Homemade Non-Toxic Liquid Hand Soap

I have something to say.

Commercial non-toxic liquid hand soap is way, way too expensive.  Since switching over all of our household products to chemical free varieties, purchasing liquid hand soap is something that always makes me choke.  We need easy access to soap at our sinks, but good grief all the options I found to order were crazy expensive -like around $5.00 for 12 ounces.  Ouch.

Shame on them.

Do you know how much it cost me to make an entire gallon of non-toxic, all natural, organic liquid hand soap?  Three dollars and fifty cents. Total.  For an entire gallon.  (A gallon, by the way, is 128 ounces.  That’s some awesome savings!)

This may have been one of the easiest items I’ve ever made.  It took hardly any time.  And it only cost me $3.50.  (Pardon my redundancy.  I’m hung up on the fact that it only cost me $3.50 for a gallon of the healthiest hand soap ever.  $3.50.  $3.50!)

Because of this, I plan to get on a soap box (ha!) and encourage all of us to save a bunch of money by making homemade liquid hand soap.

Other recipes I’ve seen call for several ingredients I didn’t feel safe to use.  Then, my friend BryAnna told me she’d been playing with making soap and had found these simple directions.  She’s a genius.  I love her.

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

Homemade Non-Toxic Liquid Hand Soap

4 ounce bar of natural soap (I used a bar of coconut oil soap from Tropical Traditions.  Any natural bar of soap would work.  I think the bars from Victorian Rose Soap Company would be great!)
1 gallon of water

First, heat the water in a pot, just long enough to steam:

In the meantime, grate your bar of soap.

Take the steaming water off the heat.  Immediately pour the grated soap into the water.  Stir the mixture, then let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Use a hand mixer to blend the soap and water mixture well.  Let it sit overnight.

The next morning, use the hand mixer again to blend well.  Done.  You have a gallon of non-toxic liquid hand soap!

When my friend BryAnna made her batch, she found that it was quite thick and almost gel like the second day.  My batch, on the other hand, was still quite runny.  If your soap is too thick, you may want to blend in a little extra water.  If your mixture is too runny…it doesn’t matter.  It works just fine!

I had some extra pump bottles around the house which I filled and put by each sink.  The remaining liquid soap, I funneled into a gallon water jug for storage.


If you’ve never tried making your own liquid hand soap, you’ve got to give this a try.  So simple.  So safe and pure.  And so, so, so much less expensive.

Like, only $3.50 for a gallon.  Or did I mention that already?

Ever tried making your own soaps?  Which kind(s) have you tried?  Hand soap?  Laundry detergent?  Bar soap?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    What do you mean by non-toxic soap?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    When I talk about non-toxic soap, I am referring to soap made without any added chemicals that could be particularly harmful. For instance, I use a coconut soup from Tropical Traditions which is so pure, it only has one ingredient! http://secure.ttpurchase.com/77402E41-1E0B-90B3-0EF90F118D9A1D68

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    I realize that this is over two years late on this but there’s no such thing as one ingredient soap. All soap has lye. If it didn’t, it would just be fat/oil.

    [Reply]

  2. Misty says

    Can you use tap water or does it need to be filtered? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Misty Reply:

    Also how much water, a gallon?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, one gallon is what I use for this recipe. :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I just use tap water.

    [Reply]

  3. says

    I am new to making my own things at home. I’m worried about hand soap and it creating bacteria. What’s your thoughts? And where can I purchase essential oils that aren’t rediculously expensive?
    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I really don’t worry terribly about bacteria, knowing that there are so many good bacterias in the air to combat the bad ones. Mountain Rose Herbs is a good source for some essential oils: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/index.php?AID=116329&BID=674” target=”_blank

    [Reply]

  4. Sherri says

    I used the Victorian Rose Soap and it came out VERY liquidy, doesn’t ‘blend’ well, nor does it lather (at all!!) when used. Just wondering what I did wrong. :( A bit disappointed….was using this as Christmas gifts for my sons teachers. What can I do to correct? I hate to think of throwing it all out.

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    Organic/natural soaps do not tend to lather bc they don’t put surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate in them. Some surfactants have a biproduct called dioxine that is a known cancer causer among other things.

    Soap of any kind does NOT need suds/bubbles or “antibacterial” chemicals to clean. As long as you use warm/hot water and scrub good it works just fine.

    Hope this helps:)

    [Reply]

  5. Jeff says

    I think a gallon of water is WAAAY too much. Try using half that much per 4 oz bar, and your batch will come out much better, and is still economical. At the local health store I’ve found bars of quality soap in the bargain bin for as low as 75 cents each, even at $2 a bar your getting a good deal.

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    no kidding about a gallon being too much – I stopped myself at 3 qts when my instinct kicked in, saying, “THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH WATER!”. And it was still way too much water. Unless of course, you like your liquid soap to have the viscosity of…water. Which it does. It still works, but geez…way too much water. ;)

    [Reply]

  6. Julie says

    Would Kiss My Face olive oil bar soap work?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve not tried it, but it’s worth a shot!

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    The first time I tried making the soap I used that particular one and it was way too watery. I used a 7 ounce rosemary mint bar from The Fresh Market this time and it turned out wonderful. I even added a few drops of peppermint essential oil before blending it.

    [Reply]

  7. Kat says

    I have been looking for inexpensive ways to make liquid dish soap. Do you think this recipe would work for dish soap if you used organic castile bar soap?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s worth a try!

    [Reply]

    Kat Reply:

    It works! Just used a bar of castile soap – Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Tea Tree, 5 oz with this recipe and it worked perfectly. Only thing I changed was that I used a little less water – 92 ounces instead of 128 ounces (1 gallon). A bar of good castile soap costs around $4 and makes close to a gallon, which is way cheaper than liquid castile soap bought from the store.

    [Reply]

  8. Linda says

    I read this article regarding the safety of homemade liquid hand soap. Let me know what you think, please.
    http://www.greenideareviews.com/2012/07/22/diy-homemade-liquid-hand-soap-review-does-it-work/

    [Reply]

    Verna Reply:

    I have made this recipe with one exception, I boil the water. I have had my soap for over a year. I don’t store it in the fridge. I haven’t had mold or any thing grow in it.

    [Reply]

    Evon Reply:

    If distilled water is used it should not go bad (someone else said boiling the tap water but I have not tried this) but I also add lavender essential oil to mine to kill bacteria. Never had any go bad. Plus the lavender oil is a natural anti bacterial agent for your hands without the over kill of chemical ones.

    [Reply]

    All Allegy Advocate Reply:

    I use boiling water. It does not go bad. I am allergic to most essential oils with fragrance, so I do not add anything to my hand soap

    [Reply]

  9. Rachel says

    Linda,

    Maybe using some citric acid would prevent that? Citric acid is using in canning. It occurs naturally, and is often used in bath and beauty products. You can get it any where that has canning products, or I got mine at Whole Foods.

    [Reply]

  10. Lilly says

    I make hand soap with Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, and as you can imagine, it’s very liquid-y/runny. Any suggestions as to how to make it thicker?

    [Reply]

    Kat Reply:

    I just tried this out last night! I used a bar of castile soap – Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-One Hemp Pure-Castile Soap Tea Tree, 5 oz with this recipe and it worked perfectly. Only thing I changed was that I used a little less water – 92 ounces instead of 128 ounces (1 gallon). A bar of good castile soap costs around $4 and makes close to a gallon, which is way cheaper than liquid castile soap bought from the store.

    [Reply]

  11. ASHeree says

    I am allergic to citrus. What else can I use as a preservative for my homemade soap? How long will the soap be good for without the citrus?

    [Reply]

    Brenda Reply:

    try grapeseed oil. I use it in bar soap. never tried it in liquid hand soap but it is a preservative (natural)

    [Reply]

  12. Brycee says

    When you make homemade liquid soaps they tend NOT to lather. It does not affect the cleaning quality tho. For antibacterial add some lavender or tea tree essential oil. There are also no chemical emulsifiers in your homemade product sso it will tend to seperate give it a good stir or shake before each use. I make my own dish soap basically the same way plus a bit of borax it works great cuts grease and leaves my dishes and hands feeling soft to the touch. Hope this helps ya!

    [Reply]

  13. Jolene says

    How many hours should I let it sit? I made mine in the morning and am wondering if it would be ready by this evening.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would imagine anywhere between 8-12 hours would do the trick. :)

    [Reply]

  14. Aubrey says

    I am an impoverished college student, so I am always looking for ways to be thrifty. This seems do simple! I am going to try it with a bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap!

    [Reply]

  15. says

    I’m one of the people who makes that crazy expensive liquid soap you’re talking about. I’d like to give you a few points of information on soap that might be helpful to you.

    First of all, natural liquid soap is very time consuming to make. I have a batch cooking right now. It’s been cooking for about 5 hours. The first hour or so takes my attention, then it’s like letting bread rise. It will cook for another couple of hours before the paste is finished and tomorrow I’ll spend at least a couple of hours diluting the paste. That’s how liquid soap is made. I can only make 2 gallons at a time at home and I use premium ingredients so it can’t be cheap. However, I make the most concentrated soap that can be made so if you took a foaming bottle and put about 1/2 inch of my soap in the bottom, and filled it with water you’d have a full container of foaming soap – great for kids. Harder to waste.

    Another point: All soap is made with some kind of oil or fat and lye and water. You’re Tropical Traditions is made with one fat not one ingredient. If it were only coconut oil it would not be soap. It would be coconut oil. When a soap says 100% coconut oil (or in the case of real/original castile) 100% olive oil, it means that is the only fat used. There is still water and lye used. Lye and fat make a chemical change that produces soap so no lye is left when the soap is done.

    I’ve experimented at length with making liquid soap from bar soap (because I really didn’t want to have to make liquid soap from scratch either). How the liquid soap turns out is dependent on how the bar of soap used for it is made. I find that my 100% olive oil soap works pretty well. No soap made this way will stay in the same form indefinitely. Some will change in days some over months. My 100% olive oil lasts in consistent liquid form for about 3 months. (I don’t really worry about preservatives because soap is alkaline and acid based products will spoil faster)

    For dishes and all kinds of cleaning you can use plain old soap. If it is REAL soap and not some detergent bar or some fancy skin bar loaded with extra oils any soap will clean like crazy. Plain olive oil soap will clean dishes wonderfully. It won’t make suds in your dish pan but rub the bar on your dish cloth and wash the dishes with it and they’ll be spotless. Most other surfaces in your house will also be very well cleaned with plain old soap!

    While olive oil soap will clean most things, the properties of coconut oil far surpass olive for cleaning. I make a 100% coconut oil soap that cleans just about anything!! (So your Tropical Traditions soap would make a much more cleaning liquid soap than most other bars would make)

    Happy Cleaning!!

    [Reply]

    Diane Reply:

    Hi Bunni,

    This is a very informative article and I’m so appreciative of it. Am living on a boat now, and want to be
    conscientious about what we put in our oceans, bays, seas, marinas, etc. I am going to try some of the
    ideas from this thread and from your article. Is it possible for you to share the recipe for the natural liquid
    soap that takes you hours of cooking time? It sounds like something that would last for a very long time,
    and that’s what I need on the boat. How expensive is it, and what types of premium ingredients do you
    use?

    Thanks for your article!
    Diane

    [Reply]

  16. Robin W says

    Ok. This might be a silly question, but can I use just plain Ivory? We have tons of leftover Ivory from teaching Cub Scouts how to whittle. I have been searching for a way to use this.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sure, I think that would work!

    [Reply]

    Tar Reply:

    You can turn that whittled Ivory into laundry detergent!
    2 bars of Ivory
    1.5 cups of Borax
    1.5 cups of washing soda

    I use this and it works really well!

    [Reply]

  17. Beth J says

    I make my own laundry soap that I just love. I have found if I boil the mixture for a while it turns out thicker. maybe if you tried cooking this soap recipe it would thicken too? just a thought.

    [Reply]

  18. Penny says

    What is a pleasant smelling essential oil I could use to make the soap smell really nice? Thank you in advance. :)

    [Reply]

  19. Penny says

    I made the soap, I didn’t use quite a gallon of water and even tho it looks like water it has a wonderful clean feeling. The problem is everyone that has used it has had to change their clothes because it squirts all over. I am wondering what you would think about adding Aloe vera gel to it to thicken it up a bit,any thoughts would be great from anyone. Thank you. :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I am wondering if that wouldn’t stay “mixed in” and if it would clog up the squirter. Is squirter even a word? Hmmmm…anyway, could you switch it to a different container?

    [Reply]

    Penny Reply:

    I went and bought a liquid soap foam container and the darn thing acts like its broke.You cant push down on it for the soap to come out. UGH!!!! Anyway thats why I wondered if using the regular liquid soap container and just adding something to thicken it with. :)

    [Reply]

  20. Robin says

    I’m going to try this. I have Celiac Disease and I am having to track down hidden sources of gluten. I can’t seem to find hand soap other than Softsoap that is gluten free and it causes dermatitis problems with my hands. Bar soaps like Ivory, Dial and Dove are gluten free, so I will definitely experiment. thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    Have you tried Method? I use their “free of perfumes and dyes” formula and it doesn’t affect my sensitive skin. I buy their hand wash refill pouches (silver & white) at Super Target, though when the run out of the unscented variety, I get them at soap.com. It is the most affordable dye/fragrance free, eco-friendly, NON-antibacterial hand soap refill I have found. Whole Foods also sells other brands of natural hand soap refills, though they cost more.

    [Reply]

  21. Paula says

    The amount of water you need TOTALLY depends on the soap, so don’t get discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t come out quite right. The first time I did this I used 1 bar of Dove (the one with Shea butter) & two cups of water. I also used about 1tbsp each of glycerin & coconut oil. It came out perfect!! I used it as a hand wash & my skin feels incredibly soft. Two days ago I tried again with a bar of Palmer’s Shea Butter Soap. I have added water multiple times and it is still turning into a gel after several hours. I think I’m up to like 10 cups of water now plus I mixed it well with a hand mixer. I think it’ll be okay this time but I haven’t used it yet to say for sure. It definitely depends on the soap though… They’re all different!

    [Reply]

  22. says

    I think a really good option for making homemade soap is to start from scratch. Later is created by various oils and not chemicals. Usually homemade soap don’t lather because people choose cheap low end oils rather than some of the quality oils. Actually coconut and palm are two of the better ones to create soap that lathers. I have always made soap using potassium hydroxide and starting from scratch. Yes its a little more expensive , but there is a lot that goes into it and a lot that comes out of it pride and knowing that it is truly pure. It is most likely why u find liquid soap selling for more is because olive oil , shea, goats milk etc and the potassium hydroxide cost. but I will tell you this once you have made a true batch from scratch and see and feel the difference in your skin, you will understand why the extra steps and extra money is worth it. It’s like buying a bottle of liquid from the dollar store and a bottle from an organic homemade boutique. Both will work but one is and will definitely be a treat for you and your skin.

    [Reply]

    Julie Lee Reply:

    Rachel … are you willing to share your recipe as I would love to follow your lead …

    JL

    [Reply]

  23. Holly says

    Natural soap can lather it depends on the oils you use to make it.rachel is right. I make my own soap. Google soap oil qualities and it will tell you what each oil lends to the soap being made.castor oil is one of the most bubbly and conditioning oils,coconut is one of the most cleansing and hard oils to make soap out of.also if you use distilled water it is less likely to grow bacteria then tap water.there is one soap qualities list at soapcalc.net

    [Reply]

  24. Monique Clock says

    I am going to make this and also add some drops of oil of oregano for germs…it works great at killing the bad bacteria and so simple to add to your hand soap.

    [Reply]

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