DIY Foaming Hand Soap

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DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe - all natural and frugal
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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.

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe - all natural and frugal
4.11 from 67 votes

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

This easy foaming hand soap contains only water, organic liquid castile soap, a moisturizing oil, and optional essential oils for a simple and frugal homemade soap.
Prep Time5 minutes
Author: Katie Wells



  • Fill the soap dispenser with water to within about 1 inch of the top.
  • Add at least 2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap to the water mixture. NOTE: do not add the soap first or it will create bubbles when the water is added.
  • Add the oil and any essential oils if you are using them.
  • Close and lightly swish to mix.
  • Use as you would any regular foaming soap.


You will need a foaming soap dispenser for this soap. Either buy one online or reuse the bottle from a store-bought 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 castile soap, a moisturizing oil and optional essential oils for a simple and frugal homemade soap.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


292 responses to “DIY Foaming Hand Soap”

  1. Maria Gardner Avatar
    Maria Gardner

    4 stars
    I tried this and I think 3 tbs of soap is better. I just didn’t feel as clean with 2 tbs of soap. Otherwise, I had kept many foaming containers as gifts or bought. I knew I would find a good recipe sometime. I haven’t put an essential oil in it because I bought Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap. Thank you, Katie, for a good recipe. And thank you for all the good suggestions. I have used your recipes for many years now.

  2. Robyn Avatar

    Hello! I am trying to getting all my supplies to start making the switch to natural cleaning. Maybe this is a stupid question but can one use any organic olive oil for this hand soap? Or are there specific qualities that the oil need to have?

  3. Christine Avatar

    My family is drastically reducing the plastics we use and tried and so far love the products. But I was wondering how I can make my own instead of the tabs (which I really like so far). In an effort to cut out the plastics also using bar soap for body and shampoo bar soap. Could I make this recipe with castile bar soap instead of liquid??

  4. Deborah Waterhouse Avatar
    Deborah Waterhouse

    3 stars
    how long does diy foaming hand soap last with out essential oils? and do you have recipe for diy no rinse foaming soap for when not home?

  5. Paula Avatar

    Is anyone else having a problem with the pump clogging after awhile? I have been using this recipe in a foaming pump at all sinks in the house and they stop pumping after about 6 months or so. It’s hard to find replacement pumps, so I have been buying new bottles with pumps which is expensive. Guess I can switch to the cheaper plastic bottles, but I prefer the amber glass that I bought on Amazon if their pumps would hold up.

  6. Kylie Avatar

    I see recipes saying to use distilled water is it alright just to use boiled water instead

  7. Leslie Avatar

    Hi. I have been making homemade liquid hand soap but now I am hearing the you should use some type of preservative to keep dangerous bacteria and mold growth from forming in the soap. I do not want to use preservatives if at all possible (I want it natural) but if it highly suggested, do you know of a safe and healthy preservative that I can use for my soap?

  8. Christine Avatar

    5 stars
    Just made my first batch. Very excited about the results! The soap came out nice and foamy and my hands felt super clean!

  9. Caroline Avatar

    Thanks for this! Just paid $7 for a bag of foam soap refill which seemed absurd considering how much soap actually in there. Oh well. Anyway, how much essential oil to add? I mean I know strength varies according to personal preference but a baseline?

  10. Megan Avatar

    3 stars
    Hi, I made this recently; the foam is perfect to begin with, and the smell is amazing, but I can only wash my hands for maybe 5-10 seconds before the lather is completely gone and my hands don’t easily glide over each other. I certainly can’t wash them for the recommended 20 seconds!
    Can you suggest any reasons why this might be? Is this a normal result? Do I need more Castile soap? Should I add glycerin or Aloe Vera (I’ve seen both suggested in other recipes but not sure if they help lather)
    I love the idea of making my own, but especially in the midst of a pandemic, I want to be sure that my homemade product is actually cleaning my hands properly!

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      The soap is still there and cleaning even when the bubbles aren’t visible but for helping with glide, you can add a little bit of glycerin which will help with the texture.

  11. Sumru Avatar

    Water and oil naturally don’t blend together and you only start getting the feel of the nourishing oil when the soap comes to an end so I found out that you need to add emulsifier with the same amount of the oil you’re using.

    1. Kay Avatar

      4 stars
      I’ve been making this for a few months now and love it, but I’ve found it’s started clogging my drains. A quick google showed that’s common with castile soap but I can’t find a good solution. Is there anything you can add to prevent it from building up in drains?

      1. BJ Avatar

        Kay, try pouring a tea pot (or coffee carafe) of hot water down your drain, weekly or monthly, as needed.

  12. Donna Da costa Avatar
    Donna Da costa

    Just wondering if you can use fractionated coconut oil instead of almond or olive?

  13. Betty Avatar

    1 star
    I don’t know what went wrong, but I followed the recipe and the soap doesn’t foam coming out of the foaming dispenser. It foams on my hands like regular soap, which is fine, but not was I was looking for.

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Did you use the ingredients listed here? And in the same amounts? And what kind of foaming dispenser did you use? I’d love to help troubleshoot…

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