Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

My crusade to cut back on plastics in our household continues! I already stopped buying liquid body wash and switched to a bar of soap, so what’s my next target? Liquid hand soap.

I don’t like the idea of having bars of soap on every sink in our house – liquid is much neater and easier to use. So, I’m now making my own.

Here’s the recipe I came up with:

1 bar of soap (I used Ivory because I always have a stash of it here to make my homemade laundry detergent)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Finely chop (or grate) the soap and put into a saucepan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and, stirring often, melt the soap. Be careful not to let the soapy water overflow. Once the soap has dissolved, remove the pan from heat and whisk in one tablespoon of the olive oil. Let the mixture sit overnight.

When you wake up in the morning, it will be solid. Break it up a bit and put it into a blender or food processor. Add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the honey and 1 cup of water. Turn the blender on and whip well. You may need to add more water to get the soap to the right consistency.

Pour into empty soap containers and enjoy!

Some other thoughts:

1. Making homemade liquid soap saves a lot of money. This recipe cost $1.84 to make, but it filled $12 worth of empty soap dispensers. Yee haw!
2. The olive oil and honey make this a very moisturizing soap. Seriously, my hands have never felt better!
3. What about “antibacterial”? Quite simply, it isn’t necessary. Overuse of antibacterials may actually promote resistant strains of bacteria. Even worse, tricolsan, the primary ingredient in antibacterial soap, can combine with chlorine in our tap water to make chloroform gas, a probable carcinogen according to the EPA. The first line of defense against infection is simply washing your hands with normal soap and water.

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29 Comments for this entry

  1. Courtney says:

    Fun idea! But in case you ever want a safe and gentle liquid handsoap from the store, I love Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. You can buy it in bulk and fill your containers.

  2. Katinagj says:

    You could probably add some cinnamon essential oil for its antibacterial properties. Recent articles Ive been reading talk about it.

    I posted a recipe for hand sanitizer today using cinnamon oil along with other essential oils. I have yet to try it but thought it sounded interesting and worth the try since it contains no alcohol.

  3. Katinagj says:

    By the way I meant to say thanks for the recipe! I am making some hand soap right now. I'm planning to do baskets for everyone for christmas with homemade hand soap hand sanitizer and hand and foot scrub and maybe some other stuff as well, so this is really helpful and easy!

  4. Ebelegy Blog says:

    Nice Maureen! If you get even more into soap, you can go to http://www.makingcosmetics.com they have everything you need from learning how to make your own makeup to making your own conditioner and all the supplies that go with it. I started researching that website when I first started and it was a lot of fun! Now I have to buy my ingredients in bulk but serioulsy if you aren't going to sell them and they are just for your home, they make great gifts! It really does save money and plastic.

  5. Claudia says:

    I love this recipe you came up with! I will be using this for my family. (My husband purchased Ivory soap for me today while running errands. Yay!) I have gotten rid of a lot of products in our home due to the chemicals; I feel they were not safe. As for plastics we have started to reuse a lot of our plastic and glass containers, and recycle the others. [For example I had some of those large Target brand pump bottles left (before we switched over to a mild bar of soap for everyone)that use to contain babywash. I now buy a large bottle of dish detergent(60oz for $3.00) and fill the pump bottles with the detergent.] Anyway, this homemade making mommie is thankful for you sharing this recipe.

  6. Michelle says:

    I just came across this site and it looks great! My 5 month old is suffering from severe excema..coupled with food allergies, so I am on a mission to get down to the basics and start making our own products to get all this junk out of our house, and out of the products that we are using on his skin to desperately give him relief…anyone with suggestions to naturally help with EXCEMA???

    • Rose says:

      Hi, I know I’m extremely late in replying to this so you may never see it! I would do some research on using virgin coconut oil on his excema. It’s great stuff!! 🙂

  7. HomemadeMother says:

    HI Michelle – So sorry to hear about your young son's skin troubles. That must be so stressful for you. Have you tried using good old fashioned extra virgin olive oil?

    Also, I reviewed a homemade product that aims to treat excema. Check it out when you have a moment:


  8. Mommyof4 says:

    Im just curious about the honey in the soap, is it safe to have the honey on your hands with an infant? My baby is always chewing on my hands and I want all the ingredients to be safe. And what is the shelf life of this soap, especially with the honey in it…the honey just makes me nervous. And can I ommit the honey and add any essential oils for a different smell??

  9. HomemadeMother says:

    Mommy of 4, I don't think there is an issue with honey because it is rinsed off as you wash your hands. If you are nervous about it you can certainly leave it out or substitute with something else you like. The recipe is very flexible.

    The shelf life seems to be indefinite. I make a big batch every 6 months or so.

  10. Mommyof4 says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this recipe for the hand soap! I must wash my hands 50 times a day and during the winter my hands get so dry that they split and bleed and hurt so bad…this soap feels so wonderful on my hands and instead of it drying my skin every time I was it moisterizes is. My hands have healed up alot just in the past 2 days of using it! Thanks again 🙂

  11. HomemadeMother says:

    I'm so glad you like it! It is fun to make, works well, and saves a lot of money. A Homemade Mothering Home Run! Haha!

    Hope you are having a really nice weekend!

  12. sabrina says:

    If you wanted to add essential oils, when would you do that. Btw I’m making it as I type lol x

    • Maureen Smithe says:

      Hope your batch turned out great!! You can probably add essential oils after you stir in the grated soap or just before you turn on the blender.

      • sabrina says:

        Thanks Maureen it did, really creamy. Just one thing, my hands feel a bit too dry. Not sure if I didn’t do it properly or should add something lol. They feel soft but dry. Also wondering, could I add food colouring and at what step? x

        • Maureen Smithe says:

          Not sure about the food coloring – I’d imagine it isn’t the same stuff soap makers use to color their soaps, so I’d worry that it might stain your hands!! You could try adding tumeric for a soft yellow color or beet juice for a pinkish/red color.

      • sabrina says:

        Oh by the way, I didn’t have olive oil on hand but sweet almond oil, so used that instead. Do you think that could be why my hands feel dry? Also it made tons! Love it, and I reduced all the measurements by half!

  13. Traci says:

    I just made the soap and I love it!! It is so easy to make. I used the Softsoap scented bar and it smells wonderful. I was even able to put the soap into the new Lysol motion sensor dispensers and it wasn’t to thick for it. Thank you sooooo much for putting your recipe out there for money savers like me to use.

  14. Brittany says:

    I was wondering: instead of olive oil and honey, have you ever worked with vegetable glycerin? I made a batch from a different recipe and used the glycerin, it turned out to a “snoty” consistency. Any thoughts on how to fix it? I just came across your recipe and will have to try this next time.

  15. Jan says:

    Amazing!!! I would of never believed how wonderful this soap is!!! I love it!!!! THANKS!!!

  16. kathy says:

    just made my first batch today. i love that it has honey and olive oil in it. i used yardley english lavender soap.(oddly i am allergic to ivory). i found when i went to blend it i needed more than one cup of water, which is no problem. i just kept adding till i got the consistency i liked. this will also make a difference in how much you end up with. my question is, if i add more water, i am assuming this will dilute the effects of the honey and oil.? do i add more of each and if so how much. i tried to figure out, with my limited ability in math, a ratio but not to sure how that worked out. i dont want to add to much or to little and have a mess.Do you have any ideas on how much to add per extra cup of water? or maybe no extra is needed?

  17. Love this idea! I had been using 1 part castile soap to 4 parts water in leftover foam pump bottles for a long time. This sounds easy, mositurizing, and less expensive! Thanks!

  18. Brandi says:

    This is a great idea! I am trying this when I get home! I love Dove soap, so I am going to try it with that, will let you know the outcome!

  19. Dana says:

    Hi HomemadeMother. I love that this recipe is so simple & requires no glycerine.

    Could you please tell me what size your bar of Ivory was? The ones I have are 113 g / 4 oz.

    Also, is there any special way to store the liquid soap you’re not currently using? For instance, away from sunlight, in a dark cupboard?

    I’m hoping to also have this last indefinitely when I whip up a batch. Thanks.

  20. April says:

    I *love* this recipe! Having three midgets, two of whom are in diapers, I’m constantly washing my hands… they’re normally unbelieveably dry, even cracked and bleeding. Until I started using this soap!

    I’ve made it a few times with Ivory as you suggested and had great results. But this last time, I tried unscented Dove so that I could add my own scent using essential oils. For some reason it came out pretty much the consistency of water though – it never set after I melted the grated Dove in boiling water, it stayed liquid. Any thoughts as to why that might be?

    • Maureen says:

      Hi April,
      SO glad you like the recipe! While I don’t know *exactly* why the results would be different with Ivory and Dove, they are two different products made from different ingredients, so they will react differently. Perhaps you can tweak the recipe a bit if you want to continue using the Dove? Maybe use less water? Let me know how it goes!


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