DIY Liquid Hand Soap from Bar Soap

If you were to imagine a process by which to turn a bar of soap into liquid hand soap you would probably think of taking a bar of soap, grating it and mixing it with water. And you would essentially be right. It is nearly that simple.

A few years back I was disturbed by the fact that I couldn’t find any liquid hand soap without triclosan in it. Then the internet provided me with a wonderful, simple, cheap, diy alternative. Those are the best kind.

I started using this recipe from Savy Housekeeping and have since adapted it.

Here is how I do it.


Start with a bar of soap. I have a bunch of Ivory soap that I have had in the cabinet for years so that is what I used. Once that is gone I will switch to a castile soap for even safer, better ingredients.

First I used my food processor to grate the bar of soap. This can be done by hand but what a pain. My food processor pretty much turns the bar of soap to a dust.

Next I measure the amount of grated soap. It usually equals 1 to 1 1/2 cups.

Now a cup of soap goes in my pot with 1 tablespoon glycerin and 8-10 cups of hot tap water. It doesn’t have to be hot but the soap melts faster if it is.

I set it on medium to high heat until the soap is disolved. It can be stirred but gently. If it is stirred too vigorously it bubbles up. The soap dissolves pretty quickly when it is dust-like.

Now I turn the heat off and leave it to cool. I go back every half hour or so and give it a quick stir. This is important because it keeps the mixture from separating as it cools. I didn’t do this the first few times and had weird separated soap. I am forgetful though so some times I have to use my immersion blender to recombine it all.

Once it is cool I put it in some bottles I have and use a funnel to refill the soap pump whenever it is empty. This makes a little over a half of a gallon of liquid soap so lasts for a long time.

Bonus: nothing is really dirty. The only cleanup is wiping/rinsing the soap off of everything.

Cost breakdown:

Cheapest store bought liquid soap $3.50 for 32oz.

Bar of soap $0.45
Water $Free
Glycerin $3 for 4oz. (on Amazon) = $0.38 per Tablespoon
Total for approximately 80oz. of homemade liquid hand soap = $0.83

Even when I switch to a higher quality bar soap my total cost will still be around $2.08 total for almost three times the amount of the store bought stuff. Not too shabby.


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