Introduction: Liquid Handsoap

Picture of Liquid Handsoap

You use it everyday to wash your hands, a liquid soap that not only cleanses but moisturizes as well as leaves your paws smelling fresh and rejuvenated. There's no substitute for washing hands with warm water and soap, not even anti-bacterial gels or wipes; washing your hands the good ol' fashion way for about 20 seconds can vastly decrease the spread of germs and pathogens. So, no doubt, we all need to wash our hands, now the only question is what type of soap should we use?

Many liquid soaps contain detergents and emulsifiers (which give an even consistency) such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate and even the type of preservative known as parabens. Although the American Cancer Society refutes claims that these chemicals are carcinogenic, a growing number of people have begun to distance themselves from these substances in order to live a chemical-free life (to whatever degree that is possible)

In this tutorial, we'll make our own liquid handsoap from barred soap, adding no further ingredients except the optional vegetable glycerin. Any barred soap can be used for this project, so the type and quality of your liquid soap is completely based upon the type of barred soap you choose.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

I used three different "flavors" of soap from Wholefoods' Good Brand line of soaps, which are organic, plant-based and naturally-derived that use pure essential oil fragrances, gentle preservatives and non-petroleum ingredients. I mixed three different bars of soap: goat milk, coconut oil, and honeysuckle, because I couldn't decide which one I liked best. However, you could absolutely stick to using only one type of soap, just buy three bars of it or reduce the amount of water that this recipe calls for.

You will also need a cheese grater for the bars of soap, 4 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional), and a rather large pot. For three bars of soap, I used 1 gallon of distilled water. (Click here for my 'ible on how to distill your own water)

Step 2: Grating Soap Bars

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This process proved quick and easy. Grate your soap bars so that they will melt faster and more evenly when boiled. I had fun getting fancy using different grating sides, but this isn't at all necessary.

Step 3: On the Stove Top

Picture of On the Stove Top

Bring 1 gallon of distilled water to a boil in your pot, then add in your soap shavings along with 4 tsp glycerin and any essential oils you want (optional). Place on medium heat and stir every couple of minutes to make sure the shavings are dissolving well. After about 10 minutes, or whenever you notice that there are no more shavings, take off heat. There's no fear of burning this, so if it takes you longer to get to the stove, don't worry.

The texture of the boil substance may surprise you: it'll be completely watery. But don't worry, this is natural. We'll have to let it cool and thicken overnight in order to achieve the right texture of liquid hand soap.

::My kitchen spelled divine all the while::

Step 4: The Morning After

Picture of The Morning After

It'll be hard wait, but the next day your liquid hand soap will be ready for use! It may not be easy to tell from the first image, but my soap is nice and thick! I actually had to stir it around to ensure it wasn't too thick to go through my soap dispenser!

With the help of a funnel, I poured my newly made hand soap into a dispenser. It's ready for use!

Step 5: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Place anywhere you need dirty hands to be washed.

Did I mention that this process proved not only easy, but cheap as well?? Each bar of soap cost $2, that comes out to about $7 total for over a gallon of organic liquid hand soap!

Clean and cheap.

My clean hands applaud.


InstinctsKill (author)2015-09-01

Great instructable! I have just one suggestion to make. It is my general understanding that heating most essential oils reduces their effectiveness. Instead of adding them in during the heating process, it might be better to mix them in after the soap has cooled off.

Either way, keep it up!

aditya gupta (author)2015-01-15

What can I do with

aditya gupta (author)2015-01-15

But my soap turned out slimy
I guess I added more water

lzinblack (author)2015-01-13

I have tried making this twice, but need some assistance. My finished product turns out too is almost completely solid...what am I doing wrong? Would really appreciate any suggestions.

mjawad (author)2014-04-30

in pak where we can purchase these soap bars?

Summer Skies (author)2014-04-10

Totally making this!

Marjasanyuri (author)2014-03-29

My emulsion stays forever "totally watery"! None of your lovely creamy emulsion. I thought maybe too much water so the second day I boiled the watery solution. Didn't help. Got a few clouds but that's all. I use pure soap: biological organic. Can you help, please???

After 3 days the solution became creamy after all! A bit lumpy but totally acceptable. Thanks for your instructable.

Om-Vaghela (author)2014-03-06

good work.

arelaphent (author)2014-02-26

Also, in the 2nd pic of Step 4, the liquified soap in the pot looked a little lumpy and shinny/greasy- does the liquified soap separate at all? Like, do I need to shake it before use? I'm trying to determine if this would make a good gift.

amalkhan (author)arelaphent2014-03-05

It does not separate, but this really depends on the oils in the barred soap. For the bars I used, the resulting liquid soap did not separate. However, I do mix it up with a spoon before I pour it into my dispenser.

thespiritbear (author)2014-02-27

Hi - I just have one question. You say to use 3 bars of soap, but the bars are all not the same size depending on where you buy them. Can you give me an idea of what these bars should weigh? Thanks!

amalkhan (author)thespiritbear2014-03-05

Each bar is 6 ounces. Cheers!

BunnieBard (author)2014-03-02

This is a lovely idea to avoid ingredients you don't like --and add ones you do (I also like to add glycerin to my soap! Such a lovely humectant!)-- but as it contains water it really does need a preservative of some sort in it as well. Bacteria, yeast, and mold can grow in any water-based product!

amalkhan (author)BunnieBard2014-03-05

good call! I usually make a batch that will last me about a month, this way I'm not worried that it'll go bad before it can get used up! thanks

kevin987 (author)2014-03-05


I can't find these bars of soap online to buy. Can you provide a link or to soap that's similar? Also, a link to your dispenser store? Nice. Thanks.

amalkhan (author)kevin9872014-03-05

Check out whole foods for the soap bars. They are the "Good" Brand (literally) and as for sizing, each bar is 6 ounces. Oh, I got the dispenser from Target ages ago! Good luck!!

stanwitham (author)2014-02-28

Very good idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

jeanlafete (author)2014-02-28

We make all vegetable oil soaps at the "Santa Fe Soap Factory" in Santa Fe TX.

We have bar and liquid soaps, and also Argan Oil Lotions. We have Neem soap, and also soaps with no fragrances and no dyes for people with extreme skin problems and algeries.

cindio (author)2014-02-26

Cant wait to try this! Can i get glycerin at trader joes or whole foods?

amalkhan (author)cindio2014-02-26

whole foods will have it for sure in the "whole body" section, but I'm not sure about trader joes. You can also buy it online, of course.

It's actually been kind of pain for me to find at pharmacies (except for suppositories), but home brewery shops have it pretty cheap and pure!

By which I mean: "I like this, and am going to try it right away!"

spark master (author)cindio2014-02-27

as at any pharmacy, most carry it. Some people find it nasty on skin , but most do not

wazzup105 (author)2014-02-27

Why does the water need to be distilled. There's nothing wrong with tap water (well in my part of the world there isn't).

Also the consistency of my liquid handsoap is not as good as the store bought soap. It's a bit ... lumpy / stringy... a squirt doesn't detach from the dispenser quite all the way giving a bit of a mess over time. Any ideas on how to get the end-result smoother ?

Icesphere (author)wazzup1052014-02-28

Well usually tap water by itself contains various chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride which are added to keep it clean but can also cause other bad things. I use tap water in my humidifier and after one use there's a whole lot of residue and brine left by it.

jmans1 (author)2014-02-27

Do this with Raw African Black Soap. For a all natural soap. Free from parabens

sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate. Has vitamin A & E and


mverma7 (author)2014-02-27

What do I do to add extra Lather? this method creates a liquid soap well but it just doesn't have sufficient amount of lather to wash hands and one has to take a lot of liquid to wash hands and the soap slips from hand instead of forming lather.

svenkat4 (author)2014-02-26

glycerin is a moisturiser. It makes your hand soft...

ZUBEAJAY (author)svenkat42014-02-27

I have been adding the leftover bits of bar soap to a hand soap bottle for years. just break them up narrow enough to slide through the opening add a little water and shake. it dissolves by itself in a couple of hours , no heating is required at all. I never run out of hand soap.

kevin987 (author)2014-02-27

Where did you buy your dispenser? Nice.

socalcovey (author)2014-02-27

I think im going to find the biggest elephant bars i can and make a 5 gallon bucket!

spark master (author)2014-02-27

you do need to post the weights of what you used, too hard to make otherwise, loved it though.

spark master (author)2014-02-27

The same nasty chemical in anti bacterial soap is in deodorant soaps, so if you use look for triclosan, if it is in the soap it is same as anti bacterial soaps for hands. I avoid them. I do use a deodorant with it. It is the only one that works.


nice instructable

arelaphent (author)2014-02-26

I'd also like to know where to buy glycerin (not online) and if you know more than one store that sells it? Thx

hoopa (author)2014-02-26

can you tell what the addition of glycerin helps with? thanks.

amalkhan (author)hoopa2014-02-26

depending on the types of soap bars you use, it may or may not already have glycerin in it. My bars did, but I added some more anyway because of how awesome a product it is and how it really helps seal in moisture on our skin. For this project, however, its totally optional.

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