Make Your Own Liquid Hand Soap

For many years I made our own liquid hand soap from just a few simple ingredients.  I’m not as diligent with it as I once was, but I still enjoy how quick and easy this recipe is.

These are the ingredients I use:

Glycerin (tall bottle–I only use this if I’m using homemade soap…more on this later)

Essential oil (small bottle–I prefer peppermint or tea tree)

Bar of Soap (purple bar–this is homemade castille)

A little bit about each ingredient and how you can change it up a bit:

I purchased the glycerin from Hobby Lobby for under $4 and it lasts me at least a year.  I only use this when I am making soap with homemade castille soap.  Otherwise, you will end up with a very thick product that will not pump very well.
The essential oil I prefer to use is peppermint oil and/or tea tree, but this is really up to you and what fragrances or healing properties you like.  I purchase my essential oils from a local Frontier coop.

The soap shown here is a castille soap our family made during a soap-making party.  You can use any soap, but I recommend something natural like Fels Naptha, castille, or even Ivory. (although, this is a great way to use up all those old hotel soaps you’ve accumulated over the years!)
Now, you need to grate your soap:

I use my Bosch Slicer/Shredder that I purchased from MarmeeDear.com.  I originally purchased the slicer/shredder in order to shred the bulk cheese we were getting wholesale.  It proved to be fantastic for this job as well.  However, if you don’t own something like this, use an old fashioned grater and use the fine side so your soap will melt faster in the next step.

Put 1 cup of soap flakes in a pot.

You can choose to only grate 1 cup of soap at a time or you can grate the entire bar and save the rest for your next batch (that’s what I do).

Cover the soap with 4 cups of water.  Add 1 Tbsp of glycerin and about 5 drops of essential oil.  Warm the pot on the stove until the soap flakes melt, stirring regularly.

And you’re finished!
From here, all I do is fill all my old soap dispensers with the warm soap (a funnel comes in quite handy here!)
You may need to experiment with the glycerin amounts depending on the bar soap you use (a castille will possibly need more, a regular bar of soap may not need any at all!)
Try it out and come back and let me know how it turned out!

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57 thoughts on “Make Your Own Liquid Hand Soap

  1. Thanks for sharing! That sounds so easy! I’ve just recently started making my own laundry soap and baby wipes. I hope to put both things on my blog soon.

  2. Thanks for this “recipe”. I can’t wait to try it. I have to buy all natural hand soap because of my son, and it tends to get rather expensive! This looks like a great alternative.

  3. oooohh-la..la! I am going to try this asap! I normall buy Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, but I bet this is cheaper. Thanks bunches!

  4. Pingback: Homemade Laundry Detergent | Raising Arrows

  5. Had a quick question about the glycerin… You mentioned using more or less as need with various soaps… What is the glycerin suppose to do exactly???

    I made my 1st batch with Fels-Naptha (‘cuz it’s what I had on hand) and just the 1 tbsp. of glycerin & once it settled in the pumps it was VERY thick. Does that mean it needs more glycerin???

    Thanks Amy!
    .-= Sherri´s last blog ..Homeschooling Lesson #23,647… =-.

  6. Hi there! I happened upon your blog as I was looking for a natural liquid hand soap recipe! I made this tonight, and it turned out great!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    I’m doing a little post about it on my blog, and will of course link it to your blog, as it was my inspiration! Thanks. :)
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Me in Threes! =-.

  7. I tried this with less than a Tbsp of glycerin (maybe I didnt need it). My soap is really thick like slime :)Do you think more water will fix the problem? Or do you think I could make another batch and combine the two to counteract the slime?

  8. I was wondering: I use goat milk soap which is made from raw, organic goat milk. It smells wonderful so can I skip the essential oil? Thanks for this recipe! My hubby is an RN and does not care for anti bacterial soaps which are so popular. We will LOVE this!!!!!!

    • Amy,
      Hello! If you are using regular soap bars, then no, you do not need the glycerin. I was using homemade castille and it was not setting up without it (and even then, it was a struggle).

  9. Thanks for the fun recipe! I am making it right now! I have combined a few additional ingredients and come up with this: Dr. Bronners castile soap, glycerin, water, castor oil, almond oil, coconut oil, sweet orange & eucalyptus essential oils, honey. Hoping it will turn out divine :)

  10. Thanks for sharing! I just tried it with regular soap without any glycerin but it is still too thick. Do you think I should just reheat it to melt and add more water? or do you think that batch just won’t work? any other ideas? Thanks!

    • I heard this same thing from a friend of mine and I’ve not tried to tweak it. I would try more water before giving up on it…hoping to try it out myself soon!

  11. I just made some of the liquid soap and I have two questions: Does it thicken as it cools? How and at what point do you discover you need to add more glycerin?

    Thanks for your help! I am excited to see how it turns out.

    Chris

    • It does thicken some as it cools. If it continues to be water-like, then add more glycerin or try a different kind of bar soap.

  12. Any suggestions on the castille soap making. I would like to start making my own soap and starting out with less toxins. thanks

    • The dial soap has glycerin in it already and doesn’t work very well with this. Try using a soap that is more pure…like Ivory or Castille.

  13. I used dial because I wanted an antibacterial liquid hand soap. Any other suggestions on how to make an antibacterial soap?

    • The recipe on Mooberry said 12 drops or so. I’m not sure that is enough. I’d be more apt to use around 25 drops.

  14. I am totally confused. Please help. I purchased a bottle of glycerin. How do I make soap out of it without using lye? Also, how do I make liquid soap using this liquid glycrin. IT IS NOT A GLYCERIN SOAP BASE, JUST GLYCRIN.

    Thanks,
    Lis

    • You don’t use the glycerin to make the soap. It congeals the homemade castille soap, but if you are using regular bar soap, you do not need the glycerin.

  15. H, I have made a CP castille soap, its just cured and I would like to make it into a liquid soap using your recipe. How long does the liquid soap live before spoiling and do I need to add some preservative if I want it to last more than a few weeks?

    TIA

  16. My liquid soap seperates in the bottles, I followed the recipe exactly, so is that normal and what can I do to make it hold together evenly in the bottle?

    I want it to look pretty enough to give as gifts and don’t want people to have to shake the bottle all the time.

    Any solution much appreciated.

  17. Tried this recipe and unfortunately it set up like a very firm jello. Totally solid. I’m going to try melting it down into more water, but we’ll see.

    • I’m noticing that with some soaps it takes more water than with others. But even with a more gooey consistency, it does come through the pump just fine. Hope it works a little better for you with more water. :)

      • I went back and remelted it with 3 more cups of water. I probably should have done 3 1/2 more, but it seems to be working. The first time I made liquid hand soap I think my soap was to old because it didn’t melt completely and separated, but this batch seems much better.

  18. Love these homemade recipes, are there any for liquid dish detergent soap or do you use the homemade hand soap for this also?

  19. I made homemade handsoap in the summer. I used another recipe because I didn’t find yours until today. I wish I had known about the use of glycerin. The other recipe didn’t mention I probably wouldn’t need it with bar soap. I purchased the ginger soap from Trader Joe’s and my result was like SNOT. It comes out very slimey and difficult to detach from the pump. It’s also awfully difficult to pour into hand pump bottles around the house. I would like a more pourable option. Is yours more pourable? I don’t mind using a funnel. I hope to try your recipe soon!

    • Tracy,
      I had to really play with the measurements, but no matter what I’ve done, it does not come out like what you buy in the store. However, it does come out of the dispenser just fine, so I watered it down as much as I could and yes, it still had a snot-like quality.

  20. Hi!! I was curious.. I noticed your recipe said you can use Fels Naptha or Castille.. Is Fels Naptha ok to use for your hands.. Im new at this so I wasn’t sure and I have liquid Castille (I have 18-in-1 Hemp Citrus Orange Pure-Castile Soap).. does that work!! And how long does this recipe last!! Also do you have a homemade Castile soap recipe or a LIQUID Dish Detergent recipe!!

    • I have made my own castille soap one time with some friends and decided the process was not worth the very little money savings. I’d say your best bet it to just experiment with it. It should be just fine, and yes, Fels Naptha is safe for you hands. Also, I’m sorry, but I do not have a liquid dish detergent recipe…yet. ;)

  21. I made my first batch of soap with Dial. Hypo Algeneric bar soap with two Tbs of glycerin to a gallon of water. It did get slimy, but it makes hands feel soft. (I didn’t know that it already had glycerin in the Dial.)

    What I found in reasearch:
    1. Glycerin absorbs water and therefore is used to keep hands soft.
    2. Bar soap is made with sodium hydoxide and liquid soap is made ith postassium hygroxide. The theory is that the differance is the cause of the slime. Does anybody know anything about that?
    3. A foaming dispenser shuld help take away the slime feeilng. I ordered a foaming dispenser to find out if this is true.