I can honestly say I have not purchased store-bought hand soap in (at least) 5 years. Instead, I make my own DIY Foaming Hand Soap, and the results are amazing. It takes about 30 seconds to mix up, and costs less than those fancy bath store versions. Ready to learn how to make foaming hand soap? Let’s get started!
I had wanted to try making my own DIY foaming hand soap for a very long time, and now that I’ve actually done it, I have no idea why I waited so long.
There are so many benefits to making your own homemade foaming hand soap:
Benefits of Making Your Own Foaming Hand Soap
- Easy to make– I once timed myself making this foaming hand soap recipe, and it took less than one minute.
- No questionable ingredients– This foaming hand soap recipe uses 3 ingredients: Castile Soap, Essential Oil, and Distilled Water. That’s it! When looking at the Environmental Working Group’s rating for Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap (which is what is used in this recipe) you can see that it receives a 1; meaning its ingredients are the safest out there.
- Doesn’t dry out my hands– When using store-bought soap, my hands get so dry! During the winter months I would actually get deep cuts on my fingers and rashes on my hands. Once I switched to making my own soap, these issues resolved. While I cannot say for sure it has to do with the soap, it seems likely as I once received some foaming hand soap as a gift and when I started using it, I noticed my hand getting dry again. As soon as I returned to my tried-and-true foaming hand soap recipe, my hands cleared up.
- Cost Effective– Based on current pricing, this DIY Foaming Hand Soap costs around $2.50 per 8 ounce bottle (depending on the essential oil used). Compare that to the cost of an 8.75 ounce bottle from a well-known bath store at $7.95-8.95!
- Environmentally Friendly– Because you can reuse a foaming hand soap dispenser over and over again (mine lasted about 4 1/2 years before it finally quit working), it can save on the amount of plastic being used. To put it into perspective, a 32 oz. bottle of Castile soap will make 16 bottles of foaming hand soap, a jug of distilled water will make 21 bottles, and the essential oil (if purchased in a 15 ml bottle) will also make 16 bottles.
What You Need to Make Foaming Hand Soap
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Ingredients Needed to Make Foaming Hand Soap
- Unscented Liquid Castile Soap– You can also use scented versions, like lavender or peppermint if you would prefer not to add essential oils.
- 15 Drops Essential Oil- I use an immune supporting blend in the fall and winter, and a mix of Lavender and Peppermint in the spring and summer, but you can certainly create any scent you want. If you are not sure where to buy essential oils, please check out this post.
- Distilled Water– It is recommended that you use distilled water instead of tap water, as water from the tap contains impurities that can cause bacterial growth over time.
Supplies Needed for DIY Foaming Hand Soap
- 1 Cup Liquid Measuring Cup
- Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser– I reused one I already had, but you can buy new as well. You will need a dispenser that is glass, PET #1 plastic or HDPE #2 plastic as other forms of plastic can break down when used to store essential oils. (Source)
How to Make Foaming Hand Soap
The following foaming hand soap recipe makes 8 ounces, if you are using a different size dispenser, adjust the recipe accordingly.
Then add in 15 (total) drops of essential oil. As mentioned above, I tend to go with 15 drops of an immune supporting blend in the fall and winter, and a combination of 10 drops lavender with 5 drops peppermint in the spring and summer… but the choice is totally up to you.
Give the mixture a stir, and then slowly add the distilled water until you hit the 8 oz mark. Gently stir the mixture once more.
Once everything is thoroughly mixed, pour the mixture into a foaming hand soap dispenser.
Prime the pump until you see a lovely looking lather of foaming soap.
Done. That’s all there is to making foaming hand soap!
I decided to make a vinyl label just to add a little something to the, otherwise, plain bottle.
Common DIY Foaming Hand Soap Questions
Can I Use Any Liquid Soap to Make Foaming Hand Soap?
In short, yes! Any liquid hand soap should be able to create foaming hand soap (although I haven’t tried them all, obviously, I have had success converting store-bought hand soap into foaming hand soap). Just remember, there are benefits to making foaming hand soap with more natural ingredients, like Castile Soap. Store-bought soap often contains ingredients known to dry out skin. Remember how I stated that Castile Soap gets the rating of 1 (low hazard) from the EWG? Liquid hand soaps from a popular bath store are all rated 6 (moderate hazard).
What is the Ratio When Making Foaming Hand Soap?
The ratio for making foaming hand soap is 1:3, so 1 part soap to 3 parts water. Here are a few examples:
- 8 ounces Foaming Hand Soap= 2 ounces soap + 6 ounces distilled water
- 12 ounces Foaming Hand Soap= 3 ounces soap + 9 ounces distilled water
- 24 ounces Foaming Hand Soap= 6 ounces soap + 18 ounces distilled water
What Essential Oils Are Good for Making Foaming Hand Soap?
There are so many great smelling essential oils out there! The thing about making your own foaming hand soap is you have the ability to get creative and formulate any scent profile you want. There are a few essential oil I would avoid when making products that go on your skin (see below), but here are a few that would work great throughout the seasons:
Essential Oil Ideas for Spring & Summer
Essential Oil Ideas for Fall & Winter
*Citrus oils tend to have a very mild in scent. Due to the dilution of this foaming hand soap recipe, the scent can get lost. To bring out the citrusy scent, it is recommended you use citrus oil in combination with other essential oils to bring out their fresh scent.
Are There Any Essential Oils I Should Avoid Using in Foaming Hand Soap?
Yes! While essential oils are often thought to be natural, and therefore safe, there are essential oils that can cause issues when applied to the skin. The essential oils in this foaming hand soap recipe are quite diluted, so they may not cause issue, but here is a list of “hot oils” known to irritate skin. If you choose to add any of them to your recipe, I would recommend doing so in small quantities (starting with just a drop or two).
Cinnamon | Clove | Cassia | Oregano | Thyme | Black Pepper | Peppermint* | Wintergreen | Lemongrass*
*I have used both Peppermint and Lemongrass in this foaming hand soap recipe without issue, but we are all different, so again, start small to make sure you don’t have any skin irritation.
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Do I Have to Add Essential Oils to This Foaming Hand Soap Recipe?
No. Absolutely not. You can choose to go with unscented soap, or (as mentioned above) there are scented Castile Soaps you could use and forego the essential oils. I found this sample of five different scented Castile Soaps. Each bottle is 4 oz, so you could make 2 bottles of foaming hand soap with each scent.
If you’d like to try a homemade bar soap, I’ve got a recipe for that as well: DIY Hand Soap.
DIY Foaming Hand Soap
- ¼ Cup Castile Soap
- 15 Drops Essential Oil
- ¾ Cup Distilled Water
- Glass Liquid Measuring Cup
- Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser
- Add 2 ounces (1/4 Cup) Castile Soap to a glass measuring cup
- Stir in 15 drops of essential oil
- Once the essential oil is thoroughly mixed into the soap, add 6 ounces (3/4 cup) distilled water and stir once more
- Pour the mixture into a foaming hand soap dispenser and prime the pump until a soapy lather is seen