DIY Liquid Hand Soap For As Little As 5 Cents

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe.

Liquid Hand Soap DIY

Liquid hand soap has to be the easiest of all DIY projects. Better yet, you can fill a hand soap pump for pennies.

Most recipes have a slimy consistency and do not lather well at all. I understand that most of the lathering from commercial hand soaps comes from chemicals that are not actually good for us – but I am fond of a little lather.

I am going to share two liquid hand soap recipes here today. The first one is beyond simple and costs a nickel (that’s right, only five cents!). The second is also very simple and costs about fifteen cents – and it lathers!

DIY Liquid Hand Soap (5 Cent Version)


  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Bar Soap (About half of a bar)


1. Bring water to a boil on the stovetop.

Boil Water

2. Add 1/2 cup grated soap. Stir until soap is melted.

Grating Soap

3. Remove from the heat and stir after 10 minutes, after 1 hour, and after 5 hours (or overnight).

Dish Soap Stove Top

You really cannot mess this up. If your soap is too thick, add a little more water. If it is too liquidy, heat it up and add more grated soap. If you forget to stir it, stir whenever you remember.

4. Pour into soap hand pumps. This recipe makes enough for 3 average soap dispensers.

Approximate cost: 5 cents per soap dispenser (if using the 10 pack of Ivory bar soap from Walmart, which costs $3.50). If you use coupons, or get this item on sale, the cost will be less than 5 cents.

DIY Lathering Hand Soap

The above recipe is very simple, works great, and is incredibly inexpensive. But it has an odd consistency, almost mucous-like, and does not lather.

The following recipe is still very easy, but has two added ingredients which give the hand soap a gentle lather.


  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut or Castor Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Bar Soap


1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and dissolve completely.

Do it Yourself Soap

3. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or castor oil and melt completely.

Coconut Oil Soap

I use coconut oil which can be bought at any grocery store. It makes the soap smell delicious. I use coconut oil in a lot of my DIY projects (baby bum cream, lotion, lip balm, etc). I will be sharing all of these recipes here on, so it may be a worthwhile purchase if you intend to try some of those as well.

Tip: There are a lot of health benefits when using coconut oil for cooking as well.

4. Add 1/2 cup of grated soap and stir until melted.

DIY Soap

5. Remove from heat and stir after 10 minutes, 1 hour, and 5 hours (or overnight).

6. Pour into your soap dispensers. For added “foaminess” pour into a foaming soap dispenser.

Foam Hand Soap

Approximate cost: 16 cents per soap dispenser.

Liquid handsoap can be made so simply and inexpensively – please don’t ever pay full price for it! This is a wonderful, simple way to save your family money (while also avoiding chemicals in commercial hand soaps).

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  1. Krista says:

    This totally failed for me. I have wax soap. I added another 2 cups of water and warmed it again. Still, wax soap upon cooling after 5 hours. I started first thing this morning and it’s now 10 p.m. and I’m determined to rescue this, so I’m adding more water and some glycerin and hoping for the best.

    • Sarah says:

      Shucks! I have never used waxed soap. It certainly does depend on the type of soap you use as to the quantities. If it is still too solid just keep watering it down. May take a surprising amount of water – but it will eventually work !! I am assuming this wax soap would be similar to adding beeswax – just a tablespoon of beeswax will really harden the soap. Let me know your end result please!! Good luck!

  2. Jeannie says:

    Just wondering if you could make a big batch of the second recipe for hand soap. I would love to make enough to last 6 months or so. Do you know what the measurements would be?

  3. AAC says:

    I have to say I was really excited to try the second method listed. I have made hand soap before, but it always ends up “mucous-like” and stringy. It a big annoyance you’re just trying to wash your hands and it won’t stop “stringing” away from the dispenser. So I was hoping your second method would be the solution.

    Well…didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but I made it work. The first result, after sitting overnight, was something like pudding. Even stirred there was no way it was going to work in a dispenser. So heated and added more water. Up to 3 cups now. I repeated the stir, wait, stir method. Finally after 8 cups total water and a bit more sugar I had something that was useable. I may have been ok with 6 cups, but I got frustrated and wanted to be done with it! So now I have 6 1/2 dispensers full of soap and it’s not slimy. It doesn’t lather either, but it’s not slimy! Next time I will try another kind of soap (I’ve tried Ivory, goats milk soap, and coast–all seem to influence the results greatly) and adding more coconut oil.

  4. Heather says:

    Just curious, why does the picture at the top show ‘natural oatmeal’ soap but it’s nowhere within the recipe or on the page?

  5. Heather says:

    Found this on Pinterest and was really excited to try it. However, it’s a total flop. 🙁 I ended up with a pot of snot. That’s the best way I can describe it. I just can’t get past the texture of it or the slimy feel to use it. I even tried to coloring it but still couldn’t get past it. Bummer.

  6. Sonia says:

    Easiest DIY hand soap that isn’t drying or full of chemicals. It is pure liquid castille soap mixed with distilled water. If you want it scented, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Use a foam dispenser and it’ll go a long way.

  7. Liz says:

    Great recipe. When I first used it, I found it quite stringy and it didn’t lather much. But when I put 1-2 tablespoons of it in with water in a foaming dispenser, it is totally fantastic. I love the way the oil makes my hands feel. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  8. Ines says:

    I made the 2nd recipe for liquid soap but it didn’t lather up….. I winded up tweeking it. But disappointed. Still no lather… Any suggestions on how to get it to lather more? I did put in 1/2 cup of shredded soap…..

  9. Alicia R says:

    I made this and it turned out just like the directions said; mucus like. I just put it in my old blender with a little bit of extra water and some essential oils and its now a whipped perfection! Its just like actual hand soap.Thank you for the great money saving idea! Can’t wait to try other scents with oils.

  10. Jamie nowlin says:

    I doubled the recipe. Turned out great. My only expense was the bar of Yardley soap which was 2.40. Totally economical and great for gift baskets

  11. Sarah says:

    Coconut oil is very affected by temperature. It hardens when it’s very cold and melts when very hot. Just keep it room temp and you’ll be fine!

  12. Melanie D says:

    Major fail!! 🙁 Was really hoping for this to work but it was not foamy at all, it looked and felt like mucous, when dispensing it was a never ending string of soap and the coconut oil left a film in the sink within a few uses.

  13. Cassie Howard says:

    The price may be different at your location.

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