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Homemade Hand Soap

Homemade hand soap and canning jar soap dispenser

Grated bar of soap in a stock pot

Blending it to get the right consistency

As promised, I’m back to tell you how I successfully made my own hand soap recently. I found the recipe on Pinterest, but tweaked it a little to what should be a foolproof method for everyone.  Also, at the end of this post, I will show you where to go to learn how to turn a canning jar into a soap dispenser–a double dose of fun!

I am going to read your minds and answer three questions about making hand soap before you ask them: yes, it works great, yes it’s cost-saving and yes, it was easy!  Although I’ve listed four ingredients here, it really can be made with two simple ingredients–a bar of soap and water.

However tempting it may be to just dump all the ingredients into a pot and start brewing, be mindful that there is a method to the madness. This is science, after all, and the process is important, so be sure to read all the directions carefully before brewing up a batch of your own!

Hand Soap Recipe


1-8oz bar of soap (I have it pictured here with castile soap because that’s what I want to try using my next batch, for my first batch, I used Mrs Meyers)
1 tbsp glycerin (This is a skin softener and the amount can be adjusted to your liking. I found it in the Walmart pharmacy section and in whole food stores, but had to ask the pharmacist where to find it)
13 cups of water
10 drops of favorite essential oil (optional)


Grate the bar of soap into a large stock pot, add glycerin and 10 cups of water. Heat over medium heat till soap is completely dissolved–do not overcook! Take off of heat and allow to cool. It will be fairly watery at this point, but not for long. (It may take a few hours to cool completely, I let it sit overnight on my kitchen counter.) Once cooled, it’s too solid to put in a soap dispenser, but fear not, we aren’t quite done. Scoop 1/3 of the mixture into a blender, add one cup of water and blend till smooth. Pour out that solution into a storage container, then repeat the blending step twice more with remaining 2/3 cups of mixture and two cups of water until all the mixture has been blended. The result should be the consistency you are looking for.

You may think the blending process can be skipped, but I urge you not to. In my experience, whipping the air into it helps keep it from solidifying. Another option is to blend it all in the pot with a submersion blender, just don’t forget to add the additional water.

I’m anxiously trying to use up all my soap because I can’t wait to try it again with different scents and soaps. I intend to make up a few batches and put them into empty dispensers as Christmas gifts this year for teachers, etc.

**Update: some people have commented directly to me that their soap didn’t suds well and had a “snot-like” texture.  This is true, though it doesn’t bother me, it may bother some.  Check out this post I found on the chemistry behind this and, if you are interested, an alternative for making it sudsy!

Turning a Mason jar into a soap dispenser

Also, you can see my soap pictured here in a repurposed mason canning jar.  As you can probably imagine, that was a product of yet another Pinterest find, the directions on how to convert a canning jar into a soap dispenser can be found here. I made this one a couple months ago and LOVE it because it’s nice and large, so I’m not refilling it very often. I had the canning jar in my cabinet and used a pump from an old bottle of lotion that was sitting in the back of my closet. Talk about cheap, and also potentially a great gift idea!

Well, if you have any questions about the process of either of these projects, please just ask! I’ll tell you what I know!

8 Responses

  1. debbie says:

    can’t you use glycerin soap and omit the added glycerin?

    • Rachel says:

      You might be able to do that, haven’t tried it, but it sounds like it would work. I don’t think you necessarily need the glycerin for anything, it’s just for skin softening I think and could probably work without it.

  2. Laura says:

    In case you were thinking you might try using a foam dispenser for this soap, don’t bother. I kept the soap in a empty gallon milk container, and then mixed in water in the foam dispenser. It clogged my dispenser and the soap wouldn’t mix with the water. I would assume that if you wanted to make this work, you would have to start by making the soap very watery instead of trying add the water later. But I haven’t tested that theory.

  3. Denise says:

    I can’t wait to try making my own liquid hand soap. I love the dispenser. I am assuming you made a hole in the lid for the pump. Do you have an easy way to do this? I have some new in the box mason aluminum lids and wonder if anyone has tried these yet?

    • Rachel says:

      Yes, I made a hole in the lid, the tutorial provided gives a good way to do it, I don’t really remember anymore how I did it, it was so long ago, but I’m pretty sure it was a combination of a drill with a big drill bit and tin snips

  4. […] my directions for making hand soap?  Enter, the blender! Or, in my case, the submersion blender! I pulled it out, stuck it in The […]

  5. Becky P says:

    Okay. I have to do this. When I run out of the 4 bottles of Bath & Body soap I have hoarded I am making it. What kind of soap did you use?

    • Rachel says:

      I used Mrs Meyers, but really you can use anything, if you use a scented one that you really like the smell of, you won’t need any essential oils…

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