Homemade liquid hand soap: 2 easy, toxic-free, and frugal recipes

Homemade liquid hand soap: 2 easy, toxic-free, and frugal recipes

Shhhh…. Don’t tell my mom, but I secretly hate washing my hands at her house. Don’t worry, I do wash my hands… I just hate how rough her soap feels on my skin. And I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can’t get it off my hands. Nothing against my mom, it’s just that I’ve come to love my homemade liquid hand soap so much that all commercial stuff seems “icky.”

But this homemade liquid hand soap? No “icky” whatsoever. It’s good. It’s gentle. Effective. Toxic-free. And doesn’t leave my hands feeling like they just got a chemical bath. Looks like another win for DIY toxic-free living.

Making your own soap is awesome.

There are a lot of recipes online for handmade liquid hand soap. Some are very “hippie” oriented for those of us who love our essential oils and herbs. Others are for the frugal type who love making something for pennies. My homemade liquid hand soap is both non-toxic (aka: “hippie friendly”) and cheap. It’s also really, really easy.

In fact, it’s so easy that I’m giving you TWO recipes for the price of one. (Wait. What do you mean nobody is paying me to do this!?) The first recipe is more of an actual “recipe.” The second one is more of a “here’s what we’ve been doing for years because it’s so easy” tip.

UPDATE: I really recommend ONLY doing the second recipe here and using a foam dispenser (like this) for the easiest, best soap ever. 

Ready?

Homemade liquid hand soap: 2 ways. Definitely the easiest recipe I've seen online.

 

Homemade liquid hand soap: 2 ways. Definitely the easiest recipe I've seen online.

What’s that? Not easy enough for you? Well okay!

Yup. That’s it. The end.

Now, I’ll admit that this lazy version isn’t nearly as thick as most commercial hand soaps. In fact, one of my friends came over and commented on my “funny soap.” But honestly, it works. And it’s easy. And my husband hates all other soaps now (and he’s the most OCD hand washer I’ve ever met).

In fact, this handmade liquid hand soap is perfect for the lazy monster inside of me who sometimes gets so sick of making everything from scratch. (Shhh… don’t tell anyone that, either.)

 

This post is part of Make Your Own Monday, Motivation Monday, Monday Mania, Clever Chicks, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, The Mommy ClubWow Me WednesdayHealthy 2DayWhat I learned WednesdayCreative Juice ThursdayReal Foods WednesdayTasty TraditionsSimple Lives ThursdayKitchen Fun and Crafty Friday, A Little Knick KnackFight Back FridaySmall Footprint FridayAnything Goes Friday, and Sweet Sharing Monday.


STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Thank Your Body's ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.

About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie

146 comments

  1. Julie Graff

    I would suggest also, for the thinner version, to put it in a foam dispenser from some other product you’ve had around the house. You’ll get a nice dollop of foam and your homemade soap will last a long time.

    1. jennifer

      I want to buy some Castile soap and start making my own. All the dispensers on Amazon and at BBB are high. I prefer foam and I was wondering if this recipe will work in a store bought bottle that you can refill?

      1. Kathirose

        While Vitacost seems to have the best price on line, if you’re in a hurry, Target stores also carries Dr. Bronners Castille Soap. The bars can still be found at some grocery stores wayyyy down on the bottom shelf:)

    1. Carrie

      I found that Trader Joe’s Has the best price near me. I also can find it at Whole Foods, Target, and the local health food stores.

  2. Leeann Phillips

    Love this recipe! Thank you! I have been looking for that EXACT soap dispenser for a long time, now. Could you please tell me where you got yours? Mine cracked. I have had it for years, though, and I want another exactly like it.

  3. Christie

    Would this make a good body wash also, or would I just use the bar soap and a wash cloth? I have a little boy with eczema and I am still searching for something gentle enough and non toxic yet effective for cleansing his skin.


    1. Post author
      robin

      I use this as a body wash myself, and for my little girl (who’s also prone to eczema). It’s very gentle and does lather… it’s just not as thick as some store bought stuff. :)

      1. Cynthia

        Robin, can you tell me what the ratio of distilled water and the liquid Dr Bonners would be, please? (For bathing)

        Great recipe and idea…..Thank You so Much!

      2. Julie

        It makes a great shampoo too! The girls in our house love the almond scented soap and our boys like citrus. Fewer bottles cluttering the shower when you can use the same product to shampoo and clean your skin.

    2. Donna

      Good Morning Christie

      My daughter, now an adult, suffers still from eczema. Baking soda in a cooler bath is very soothing. If his scalp is involved soda can be combed thru his hair as a cleanser. Soda will not adversely effect the skins natural ph balance.

  4. Joanna

    Maybe I am missing something but why not just use the bar of soap? A good soap dish ensures it dries in between uses and saves quite a bit of effort; as I say maybe I am missing something!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hi Joanna,

      You definitely could just use a bar of soap. This is a recipe for liquid hand soap because many people (like me) prefer liquid to bar. For me it’s just less messy… which is nice, especially with little hands that want to get into everything.

      1. Erika

        Plus you get far more “life” out of diluting it this way than you would get out of a bar.

  5. Tamara @ Oh Lardy

    This is great! I have tried the liquid castille soap by itself in a dispenser and it gets all clogged and goopy. Is this why the water is added? Great ideas! I think I may try the ‘hard’ way too. I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps…would love a good hand soap.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hi Tamara,

      Adding the water is really the way to go… it makes it easier to get out of a dispenser, but the liquid stuff is really concentrated so you can usually dilute it a lot. (Which also makes it go further!)


    1. Post author
      robin

      I just use the same pot (a clean one, of course). Again, you may just want to make sure to bring it to a boil first to kill off any unsuspecting germs. :)

  6. Brittany

    I don’t see the point of this. Why not just use the bar soap or the liquid soap as-is? You only need a few drops of the liquid soap to wash your hands. It’s not like the liquid soap just pours out of a huge opening it drips out of it’s lid. Plus you get a healthy lather with just a few drops and it is so creamy. I notice that when I wet my hands again when washing my hands the lather gets less creamy. I prefer a very creamy lather. It’s so luxurious!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hi Brittany,

      As I mentioned above, you are are used (and like) using bar soap then you probably aren’t looking for a liquid hand soap recipe anyway, and this would be pointless. But many people like liquid over bar. I do because it’s less messy and I have a little girl who climbs onto everything and would try to eat the soap bar all the time. So the point of this recipe is to give those who prefer a liquid soap an easy recipe.

    1. Melissa from the Blue House

      OH ~ and I have to say I prefer liquid soap too… I *HATE* going to someone’s home and using their restroom only to find that they have a bar of soap that heaven knows how many other hands have been on… just seems so unsanitary! And you never see a bar of soap at a sink that isn’t brown and dirty looking. ICK.

      1. LucyLocket

        Your touching a bar of soap. What do you think your going to come into contact with that’s so bad? It’s better than placing your hands on a bottle of liquid soap that’s laden with all types of germs from having to handle the bottle to get the soap out.

  7. Louise

    Thanks! I hadn’t come across castile soap before, but I use essential oils to scent my natural oil moisturizers all the time. I’m going to try making the liquid soap – do you know if it would work in a foamer?


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hi Louise,

      I haven’t it tried it in a foamer yet… but I was hoping to. My hunch is that it will work, but I honestly don’t know that for sure. :)


    1. Post author
      robin

      I’ve been meaning to try homemade soap… but with my little monkey getting into everything I keep falling my lazy castile version. :)

      I know of other people who’ve used a similar recipe using their own soap. If your soap has a lot of natural oils/glycerine then it should work just perfectly.

  8. jamie

    this is wonderful! I hate washing my hands at other people’s houses because they usually have Bath and Body Works soaps… I break out terribly from their soap for some reason!

  9. Nicole

    I make my own bar soap, yet my family also prefers to use liquid soap to wash our hands. My “no grate” method of making liquid soap might seem a bit lazy to some, but I prefer to call it “simple” LOL.

    I keep a half gallon sized plastic bottle with a screw-on lid in the cabinet. When we use a bar down to just the tiny slivers (or the trimmings and “crumbs” from when I cut a fresh batch into bars), I just drop the pieces down into my plastic bottle and make sure the soap is always just covered with water. The soap slivers soak up the water and soften, and then every so often (when I happen to think about it), I gently shake the bottle to help break up the mushy pieces. If it gets too thick, I just add a little more water to thin it down.

    Keeping it in the bottle like this helps with pouring when it’s time to refill a dispenser, and I always have liquid soap ready when it IS time to refill them.

    1. Karen

      I have that very same liquid soap dispenser. When I tried filling it with thinner soap, it would shoot soap across the room! So beware. :)

      I have used the liquid castille soap in an old Method foaming dispenser with a 1:3 ratio of soap to water. It works great! (Make sure you put the water in first.)

      On the first recipe — thank you for the tip about glycerin. On another recipe I found it said to add it and I ended up with a gelatinous mess!

  10. Rachel

    I can’t get my soap to thicken. I added a little more soap and let it cool another day, but that didn’t help at all. Ideas? Can you also grate soap using a food processor? It grates it a little thicker, but since the soap dissolves, I wouldn’t think it matters.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hmmmm…. mine didn’t seem super thick at first, but continued to thicken over a few days. In fact, we usually have to water it down a bit after a week. You can always do less water if you like it thicker.

      Good luck!

  11. Pingback: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #57

  12. Pingback: Simple Lives Thursday #125

  13. Pingback: Simple Lives Thursday #125 | Sustainable Eats & the Dancing Goat Gardens Communal Project

  14. Pingback: Simple Lives Thursday, #125 - A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa

  15. Jan Hunnicutt

    Congratulations on being featured at Frugally Sustainable!

    Great blog post and thank you for the directions to make our own liquid soap, I’m going to try this. I wonder how it will turn out if I use my own homemade soap – I’ll find out soon!

  16. Ceri Y

    I have recently opened my eyes to all the ick in the world… Beginning with processed food elimination, I am now venturing into so much more and it irks me to find that I just got a “good deal” on hand soap that I never suspected had bad things in it…but it really is everywhere. Luckily, I know just the place to donate – bad soap is better than no soap, afterall… Here’s to figuring it all out! One step at a time. I think I’ll try this new soap and the no-poo together!


    1. Post author
      robin

      It’s really just about baby steps and progress. But once you get started it’s amazing how quickly you want to change things, right? Thanks for stopping by, Ceri!

  17. Pingback: Small Footprint Friday - A Sustainable Living Link-Up!

  18. Meg

    Wow, this looks like a really fun idea! I hate those harsh soaps, they totally dry out my skin. Yech. I gave you a feature, thanks for sharing!

  19. Pingback: Homemade hand wash «

  20. Pingback: Still Learning - Posts I Loved in December | learningandyearninglearningandyearning

  21. Pingback: Linky Links: December 2012 | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS

  22. Pingback: Things I loved in December | Homemade Mommy

  23. Pingback: 10 Green New Years Resolutions | Small Footprint Family

  24. Kelley Noe

    I made the liquid handsoap #1 today and I loooooove it! My husband thinks I’m semi nuts by making soap but thank you so much for this super simple but wonderful recipe!

  25. Stacy

    I love the recipe! I make my own face cleaner with castile soap and I have found that camdengrey has 32 ounces for 11.00 and I love the pure nature of it. I also buy my foamer bottles for cheap and they are really cute emerald green for 1.25 off of elements bath and body online store. Love them.

  26. Jill

    Do you or others have a recommendation as to how much essential oil to add to your 1-gallon recipe for fragrance? Does the scent “hold” for a period of time or does it dissipate over time? Thanks for a great recipe!!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Hi Jill! I haven’t added essential oils to my soap, but based on other things I use essential oils in I’d start with 20 – 30 drops and go from there. The smell should stay, as that smell is due to the pure extract of the oils… but I can’t tell you for sure since I haven’t tried it. Good luck!

  27. sarah

    At my house we make the LAZY soap….except for one thing! If you do it in a Self-Foaming pump….it is UH-MAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Pingback: Product Reviews: Soap - Against the Grain


    1. Post author
      robin

      The distilled water will help ensure that you’re not introducing any “stuff” into the mixture to begin with. Anything that uses water is suspect to bacterial growth… but in my experience it would have to be left alone for a long time before I’d be concerned about it. We’ve doing this method for several years without any problems or any sign up bacteria.

  29. Pingback: February Link Love

  30. Stacey

    I made the recipe #1 yesterday, and mine is just like soap scented water. I wonder what happened? It doesn’t seem like its going to thicken. :/

  31. Sara

    I realize this is an old post but I hope you will still reply. Can you please tell me why you don’t just use the Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap rather than grating the bars? Thanks,
    Sara

    1. Sara

      sorry i meant to ask what the benefit to using the bar version (#1) over the liquid version (#2) would be. Thanks.


      1. Post author
        robin

        The bar version will give a slightly thicker more “commercial” soap feel. But honestly, I always just do version #2. :)

  32. Laura

    so I’ve now tried both of these recipes. With the ‘lazy’ version, the soap kind of shoots out of the dispenser. I could see where a foam dispenser would be ex-cellent for this. If I was going to keep doing the lazy version, I would definitely get one. However, I next did ….

    ….version 2. I am lov-ing the big ol’ pot full of almond-scented soap right now!! It gel-ified a ton overnight. I added a little water and hit it with an immersion blender. We’ll see what happens in the next couple days, it may thicken more. I didn’t think this was that hard, really.

  33. Sarah

    Hi there!
    I haven’t tried to make my own liquid soap yet, but have been searching for a good recipe. This is by far the easiest recipe I have found so far to make it though! Before I start, I just wondered one thing. I was considering giving this soap as gifts for Mother’s Day and I just wondered if it would be “smart/wise” to add dried lavender and oats to make it “pretty”. If so, at what point would I add them, when I add the oils? Also, do you think that the color of the soap is too “milky” and adding them would be a waste because they won’t be seen?
    Thanks so much for your time!
    Sarah


    1. Post author
      robin

      I honestly haven’t tried adding dried lavender so I can’t say when the optimum time would be. The result is fairly milky… so again I’m not sure how it would turn out… but it sounds pretty. :)

      1. Sarah

        Okay… thanks for your honesty and quick response! :) I will just try it without for my first time and then maybe the second go I will get adventurous! ;)Thanks!!!

  34. Pingback: February Link Love | Morgan Hill Family Wellness: Acupuncture Clinic in Greater Gilroy and San Jose Area

  35. Heidi

    Just made this recipe yesterday with the grated soap. It started out looking like I had assumed it would (after the soap melted and it was soapy water) but as it thickend, it almost looks coagulated. Did I do something wrong or is that how it is supposed to look? It doesn’t look like a normal liquid soap. I did put a little in my hand and try to use it…it still works great. Just kind of ‘snotty’ looking. Sorry, that is gross but the BEST way to describe it. LOL
    Oh and I had used 2 of the bars with a gallon of water. I did not add anything into it.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Seems that the thickness and “snotty” level can change from person to person… not sure if it’s a water thing or just the difference between bars of soap. Either way, it’s fine to use. You can also dilute it a bit more with water or use a foaming dispenser.

      1. Heidi

        Wonderful, thank you! I did end up using ‘filtered drinking water’ and next time will try distilled. Maybe that had something to do with it. We are still using it and absolutely love it!

  36. Monica

    I have one really big concern with homemade liquid hand soaps, and that is each and every time that I’ve made either liquid hand or body soap it never fails that it leaves our skin SUPER DRY! I have added a little bit of coconut or olive oils to our recipe, but that ends up leaving our sinks and showers very greasy. How do you combat this problem?


    1. Post author
      robin

      Use less soap (or add more water). You could also try adding a bit of sea salt as it might help soften the water a bit (and the skin).

  37. Julie

    Hi! I used the bar recipe and we like it pretty well. However, it leaves a yucky film like soap scum in the sink after just a few days. It is a white sink and I noticed it isn’t shiny like it used to stay previously. I don’t clean our sinks daily. :) A few days ago I tried a special cleanser on the sink that is supposed to form a barrier to repel the soap scum/film we are getting, but it’s back. Any ideas?


    1. Post author
      robin

      Good, natural soaps are often made from oils that can create that scum. But for me I’d rather have that in my sink that have to use a soap full of harsh detergents on my skin. I’ve found that sprinkling a little borax in the skin works great at easily getting it off.

  38. Melanie

    Hi!

    I have a baby related question and didn’t know on what post to ask. :-)

    I am 8 months pregnant with my first child, and I would like to use all natural soaps and lotions on my sweet baby girl when she arrives. I have already been doing this for myself and have reaped the benefits tremendously!

    What are your recommendations for soaps for baby? I love using coconut oil as a lotion for myself. I use pure castile soap on my body, and oil cleansing method (with coconut oil) for my face. Is this OK for babies as well? These may be stupid questions, I don’t know, but its better safe than sorry!

    Are there any other natural alternatives that are great for diaper rash and such? Powders? Natural cream recipes?

    Thanks!


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      No stupid questions at all.

      For really young babies, generally all you need is water. They just don’t get that dirty. If they need more, I use Castile soap (diluted… just like this handsoap recipe.) Just be sure to get the “Baby Mild” kind and not one with essential oils. Coconut oil is my favorite baby lotion. I still remember when my little girl (when she was about 7 months old) grabbed a handful of it and shoved it in her mouth. The best kind of lotions are the ones that are good for you to eat, too. :)

      I also love using redmond clay for diaper rashes. Like this: http://amzn.to/11W3JmD

  39. Sara Dotson

    I made the grated soap recipe yesterday but used Kirks Castile soap instead. It didn’t thicken really at all. I added another bar of soap to it this morning and reheated it but it still is like water. Is this just a brand difference? Kirks is so much cheaper than dr. Bonners but I thought was pretty much the same.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Someone else had that problem… may be a brand issue. The soap will still be fine, and if you get a foaming dispenser it will work great!

      1. Beth

        I made this from another blog site, with Kirk’s castille bar soap. Mine came out thin and remained thin for a couple weeks and now suddenly is gelatinous and slimey. I did use distilled water. I am thinking it will need more water when I’m ready to use it, and will blend it with the immersion blender. Glad to see this is “normal.”

  40. Tia Wolf

    Hello, I made my liquid soap for the first time today and no matter how much water I add it seems to completely solidify lol. I used 2 medium sized bars of soft soap’ s coconut body bar (not sure what it’s really called, I just adored.the smell) in a 2 quart pot and filled it to the brim with water. I’m quite unsure as to how much water is needed because of how much I have already used. Also I was wondering if I need to use a pot that I don’t use for cooking because the smell will stick with the pot or if using a pot from my kitchen is ok?


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Hmmmm… not sure how this recipe will work with non-castile soaps. If it’s solidifying try adding less soap or more water.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yes. That should work. It may not need as much water as a normal soap, but you can definitely play around with the ratios and it should work beautifully.

  41. Lauree Kramer

    Hi, I made the ‘hard’ version of this soap a couple of days ago and find that it keeps wanting to stiffen up into a rubbery glob. Can I just add more water to thin it. Should I warm it back up first? Also, I only made a half batch, one bar of the tea tree scented soap and 8 cups of water, but I don’t see how that would be a problem. We only have the one bathroom and the kitchen sink and we still had enough left for another bottle that I put into a mason jar for now until we need it. I also filled a couple of little bottles that I can throw in the diaper bag so I don’t have to use the ‘smelly’ soaps when I’m out. Thanks.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yeah, I’d just add more water to thin it. It will still work beautifully even if the consistency is a bit off.

  42. Christine

    I’ve already done the ‘lazy’ version but its so watery. So I’d like to try the homemade version with the bar soap. Is it thicker that way?

  43. Nicole

    I made the recipe #1, and it seems that it is really “snotty”. It’s hard to cut off the soap when it comes out of the container. It ends up just getting all over the counter because it just keeps coming out. I used the Castille soap that you recommended. Any suggestions on what I did wrong or how to make it better next time??


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Could be a water/soap ratio thing. Honestly, I’m so in love with recipe #2 used in a foaming dispenser that I’ll probably never make the first kind again. 20% soap with 80% water becomes a beautiful foaming soap… and we use less soap, too.

  44. Sangelia

    I make mine the lazy way. But I use Ivory soap instead. As in I recycle the little scraps that are too small to use to bathe with.

  45. Paty

    Hi! I was wondering if it’s possible to make liquid soap with already scented soap bars?


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      What kind of soap bars? I’ve made it use scented Dr. Bronner’s castile bars, haven’t tried other… but would probably work?

  46. Vanessa

    I have made this awhile ago and I love it. However, I find that since the soap is thick, it is stringy and there is soap that drips after I pump some out on my hands. Is there a way that I can make it less stringy (i.e. when I pump the soap out, there is a clear separation and nothing lingers on the pump)?


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I know what you are talking about… some vegetable glycerin might help but I never worked out the best ratio as I learned that I love the second recipe using a foaming dispenser even more than the original recipe.

  47. Erika

    I made this over the weekend and I love it. I’m using it for hand soap, facial cleanser, and body wash. I have a few questions, though.

    1. The soap got very, let’s say, stringy and “snotty” (for lack of a better word). I feel like when I pump it out, I have to almost “grab” the soap to cut it once it comes out. Is that normal?

    2. Is there any real difference in the final product between the bar or liquid method? With a toddler, I’m all about easy.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Go for the liquid method. It’s easier, just as effective, and if you get a foaming dispense I like it even better. :)

  48. Pingback: 3 Simple Steps to a Toxic Free Bathroom

  49. Pingback: Crafty Crew – Sudsy Sunday « Deals by Darlene

  50. missleahbeah

    rather than saying “for the super lazy” how about “for the ethical people concerned about palm oil”

    there is palm oil in the bar soap and NOT in the liquid!!!!!

  51. Pingback: Homemade Pure Perfume Shampoo Recipe | Number Today

  52. Pingback: DIY, Worth a Try! | Maman Loup's Den

  53. Pingback: Homemade Rosemary Mint Body Wash | Number Today

  54. Pingback: Essential Oils Park 3 of 3: Natural Beauty | Fancy Nonsense

  55. Pingback: Essential Oils Part 3 of 3: Natural Beauty | Fancy Nonsense

  56. Pingback: Pump it Up! Liquid Hand Soap DIY | Maman Loup's Den

  57. Deepal

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for these great recipes! I have been trying to find a way to avoid purchasing all of the Dr. Bronner’s soap bottles because I can’t recycle the pumps. I made the first recipe and love it!. But I am thinking about trying the second one, since I can use it for other purposes, it seems that other people are having success with it, and the bar soap is made with palm oil! Anyway, thanks to everyone for all the helpful information!

  58. rashsom

    I make the hand soap with liquid castile soap , aloe vera gel and essential oils in a foaming bottle (empty method bottle). The best price I have found for Dr. Bronners castile soap is vitacost…..better prices than health food store and even amazon…..plus if you sign up for a new account you get $10 off 30 making it even cheaper and you get free shipping with $25 when you buy selected brands including Dr. Bronners.
    https://www.vitacostrewards.com/AcCUvq2

  59. Pingback: Shampoo Making Boot Camp Part 1-The Basics of Making Your Own Shampoo Bases | Late Blossoms

  60. Pingback: 75+ DIY Beauty Recipes: All-Natural & Non-Toxic

Comments are closed.