Easy Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

Person washing their hands

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Once you see how easy it is to make liquid hand soap from a bar of soap, you will begin to wonder why you ever paid for it. Just follow these simple steps to make your first batch.


  • Bar of soap (scented or unscented; any brand will do)
  • Knife, cheese grater, or food processor
  • Water
  • Saucepan or pot
  • Empty soap dispensers
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Soap coloring (optional)

Time Required

  • 10 minutes of hands-on time


  1. Grate or finely chop a bar of soap (you will need 4 ounces of soap for this recipe). You can grate your soap by hand or in a food processor. A food processor is the fastest approach.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove.
  3. Turn off the heat, and add your soap flakes. Stir to melt the soap. Continue stirring until the mixture is fully combined. At this point, the mixture will be very liquidy.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool for at least 15 minutes. Then, stir it again. The soap should be slightly thicker now.
  5. Allow the soap to cool for several hours or overnight.
  6. Stir to check the consistency. If it seems too liquidy, reheat it and add more soap flakes. If it seems too thick, reheat it and add more water. The moisture content varies from one brand of bar soap to the next, so you will probably have to do a bit of tweaking to get your recipe just right.
  7. An optional step for a super-smooth consistency: Run your finished liquid soap through a blender or use an immersion blender before pouring into your soap dispensers.
  8. Once you are satisfied with the consistency of your liquid soap, add a few drops of essential oil and/or coloring, if desired. The essential oil content should not exceed 2 percent of the recipe; 1 percent if children will be using it.
  9. Pour your soap into your soap dispensers, and enjoy it.


A bottle of liquid soap can cost more than $3, while a bar of soap may cost as little as 50 cents. That means it is at least 83 percent cheaper to make liquid soap. If you go through one bottle a month, that is a savings of $30 a year. Shop sales and use coupons, and you could save even more.


  • Want to make a bigger or smaller batch? Use 1 cup of water for every 1 ounce of soap flakes.
  • This soap stores well. Be sure to label the container you store your liquid soap in, so you remember what is inside.
  • Keep track of any tweaks that you made to the recipe, so you can repeat your success the next time you make a batch. If you continue to use the same brand of bar soap, you should be able to use the same recipe each time.

Foaming Hand Soap

Use your homemade liquid hand soap as a base for foaming hand soap. It is ridiculously easy to make, and a great way to stretch your supply of liquid hand soap.