I’ve figured out a stellar recipe for homemade liquid hand soap that is cheap, easy to make, uses simple ingredients and can be scented by using drops of essential oils. Keep reading to get my homemade liquid soap recipe. (Bonus, this recipe can also be used for body wash!)
I think we can mostly agree that handsoap can be pretty cheap. This fact changes when you have older kiddos who chronically forget to close the bathroom door, and toddlers who seize that opportunity to sneak into the bathroom and pour out the hand soap in the sink (because, y’know…fun).
We’ve tried the bar soap method, and the soap tends to get left in the sink, get mushy and then melt.
So, our house has developed a need for a handsoap recipe that is easy to make, low cost, and uses simple ingredients. Ideally, a hand soap recipe that would be good for dry skin and/or sensitive skin.
Typically, if you were making homemade handsoap without Castile soap from scratch, you would need potassium hydroxide, base oils, fragrance (like essential oils), distilled water, and liquid glycerin. This has a bit of a long process, and so for ease, I have chosen to start off with a soap bar, and turn that into homemade hand soap without castile soap.
I know that Dr. Bronner has a liquid castile soap that can have water added to it to to turn Into hand soap, however I wasn’t looking to put out any extra cash for handsoap, if I could avoid it.
If you are wanting to make your own liquid castile soap, there are many great recipes out there, including this one. Quite frankly, I don’t desire to spend my time making cold process soap, so for now, I’ll make my own foaming soap, and use my spending money to buy special handmade soaps from local artisans. Win, win!
Ingredients to make homemade handsoap without castile soap
Bar of Dove soap: I hit up my local dollar store to find antibacterial soap to use for this project. I will warn that you need to use a cold pressed soap that does not have glycerin in it. The glycerin, when heated, will negatively affect the gelling process of your soap, making it slimy and hard to manage.
Dove soap is a great option, and you can also use African black soap, or look for a soap making vendor on Etsy who uses all natural products to make natural hand soap that doesn’t contain vegetable glycerine.
If you don’t want to use Dove soap, there are other great options you can use too to make homemade hand soap without pure castile soap. Coconut soap, goat milk soap, Marseille soap and Aleppo soap can all be grated and used in this handmade soap recipe as a substitute for the Dove soap.
Coconut soap: coconut soap is very moisturizing and comes in bars. You can grate this soap into a bowl, and use the gratings to make your soap.
Goat milk soap: goat milk soap is ultra moisturizing and full of enzymes that help with dry skin issues like eczema, which tends to flare up in the colder months.
Marseille soap: marseille soap is a soap from France that uses vegetable oils, especially olive oil. It is known as “savon de Marseilles” and is also used as a pesticide, and as a soap for washing delicate articles.
Aleppo soap: Aleppo soap is an antiseptic, powerfully moisturizing soap from Syria that is made with lye, olive oil and laurel oil.
Water: You can use tap water, or distilled water, or even boil your tap water if you have hard water. This is entirely dependent on your preference.
Fragrance oils: If you would like to scent your soap, feel free to put a few drops of optional essential oils into your soap.
I like to add my different essential oils in the bottom of the soap dispenser before I put the soap in. In that way, I can choose to scent that soap however I am feeling that day, instead of scenting the whole batch at once. (I really like to use tea tree oil and lemon essential oil in my homemade hand soap recipe.
Carrier oils: Also optional, you can feel free to add a small amount of various carrier oils ( like olive oil, liquid form coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or vitamin e oil), which is an easy way to increase the moisturizing properties of your own hand soap.
Supplies needed to make homemade handsoap without castile soap.
Foaming Soap pump: You can reuse empty ones from old bottles of hand soap that you bought in the past, or buy a new one. I really like to use a plastic foaming dispenser for my house because it’s harder to break than glass, and the soap doesn’t slide off my children’s little hands so easily. These high quality ones come with labels and would look lovely on any counter!
Grater: To grate the soap into tiny pieces, which makes it easier for them to melt into the water. I just used a regular box cheese grater. You could also use a food processor or cut it into chunks. For this project, the smaller the pieces, the quicker the process. (But who’s counting, right?)
If you’re in the market for a new box grater, you can get one like this with an attached container to cut down on mess.
A large pot: A good choice for such a large quantity of water is a stock pot. Any large pot that will fit a quart (or 4 litres) of water will work well! This one holds 8 quarts and is an excellent price for a kitchen essential.
A mixing spoon: I used a wooden spoon for this recipe. It’s a good idea to use one that is taller than the pot so you don’t have to worry about getting your hands into the hot soap mixture.
A medium sized bowl: Large enough to hold the shavings from 2 bars of soap.
A blender (optional): I used an immersion blender for this recipe, however a regular blender could also be used! This is to break up and smooth out the gelled soap during the final steps. The one that I use is just like this, and its so nice because I can also use it to froth milk for hot drinks!
Process for making homemade handsoap without castile soap
- Using the box grater (use the biggest grate option), grate the bars of soap into a bowl.
- Put a large pot on the stove, turn the heat to high, and pour in your quart of water.
- Add your soap grates to the bowl of water.
- Mix the soap regularly until the water has come to a boil and all of the soap pieces have melted.
- Place the lid on the pot, and allow the pot to sit overnight, or for 8 hours.
- The soap will now be a type of soap paste, or have a gelatinous texture. Use an immersion blender to smooth it out if you desire.
- Pour the soap mixture into a foaming soap dispenser or wherever you keep your own liquid soap.
- Add 4-6 drops of essential oils if you want to scent your soap.
- Add up to 1 tsp. total of moisturizing carrier oils.
- Store the remaining soap in a large container, or in a mason jar with the lid screwed on tightly.
How to use your homemade handsoap without castile soap
This amazing hand soap is one of those easy recipes that is also very versatile, as you can equally use this for body washes. The only thing is that because it is not as concentrated as “regular hand soap” that you would buy already made, you can consider using an extra pump when you wash your hands with it.
I remember being a health care student and having to see the germs left on our hands after washing them with little friction vs. much friction…it was alarming! To read more about the science of that friction piece, you can check out this simple article that includes dish soap here.
This soap recipe could also make a great gift for a friend, just put a cute label on the jar and wrap it up with a loofah and maybe some bath bombs.
One of my favourite meditative practices to do while I wash my hands or my body in the shower is to imagine myself releasing everything that doesn’t serve me. As I scrub, lather and rinse, I release emotions that are weighing me down, beliefs that are holding me back, and circumstances that don’t align with my best life.
Wishing you happy soap making, and clean bathroom counters.
Aja Celeste is a mom to 6 beautiful children and a twin mom! She is also creator and writer of That Zoi Life and a professionally trained Evolutionary Astrologer who has been doing astrology for 7 years. She is also a health care assistant, has a Bachelor of Ministry Degree, and is passionate about supporting people in conscious parenting. She also does Psychosomatics using Recall Healing.
Please contact her at [info@ThatZoiLife.com] if you would like to find out more about working with her.