DIY Foaming Hand Soap

How to Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap for Pennies

I started making my own foaming hand soap pretty early in my switch to a more natural lifestyle. With concerns over antibacterial ingredients in many hand soaps and potty-training little ones who found the need to wash their hands/arms/the counter with soap a thousand times a day, I needed a healthy and frugal option.

Thankfully, there is a natural, homemade and incredibly simple option that works just as well and doesn’t cost $3.59 a bottle like the foaming versions at the store.

The recipe itself is literally so simple that I now have my six year old refill the bottles and it takes just seconds to make. I keep the few simple ingredients on hand and we never have to buy hand soap or worry about running out…Surprisingly, this foaming version also makes a decent shaving cream in the shower…

Before you begin, you’ll need a foaming hand soap container. I originally ordered this pretty but pricey foam dispenser online before I realized that  there was a much more frugal and inexpensive option: Buy a bottle of foaming hand soap, pour it out if it isn’t natural, and reuse after the soap is used up.

Once you’ve procured a foaming dispenser of some kind… here is the (incredibly simple) recipe:



  1. Fill the soap dispenser to about 1 inch of the top (leaving room for the bulky foaming pump and the soap to be added).
  2. Add at least 2 tablespoons of liquid castille soap to the water mixture (NOTE: do not add the soap first or it will create bubbles when the water is added.
  3. Add the oil (optional but it helps preserve the life of the dispenser) and any essential oils if you are using them.
  4. Close and lightly swish to mix.
  5. Use as you would any regular foaming soap.

Do you make your own soap already? If not… will you start now? Share below!

This easy foaming hand soap contains only water, organic liquid castille soap, a moisturizing oil and optional essential oils for a simple and frugal homemade soap.

You May Also Enjoy These Posts...

Reader Interactions

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Be Healthy…

Become a Wellness Mama VIP member for free and get access to my handbooks & quick start guides to help you detox your home, become a master of home remedies, make beauty products from scratch, and conquer mealtime madness!

Yes! Let me in!

Wellness Mama widget banner

Reader Comments

  1. We’re just starting to convert our home over to ‘green’ products and will definitely incorporate this recipe.

  2. I’ve been making foaming soap for a couple years. I mix Bronners castille soap with water 1:5 ratio. Trader Joe’s has the best price around for the soap. I used the foaming dispensers from Target (Method) once they are empty. I found buying a dispenser by itself was not worth it.

    • Thanks for the ratios. When you’re making them for gifts, buying the dispenser isn’t a choice. I found them for about $1.70 a bottle.

      • Lee, where do you buy your dispensers?

        • I do not see foaming soap dispensers at the link that was posted. Does anyone else have suggestions? Thank you.

          • One possibility is to buy foaming handsoap (Dial or some such) at Walmart or KMart for under $2. Use what’s in it and refill multiple times with the formula.

          • You can buy new 8 oz foaming pump containers (clear) at for $0.89 each. All of their products are high quality, ship fast. The price on unscented castile soap is VERY low, but out of stock frequently.

          • How many drops of essential oil do you use making this?

          • Sorry I am a couple of years late getting to this. You don’t need a foamer. If you use 50% Castile soap then grind some sea salt into it and mix well it turns into something I can only describe as a ‘glob’. The other 50% can be made up of all water, all oil or a combination of the 2 with honey and/or Aloe and/or glycerin etc (a light oil like rapeseed is good, try a combination with coconut oil and honey). Using all oil will make your soap last longer than using water as long as you sterilise your implements, it doesn’t seem to make it greasy in my experience. Add your essential oils to the oil or water you’re adding and account for it in the 50% as this can affect the viscosity. I have found that any more than 50% it turns to liquid. You then add this very gradually into the ‘glob’ until all the oil is combined or if you like your soap a bit thicker don’t add quite 50%. It goes silky smooth like commercial soap and you can use it in an ordinary soap dispenser. I use 60 drops of oil to 300ml , I suppose that’s about 6 per fluid Oz in imperial. Depends how strong your oil is, how big your dropper is and how strong you like it. Hope that helps.

          • I get mine at the dollar store.. I just empty their contents and add my own…. I reuse them and have been for months..

          • The Dollar Tree $1, stores in Charleston, SC, sell foaming hand soap in the dispensers for $1.00 each. You can empty or reuse the dispenser.

          • I bought them from amazon 3 pack

          • I found glass ones on Amazon for $13 They are pricey but worth it! These are really large and come in several tints of glass:

      • where can you buy a dispenser for $1.70??? The only dispensers I’ve found run $12-$15!

        • You can get inexpensive foamer pumps ($1.49 each) and Castile Soap ($8.50 for 16 oz.) from

          • Bulk Apothecary is also a great place to find homemade soap needs.

          • You can purchase 1.7 oz. Foamer bottles at Bulk ApothecRy for .49 each.

        • Found quality foamer bottles plain or with decor that works and are refillable. I use mine daily in shower and another one in the kitchen for over a year.


          Hope this helps

        • Hobby lobby has them. Super cheap too. Reusable

      • I know this is way later, but I find soap dispensers for .89 cents through Bulk Apothecary! (

          • please l have a problem. in my area, l cannot find castle liquid soap to buy. Therefore l want to prepare my own natural liquid soap without using chemical surfactants. so how do l start. please can you guide me. My name is uchechi Onuoha.

        • That’s only if you buy about 50 of them! You have to buy bulk in order to get the low prices.

  3. Can I use peppermint castile soap? I love making my own products too. 🙂

      • Can this be used as body soap?

      • How can I make it so it is not so drying to my hands?

        • We had the same problem! Simple fix: use Dr Bronners BABY Castile soap. So gentle!!

  4. Great recipe. I was making my own, but this recipe is so much better. Thank you!

  5. Wow, looks really cool! Just need to find some good liquid castille soap that won’t cost me an arm and a leg (I live in France). I was wondering what you do for body soap? I’ve been looking for a simple recipe with no Lye, to make at home, but I don’t think I’ve come a cross annything on you site yet 🙂

    • All soap has lye solid soap has sodium hydroxide, liquid soap has potassium hydroxide. Without lye as a catalyst for saponification you cannot make soap. There is no lye present after the saponification process but it is absolutely necessary to turn oils into soap. You won’t find a soap without it.

      • Oh right, well I’m not against Lye at all, but I just don’t think I could go through the whole process of making it (for different reasons)… I was more like wondering what I could use as a substitute for soap. I know people who wash only with honey, others who use sugar scrubs etc…

      • what about glycerin based soaps ? is there lye in that?

  6. Been doing this for years myself as well. I have found that Lemon Myrtle EO is a great all around anti-bacterial add in and to my nose, diluted in soap, it smells like watermelon!

  7. I make my own bar soap. I have potassium hydroxide to make liquid soap. My first attempt at that was not good. One of these days I will try it again. We just use bar soap for everything. I use it as shampoo and rinse with cider vinegar. My husband and son don’t bother with the vinegar.

  8. This is on my list of things to make this summer! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  9. I went out today and bought 3 glass pump dispensers at Everything’s A Dollar, for $1 each (even cheaper than buying a pump with the soap already in it). Added some orange and patchouli essential oils to mine. Yum!

  10. I made this a week or so ago -using washed ‘Method’ pumps- and love it! But…the soap is turning pink and I am wondering if that’s normal/ok/safe? I did as above and included Lemongrass EO. Thanks

    • I’ve never had it turn pink? Could be a reaction with what was in the container before. I would think it is ok as long as there is no smell or other problems.

      • The pink is mold. It doesn’t have a pronounced odor but you should dispose. Aureobasidium, likely.

    • lemon and plastic not good!! f you use citrus you should use glass. the citrus pulls the toxic material out of the plastic and puts it in your product which you then use to wash your hands with..

      • We recently discovered that if there’s turmeric on our dish sponge, putting bronner’s Sal Suds on the sponge turns that area pink. Sal Suds is their dish soap. As a backpacker I learned that if you use iodine treated water to wash a pot you cooked pasta in, the pasta’s starch would react with the iodine’ turning the water blue.

        Found this:

        Not quite the same but maybe helpful.

  11. maybe dumb but i guess im sort of a weirdo about the antibacterial. i guess what im saying is that if the potty training kids dont wipe well and it gets on their hands how does this soap kill the ecoli? thats the only reason i wouldnt make it.. i like hand soap that kills germs well. or does this too?

    • Studies show that proper washing for at least 20 seconds with soap does just as well as antibacterial soaps without the risks 🙂

      • been saying this for year ANTIBACTERIAL HAS TO MANY CHEMICALS, ‘SOAP” AND 20 SECONDS TO 25 SECONDS, works the best,

    • Most-if not all- citrus essential oils have natural antibacterial properties…as well as many other essential oils. So, adding a lemon or wild orange EO would smell nice as well as be beneficial for knocking out germs…

    • I’m a single dad raising my 10 year old son. We bought SoftSoap Antibacterial from costco. used it for years. Every winter my son’s hands cracked, chapped bright red and painful. His doctor recommended petrolium jelly. We used it and it worked. THEN I READ THE INGREDIENTS on the SoftSoap huge jug from costco. BAD BAD BAD! We started using Doctor Bronners bar soap in the shower and Doctor Bronners liquid Castille soap from Trader Joes in a diluted form for liquid soap. Guess what? NO chapping, cracking redness or pain and NO PETROLEUM JELLY. READ YOUR INGREDIENTS ON ALL YOUR FOOD AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS! DO RESEARCH! MOST OF IT IS TOXIC POISON!!

    • i know this post is old but wanted to let you know that using antibacterial soap for a long period of time, 3 months or more makes you become immune to it…so it isnt doing any good anyway, all you are doiongis adding chemicals you dont need. Its like taking antibiotics for too long, they stop working and cause harm.

      • What can I do to cure candida?

  12. I make my own liquid Castile soap from a bar and when mixed in the dispenser it is getting gel like. It does not do it in any other dispenser and I have a few. Just the method foaming dispenser – the gel seems to be clogging it. I tried a lesser amout of Castile soap and the same thing. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve never tried with homemade liquid soap, so I’m not sure, but that sounds like it is the problem…

    • I have made my own liquid Castile soap from eco-friendly websites, and mine too gels. I kept mine in large Ball jars and now can’t get it out to put it into dispensers. Not sure why this is – none of the recipes seem to come with that warning or how to reverse the gelling.

    • I make my own liquid Castile soap and added some to test in a foaming soap dispenser and had no issues, might be that your soap is not this enough for the dispenser, not real sure though.

  13. Just made this using, Bronners castille peppermint liquid soap, sweet almond oil, and lemon lime essential oil. After a couple of pumps it had dried my hands out terribly. Anyone know what to add – take out to make it less drying. Thanks

    • Not all the people responds equally to olive oil soap.

      I have found that for some people high percentage olive soaps can clean too deeply the skin drying it out.

      I prevent that using 30% olive oil, 25% sunflower, 5% castor and 40% palm, yes, palm… I am from Costa Rica and we have very good laws protecting the workers and environment and the lands have decades with the same palm trees that were planted for rebuilding the economy of agricultural little towns that collapsed after the big banana companies left the country and thousands of unemployed people, in other words no orangutans in danger (we don’ t have them anyway) The castor has to be added after trace and it will be very moisturizing.

      • Thanks for the heads up about Palm Oil in Costa Rica! Congratulations to your country for having a truly sustainable product. As a conscious consumer I’m always on the look out for products grown sustainably. Also, thank you for the additional ingredients to the recipe.

    • My girls have trouble with the peppermint & citrus soaps making their hands exceptionally dry. I use almond, rose, or lavender Dr. Bronner’s and they haven’t had any more problems. I don’t add the oil either, just the soap & water and it works just fine (used the same dispensers for over a year).

      • Lemon, (& most citruses) is a degreaser so it will strip all of the oil from your hands. That’s why it is used regularly in laundry and dish soap. Also, citrus oils are predominately made of monoterpenes which are prone to oxidation and become skin irritants when that happens. Peppermint has menthone, a ketone, which is a skin irritant in large amounts, or if a lower grade is used. Adding some skin nourshing essential oils comprised of alchols, esters, and other ketones will help to avoid these issues….think Lavender, Rosewood, Myrrh, etc., like you you. Adding a skin soothing carrier oil will help prevent these problems as well.

    • Hi. I have heard that Jojaba Oil is GREAT for eliminating dry skin (hands). I get dry hands so so bad in the winter esp if I have em in water too often. So I’m currently making my first NON TOXIC foam soap! Although I have coconut oil, I realized I need Jojaba oil too to take care of my dry hands:-)

  14. I love this soap recipe but keep having a problem with the dispenser. The pump is not recoiling (you have to pull it back up). I have bought two different foaming soap dispensers and it happened with both within a few days of making this soap. I have 2 little ones and it’s difficult for them to pull the pump back up every time. Any suggestions?

    • Add more oil… it is just the soap sticking…

      • Where is a good place to buy essential oils that aren’t pricey?

      • Mine is doing the same thing. Added more oil and no improvement.

        • Could be the lid is tightened too much. Like with baby bottles & water bottles, sometimes if the lid is too tight it won’t let enough air in and even out pressure for suctioning contents out. Downside is if you have to loosen too much it could leak if turned on the side.

    • I have the exact same problem with the pump getting stuck. I made liquid soap from a natural bar soap, which is quite goopy/jelly, but works alright in a regular soap dispenser, but in the foaming dispenser, the pump gets stuck… I ended up dumping it out of the foaming pump and now I might have to go back and try again but add some oil??

      • You need to add water. The kind of soap that works in a traditional hand soap dispenser needs to be watered down by at least half to work in a foaming one.

  15. After making this, how long is it good for in the dispenser? I can’t wait to try this! Thanks 🙂

    • I have been using this method for a year, I use Dr Bronners peppermint scent and add vitamin e and sometimes coconut oil. I also use the food coloring in liquid to give it color for the different decor. Up to two weeks

      • Doesn’t the coconut oil harden and clog up your dispenser (unless it stays warm)?

        • it shouldn’t, but it depends on the temp in your home. You could try some Vit E oil instead! Good for the skin and won’t harden.

        • You could use fractionated coconut oil if you are worried about it hardening. Fractionated CO is liquid at all temps.

  16. how do i make this soap antibacterial?

    • I use a different recipe but I use a few drops of tea tree oil for the antibacterial properties.

  17. I just made this soap and put it in my handmade mason jar dispenser! This is the creamiest foaming soap I’ve ever used! Thanks a bunch!

    • is your mason jar dispenser for foaming soap or regular hand soap?

  18. Your website is awesome! Ran out of foaming hand soap this morning and sure enough, there’s a recipe on here for it! Thanks! Makes me feel that one day I might be free of WalMart! lol

  19. Can’t wait to try it. Just switching over to more natural products. Love your site. I’ve found tons of useful information.

  20. I’m so excited you posted this. I was thinking about making my own foaming soap and hadn’t gotten around to finding a recipe. If I wanted to use it as body soap, would you recommend adjusting the ingredients at all?

    • I use liquid castile soap and coconut milk (equal parts) for a body wash, I love it. I use Dr. Bronners mild….that with the coconut milk gives it a very light fresh scent that isn’t drying.

      • Thanks! I’ll give that a try.

      • how long is it good for?

        • I keep my last bottle in the shower. It lasts me about a month before I run out…I don’t know if it would last longer.

          • thank you!

      • Just a q– coconut milk from the can or the carton in the fridge? Thanks!

  21. I use Trader Joe’s dish soap and water to make my foaming hand soap. I put about an inch of dish soap in the empty container and fill the rest with water. Give a little shake and done! Sooooo simple and easy!

  22. I have been using this recipe for a couple months now and was curious if I should clean the pump of the soap dispenser when I make new batches of soap? And if so, any tips?

    • To clean used container: Wash dispenser well. Rinse with clear vinegar. Rinse again and let drain. The vinegar helps kill any bacteria that may be in the container.

  23. Can I use coconut oil instead of almond or olive? Coconut is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and is great for the skin, will not allow dryness. My only concern would be that it hardens. Has anyone tried it? I love wellnessmama! Thank you!

    • You could probably do fractionated coconut oil…it doesn’t solidify at room temp. I added Vit E oil to mine instead of the olive oil and it works well…

  24. Just made two soap pumps of this foaming soap in about two minutes! So easy! I used lavender peppermint for my bathroom and peppermint tea tree for the kitchen.

  25. In other research I’ve done for homemade bath and body products, I found that anything made with water or water based ingredients need a preservative added to avoid bacterial growth. Does anyone know?

    • I believe Vitamin E is a natural preservative.

    • I have had the same concern ever since I noticed something swirling in my soap (other than the settled Castile soap)… has anyone else seen any growth in their homemade foaming hand soap? Ideas on how to prevent it?

      • This is a really late reply, but I read that the PH levels in all soaps (liquid castille included) work in a way that the product would not go rancid, so you wouldn’t need to add anything to this recipe. If you were making a lotion with water you would need to add a preservative, of which Vitamin E is not. Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a ‘natural’ preservative, but because preservatives are added at a .1 – .5% ratio it’s negative impact on your skin would be extremely minimal.

  26. Would this work without foaming dispenser, just as regular liquid hand soap?

      • I made homemade soap years ago from a recipe in a book but it was really thin. This led to using more, not feeling clean, my then toddler making a mess with it, etc. Now I know why.

        And glad I continued reading the posts as I was ready to go out and make it again and just use the soap bottles (not foaming) I have in the bathrooms already. Now I will investigate where I can get the ‘foaming’ variety.


  27. Sounds pretty simple. I definitely will try this recipe. If it’s organic, good for us! I was a a teen during the “hippy” era when everything we did was toward saving our planet! We started the EPA & many others organizations bettering our world. Just too bad many of us gave up on saving the world, so we went back to making the almighty dollar. Your website is a breath of fresh air. Thanks.

  28. If using a Dr. Bronner’s bar soap for this liquid soap recipe, is it necessary to add a preservative to the finished product to prevent bacteria, etc.?? Or is the preservative already in the Dr. Bronner’s bar soap? Does adding lemon or orange EO provide enough anti-bacterial properties without the use of a preservative. Thanks! I have been making this and wasn’t adding a preservative and wondered about the shelf life.

    • I always add a few drops of bleach to everything as an antibacterial. Works great!

  29. I made homemade baby wipes for 6 years and found that adding two or three drops of tea tree and lavender EO’s kept them from mildewing. I assume the same amounts of EO’s in this foaming handsoap recipe would be enough to prevent the growth of bacteria.

  30. I’ve been wanting so much to try this recipe, so a while back I purchased a bottle of Method soap to get the dispenser. Today I made the recipe, and I am flummoxed — this doesn’t look right! I used boiled water, 2 Tbsp Dr. Bronner’s unscented liquid castile soap, 1/2 tsp olive oil, and lavender essential oil, just like the recipe. I followed instructions exactly. But every time I shake up the bottle and let it sit until the next use, it looks like all the yellowish oil has risen to the top. Surely this isn’t right? There was never any mention in the article or any of these comments about having to re-shake the bottle every time before you use it (and that would be a total pain, anyway!), so I don’t understand why mine is doing this. I live in an area with medium to medium-hard water — that doesn’t have anything to do with the ingredients not staying mixed, does it? After having this happen, I went back and re-checked all my ingredients. I noticed it said “at least 2 Tbsp castile soap,” so I added another 1.5 Tbsp of the soap and re-tried it (someone else said they use a ratio of soap to water 1:5), but still the same result – the oil keeps separating each time it’s shaken. It looks kind of gross, too. Any suggestions or ideas?

    • It can do that and I think it does depend somewhat on the water. Next time, you can use less oil if you want, it just keeps the pump from sticking and keeps hands from drying out. Almond oil is clear, so that would be another option that wouldn’t have the color that you don’t like

      • We have been making this great recipe for about a month using Dr. Bronner’s unscented Baby-Mild. We go through a bottle in about 2 weeks, so I didn’t bother to boil the water or use distilled water. We did not add additional oils as the soap already has oils added. We find the soap sinks in the bottle and it has to be shaken each time. Although it doesn’t dry out our hands, it does leave a “tacky” feeling on our hands. Any suggestions?

        • I just use straight Castile soap. No water, no oil, just the liquid Castile. Peppermint. I use this for dish washing, and I hand wash all dishes. No issues with dryness. So I started doing it in the bathroom. So much easier to just pour the soap in the bottle and use a fraction of a pump… not a full pump. HTH

  31. Thank you sooooo much!! My 5 yr old daughter was just diagnosed with eczema this week and we were told not to use antibacterial soaps, anything with fragrance or dyes either. I’ve used castille soap for years in cleaning & as a laundry detergent. Just never as a hand soap. I spent 1/2 an hour this morning in Target trying to figure out what hand soap I was going to change her to because everything has either a scent, antibacterial or dye in it. So after a quick web search in the soap aisle I found your site & this recipe & I feel sooo much better now! Thanks!!

    • You should try modifying your daughter’s diet to try to find the culprit causing her eczema. I stopped eating corn, and 2-3 weeks later noticed that my very bothersome & sometimes very painful eczema that I had suffered with for more than two years had disappeared. I accidentally tested my hypothesis that it was corn by eating some gluten free bread with corn in it, and back it came for about two weeks after avoiding corn again before it healed again. It may not be corn for your daughter, but definitely related to diet! Getting rid of gluten cleared up my relentless acne even during my cycle when it would get the worst. It may actually be a combo of getting rid of the two.

      • I agree with the food allergy comment above, has she been tested for food allergies? My son suffered from terrible eczema during his first year of life and it was most likely due to an egg allergy. His allergist said the majority of young children with eczema have an egg allergy. My son’s eczema has been almost totally cleared up since we started avoiding them in his diet. However, I think many kids outgrow that allergy by age 5 so it may be that or something else…just worth a shot. Eczema can be so terrible 🙁

  32. I was almost confused reading the instructions. B/c it made it sound like to make it with boiling water means you’re going to let it sit unused for a few months? Is that what you’re saying? If it’s going to be used instantly, don’t use boiling water?

    Where can Bronners castille soap be found? Is it going to be in most health food stores? Also, do you think Vit E oil will work? I already bought a huge bottle of it at target a month ago and figured that might be a nice Clear colored option since the Olive oil color might be an issue (from what other comments say).

    I do need to start making these though b/c we go through a bottle of Bath and Body Works foaming soap in a week (for two people) and it was getting a little too pricey. Plus, in the winters, their soaps give me dermatitis (b/c of the cold already screwing with my hands), and the cheapest soaps in stores that are about a dollar are just meh, full of chemicals. Thanks for this recipe!

    • you can use vitamin e oil and you won’t have to use boiling water if it is used quickly

  33. Hello,

    Thanks for the recipe. I believe Castille soap has Lye (which I believe is a chemical), then how come this soap can be called totally natural.

    PS: By the way, great website.

  34. I have made several batches of this, and it is perfect! And I feel so much better that my kids are using something all natural. One questions: I have read in other places that essential oils can do leach the chemicals from plastic containers. Is it safe to use in plastic containers or do I need to use a glass container?

    • Which oils are you using. It should be ok, but if you find a glass foaming container, please let me know 🙂

      • Peppermint and tea tree oil in one and sweet orange in another. I plan to make a lemon scented one for the kitchen when I run out of the store bought soap I was using before I discovered this recipe. Love love love it! I’ll keep looking for a glass foaming container. May have to do the DIY mason jar next.

        • I haven’t seen the DIY mason jar directions would you care to share them please?

      • “Glass” foaming soap dispensers are very popular now. Try they wide variety to choose from.

      • I read that Amazon has glass dispensers but they are expensive. They have several tints of glass.

  35. Soap I have made is not thick enough and also is not foamy, any ideas how to address that.

    • Is it in a foaming soap bottle? It will only work in that type of bottle…

      • Actually I had put in a normal bottle, would put in foaming soap bottle.

  36. I am allergic to hemp so I cannot use Castille soap. I bought some without realizing it was hemp and made hand soap and my hands broke out in hives. is there anything I can use as a soap, body wash, shampoo, etc because I really don’t want to use the chemical stuff.

  37. Hello everyone!
    I unable to find empty foaming dispensers anywhere near where I live, opted to try something unique- a spray bottle.
    They’re cheap and readily available. This is my recipe for showering soap.
    The recipe:
    1/3c castille soap
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 small drop of Neem oil (great healing oil!)
    10 drops of Tea Tree oil (anti-bacterial+healing)
    4 drops White Flower oil (Chinese antiseptic+topical anisthetic oil-smells ‘pepperminty’)
    4 small drops Friars balsam
    In a medium spray bottle, add the friars balsam and oils to 1/4c warm water and mix about. Then, once thoroughly mixed, add the castille and top up with more warm water. Gingerly mix.
    I rise myself in the shower then spray this on wet skin and it feels great!
    P.S. if you add 2Tbsp of Baking soda to the mixture and change the bottle to a squirt type, then you have a great gardener’s hand soap! Have fun with it!

  38. If essential oils shouldn’t be in anything but glass containers, what about the plastic straw from the pump? Thoughts?

    • I’m not sure. It would stand to reason that if these oils are in a nondiluted state, perhaps, but I cannot be sure.

  39. If using distilled water, what’s the estimated shelf life of this product?

  40. How do I make soap antibacterial. I read somewhere in comments that Tea tree oil can be added, but just want to confirm

  41. I made the hand soap using grated Castile bar soap. It seems to clog the foaming pump cause after a day I can’t press it down. Any suggestions?

  42. I’ve tried making foaming hand soap and used a foaming dispenser, but I feel my product is to thin, any suggestions on how to thicken it up?

  43. Thanks! Our soap dispenser has been empty for a week (we had to resort to bar soap which just makes things a mess) because neither my husband nor myself wanted to spend $8 for the bottle that refills our dispenser 2+ times. We already had castille soap and olive oil around. Simple and so much more affordable!

  44. Can you add food coloring to the soap?

  45. Is there a recipe for body wash or “bar” soap?

  46. For this recipe, can you use an ordinary soap dispenser?
    Love this website – it’s life changing!

    • I don’t see why not… although it might be a little watery if not foamed up.

  47. I would like to make a big container of this stuff so that we can just refill the dispensers easily….can you recommend any proportions for water/soap/ essential oils?

  48. Just curious if this HAS to be used with a foaming dispenser? I just want to make a liquid soap to refill the regular dispensers I already have. Thank you!

    • It might be a bit runny, but I don’t think there is a reason it would not work.

  49. Does anyone know where I can find more decorative of plain Glass foaming soap dispensers? The Mason Jar option doesn’t really go with my home décor.

    I can’t seem to find glass dispensers anywhere?

  50. can I use grapeseed oil to preserve the essential oils?

  51. I love this easy recipe. We just switched to it about a month ago. We go through it quickly in our bathroom (probably because we cloth diaper 2 babies, so with each diaper change= hand wash with soap). I have not added essential oils for scent, but was curious what your thoughts are on adding essential oils to this in a plastic foaming dispenser or if it should actually be in a glass dispenser to prevent leaching of the oils? Any feedback would be appreciated:)

  52. I’m in college and live in a suite with three other girls and we go through a lot of hand soap. I’m really glad that I found this recipe because it looks super easy and affordable to make. I’m just curious if I could add coconut oil to it to make it a moisturizing soap?

  53. I have tried and tried and tried to make this and many of your other recipes with little luck. The Dr. Bronners liquid makes me itch, badly. I actually prefer Kirk’s Coco Castile ( I just wish it was organic!!). I found a recipe somewhere in the internet explaining how to turn the bar to liquid (which is actually gel-like). 13 ounces of water per ounce of bar soap. Melt the soap. Let sit for 12-24 hours and then use it. I prefer this soap, BUT it just doesn’t always work right…. I really want to be able to make my own everything. I will be trying your recipe for handmade soap. I am hoping that you can please tell me how to turn your bar (and any other bar) to liquid and then figure out how to replace that liquid (watered down bar soap) with the liquid called for in your recipes so that I get a good result. Thank you so much! I love, love, LOVE your site!!!

  54. Hi,
    Love reading your blog !!!!
    I reposted this piece on my blog as well
    I am in love with Dr. Bronnners!

  55. Has anyone had any problems with their pump wheezing? I’ve been using watered down liquid soap from walmart, but just switched today to castile instead and now they’re not working- the pump isn’t stuck, it’s just shooting air out with almost no foam. I took all the parts apart and cleaned them all out- wow- there was mold and gross stuff in there. But now they won’t work. Argh! 🙂

  56. I have tried different recipes for hand soap and dish soap. All contained Dr.Broone’s soaps and all leave a greasy layer on the bathroom sink or kitchen sink. Do you have an idea to avoid this?
    Thanks Claudine

  57. I was going to use Lemon Essential Oil (thought it would be a good hand soap in the kitchen), but in the description it states do not use on skin…
    Are there certain essential oils to use for this? I also make lotions and would like to use them for either…Thanks-

  58. I followed the recipe, but is the soap supposed to be really watery?

  59. Can avocado oil be used?

  60. Can Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castile Soap be used? Is that the same thing as “liquid castile soap”?

  61. Hi Katie!
    Thank you so much for all your hard work–I LOVE your blog!! Will you please tell me what size bottle this recipe is for? I scanned the comments and could not find an answer there. Also, do you use citrus essential oils in the plastic foaming bottles? Are they diluted enough so as not to leach chemicals from the plastic? Thank you for your time.

  62. I’ve just recently made my own handsoap with water, jojoba oil and essential oils. I am using a foaming soap bottle, but it seems that it keeps separating. Is this normal?

  63. Someone else asked if you can use grapeseed oil and didn’t receive a response. I would also like to know if grapeseed oil can be used. Thank you!

  64. Hi ,I was just wondering if i can use this soap to wash baby’s bottles ? Thanks a lot

    • I don’t see why not, it’s soap and without the chemicals!

  65. Does anyone know of an organic castille soap besides Dr. Bronners? I don’t want the hemp oil that is in Dr. Bronners. Thanks!

    • Why not?

    • CVS ( I know…. but yes) has a store brand Castile soap with Peppermint oil and Shea, not hemp. It’s about $10 for 32 oz, but they usually have a sales of some sort on it… BOGO or 30% off or whatever.

  66. I find most everything I need from bulk apothecary and at really great prices.

  67. Hi there,
    I was wondering if you could use this recipe to make normal pump soap? If I don’t have the foaming pump would it still work ok with a regular pump (obviously without the foaming part).

    Thanks so much, I enjoy your blog.

      • Awesome! I was thinking that maybe the foam pump recipe might be too watery for the regular pump – I will look for the new recipe for liquid hand soap!

        I’m just having trouble locating foam pumps so I thought I would ask!

        Thanks again for all you do – keeps us all inspired!!!


  68. Can Branch Basics be used for the soap? Also, so many posts and concerns about the plastics and essential oils, but I have never found where anyone mentions the fact that the soap dispensers and spray bottles, even though they may be class containers, use plastic tubes and pumps/sprayers. I am no expert by any means, but it seems to me that these would deteriorate much faster in that they are totally surrounded by the liquid than the bottles. And are they all BPA free? Any thoughts?

  69. This is great! My husband is extremely particular about the sudsing of soap. He always complains about the more “natural” soaps/shampoos/detergents I’ve bought or made over the years. I used this recipe to refill a method foaming dispenser, and he didn’t even notice the change this time. We’ll be using this recipe for all if our hand soaps now. Thanks!

  70. This is an excellent recipe!!!! I used the castile soap from MRH and Dr Bronners and they both worked GREAT, but I made the mistake of using a cheaper castile (that added ingredients to thicken the soap), and it was awful, watery and didn’t foam. As long as you stick to a GOOD castile, this is fantastic.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  71. Grape seed oil as a preservative: not sure about that. Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is excellent as a natural preservative that we have used for over a year in my son’s cloth baby wipe solution recipe. GSE would even provide some antibacterial properties without the risk of antibacterial resistance that comes along with using the chemical antibacterials. It is a clear liquid and I use 1 drop per 8 oz. foaming dispenser.

  72. Any recommendations of what essential oils to use and what not to use?

    Jennifer V.

    • For hands, I like an antibacterial blend that I make…. Either a “thieves” blend with clove, cinnamon bark, lemon, eucalyptus and Rosemary or a new blend I’ve been using which is tea tree, eucalyptus and lemon grass. They both smell really good in Dr Brommers rose, citrus and eucalyptus soap. I also do a rose oil and clove oil mix with almond oil and the plain Dr Brommers. Geranium in the Rose scented Castile soap is awesome too. Lavender is great and seems to go with the plain soap or most of the scented ones.

  73. I made this a few days ago and it works perfectly. I reused a Clean Well soap pump I got from Whole Foods and it really foams up the soap well. I used vitamin E oil based on readers’ comments about olive oil making it yellow (due to a nut allergy in my family I couldn’t use almond). Also I wanted to make it a bit more antibacterial so I used Dr. Bronners Tea Tree and added lavender essential oil. At first my husband said it sort of disappeared so I added more Dr. Brunners to make it more emmolient and now it’s perfect. I noticed that something white settles at the bottom (maybe the vitamin E?) so I just swirl it a bit. Love this recipe; I’ll be making this from now on! Thank you Katie for all you do for this new mama 🙂

  74. A quick question: is there a quality difference for the end product in using distilled versus boiled water for this (or other) diy recipes? Is there a certain amount of time it’s necessary to boil the water to remove impurities or just bring it to a full boil? I like to make several bottles of foaming hand soap in advance and have them ready to go when I need them, so they are stored for a while. Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas & resources you have on your site!!

    • I feel like if I can get distilled and it is cheap, it’s a better option, and generally will last longer.

  75. It seems like almond oil is the go to oil for DIYers when it comes to face & hand wash… Is there a reason for this?

    • Almond oil is very moisturizing. It’s used in skin care DIYs bc of its anti-aging properties. It has a great consistency and is very neutral. Also easy to find. I think olive oil is a great choice too bc ts uber moisturizing. It’s great for a hand soap you keep by the kitchen sink. I wash my hands so much when cooking or cleaning in the kitchen that having a super moisturizing hand soap right there is going to be used.

  76. I bought foaming hand soap at the dollar store, dumped out the soap, and used the bottle to make this soap. Worked great and I love the recipe.

  77. Lovely! Tried it this afternoon, and will never buy that horrid smelling store bought chemical-perfume stuff again! 😉

  78. Has anyone found a foaming dispenser where the pump doesn’t get stuck in the down position? We use empty Method foaming bottles and have ready many reviews of pumps that can be found online, where the pump eventually gets stuck. TIY!

  79. I just bought a Tom of foamer bottles on clearance at Elements Bath and Body… I googled DIYs stored in foamer bottles to see what options there are…. And WellnessMama was one of the first links!! Katie, your blog pops up 9 out of 10 times when I am looking for info! Thank you so much for all your hard work and for sharing your knowledge! I read your blog regularly and it’s so cool to have it randomly pop up when I ask a question.

    You are fantastic!!


  80. I love this recipe and have used it for years. Thank you!!! What are you ideas for helping with the separation of water, oils, and soap in the foaming dispenser? It is unsightly and makes my family not want to use my homemade soap 🙁

  81. Try liquid lecithin. It is the stuff in egg yolks that makes mayonnaise emulsify. They usually extract it from soya so it is a natural product. Don’t get it on your hands though as it sticks!

  82. I also made one. I bought a hand wash after one year. In this time I made my own foaming hand soap. Thanks for your tips.

  83. I just made this and turned out great- thank you so much for the tip!

  84. Hah! I recently decided to try Dr Bronner’s castile soap, and after re-reading this specific face routine I realized I needed a foam dispenser, not foaming face wash (which is just a sudsy lather, not a foam). Using diluted castile soap in a foam dispenser makes perfect sense. I’ve been splashing it on my face and hoping for the best, but I may be in danger of using too much by doing it that way.

    I believe oil was used as a shaving lube by Egyptians. History had a way of repeating the oil/no oil/tweezing process. So for castile soap as your foamy shaving lube, it makes sense.

  85. The liquid hand soap I made using a couple of spoons of Bronner’s liquid soap does not lather well and is also thin and watery. Any suggestions to get a thicker consistency which would also lather a little bit? I am using an ordinary soap dispenser; is that a reason? Should I use only a foam pump?

  86. Do you use Branch Basics when making any of your natural cleaning products?

  87. Awesome recipe, thank you! I just made a batch for each of our bathrooms. Quick question: can this recipe double as a shower wash? It would make life so much easier to have one recipe for our hand and body cleansing needs.

  88. Shouldn’t filtered/distilled water always be used. If the mixture will not be used up in a short amount of time, it will need a preservative of some sort or someone could get sick.

  89. I was wondering if I could use Sunflower Lecithin to this soap to make a more creamy version to use in my old typical soap dispensers I want to reuse. Is it just as easy as adding then giving it a shake? Or is there a heating process to go through? I also made my own body wash and shampoo with steeped chamomile tea, Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and just a little organic blend of several oils, like jojoba, olive, etc for my family but it’s so thin, they waste a lot with it running off their hands. Do you think I can just add lecithin?
    BTW, made this for my foaming dispenser and it was great. Very moisturizing 🙂

  90. This is great! I have a lot of Dr. Bronner’s that I bought for face wash and body wash, but it always seemed like I was using too much. This is a great way to make a LOT of soap! Thanks!

  91. Is it safe to add food colouring? Or would you recommend another way to add colour to the foam soap?

  92. I made this yesterday with JR Walker Pure Castile Soap, but it seems to not get too foamy once I rub my hands. Should I add more soap? I am not getting that overall foamy feeling when I am washing my hands…anyone? any ideas?

  93. How long will the soap last if using distilled water? And what is your method of washing the reusable containers after each use to keep away bacteria and mold?

  94. Hi can I share this recipe in the newsletter again or whatever you can let me share it’s non profit, these are the newsletters and I’m doing a series to help people refill single use plastic bottles and cut down on their usage of single use plastic. Thanks Sophie

    • I don’t allow my blog posts to be duplicated or republished in their entirety anywhere else. However, you can link to an article, quote from (less than 10% of total article), or share on social media, as long as all links remain intact and full attribution is given and you link back to the original article.

  95. How many drops of essential oils should I be adding to this recipe? Thank you in advance 🙂

    • I just use a few but you can add or subtract depending on your preference.

  96. My understanding is if not used in a few weeks a preservative is necessary, even using distilled water. Can you recommend one?


  97. I tried making the soap with out oil and with out essential oil. Washed my hands once and oh my gosh my hands are so dry now 🙁

  98. I have been making foaming soap for a while now. I use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Castile soap with water and essential oils. I have found that the oil in the soap and in the essential oils cause it to either settle on the bottom or float, creating a stringy appearance, like something is in my soap. I tried to troubleshoot it by adding 1 T of everclear alcohol as a preservative and I’ve also tried glycerin as an emulsifier but these did not work. Has anyone else encountered this and is there a solution?

  99. I have just made this and it smells and foams up wonderful. I put in 6 drop of Geranium Rose oil. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  100. Hi! I didn’t use your exact recipe but I made a very similar hand soap using lemon essential oil just a couple of days ago. There are small particles of what looks like possibly mildew? I don’t know but it looks icky. I think I also put vitamin e oil and aloe Vera gel, but no almond oil. What do you think it could be? I’m worried about my hand made soaps growing mold and. Acteria and making everyone sick! Thank you!