think it worked, but the directions told me to wait 24 hours.  I did, and it looked AND smelled like real, brand-name body wash.  Next step: become a human guinea pig.  I took a scoop-ful of my homemade body wash into the shower and tested it out.  Success! I looked , felt , and even smelled clean.

Today, my 6th graders got to try it out.

Step 1: Instruct about the reactions, lab safety reminders, read lab together.

Step 2: Assign jobs to each student.

Step 3: Gather materials, trek down to the teachers' lounge, and make our invasion.
(We're not allowed to use a microwave in our classroom and the last time I tried to use my hotplate, the circuit kept blowing.)

Step 4: Prepare materials on the table.

Step 5: Begin

* 6 cups of water
* 3 bars of soap

This is just a 1 : 2 ratio, and could be adjusted as needed.  This made enough body wash for 7 students to take home 8 oz of body wash each and still have a little left over.

There are two ways to approach this:
1) grate the soap and stir it into simmering water until it dissolves
2) microwave the soap and mix with boiling water until dissolved

I bought Dove Men Care in the scent that has an orange label.  I snagged a couple of teenage boys in Target and had them smell the variety of Dove Men Care scents, then pick their favorite.  This was their pick, and the boys were thrilled with the scent.  This was good, since we had half the school smelling like soap for about an hour.

I personally don't like grating soap and didn't want to risk the kids cutting themselves on the grater, so we opted for the microwave.

Step 6: Boil water in microwave safe pyrex, then pour into spaghetti pot and cover with lid

Step 7: Put 1 bar of soap into microwave safe pyrex, heat for 90 sec - 2 min, or until melted.  It foams and bubbles- but will bubble over very quickly if not watched.  (I had it bubble over at home, but not with the kids--- they're better bubble watchers. :) )
Actively watching the soap melt

Step 8: Pour melted soap (use a spatula to get it all out like making brownies) into spaghetti pot, stir into water until most chunks of soap are dissolved.

Everybody wanted to stir! 
Step 9: Move to a container to cool.  Some recommend glass, but I used hefty cups so I didn't dirty as many things and didn't have to transfer it all again for the students.

Step 10: Send body wash home with students and enjoy their fresh and clean scent. No more BO!!!! :)

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