DIY Hand Soap From a Bar of Soap

Hand soap is getting harder to find, but there’s plenty of bar soap left on the shelves. Follow this DIY hand soap recipe to make your own liquid hand soap from a bar of soap!

diy hand soap

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know I’m all about saving money. One way I save money is by making a lot of my own home decor. Another way is by making my own cleaning products.

There are a lot of projects out there with a long list of ingredients that end up costing a ton of money to make. Sometimes you come out better if you just buy the product in the store.

However, that’s not the case with this easy money-saving DIY hand soap recipe I’m getting ready to share with you. All you need for this quick and easy DIY is a bar of soap! And to save even more money, you can just use the bar soap leftovers you probably already have on your shower shelf.

Why should you make your own hand soap?

  1. To save money. Even if you’re buying liquid hand soaps from the dollar store, the price is still really adding up.
  2. To keep plastic out of the landfill. Reusing a glass bottle with a pump dispenser will keep those plastic bottles from filling up the landfill. If you don’t have a glass bottle (or mason jar), just reuse the plastic bottles you already have.
  3. To avoid toxic chemicals. This DIY hand soap recipe helps you avoid all the toxic chemicals found in commercial hand soaps. Be careful when choosing your bar soap for your recipe, or make your own.
  4. Recycle soap leftovers. This recipe is perfect for using up all those small pieces of soap leftovers. Just make sure they add up to be about 4 ounces, which is about the same size as a regular bar of soap.
  5. Customizable. You can easily customize this DIY hand soap recipe to the scent you want if you start with a non-scented bar of soap. Just add your favorite essential oils! (Caution using certain essential oils if you have kids that will be using this soap!)
  6. Perfect gift idea. Pour your DIY hand soap into mason jars with pump dispensers, add a pretty bow, and you’ve got the perfect housewarming gift!

DIY Hand Soap Recipe

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materials needed for DIY hand soap

What you need:

  • 4-ounce bar of soap (or soap leftovers adding up to 4 ounces)
  • 8 cups of water (distilled water is preferred, but tap water is fine)
  • Large pot for water
  • Bowl
  • Grater
  • Big spoon
  • Bottle with a pump dispenser
  • *Optional ingredients:

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Check out Safe Essential Oils for Kids, Only at Plant Therapy!

What you do:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, grate the soap into tiny pieces – the smaller the better. If you’d prefer not to grate the soap by hand, you can use a food processor or blender. (To see tips on how to grate soap by hand, click here.)
  3. Once the water has come to a boil, remove from heat and immediately pour the soap flakes in and stir until they are melted.
  4. Set the pot to the side to cool.
  5. Cover the pot and allow the DIY hand soap to congeal. This can take anywhere from 12-24 hours. I just let mine sit overnight.
  6. Once congealed, stir the mixture. If you choose to use the *optional ingredients, now is the time to add them in. Make sure to mix them very well.
  7. To get the consistency you want, you can use a hand mixer to stir the DIY hand soap.
  8. Use a funnel to pour the soap into a pump bottle. Store any extra soap in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
  9. Refill as needed.
add diy hand soap to pump dispenser bottle

To see how I made this Rae Dunn inspired soap dispenser, click here. And get the free printable font so you can make your own!


  • After the DIY hand soap has congealed, check for consistency. If it’s too thick, add a little bit of water and stir. Repeat until it’s thin enough to get through a pump.
  • Add more water if you choose to use a foaming hand pump. I found I needed to add a lot of water to get the foaming effect.
  • Use safe, non-toxic essential oils with antibacterial properties such as lavender, lemon, peppermint, or eucalyptus for scent. Be careful when using essential oils with kids. Some are not kid-safe.
  • To change the color of your DIY hand soap, use natural food coloring, not chemical-based.
  • For extra soft soap, use water from a rain barrel.

Have you ever made your own liquid hand soap before? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Looking for more natural living recipes? I recommend these:
Luxury Spa Scented Laundry Scent Booster
Reusable Dryer Sheets
No-Sew Hanging Sachet
No-Sew Lavender Scented Drawer Sachet

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DIY Hand Soap

Thank you for sharing!
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69 thoughts on “DIY Hand Soap From a Bar of Soap”

  1. christinafayerepurposed

    Thank you for sharing. I was just at the store a few days ago and they had no hand soap. Back with all this craziness started I bought Dial bar soap because it was the only antibacterial soap I could find. Now I can make my own! Hugs!

  2. Wow, what a money saver, Michelle! I absolutely love this idea. Best of all, it’s fairly simple to do!

    I love how easy it is to customize too! Choosing your favorite scent, liquid vs foam, etc. It would be fairly easy to try and replicate some of our favorite scents from Bath & Body Works too. I’ll admit, I have a weakness for their soaps and their sales!

    I’m so glad you shared this. We just might have another DIY brew in this household. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you! It is so easy to make, just a little time-consuming. And it’s fun to wait for the soap to congeal. Like a science experiment!

      I have a weakness for Bath & Body Works, too. I just can’t help it! I’m a tad upset that their prices went up, though. Oh well, like you said: maybe it’s time to replicate their scents. πŸ˜€ I love that idea!

  3. I am looking forward to trying this one! We don’t use a lot of hand-soap but we do use bath soap some so I can take the extra pieces and do this if the soap gets low again when all the winter germs kick in.

    1. Thank you so much! I love using natural products as much as possible. And making them myself is how I save money. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed this!

  4. This is such a money-saver! I have been doing this exact same thing for a couple of years and you get a lot of bang for your buck with this! Thank you for sharing this πŸ™‚ God Bless!

  5. This is awesome!! I just bought a large bottle of hand soap the other day (darn it) wish I would’ve seen this first!
    Have you ever made or do you know if a person could make dish washer tabs? There sooo costly, it’d be nice to come up with a DIY alternative.

    1. Thank you!!
      I’ve never made dishwasher tabs since we don’t have a dishwasher. I’m sure there’s some recipes out there on Pinterest. And then you’ll have another great DIY post!

  6. That’s so interesting, I never thought of turning bar soap into liquid. I usually buy liquid soap refill bags, they come in a soft plastic bag package and can be recycled. They’re also much cheaper than buying liquid soap with a bottle with a pump!
    I use a natural bar soap as my face cleanser, I’ve been using it for a decade now and it works so much better for me than any store bought face wash products. Might try to turn it into liquid soap one day.
    By the way, I think to turn regular liquid soap into a foaming one you mix the soap with water in equal parts, so I presume to make your recipe work with foaming dispensers you’d need double the amount of water. πŸ™‚

    1. I never thought about buying the liquid soap refill bags. That’s a great idea! I’ll have to look for some when I run out of soap. πŸ™‚
      I agree with you on using more water with the foaming soap. I plan to keep playing with the recipe until I eventually get it right, so I’ll definitely give that a try. Thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚

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