Liquid Handsoap





Introduction: Liquid Handsoap

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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

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

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

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

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!

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.



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46 Discussions


Question 5 months ago

I did something similar to this years ago and loved it - for a couple of weeks, until the entire thing turned rancid and needed to be trashed. Do you do anything in particular to keep it from doing that? I've never tried it again.

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.

1 reply

Your soap to water ratio might be off for the brand of soap that you are using. Try more water, don't over boil and mix the cooled off the product with a hand mixer like a Thunderstick blender.

I've been making liquid soap like this for years now. Thanks for the glycerin tip! I made a little "paper cutter" style soap cutter. This way I can chop the soap into smaller pieces. It's important to cut the soap within a day or two of purchasing them. Otherwise, they get hard and it becomes harder to chop. Then I put the pieces into a $5 Thrift Store food processor. That was a real game changer for this process! No more sore hands or injured knuckles from the box grater.

WOW.... A gallon of liquid hand soap would last "little old me" years :-) Guess I could crank the recipe down some. Anyway, great article..... thanks

Where did you get your soap pump? I would love to get one that looks like that! Thanks!

What is the weight of your three bars of soap?

In your browser: Archive / Save as... Choose the folder and save as htm file.

Neither can I - no download button.
Great 'ible though, thanks.

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!

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


4 years ago

in pak where we can purchase these soap bars?

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???

1 reply

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

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.

1 reply

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.