Introduction: DIY Dove Soap Body Wash

Picture of DIY Dove Soap Body Wash

A while back ago, I tried microwaving a bar of soap, basically in an effort to entertain my kids on an oh-so-boring cold-weathered Saturday.
The only bar soap in the house at the time were bars of Dove soap.  I'm one of those "Don't worry.  I saw this on Pinterest." kind of woman and put a bar of soap in the microwave for 90-seconds like the tutorial called for.
Sure enough, the "magical" growing product came to life in the microwave and was pretty cool to watch, BUT, my family could not stand the smell created by doing this.

Just so you know, I'm not one to complain with smells.  I have three kids, an old dog and a husband.  Different smells are a constant in my house.
But, what made this different was that the particular tutorial I was reading did not mention any smells associated with microwaving a bar of soap so I WASN'T READY for it.

So I'm sure you're wondering (if you read this far) "Why is she telling us about this?"

My story continues that I had this smelly, melted, glob of what was a bar of Dove soap and not only did my kids not want to touch it, the house had a lingering odor so strong that we had to go outside just so one of my kids would not sneeze over and over again.

Not knowing exactly what to do with it, I set it aside and when the time came to throw it out, I went to Pinterest to see what I could do with it.
That night I made my first Dove soap body wash at home with that supposedly not-good-for-anything melted bar, and haven't doubted the recipe since.
What you will find here that you will not find on other tutorials is that I am going to tell you straight away - Don't do this if you think you can't stand the smell of melted soap.  It may or may not bother you, BUT if you are sensitive to strong scents, my guess is that this do-it-yourself Dove body wash may not be for you.

Other than that, have fun and get clean!

Step 1: Materials, Tools & Notes

Picture of Materials, Tools & Notes
You will need:
  • One (1) to three (3) bars of DOVE soap - any kind will do, but DO NOT try this recipe with other kinds of bar soap.  See my notes section below.
  • Two (2) cups to six (6) cups of water
  • Microwave-safe Container (I suggest glass) to melt soap in
  • Stock Pot (Mine is about 20-quart)
  • Whisk (not shown)
  • Container(s) to hold anywhere from 3-cups (1-bar of soap), 5-cups (30-ounces or 2-bars of soap), or 8-cups (3-bars of soap) of homemade body wash

  • Please only use products that are safe for your family.
  • I estimate this project takes at least one to one-half hour (1-1/2-hour) to chop and melt the soap, and then suggest about 24-hours to let the body wash cool at room temperature.
  • This recipe is for DOVE soap only.  I have had "a Pinterest fail" with other types of soaps.  Please do not use this recipe for other types of soap.  The Dove soap has an amazing amount of moisturizer whereas other soap needs way more water to make it into body wash.
  • The Dove bars you see here are 4-oz size EACH.
  • For every 4-oz bar, you will need 2-cups of water. More on that in Step 2.
  • It's been recommended by miscellaneous tutorials to use distilled water if your tap water is considered "hard-water" or if you have sensitive skin.  I used tap water.
  • Make sure you read the intro to this Instructable.  Microwaving soap lets off a strong lingering scent that could cause sneezing.  Please either use in a well-ventilated area, or grate the soap (see Step 2.)
The example cost savings breakdown:
Price of pre-made Dove body wash on 32-ounces sells for $6.89 (not including tax) = $0.22 per ounce

Cost of making Dove body wash yourself -
Price of 4-bars of Dove soap on $5.54 (not including tax)
Two (2) bars of Dove soap make approximately five (5) cups or 30-ounces of body wash.
$5.54 divided by 2 (bars) = $2.77 per 30-ounces of body wash = $0.09 per ounce

Put a little elbow grease into making your own body wash and you could save money in the long run.  Bonus!

Step 2: The Recipe for Homemade Dove Body Wash

Picture of The Recipe for Homemade Dove Body Wash

I can't take credit for making this recipe up.
I found at least two different tutorials for this awesome Dove body wash.

One Good Thing By Jillee
She microwaves her soap.

The Brady Bunch: Budget Luxury
She grates her soap.

I've attached a recipe card to print up if you so choose.
The thing to remember about this type of body wash is that you can make a large quantity or a small quantity based on your needs.  I like making a large batch and keeping it in the bathroom in a recycled juice container.  I've seen blogs that re-use gallon milk jugs as containers so that's a possibility too.

Here's the mix design:
For every 4-ounce bar of Dove soap, use 2-cups of water.

Here's the recipe written:

Homemade Dove Body Wash

One (4-ounce) bar of your favorite scent of Dove bar soap
Two cups (16-ounces) of distilled or tap water

To double the recipe:
Use 8-ounces of Dove bar soap (2-bars) and 4-cups of water

To triple the recipe:
Use 12-ounces of Dove bar soap (3-bars) and 6-cups of water

Bring the water to a boil on the stove. 
Prepare the Dove soap to melt on the stove in the water by either (1) chopping the bar(s) of Dove soap up and place in a microwave safe bowl or (2) grate the bar(s) of Dove soap.
If you choose to melt the soap in the microwave, heat the chopped pieces for 90-seconds in the microwave until melted.

Place the melted or grated soap into the boiling water and bring to a rolling boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer until melted, about 30-minutes, stirring occasionally.
You will know the soap is melted when the mixture is smooth and consistent.  The mixture will appear thin and not creamy.

After about 24-hours of cooling, place the body wash in your container of choice.

Step 3: Prep for Melting

Picture of Prep for Melting

I HAVE made this body wash with both grated soap and microwaved soap.  Other than the strong scent, the grated soap took my kids and I about 30-minutes to do ONE BAR, vs. about 2-minutes (or so) of cutting and 90-seconds in the microwave.  Both kinds of prepared soap will create the same final product.

I personally do not mind the smell of microwaved soap and I hope you would agree that it's easier to prepare the soap that way than grate it - but it's your choice, of course.

For the batch I made in these pictures, I used two bars of Dove Winter Care Soap (what we had in the house at the time.)

After chopping up the bars into chunks, I placed them in a 4-cup microwave safe container and heated them in the microwave for 90-seconds.
It makes a good show for the kids as it rises in the heat and then collapses when you take it out of the microwave.

Step 4: Melt, Cool & Use the Body Wash

Picture of Melt, Cool & Use the Body Wash

Take your melted soap (or grated) and add it to the boiling water CAREFULLY, PLEASE.

Bring the water-soap mixture to a rolling boil, and lower the heat to medium to simmer for at least 30-minutes, stirring occasionally.

You can check if the soap is completely melted by it's consistency and if it appears smooth.
The mixture WILL BE THIN.

As soon as it appears smooth, remove the mixture from heat and either transfer to a different heat-resistant container or leave in the pot for at least 24-hours to set.
If a film begins to appear on the top, just use a whisk to mix it up.

After the day or so of cooling, transfer the mixture to a container to use in the shower or bath.  The mixture will get thicker in the 24-hours of cooling.

Enjoy!  I know I do.
Thanks for reading!


TraceyN524 (author)2016-09-04

Love love love this idea! So genius of you. I want to try making my own dove bodywash, but I was thinking if I used the unscented dove bars could I add my own fraqrence? I f i did I wonder how much fragrence would I use?

PeterS59 (author)2016-03-04

I also found that cooking body wash in your home gives off a continual pleasant smell. I didn't find microwaving soap created a bad smell. Since I've been making it every night, the scents of the soaps have taken over the house.

PeterS59 made it! (author)2016-03-04

I altered the recipe some using my imagination and experimenting outside the box, and still I came out with a process than gains me about a gallon of body wash each time. I used regular water. You don't need to be too fussy how you cut up the soap. I broke a lot of mine apart with my hands (hard to do with some brands) a lot of times. No matter what, the chunks melt in the warm water just the same. I used one old pot to mix everything. Some people use a double boiler, but its not necessary. I filled an old stockpot with water up to the top and found that 3 bars worked best, and about an ounce of glycerine, and a good amount of Vitamin E, and a heaping amount of Coconut Oil or Shea Butter. Let it all melt together on low heat until it looks like jello and let off the heat. In about 12-24 hours, the mixture will harden. If you result is too thin, re-warm and add more soap and oil. If it's too thick, reheat and add water. You should find a happy medium in each batch. It's trial and error, just like getting used to any recipe. But you can't seem to ruin it. When it is the perfect consistency, I funnel it into a gallon container with a measuring cup. It is very rich, but could lather better. I think I might need a tad more glycerin. I've made 3 batches so far. The wash smells like the soap you choose all the way. Don't bother adding any essential oils or anything because the scent of the soap will overwhelm it. Dove soap is indeed the richest soap to start with, but it is also the most expensive. I also had the least results with it: too thin. I had great results with things like Ivory and Zest. I have a summer business where I sell body wash en masse. Since it was ridiculously expensive, I gave this a try. There's a cost involved with having to keep Glycerine, Coconut and Shea Oil in stock, and there's the price of the soap, but you are getting a huge bang for your buck. 12 oz of body wash retail for upwards of 5 bucks, and this probably costs $2-3 for the whole gallon, 10.6 times more. I have to make about 30 gallons of this stuff by May, so I will check back. Here's another bonus. If you accidentally spill and make a mess, when you wipe it up, you have a far cleaner counter/floor than you did before , and it rinses from your pot 1-2-3.

mlhaddow (author)2016-01-25

I make my own laundry soap which also requires grating soap and as you said this can take forever using a box grater. I found an old cheese grater that has a wheel inside with a handle. (think of the kind they use at olive garden) and that works great. takes about five min. a bar

mlhaddow (author)2016-01-25

I make my own laundry soap which also requires grating soap and as you said this can take forever using a box grater. I found an old cheese grater that has a wheel inside with a handle. (think of the kind they use at olive garden) and that works great. takes about five min. a bar

rusted222 (author)2015-10-08

To get rid of the smell in your microwave (IF there is one), wad up a sheet of newspaper and leave it in there overnight. This works to get rid of the smell in the 'wave after cooking bacon, so it SHOULD work for other smells, right?

rusted222 (author)2015-10-08

To get rid of the smell in your microwave (IF there is one), wad up a sheet of newspaper and leave it in there overnight. This works to get rid of the smell in the 'wave after cooking bacon, so it SHOULD work for other smells, right?

Elizabethbeshears (author)2015-06-09

i made this but did not put soap bar in microwave i grated the bar of soap and added it to the boiling water on the stove till it was melted. it came out awesome and i didn't have to worry about my microwave being stinky or my food smelling like soap lol. Thank you, feels great on my skin i added a little extra water, glycerin and 2 tbsp of coconut oil and my skin don't flake as this is what is does when i use bar soap

I'm glad it worked out for you! Thank you for sharing!

overesearch (author)2015-03-07

thank you so much for the olfactory warning!!!!

i am extremely sensitive to smells which is why i am interested in making my own liquid soap. did you try making soap out of dove sensitive skin unscented soap??? and did that have an overwhelming smell? it sounds like the best approaches are

1- grating soap and

2- starting with boiled water.

if that and stirring can dissolve all the soap I could do it outside once the weather gets warm and if it EVER stops snowing.

thanks for all the info and the (odor) warning is soooooooooooooo appreciated!

ThomasP5 (author)2015-01-13

I found these directions from 1833 on how to make soap.

dknight297 (author)2014-12-03

Quick update for you good folk. Thanks you your instructable my wife went nuts and I had to make almost every flavor of Dove bar soap into body wash! I even had to order (online) a dozen matching bottles and now there are 10 labeled bottles sitting along the side of her garden tub. We have pink, green, Shea butter,blue, red, purple, coconut milk, exfoliating, white, and pistachio cream. We also have about a 3 year supply of it stored in her closet (we converted our extra bedroom into a closet so she has room to store it there). We will never buy body wash again since we love this soap so much (and it is sooooooo much cheaper!) and now we are like kids in the candy store every time we take a shower! LOL

Wow! That's ... amazing! Thanks for sharing!

AbbyT1 (author)2014-10-23

did you cover it while cooling?

DeandrasCrafts (author)AbbyT12014-12-03

No. Don't cover it because you don't want any extra water (from the condensation of the cooling) to get into the container. Thanks for asking!

dmruss (author)2014-06-23

I am wondering if you can do this kind of like you do sun tea. Put the grated soap and water in a mason jar and leave it out for several hours in the sun. That should cut down on the odor if it works.

DeandrasCrafts (author)dmruss2014-06-23

So go with me on this:

My children and I did an experiment where we "melted" (for a lack of better words) a bar of soap in a sealed, ziploc bag of water. We left it in the bag on the counter for a week. I got the recipe off the web and it was supposed to make a-lazy-man's version of body wash. It kind-of worked. It was a good experiment for the kids, but the soap was very slimy.

This instructable specially used Dove soap - which was NOT the soap we used in our week-long melting soap experiment I mention here.

So, my response to the statement you made above is that yes, it may or may not melt in the sun - but, the real reason for the melting in the microwave is to cut the time down for melting it in the water on the stove.

Sounds like a good instructable to make to me! I hope you or someone else tries it.

Thanks for commenting!

dknight297 (author)2014-01-19

My wife loves this!!! She found Dove Pink at Sams Club (14 bars for $10) and I am currently making all of it into body wash. If you use a stand up grater, you can grate a bar in about 2 minutes by setting the bar on a plate or cutting board. This is the 3rd time I have done this and so far (today) 8 bars has yielded me just over a gallon. I have 6 more to go!

dknight297 (author)dknight2972014-01-19

One more thing, The house will smell like this soap for about 3 days!!!

Yay for all of it! The smell can't be that bad right? I know it's just strong. =)

gjones28 (author)2013-11-23

I made some yesterday and it works except I grated the soap and melted in the water on low after it cooled it was the same consistency as the body was. I will never buy the body was again.

haverv (author)2013-06-28

i just put the water in a pan on the stove and add the bar of soap...i cook it on low til it dissolves, and stir it once in awhile....

crazylam15 (author)2013-06-24

I'm gonna make this.... OBVIOUSLY

amaurizio (author)2013-06-10

This is the best tutorial I've found for this! Ty so much!

DeandrasCrafts (author)amaurizio2013-06-10

Thank you! =)

Wynd (author)2013-05-14

Very cool! Curious, if you use the grating method, do you avoid the strong smell [from the microwave method]? I love Dove, but have allergies and strong scents trigger my asthma. If I can make my own bodywash, it'd be worth the extra time to grate it up :D

DeandrasCrafts (author)Wynd2013-05-14

You are exactly the person I wrote the warning for!
When you grate the soap, the soap will let off the scent chosen, but not as strong as if it were microwaved.
Think of it as if you took a strong and long nose-to-the-bar-of-soap sniff and breathed-in that scent. That would be the best description of the results of grating the soap instead of microwaving it. If you can put your nose to the bar of soap and take in a big whiff, you could probably handle the grating.
AND, there is also a scent involved with heating the soap up in the stock pot of water. Think of that as cleaning your kitchen with the soap - that's the kind of smell that will linger there too.
I love Dove too and my husband has asked me not to microwave the soap at our home. Instead, I microwave the soap at work and re-heat it at home...but "Shhh! Don't tell him!" =D

Wynd (author)DeandrasCrafts2013-05-15

LOL! Well, that works great then! I don't mind a mild scent, anything heavy is too much. Totally going to buy some pots for my craft work and make some of this ;D

Barb37 (author)2013-05-14

I can't thank you enough for the heads up about the strength of smells, and the need to "manage" them - how thoughtful of you! How long did the smell lingers in each of the methods, please, and did the microwave method affect the taste of any foods cooked in the microwave? If so, for how long?

DeandrasCrafts (author)Barb372013-05-14

Thank you for your kind words!
The smell lingered in the house, not the microwave really. I guess I didn't smell the microwave directly so that would be a good question for someone to answer here.
As for the food, because the whole house smelled, I don't think the food either tasted different other than the weird facts about how your sense of smell affects your sense of taste. The food itself did not "taste"different because of microwaving the soap, just the senses were thrown out of whack for a while. Actually, only my husband and one of my children were sneezing.
The grated soap was much easier on the senses, as the smell lingered only when the soap was being heated up in the water.
I guess I should have written that the smell isn't bad, JUST STRONG. I will add that!
Thank you!

About This Instructable




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