Make your own Soap – CityTree tip #1


I’m volunteering at Eitz BaIr, lit. Tree in the City, but in English it’s called City Tree.  To read more (all in Hebrew), the website is  It’s on the corner of Bialik Square, named after the famous Israeli poet, in the heart of the city.  I have learned a lot since being there and it is time to start chronicling everything that I am doing.

The first lesson (without pictures at the moment), comes courtesy of cleanliness.  In order to make the soap that Tami uses to clean her dishes and food containers, we took fermented lemons, boiled lemon peels, baking soda, vineger and borax and blended them all together.  Borax is a naturally occurring cleaning agent and is generally believed to be safe for the environment.  For now I’m taking that at face value, as the recipe only calls for a little bit.  The real cleaning comes from the baking soda and the acids in the lemon.

The fermented lemons are homemade of course.  After using the lemons, squeezing them for their juice, they are placed in a jar, filled with a little bit of water.  After the jar is filled, it is sealed and placed on a shelf for several weeks, which begins the process of fermentation.

Simply take all of the ingredients and put them in a blender, and blend until smoothie consistency (but don’t eat it).  If you remember back to the science fair in fifth grade, you might recall seeing a volcano erupting with a frothing white substance, a result of the chemical reaction of vinegar and baking soda.  Therefore it is necessary to only use a tiny amount of vinegar and to “burp” the mixture every five-to-ten seconds of blending.

It’s not pretty, and it doesn’t smell great (imagine week old lemons), but it is a major fighter of grease, oil, and left everything looking clean and sanitary.  As a result of the bio-organic nature of all of the food, it is possible to use it as part of a greywater system as we do at Eitz BaIr.  After washing the dishes, we take the water and water the plants.  No waste.  Good luck, let me know if you decide to make some.

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