DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!

If a prize were to be given to the “world’s greatest dad,” I know just the man to win.

Okay, so maybe I’m a tad bit biased, but my father would certainly be a top qualifier. While not perfect (I’m sure he’ll agree), he’s the kind of man that makes the word “father” a warm, cozy feeling of nostalgic memories.

Growing up, my mom worked the weekends at the local hospital which meant my dad was on mommy/daddy duty every Saturday and Sunday. He did his very best to provide me with the weekend adventures every young girl dreams of: trips to Home Depot and the dump yard. (Seriously, I enjoyed every moment of our weekend trips.) And he always made Saturday mornings extra special with Bisquick pancakes and syrup (we didn’t know about real food just yet).

One of my most vivid memories of our weekends together will always be hand-washing. Silly, right? But, it’s true.

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!My dad was all about hand-washing! In the early 90’s little bottles of on-the-go soap weren’t available, but that didn’t stop my dad. Hand-washing was a habit he intended to instill in me. Along with flossing and brushing my teeth (probably due to his large investment in my pearly whites). Braces are not cheap, folks!

I still have happy thoughts when I look at a bottle of yellow Dial soap. Nostalgia!

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!

Life is different from when I was five. I’ve learned pancake syrup isn’t real (sorry!), but maple syrup is pure heaven. I’ve also discovered pancakes can still be enjoyed every Saturday, made from a delicious homemade recipe versus a yellow box. Of course, with a switch to homemade, I’ve also discovered that orange soap is far from “healthy” or enjoyable (desert-dry hands anyone?).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not all about natural perfection. But when a natural alternative is as easy as mixing a few simple ingredients in a jar and calling it a day, I’m all over it!

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!

Homemade liquid hand soap is one of the simplest natural recipes you can make. In fact, it really doesn’t even need a recipe, but I’ll give you one. Homemade hand soap is a bit different in consistency (watery) from the orange thick soap my dad regularly squirted on my hands, but it does the job just the same, if not better.

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!

So, suds up the kids and share the hand-washing love. My dad will thank you!

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

DIY Liquid Hand Soap



  1. In a mason jar or recycled soap dispenser, add the water first (to prevent bubbles) then the liquid castile soap, followed by the oils. Shake the ingredients together.
  2. Shake the soap dispenser before using, then squirt a small amount on your hands as needed, rinsing with water.

Recipe Notes

Essential Oil Note: You don't have to use the essential oils I add to my soap. You're welcome to skip the essential oils, or experiment with other options. If you're using this soap on young children, I recommend skipping the peppermint essential oil, just to be cautious.


When you introduce water into a product without a preservative you always run the risk of introducing bacteria, so use water-based products quickly.

*Castile soap is a concentrated natural vegetable-based “soap” that greatly differs from the toxic soaps we are accustomed to on store shelves.

The “where to buy” links provide you with information on the products I use to make this soap and many other DIYs.

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap. This is the best homemade soap and so easy to make!


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  • Jamie Miller says:

    Wow. I love how easy this is. I have most of the ingredients at home already!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Yay, Jamie! I love how simple homemade products are, with just a few ingredients multiple creations are possible. Enjoy!!

      • Leigh says:

        Don’t you need a preservative since water is being added?

        • Kristin Marr says:

          Hey Leigh, For long-term use, yes. An effective natural preservative can be very expensive and hard to find. Hand soap is usually something that is used very quickly, so I don’t add a preservative; rather, I usually stick with distilled water to reduce any potential issues. This recipe isn’t a product that should sit around for the long haul. If you won’t use as much soap as the recipe calls for in a short amount of time, then I recommend reducing the amounts.

    • Erin says:

      hi! i can’t get mine to stay mixed. i literally need to mix it each time i use it. thoughts? i didn’t use vitamin E oil.. could that be the cause?

  • Holly says:

    I don’t mean this sarcastically, but as a real question. If you are using Dr. Bronner’s soap to make soap, why not just use Dr. Bronner’s for hand washing? Is it too concentrated and need to be diluted? Thanks.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Holly, Not sarcastic at all :). Dr. Bronner’s is extremely concentrated which is one of the great beauties of this natural product, a little bit goes a long way. I buy a gallon at a time and it lasts months. With that gallon I’m able to make everything from body wash to hand soap and even laundry soap. Hope that helps :).

  • Krystal says:

    For the nourishing oil, could I use olive oil?

  • Elizabeth Vargas says:

    Love the jar. Did you make it?

  • Jill Dushey says:

    Hi! I just made this soap, and am wondering what can I add to make it anti-bacterial?
    I didn’t have tea tree oil on hand when making it. I added Sweet Orange EO instead.

  • Keri says:

    Would this recipe still work well without using vitamin E? I love your blog!!! Thank you for all you do!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Keri, Thank you so much. Vitamin E may cause the soap to be a bit slimy, so I’d only use a small amount (1/2 tsp). UPDATE: I apologize for my confusing answer. My answer was in regards to glycerin, not Vitamin E. I completely misread your question or been reading another comment about adding glycerin to a recipe. Yes, vitamin E is added to this recipe and won’t cause the soap to have a slimy feel. Adding glycerin will cause the soap to have a slimy feel.

      And the answer: Yes, you can leave the vitamin E out of this recipe :). Again, I apologize for completely misreading your question and not answering in a helpful way.

  • Ronnie says:

    I love this idea!!! MY granddaughter is very “soap” sensitive. … There are a lot of natural oils here on Maui am so excited to try different ones…I’ll keep u posted. .. Mahalos for your thoughtful healthy alternative gift….

  • Lynn McKenzie says:

    Hi: I’ve always wanted to try making my own soaps etc.. My hubby has extremely dry and sensitive skin. Is this moisturizing? I don’t want to buy the ingredients and then find out that he can’t use it. Although I could use it so it wouldn’t go to waste. But we buy a certain soap for him and I want to get away from that if I can. Thanks.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Lynn, The addition of nourishing oil and vitamin E adds the moisture. You could start with a tablespoon of nourishing oil and add another half a tablespoon if needed. You could also use olive oil for the nourishing oil, so you don’t have to buy an extra ingredient. The essential oils are for cleaning, but also fragrance, so you could also leave those out for a trial to save money and get the feel for the soap. I personally think it’s moisturizing, but I’m not sure what someone with very dry skin will think as we all have our own preferences. You can also use the Dr. Bronner’s to make cleaning products, like surface cleaner.

  • Melisa says:

    Would this work with either a foam soap or liquid soap dispenser? or just the liquid soap dispenser you think…I ask because your recipe is similar to this pin and they’re using a foam dispenser…


    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Melissa, I’ve seen many similar foaming recipes. I believe this recipe will work great in a foaming container, possibly even better than recipe in the Pinterest link as this recipe won’t be as watery.

  • Kim Affholter says:

    Do you have to shake the soap each time prior to using???

  • Madelyn says:

    Love this recipe!!! Will have to try soon!

  • Janelle says:

    First off, you’re making a big wierdo out of me 😉 Made your liquid laundry detergent recipe yesterday and my husband thinks I’m a hippie. He’s ok with it because of the money savings but when I started talking about making my own toothpaste he got a little scared. Anyway… I just read the recipe for “bandits oil” kitchen cleaner and see that mixing the oils in the alcohol dissolves it and takes care of the need for shaking. I wondered if you could add a little alcohol in here to do the same thing or if that would be too drying for the skin? However if you did, would that make it more antibacterial? Thank you for all the great posts!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Janelle, Lol, that’s just too funny! My husband was terrified of the whole toothpaste thing at first too ;).

      I love the idea of adding alcohol to this recipe. I agree that it may dry out your hands a bit, so try adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon and test it out. I’m not sure the small amount added will make a big difference with cleaning (and adding antibacterial properties), but it certainly can’t hurt or take away from the cleaning action. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying all the posts!! Enjoy :).

      • Janelle says:

        Just made this and while it doesn’t seem as though the alcohol helps keep the oil from separating, it works WONDERFULLY in a foam pump! My husband will actually be pleased because for the last several months our soap hadn’t been foaming as I’d mixed 2 brands in the large refill bottle and there was some strange reaction but I didn’t want to just throw it out. So maybe score 1 for homemade natural products there 🙂 Oh I made your toothpaste recipe this morning too! I found a super cute purple (they had other colors too) BPA free silicon squeeze bottle at Target in the travel toiletries section for $4 and it was the perfect size! I didn’t put the stevia in as I didn’t feel like buying it and I don’t think I mind. I will have to get used to the salt taste though. I did notice my teeth felt clean & shiny after I used it. Thanks for the great recipes! Your shampoo & body wash are next once I get some empty bottles! Then kitchen cleaner once I acquire the necessary oils to make “bandits” 🙂

        • Kristin Marr says:

          Yay!! That’s awesome, Janelle. I’m so glad the hand soap worked in the foam pump! You’re on a roll with the homemade products…great job! I agree, the toothpaste takes a little getting used to due to the salt. Now I don’t even notice the salty taste, but it took a few weeks to get used to it.

  • Claudine says:

    Hi, I have tried your hand soap and other recipes containing Dr.Broone’s soaps but all leave a greasy layer on the bathroom sink or for the dish soaps a layer on the kitchen sink. Do you have the same problem?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Claudine, I haven’t had that issue, yet, in the few years I’ve been using it. Dr. Bronner’s also makes a “soap” called, “Sal Suds” that may help cut down on any greasy issues and can be used in place of the regular Bronner’s. I love Dr. Bronner’s, but it doesn’t do a great job on cutting tough grease. On jobs like that, I would recommend trying the Sal Suds.

  • Odette says:

    hi, would vegetable glycerin work as an alternative for vitamin E oil?

  • Evelyn says:

    Would this work in an automatic dispenser being it has to be shaken up periodically? We have one for my kids to cut down on overuse and messy pumps and would love to try this soap but not sure if it will work.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Evelyn, I’ve never tried using an automatic dispenser, so I’m not sure. I actually go days without shaking my soap, so it can definitely sit for while and still work great. If you try it, please let me know!

  • Rina says:

    Hi dear, is it ok if I add baking soda to the ingredients? Anyways, I love your blog!!!

  • Roberta says:

    Hi Kristin, I see the Dr. Bronners soap has coconut oil in it. I’m allergic to coconut. Do you know of another alternative that I could use in place of it? Thanks!

  • Lindsey says:

    I just made this tonight and I’m in LOVE! I’m officially an addict of the site and I can’t get enough! My poor husband is looking at me crazily as I replace all the hand soap in our house 🙂

  • Kristen says:

    I just started doing homemade hand soap. I am going to give this a whirl. I am a young living esential oil user, if you want more info on that let me know! Love to share

  • Tashida says:

    Will this soap work in the automatic soap dispensers? (The Lysol the) I refill my containers with natural store bought soap but wanted to try this recipe.

  • tracey says:


    Couldn’t Doctor Bronners be used as a liquid hand soap on its own? Sorry I am just a little confused as to why go to all the trouble of mixing so many things together when Doctor Bronners could be used on its own?

    Am really interested to hear the responses!!

  • Alison says:

    I’ve just made this up! I used almond castile soap (smells delicious!) And I used lemon, orange, lavender, tea tree essential oils in the mix. A lovely fresh sweet and citrusy clean scent! It’s quite watery, but it seems to do a great cleaning job so it’s nice to know that I can dilute the castile soap and make it go a long way! I look forward to trying this out over the next while.

  • Alisha says:

    Hi I was wondering if I was to double the recipe and make a larger amount at one time, is that a problem? How long does it last, or stay fresh? We go thru a lot of soap and is easiest to have some to just refill are little dispenser.

  • Alisha says:

    Ok another question, do you have any info on the bacteria that may form in homemade soap? At this website He says it is not a good idea to have water based hand soaps as they can grow bacteria and fungus. I would rather here from someone that actually has used a homemade soap for a long period of time and what their results are?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Alisha,

      I noticed in the article that the author makes a great point, “…She pointed out that anything with water is at risk for microbial growth. Especially if tap water is used…” Water can equal bacteria growth in homemade products which is why I’m very careful when adding water to a DIY! For short-term use, I don’t have any issue with using tap water. In fact, I make most of our hand soaps with tap water because they are used within three weeks. If you’re planning to use the hand soap for a longer time period, I recommend going with distilled water. The author of the post also made a gallon of soap and the recipe was a bit more complex than this recipe. I wouldn’t recommend making a gallon of this soap due to the water issue (sitting on the shelf for months). Thankfully, this soap literally takes 5 seconds to make :). Hope that helps.

  • jmcobb says:

    Do you have a dish washing receipe?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Jmcobb, My recipe will be posted at the end of this month (it’s been on the calendar!) on Live Simply. I prefer to use Sal Suds (the cousin to castile soap) for dish washing soap.

  • Klunger says:

    Hi! I’m new at making homemade items. I found your post on here and am going to try to make your liquid hand soap. Thanks for sharing your posts!!

  • Helen says:

    That’s the 12 oz jar in your photo, right? I love that shape and I do have one in the cupboard…probably the best size, right? Because it’s just too much for a half pint but not enough for a pint and doubling wouldn’t fit in a pint lol

  • Rina says:

    Hi dear, I only have the castile soap (not the liquid-kind) in my country. Can it still work? How should I use it?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Rina, You can add the grated castile soap to the water, baking soda and borax mixture. Just wait until the castile soap melts before you turn off the heat, and stir frequently.

  • Kaia says:

    Hi, I was just looking for a recipe like this! Thanks for sharing. I have Dr. Bronners peppermint soap can I use this? What about his sal suds product? Can you also tell me what the purpose of the tea tree oil is? Lastly, how long does this last? Can I make a large amount and store under the sink so I can easily refill my bottles? Thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Kaia, Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap makes a great hand soap! The tea tree adds cleaning power, but you can skip it and just use the castile soap, if desired. The soap, when using distilled water, will last a few months. You can definitely make more and store the extra under the sink. I just wouldn’t let the extra sit for longer than 3 months due to the water.

  • ilekca says:

    This could be a dumb question, but what does TB stand for (in measurements)?

  • Kara says:

    Can coconut oil be used for the nourishing oil or is it too thick?
    Can the Vitamin E oil be omitted?
    Can any Essential Oil scent be used?
    Looking forward to trying this!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Kara, Fractionated coconut oil may be used for the nourishing oil. Regular coconut oil (for cooking) will be too thick and clumpy. Vitamin E may be omitted. Any essential oil that doubles as a scent and additional cleaning power may be used. 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Where do you get the pretty jar for your homemade hand soap?

  • Angel T says:

    I just made this soap and I love the smell, but it is very “watery”. How can I make it a little thicker since my hubby is accustomed to store bought soap and I don’t want him to snub my creation! LOL

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Angel, I’m so glad you like the smell. The soap will be pretty watery (especially compared to store-bought soaps), but you can try adding more castile soap to thicken the mixture, if you have room in your jar. I believe a couple of readers thickened their soap with xanthum gum. You could also add the soap to a foam pump bottle (if you have one available). I hope your husband likes it :)!

  • Heather says:

    I made this with goat soap that I get from local farm, they said it would be fine to use with dishes, but it seems kind of greasy and no suds at all, any suggestions/

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Heather, I’ve never tried using a bar of goat soap, but I think that may be the issue. The Sal Suds, in particular, is a phenomenal grease-fighter! The castile soap also fights grease more than regular bar soaps.

  • Heather says:

    Oops I meant for this to go homemade dish soap, sorry!

  • Everley says:

    Can I add this DIY liquid hand soap recipe, along with a link to your site to my blog? I am writing a DIY story right now on all my favorite DIY recipes for the home and i love your recipe. thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Everley, Thank you for asking. I’m so glad you like the hand soap. You’re welcome to add a link in your post, for example: “Find my favorite hand soap, here.” We don’t allow the full recipe/directions to be copied to another website per copyright laws. I look forward to seeing your post. Best, Kristin

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you for posting this awesome DIY! I am wanting to get into soap making, and I’ve never made liquid soap before. Would this castile soap work ( ) ? I’m not sure if it’s undiluted or not.
    Thanks again!

  • Paula says:

    For those who are asking, I use a foaming soap pump for this recipe, and it works GREAT! 🙂 Just wanted to share.

  • Debbie says:

    Hi Kristin,
    I was in the midst of making this soap when I ran across one of your other reader’s questions where she asks about not using the vitamin E and your answer was “Vitamin E may cause the soap to be a bit slimy, so I’d only use a small amount (1/2 tsp).” – which made me a little confused because A. It didn’t seem to answer her question and B.I thought the recipe called for a whole Tablespoon! If not, what does TB stand for? Sorry, I sound so uneducated! And thanks for all your great recipes!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Debbie, I apologize for the confusion. My answer was meant to answer a glycerin question. Glycerin will make the soap slimy, not vitamin E. I’ll have to go back and make sure I answered that question correctly :). Thank you for pointing this out. The TB does stand for tablespoon. 🙂

      Okay, I went back and searched the comments. Yep, I totally missed that one. I’m not sure how I misread her comment (I often answer a bunch of comments at one time or maybe it was incredibly late at night), but I did! My answer was totally off from her original question. Yep, glycerin will make the soap slimy (a question many people ask when it comes to body wash and soap recipes on the blog), but vitamin E doesn’t have this same effect. And to answer her original question: Yes, vitamin E can be left out of the soap.

      Thank you so much for pointing this out!

  • Debbie says:

    Oh whew! So glad to hear that because I had just added a TB of vitamin E oil to my hand soap and was almost in a panic that I was going to have slimy hands! Haha! I did end up splitting into two and adding more water and soap and skipping the Almond oil just in case. It works fine by the way even with only half a TB of vitamin E! Another great recipe! And thanks for answering so quickly. I know you are very busy with your new kitchen and all! 😉

    • Kristin Marr says:

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad it went well. And thank you again for pointing out my comment… I was way off, lol!
      We just moved out of our house so new floors can go in this week. The kitchen is so close to being done. So close.

  • David Millar says:

    Easy peasy! I just did this with some creative measuring (eyeballed it) and some substitutions and inspiration from your shower wash recipe: a few spoonfuls of vegetable glycerin, a few drops cinnamon leaf oil, a bunch of drops of orange oil, and 3:2 ratio of Dr. Bronners unscented soap and coconut oil to fill my mason jar. I also came across pump top mason jar lids premade at Target and picked one up.

  • Nidya says:

    I am wondering if I want to leave out the vitamin E, could I add something such as shea butter to the recipe.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Nidya, Definitely–I’ve been playing around with a homemade shower gel using shea butter! I recommend adding 1 TB melted shea butter. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  • Katie says:

    I’ve had success using just 1/4 cup of soap with 3/4 water. I’ve been lazy, or just in dire need of handsoap, and left out the other ingredients and it’s worked just fine. Germs are physically removed and washed down the drain anyway. I do try to make a point of adding the other ingredients in winter though since the outside cold and inside heat are already so drying. Lastly, I have reused a foaming dispenser and it works great.

    Thanks for everything!

  • Ismael says:

    Hi Kristine,

    I’m enjoying many of your home made recipes, and hope to soon be trying more of them.
    I was just wondering if you have a recipe for shampoo I have a very dry sensitive scalp and I would like to try a natural option hoping it will be less irritating to my scalp, hope you know of something.

    Thanks =)

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Ismael, It’s great to hear you’re enjoying the homemade recipes here on Live Simply! I don’t have a homemade shampoo recipe or recommend any on the internet. Shampoo is something I haven’t been able to achieve, successfully. Right now I use Everyday Shea for shampoo:

  • Enza says:

    I tried this recipe and have even added more oils but still find it drying out my hands. I do have extremely dry skin. How can I make it more moisturizing?

    • Jen says:

      I also have very dry skin with eczema and I was wondering if u recommend anything else to substitute dr bronners unscented Castile soap(too drying for my skin) or anything I can add to mellow it out more? Would vegetable glycerin help? Thank u in advance????from Jen Furtado ..ur very sweet at how u respond to everyone’s questions

      • Kristin Marr says:

        Hey Jen, There isn’t a substitute for castile soap in this recipe, at least I don’t know of one. You could reduce the amount of castile soap by half, then maybe add a tablespoon more of nourishing oil.

  • Hi Kristin,

    Came across your site. I recently wrote a post on my new Green Living blog and mentioned this article! It’s awesome. Although I have not had the time to try to make my own soap I do have some ingredients and think I will actually give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂


  • Jo says:

    I appreciate the thought behind this “recipe” but unfortunately it didn’t work at all for me. It felt a bit too runny when washing, but above all it left a residue all over the sink (which other soaps have never done). I think it might have been the oil.
    Either way, cue A LOT of scrubbing the sink. Now we’ve finally used up the soap I mixed, and will use something else in the future.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Thanks for sharing, Jo. I’m not sure where the oily residue would come from. The one or two tablespoons of oil shouldn’t make a big difference compared with the large amount of soap and water used. Best of luck!

  • Mary Parker says:

    Is the lavender/peppermint oil in the hand soap necessary or could I substitute another scent? I don’t care for either, although I know lavender is soothing. TIA

  • Brandy says:

    I was so excited to make this!howeever I made it and the next morning woke up to use it and found it had completely separated into two layers. Is this normal, did I do something wrong, or will I always have to shake the soap?

  • Monica says:

    Love how simple your DIYs are. Have you tried adding emulsifier so there’s no need to shake before using?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Monica, Thank you! I haven’t tried an emulsifier since this hand soap doesn’t last very long in our house, but it’s definitely worth a try! If you try something, let me know how it goes!

  • Shae says:

    Mine separated within minutes. I followed the recipe to a T.

  • Lindsey says:

    Hi Kristin,

    I apologize if someone already asked this, but there were a lot of comments to read!

    Will this recipe make a soap of “watery” consistency. I mixed up a bit of castile soap, water, and essential oils just on a whim without looking up recipes, and it’s basically like water. I was hoping for a more “soapy” feel if that makes sense.

    Do I need to add glycerin for a thicker soap?

    Thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Lindsey,

      Yes, this recipe will produce a watery soap in the jar, and a soapy feel once you start to rub your hands. Store-bought soap contains thickeners to help give it that thick soap-like texture. There are two options: 1/ A couple of reader had great success using a bit of guar gum to thicken the soap. Another reader said she had good success using a bit of salt…not sure about the method, but may work? 2/Using a foaming soap dispenser (purchased at home stores) will maintain the watery consistency in the jar and produce a lovely foam on your hands vs. an initial watery texture.

  • Kathryn says:

    I accidentally added glycerin instead of my almond oil, but I use the kitchen hand soap so fast it probably won’t matter. I put the glycerin back on a different shelf. The bottle is the same size as my almond oil.

  • Christine says:

    I absolutely love this hand wash. I used jojoba oil, lavendar, and some Oatmeal cookie dough fragrance so my son’s would be more receptive to it since they aren’t fans of lavender. The oatmeal and lavender smell amazing and my hands feel so soft. I can’t wait to make the body wash! Thank you so much!

  • Linda says:

    I was wondering what the shelf life on this is since you added distilled water but no preservative. I’ve been changing out most of my households products to a DIY version but I hardly ever see anyone adding a preservative to products with water. This makes me wonder how long my DIY products are safe to use since you can’t really see if bacteria has grown. Any help would be appreciated as I’d like to give this DIY version a try.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Linda, I haven’t found a natural preservative that I feel good about using my homemade products. There are a ton of suggestions floating around online, but many of them require very large amounts of the preservative to really work (from my research). You could try adding salt to this recipe, but I’m not really sure it will preserve the finished product, or how much you’ll need. Of course, anytime water is introduced into a product, the chances of bacteria growth increase. There are a few safety precautions I take when making homemade products:

      1/ Use distilled water as much as possible.
      2/ Use clean containers–many times bacteria is introduced into a product due to a dirty container.
      3/ Make smaller batches of homemade products that use water–my laundry soap is my one exception since it makes a gallon, but I’ve never personally had any issue with it.
      4/ Keep an eye on products containing water, and toss anything with growth or an unusual odor. I haven’t personally experienced this, yet.

      This hand soap recipe is really easy to make, so you could definitely decrease the recipe to make an even smaller container, so you’re making the soap frequently. My soap usually sits for about a month, without issue, but feel free to make the soap in smaller batches and more frequently.

  • Juliette says:

    Hey Kristin,

    I’ve been following your website religiously for the past couple of months, and I wanted to thank you for the great recipes you’re publishing! On my quest to live more simply and without plastic they have been an absolute godsend! I tried the hand soap recipe for the first time today and I love it. I put a bit of xanthan gum and blended it together, and it gave it a really nice consistency, so I would recommend it for those who don’t have a foaming pump. Thank you again, and I can’t wait for your next invention!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog, Juliette! Thank you so much for sharing–it’s such a blessing to be part of a community of amazing readers. I love that you added xanthum gum to thicken the recipe–great idea!!

  • Rikki says:

    Have you done the math to see how much money it costs to make each bottle of soap, and if it is really cost effective?

  • Nicole Gabriel says:

    Hi I was just wondering do you need the tea tree oil of if you can use something else. My husband has really fair and sensitive skin I was going to use Dr. Bronners baby Castile soap but then I noticed the recipe calls for 15 drops of tea tree ESO and he hate the smell of that stuff. Is there a fragrance free or a substitute I could use?

  • Mona says:

    Hi Kristin

    I really like your website,although I haven’t had a deep look on it yet…work+home…but if I have some time livesimply is my favorite site 🙂
    I’m trying to live healthy but it seems not affordable sometimes. any tips and advice.
    I really want to teach my kids to eat healthy, I didnt grew up like that and I would love to give them that chance.
    Few questions if it isn’t too personal;
    what oil do you use for cooking?
    whats your main food source?
    where do you live?
    cane sugar vs brown sugar?
    milk or raw milk? hard to get raw milk here sometimes…
    is castille soap same as vegetable soap? I cant find castille soap here

    I like the fact that you take time for your subscribers and answer back

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Mona,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I cook with olive oil and avocado oils, mainly. My main food sources are a local co-op, a local health food store, and Whole Foods. I live in Florida. I use both cane sugar and brown sugar for special treats, and honey or maple syrup for regular baked goods. I have a trusted source for raw milk, so that’s my preference. If you don’t have a trusted, safe source for raw milk then low temperature pasteurized (like Organic Valley’s Grass Milk) is a great option, IMO. I’m not sure if castile soap is the same as the vegetable soap you’re referring to. I recommend comparing the ingredients online.

  • Mona says:

    Hi again

    I truly appreciate that you took time to answer back.
    I did make the soap today and the kids are enjoying using it. I didnt have tea tree oil so I put vanilla extract. What do you think of that. The soap came out fine, not too running nor thick. Perfect!
    I’ve ordered castile soap and tea tree oil and peppermint so hopefully next time I will do it properly.
    Really love your blog. The only blog that I actually read at the moment.just started so long way to go.
    I’m a working mum, and sometimes I think of quitting in order to stay home prepare things for the kids and make more healthy food.
    What will your advice be to a working mum who wants to live healthy and make healthy foods?
    I am teacher by the way and like you know teacher do take their work with them home so a bit confused.
    enjoy your day….

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Mona, Vanilla extract probably provides a wonderful scent to the soap. Tea tree is added for the antibacterial properties, but it isn’t 100% necessary to make the soap. When it comes to working and living a healthy lifestyle, I believe it’s important to prioritize. When we started on our journey I was a full-time stay-at-home mom, but now I work full-time (within our home) as a freelance food writer, photographer, and on the blog. It’s tough to “do it all” so I don’t. I priortize what I can make versus purchase pre-made. Here’s a bit more about this topic:

  • Meenal S says:

    I wanted to know a DIY hand soap recipe which I can use in a touchless dispenser (Simple Human). I tried using just Castile Soap (4tbsp) with filtered water and the consistency now is like water so the dispenser just splashes it all around. I am afraid of putting oil in it as it may clog the internal mechanism. Please advice.

    I love this recipe you mentioned here but for that I would have to give away my love for the touchless dispensers, which I want to avoid but not at the cost of health..:)

    Thank you so much!

  • Sarah says:

    Where did you get the pump shown in the photo?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Sarah, I believe this pump dispenser came from Michael’s Craft Store. They sell the mason jars and a kit to make the pump. Another place it may have come from is HomeGoods.

  • Cate says:

    Kristin, out of all the blogs about soap and natural beauty products I always go to yours first and usually look no further. Excellent posts and simple recipes. Thank you SO much!

  • Janice Singer says:

    Hi Cate, I follwed the recipe exactly but find it so dry to my hands that it is unusuable as it is. Should I try just addingmore water to the ratio or more of the vtamin E or almond oil? I tried the Castille soap on its own and that is thedrying culprit.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Janice, I would try diluting it more with water. The castile soap is what’s drying, so diluting it should help. You could also try adding a bit more vitamin e and oil, but not too much.

  • Kristina says:

    Hi Kristin!

    Love your blog. 🙂 Could I substitute the vitamin e for aloe vera gel? (sorry if this was already asked, I searched through the comments for a bit but didn’t find this questions).


  • Aubrey says:

    Hi! I’m very interested in this recipe and want to try it out but have a couple questions. Are you using the tea tree oil specifically for preservation, because there have been links to toxicity in cats, and I have three in my home and would prefer an alternative to tea tree. Also, are the peppermint and lavender oils used for fragrance only? Could I sub any essential oils/extracts here to scent however I like?

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Aubrey, There isn’t enough tea tree in the recipe to act as a preservative, so it can definitely be left out. I use it for its cleaning properties. The same with the lavender and peppermint oils. You’re welcome to sub out/in any oils you prefer :).

  • Janet says:

    How much soap does this mixture make? like how many soap dispenser bottles? or is it just one 8 oz bottles worth?

  • Michael says:

    I am about to make my first batch and since it is my first I want to follow the recipe exactly. But I am wondering if anyone has tried adding stearic acid or emulsifying wax to keep it from separating?
    I am new to your blog. Looks like lots of cool info! Thank you!

  • Val says:

    Hi Kristin! Thanks again for your AWESOME blog, I’m about to try your recipe and I’ve read all your comments (yes, all-lol) so my question is, will solely using Dr B’s soap and water wk for a good thorough hand cleanser? I change dirty diapers throughout my day on top of the “Mommy, ready for you to clean me”,so I’m reluctant to create this since I’m missing the oils. I would love your op.

    Thanks again!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Val, Thank you so much! Yes, using Dr. Bronner’s alone with create a great soap…no need for extra oils if you don’t have them on hand! I just add the essential oils for the additional boost.

  • Julie says:

    Okay so I’ve read through ALL the posts, can you believe it? My question is with all the recent issues regarding the antibacterial soaps on the market I’m wanting to Fill up my Kitchen soap Dispenser! This dispenser is actually attached to the sink, so you just lift off the knob and fill with soap. Can this recipe or any other recipe you can think of dollars this job? I will Not be able to shake the dispenser because of it being attached to the sink. So what are your thoughts on a recipe of this kind. I would be filling up a lot at a time and unable to shake.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Julie, I’m honestly not sure if it will work in the kitchen soap dispenser. I would be concerned that it wouldn’t work because the soap dispenser is probably designed with thick commercial soap in mind.

  • Elena says:

    Hi Kristin, would this liquid hand soap be safe for face washing and eyes? Thanks 😀

  • Mona Lisa says:

    Hi Kristin, I am looking for a hand soap recipe w/o Castile soap. I have hard water and leaves a sticky/waxy reside in your hands and on the sink. I am testing Sal Suds for household cleaning but Lisa Bronner doesn’t recommend it being used for body cleansing as it dries out the skin. Any advice on an alternative?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Mona Lisa, I personally use my Sal Suds dish soap to wash my hands in the kitchen, particularly after touching something that’s greasy. Sal Suds can leave the skin feeling dry, as you mentioned, and even irritate some people’s skin (since it has a detergent composition), but so far I haven’t had any issues.

  • PT Potts says:

    Just what I was looking for! Gonna try this out.

  • Erica says:

    I love this recipe! Is there any way to make it a bit thicker though? Toddlers and squirty liquid soap can be extra messy!

  • tami says:

    i have made this soap a lot over the past year (thank you!). i gave it a rest over the summer because the soap started to have a bit of a funky smell, and i thought it was our hot weather that might be causing it. pulled out my gallon of dr. bronner’s baby unscented castile soap to start up again, and here’s that funky smell. it smells kind of like cooking oil. everything i’ve read says that it should have a very long shelf life (years) so it shouldn’t have gone “bad,” but something doesn’t seem right. ideas? thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Tami, Yikes! Maybe the soap is bad. It should last for many years. I would contact Dr. Bronner’s and let them know. I bet they will help you get another bottle since this sounds like an issue on their end. Let me know how it goes!

  • Jane says:

    Giving your recipe a try. A few questions – In the photo you show an Aura Cacia organic skin care oil – is that the “1 Tbsp sweet almond oil or jojoba oil” in the ingredient list? Would grape seed skin care oil by the same company work here, it has added Vitamin E ? The only match I found for the photo was Aura Cacia Vegetable Glycerine Organic Skin Care with the matching green leaves(?soy) but you mentioned somewhere that this can make the soap slimy. Confused on this part. Would using Bronner’s eucalyptus soap work the same, (no need to add essential oil)? I want to use this in a foamer pump, is the ratio of soap to water the same for a foamer pump? I did read the previous Questions/Answers but didn’t see answers to my questions.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Jane, Yes, the bottle pictured is the nourishing oil from Aura Cacia, jojoba or sweet almond oil. You can use pretty much any nourishing skin oil, even olive oil or grapeseed oil. Sorry about the confusion. You won’t need glycerin for this recipe. Yes, the essential oils may be skipped, especially if you’re using a scented castile soap. For a foaming pump dispenser, the same ratios may be used. Hope that helps!

  • Michelle says:

    So, I’d just making my own handsoap after being diagnosed with an allergy to all artificial fragrances and a bunch of essential oils to boot–I was just using a combination of castor oil and a carrier oil, with a little lavender and patchouli added (my two favorite scents, neither of which I’m allergic to, thank goodness)–and then I found your recipe and I got some Dr. Bronner’s and some pump bottles and made soap as per your instructions (and am glad, because I’d been wondering if my mixture was actually getting my hands CLEAN)…but I find that I kind of hate the foam (I got so used to washing my hands with oil!). So here’s my question: if I didn’t add the boiled water, if I just made liquid soap by “diluting” the Dr. Bronner’s with, say, apricot kernel oil, would that work, do you think?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Michelle, Technically, you could use Dr. Bronner’s by itself without any diluting, but it may be a bit too harsh on the hands (which is why it’s usually diluted). The oil should help with the soap, or glycerin.

  • Michelle says:

    oops–typo: “I’d just begun making” is what I meant to say–sorry

  • Bonnie Arrington says:


    I love the idea of reusing jars, where did you get the pumps and did you have to drill a hole in the lid, or how did you attach the pump?

  • vicki c magee says:

    Hi, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing this great article on liquid soap- making.
    Do you know of anything that would make the soap last longer before spoiling? It takes me about two months to use a bottle of hand soap. I suppose I could just make smaller portions but in the mean time just wondering if a little witch hazel or anything like that would make it last longer. Thanks again!

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