February’s DIY Project: Homemade Hand Soap

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I accomplished February’s DIY project right around the end of last month. I made homemade hand soap. One gallon, all for around $5.00. That’s hard to beat, especially when the hand soap is made with organic soap.

I used Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Bar soap made with organic oils. I purchased it from Traders Joes for less than $3.50.

This recipe was SO easy to pull off. You essentially shred a bar of soap, put it in a large pot, add one gallon of water plus 2 Tablespoons of glycerin and cook. While it cooks, you can enjoy the fragrant aroma coming from your kitchen. Our’s smelled like peppermint. Mmmm….

When the soap dissolves, you simply turn off the heat, then wait about 10 hours until the consistency changes to that of liquid hand soap. Here’s what our soap looked like right after I put it on the stove.

After reading the comments on the website where I found the recipe and seeing how my hand soap wasn’t looking like soap in the first few hours, I wondered if this little DIY project was going to turn out well.

But it did turn out well. Very well. I ended up with a whole gallon of high quality liquid hand soap that doesn’t have the chemicals and dyes you might find in other hand soaps. I think the reason is that I started with a high quality bar of soap. This really seems to make a difference, so if you were thinking about making hand soap for your family, too, I’d definitely be sure to make it with a high quality bar of soap. :-)

Here’s the recipe:

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap


  • 1 High Quality Bar of Soap (Preferably Dr. Bonner's)
  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 2 Tbs + 1-2 Tsp Glycerin


  1. Grate bar of soap and put it into a large pan on the stove
  2. Add water and glycerin and cook on medium heat
  3. Stir ingredients and cook until soap completely dissolves
  4. Once the soap dissolves, turn off heat and allow hand soap to cool on stove and set to the consistency of hand soap (about 10 hours)
  5. Transfer to containers - you may need a funnel for this part

Here’s a video tutorial I created for how to make homemade hand soap:

This month’s DIY project is homemade face wash! Looking forward to it!

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40 Responses to “February’s DIY Project: Homemade Hand Soap”

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  1. Shelly says:

    Well I may have to try this recipe. I have in the past made my own bar soap but I have not tried to make liquid
    hand soap. I had a book but it was very complicated in its instructions, this looks like it would definitely be doable. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  2. Patty says:

    So cool, sandra! I just may have to try this!

  3. Gina H says:

    Looks like it made a lot, What did you end up storing it in?

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Gina!

      It did make a whole gallon. We ended up storing it in a container my husband purchased from Menards, I think. We could have used a clean milk jug, but hubby wanted to use the container instead. The container comes with a lid that keeps it tightly sealed.

  4. This sounds so awesome! I will definitely have to try it out, especially since we are almost out of hand soap :) Thanks so much for sharing the recipe :)

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks, Erin!

      It was SO easy. And it’s hard to beat a whole gallon of hand soap using only 3 ingredients.

  5. This sounds so awesome! I will definitely have to try it out, especially since we are almost out of hand soap. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe :)

  6. Thanks for linking up to Thrifty Thursday! My mother in law was trying to figure this out, so I can send it to her too!

  7. Connie says:

    Hi – justy wondering where you got your labels for your soap.

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Connie,

      Thanks for stopping by! I actually just recycled an old soap container in the picture for my first batch of soap. I now use reusable hand soap dispensers that my family can simply refill over and over again. We got the reusable/refillable soap dispensers on clearance at Target.

      I found that using the dispensers also helps the soap to dispense less runny.

      I’m looking forward to making another batch soon and thinking about creating a video to show how I make it. :-)

  8. Janette says:

    Can’t wait to try this, but I have a silly question – where do you buy glyicerin at??

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Janette! That is totally not a silly question. :) I had the same question when I first wanted to make homemade soap. I’ve bought glycerin both at craft stores like Michael’s and at Hobby Lobby. Others say they’ve found it at the grocery store, but I haven’t been able to locate it there. Glycerin is pretty inexpensive, but it you buy it at Michael’s or another craft store, be sure to check that store’s ads for coupons.

  9. Kayla says:

    1 Gallon of hand soap for under $5 is great; however, I do question it being very sanitary. You are taking one bar of soap, and diluting it with 1 gallon of water. Is this where the Glycerin comes in? How can I know my hands will be clean after washing them?

  10. Lisa says:

    Can you suggest a good bar soap for this that is unscented? I make fragrance hand soaps by order and this would be great to replenish my gallon jug but i would want it unscented until i add to each smaller bottle…any suggestions?

  11. Lesflo says:

    I bought my glycerin at CVS they carry it mostly in the beauty section by creams etc…

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for letting me know! :) I have never checked at CVS, but it would probably be easier to buy it there than where we currently buy it.

  12. Lesflo says:

    Also if you have a soap container that dispenses in a form of foam don’t through it away it changes your homemade soap into foam. The Glycerin I bought it at CVS Pharmacy by the beauty product section. Creams etc…

  13. Summer says:

    Do I need a special pot for this? I’m concerned about my soup pot being all soapy.

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Summer, no you don’t need a special pot to make the hand soap. Your soup pot will be just fine. :) I use our soup pot to make this soap, and it’s in great condition.

  14. cris says:

    I made this, but it leaves a lot of residue on my sink. Any idea why or should I be using a different brand of soap?


    • Sandra says:

      Hi Cris,

      Thanks for stopping by. I would definitely try using a different brand of soap. I like Dr. Bonner’s bar soaps, but you could also try another organic/natural brand of soap that should work better. :)

  15. Kayla says:

    I’m shocked you only use one bar of soap and use a gallon of water. Wouldn’t the gallon of water delude the anti-bacterial solution, and make it less effective for washing hands?

    I would love to make hand soap though, and if my concerns are not valid, I will definitely be using this recipe :)

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Kayla, the gallon of water works great, but I don’t personally know about the anti-bacterial properties being deluded. I know that I use Dr. Bonners soap and have never had any issues. :)

  16. Karen says:

    I would love to make this soap it looks pretty easy and economical, can I add essential oils to it like lemon or lavender to it?

  17. Kristen says:

    Does this need to be made with distilled water or is tap water ok? Looking forward to trying it. Thanks!

  18. Hi,

    I was wondering, what is the consistency of the soap? Is it watery? Does it make soap suds?

    Thank you!

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Rebekah! The consistency of the soap is a little runny, so I recommend using a high-quality soap dispenser vs. reusing one of the store bought ones. Also, it doesn’t make a lot of soap suds, but it is still effective and much more gentle on the skin.


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