This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.
This recipe will show you how you can easily make DIY foaming hand soap for your home, which will save you money and trips to the store.
Back in March when everything hit the fan here in the US, basic health staples like hand soap and toilet paper became hot commodities. The store shelves were bare, remember? And I’m sure just like me, you made do with what you had.
So when we ran out of our liquid hand soap, we started using straight liquid castile soap for hand-washing. There is nothing at all wrong with this, other than the fact that we were going through it too fast and I wanted to stretch it further.
If you haven’t ever used castile soap, it is very concentrated and you really don’t need more than a couple drops mixed with water to wash your hands. But try telling kids to only use a couple drops!
The solution I found was to make my castile soap into a foaming hand soap, which turns out is super easy.
We never used foaming soap at our house, because honestly, I felt like it was a ripoff. (I still do.) That’s because foaming hand soap is really just a diluted version of liquid soap. So you’re buying less actual soap for the same price. Hmmm.
What Makes Foaming Hand Soap Foam?
It’s all in the pumping mechanism. A foaming soap pump is different from a regular soap pump. It is constructed so that it mixes the soap with air while also pressurizing it. The result is a nice fluffy foam.
Can You Use Regular Hand Soap In A Foaming Dispenser?
Because of the way a foaming pump works, undiluted liquid soap is too thick to use. And because of the fact that foaming soap is more diluted and thinner than regular liquid soap, foaming soap does not work well in a regular soap pump. It tends to squirt all over and drip through your fingers.
What you’ll need for homemade foaming hand soap
To make your own batch of foaming soap, all you need is water, liquid soap, and a foaming soap dispenser. If you want, you can add essential oils like I do to make it smell nice, but that’s optional.
As with any natural DIY that requires water, I always recommend you use distilled water. That is simply to make sure that the water is sterile and won’t add any bacteria or microbes to your recipe. If you don’t have distilled water, you can bring tap water to a boil first and then let it cool before using it in the recipe. All that being said, in this hand soap recipe, if you use tap water without boiling it first, it should be fine as long as you use it up within 2 or 3 weeks.
Liquid Castile Soap
For this recipe, I use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Pure-Castile Soap. Castile soap is made of plant-based oils and is free from petro chemicals.
Dr. Bronner’s specifically uses organic and fair-trade ingredients. Their bottle is plastic, but it is post-consumer recycled plastic. And the palm oil they use is sustainably harvested. All good stuff. My local co-op even has Dr. Bronner’s that you can buy in bulk. I just take my bottle and refill it.
The other thing I love about Dr. Bronner’s is that it comes in varieties that are scented with different essential oils. Since you might want to have hand soap that smells nice, Dr. Bronner’s gives you a nice natural fragrance without having to add your own essential oils. I like to use both, though, so I’ll usually add essential oils that blend well with whatever variety of castile soap I’m using.
Like I said earlier, essential oils are totally optional. You should use them if you want to give your soap a nice fragrance beyond what you get from your Dr. Bronner’s.
You might try citrusy scents like orange, lemon, and grapefruit. You could do a Christmas-y scent with cinnamon, clove, and orange. Or you might go for lavender and lemongrass with Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap like I did with my last batch!
Foaming Soap Pump
This is a necessary part to make this recipe. If you already have a plastic foaming dispenser laying around almost empty, that’s really all you need. I especially like the Method brand bottles because the label is very easy to take off without sticky residue.
Since I did not have an old foaming pump, I bought this set from Amazon that comes with 2 pumps and two 16 oz. glass jars. It holds a good amount of soap and also looks great in our guest and master baths.
For the kids to use, I bought a bottle of foaming Method soap and then just waited until it had been used up to refill it with my homemade hand soap. My youngest is 4, and I don’t quite trust him with a glass soap bottle yet!
Quart Sized Mason Jar-Optional
If you make your own foaming hand soap refill in a larger container, you will be able to go longer between when you need to mix up a new batch. So I use a quart-sized (32 ounce) mason jar to mix up and store my batches. This amount will fill about 3 bottles of a regular sized store-bought foaming soap like Method, which comes in a 10-ounce bottle.
I find that it’s nice to keep some extra soap already made under the sink for when I need to quickly top off a soap dispenser.
Advantages Of Homemade Foaming Hand Soap Over Liquid Soap
- It’s cheaper than buying regular liquid soap
- It’s easier to DIY than making your own liquid hand soap
- The ingredients for foaming soap, in my experience, have been easier to find in stores compared to regular hand soap
- Kids love foaming soap, making them more likely to wash their hands. And with germs going around constantly, we want our kids to wash their hands!
- This DIY foaming soap doesn’t have any harsh chemicals or added fragrance in it that some people might irritate sensitive skin.
- DIY Foaming Hand Soap doesn’t dry out your skin like some brands have a tendency to do. If you wash your hands a lot like me, you’ll notice a difference.
- DIY foaming hand soap is a really simple way to save money and be a bit more sustainable in your everyday home life.
How To Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap Refill
- 3 cups distilled water
- 1 cup liquid castile soap
- 15 drops essential oils (optional)
- Foaming soap pump & dispenser
- Quart (32-ounce) mason jar or other sealed storage if you won't use the entire batch at once
- Pour 3 cups of distilled water into your mason jar. If you're using a quart mason jar, fill to the 24-oz mark.
- Add 1 cup of liquid castile soap to the water. If using a quart mason jar, continue to fill to the 32-oz mark.
- Add essential oils, if desired.
- Put the lid on your jar and gently turn upside down several times to mix the water and soap without creating too many bubbles.
- Pour the needed amount in to fill your soap dispenser(s). Store the extra soap in the mason jar with the lid on to be used as a refill supply.
If you don't want to make this large of a batch, you can simply use a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part liquid soap to make the amount that you want.
If you're refilling a single hand soap bottle, first fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way with water. Then, fill it the rest of the way with liquid soap.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Dr. Bronner's - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Lavender) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMO, 32 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)
Mason Jar Foaming Soap Dispenser - Rustproof Stainless Steel Mason Jar Lid and Foaming Soap Pump,Best Hand Foam Soap Dispenser Glass for Bathroom Vanities or Kitchen Sink,Countertops - Black (2 Pack)
Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounces Mason Jar with Lids and Bands (2-Units), Pack Of 2, Clear
Additional Resource: CDC’s advice on When And How To Wash Your Hands