I make and use DIY liquid soap to wash my hands. If it’s up to me, everyone in my family, especially my little bug, would use my DIY liquid soap 100% of the time. I cringe everything I wash her hands in school or in a public bathroom. I know that more than likely, the liquid soap is loaded with synthetic ingredients that could irritate her skin, and maybe harmful to her.
One of Amazon’s best sellers in the “Bulk Quantity Hand Soaps” category is Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap, Aquarium Series. Have you ever looked at what’s in this popular liquid hand soap? I did. And it’s not pretty. Softsoap Aquarium Series Liquid Hand Soap’s full ingredient list is:
Water, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, propylene glycol, fragrance, cocamide MEA, sodium salicylate, sodium benzoate, citric acid, tetrasodium EDTA, sodium sulfate, BHT, polyquaternium-7, PEG-18 glyceryl oleate/cocoate, poloxamer 124, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, Ext. D&C violet no. 2
Really?? We need all that (unpronounceable) ingredients to make a simple liquid soap for handwashing? What’s worse is that some of these ingredients are known irritants that are no good for us.
For example, Sodium Laureth Sulfate is “classified as expected to be toxic or harmful” and a “human irritant.” Propylene glycol is also “classified as expected to be toxic or harmful” and a “skin irritant.” Even scarier is that BHT, aka, Butylated hydroxytoluene, a preservative, is a “known human immune toxicant or allergen.” Animal studies have shown that BHT causes “tumor formation at high doses” and “positive mutation results.” Can you blame me for cringing every time I use liquid soap in a public bathroom to wash my little one’s hands?
So for me and my family, we use DIY liquid soap to wash our hands when we are at home. I call it my homemade Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap without the big price tag. This DIY liquid soap is super versatile. You can make a ton of other all natural products with it. It’s not difficult to make. All it requires is a bit of patience. Yes, that’s right. Patience. Making DIY liquid soap from scratch is a multi-day project. But. But. Big But! During this period, you are mostly just waiting for the liquid soap to do its thing, transforming itself to the DIY liquid soap that you want it to be. Seriously, don’t let the prep time turn you off. It’s not difficult to make your own DIY liquid soap. Read on!
DIY Liquid Soap
Prep Time: soap making (aka soap cooking) – 5 hours; soap diluting – 1 to 3 days. Please don’t let this deter you. All great things take time to create.
Yields: about 60 oz of DIY liquid soap
Ingredients Used to Make DIY Liquid Soap
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- Coconut Oil – 6.5 oz (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. You can also try Viva Labs Organic Coconut Oil, Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil, or Carrington Farms Organic Coconut Oil).
- Olive Oil – 4.75 oz (I use Trader Joe’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can try other brands of Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Sunflower Oil – 3 oz (I use Whole Food’s 365 Organic Sunflower Oil. I have also used Trader Joe’s Sunflower Oil)
- Castor Oil – 1.6 oz (I use Now Solutions Castor Oil. I have also used Home Health Castor Oil. Both work well)
- KOH (Potassium Hydroxide) – 3.55 oz (I use Molly’s Products Potassium Hydroxide Flakes. Make sure you use KOH, NOT Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH))
- Distilled Water – 40 oz (I use the Harris Teeter brand distilled water. Any brand of distilled water from your local supermarket will do)
- Glycerin – 2 oz (I add 2 oz of Glycerin to every 8 oz of diluted liquid soap. I use NOW Solutions Vegetable Glycerin. Here are some other Glycerin options)
- (optional) Peppermint or Lemon Essential Oil – 20 drops per 10 oz of DIY liquid soap (I don’t always add scent to my DIY liquid soap. When I do, I use Now Foods Peppermint Essential Oil. You can also try Now Foods Lemon Essential Oil to make a citrus scented DIY liquid soap)
- Foaming Soap Dispenser – at least 1 (I love, love, LOVE foaming soap dispensers! They add the perfect amount of air into your DIY liquid soap, making it fluffy and foamy. I use 10 oz foaming soap dispensers. Here are some other foaming soap dispenser options with varying sizes and designs)
- Crock Pot – I got my crock pot from a local goodwill store.
- Hand Blender – I took over my husband’s old hand blender when he wasn’t looking one day and marked it as my soapmaking blender. 🙂
Precautions When Making DIY Liquid Soap from Scratch
When making soap from scratch, either liquid or solid soap, you have to be cautious. You will be working with lye. Lye can cause serious damages to your skin and body. If you are making solid soap bars, you will be working with Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). If you are making DIY liquid soap, like we are doing here, you will be working with Potassium Hydroxide (KOH). You have to take the necessary precautions. Make sure you wear all your protective gear. Make sure you don’t have little ones or pets around you. You can read more about what you should do when working with lye here and here.
Ok, now I got the warnings out of the way. Let’s make some DIY liquid soap.
How to Make DIY Liquid Soap from Scratch
(1) Make lye solution. In a well-ventilated place, add KOH to 8 oz of distilled water. Gently stir. Then set the solution aside until it becomes clear. This post includes picture-by-picture instructions on how to make lye solution using distilled water. Be super careful. Wear your protective gear. Lye solution is caustic and can do some serious damages to you and those around you.
(2) Add Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil and Castor Oil to a crock pot. Turn your crock pot on to high heat.
(3) Carefully and slowly pour clear Lye Solution into the crock pot.
(4) Gently stir the Lye Solution into the Oil.
(5) Use a hand blender to blend Lye Solution and the Oil. It took me 15-20 minutes to reach light trace (aka vanilla pudding consistency). It takes much longer to reach trace with KOH than with Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), which is used to make solid soap bars.
(6) After reaching light trace, cover your crock pot.
(7) Cooking Process Begins. Cook your soap until it’s completely transparent. It took me 5 hours of cooking with the crock pot lid on. Be sure to check your soap every 30 minutes or so to make sure it’s not bubbling over your crock pot. If you find your soap rising too high, give it a quick stir and it will go right back down.
Here’s a picture of the DIY liquid soap after 1 hour of cooking at high heat.
This’s a picture of the DIY liquid soap after 2 hours of cooking at high heat.
Here’s a picture of the DIY liquid soap after 5 hours of cooking at high heat. You can tell from the picture that after 5 hours, the soap has become completely transparent. At this point, you have a soap paste that can be diluted to make liquid soap.
(8) Turn off your crock pot to begin the dilution process. Some people will tell you, instead of turning off the crock pot, turn it to low heat or the warm setting. I don’t like diluting the soap paste with the crock pot on, because I always get a film of soap skin on top that can’t be diluted.
(9) Dilution Process Begins. Once you have turned off your crock pot, add 32 oz of boiling hot distilled water. DO NOT add cold water. Cold water will crack (seriously damage) your crock pot. Give your DIY liquid soap a couple of good stirs. Cover the crock pot and let it sit. Check every 12+ hours. The 12-hour period can be much longer. Once I had too much going on and forgot to check my soap until 24 hours into the dilution period.
(10) If, when you check your soap, you see undissolved soap paste, give the soap a couple of quick stirs. Cover the crock pot again and let it sit for another 12+ hours. It took me 3 days to completely dissolve the soap paste. Yes. 3 days. But, like I said, your work during this period is pretty passive.
People will tell you that you can turn the crock pot on during the dilution process and it will likely shorten your dilution time. But, like I said, I always get a film of soap skin on top when I use a crock pot to dilute. So I don’t turn the crock pot on during the dilution process.
(11) Once your DIY liquid soap paste is completely dissolved, add 1 part of Glycerin to every 4 parts of diluted liquid soap. I use a 10 oz foaming soap dispenser. So I add 8 oz of liquid soap and 2 oz of Glycerin in the foaming soap dispenser. Adding Glycerin is a must because it makes the liquid soap moisturizing, and increases the soap’s transparency.
That’s it! I know. I know. The whole process of making this DIY liquid soap from scratch takes a few days. But it’s actually a pretty easy process. You just need a bit of patience. Also, this DIY liquid soap is super versatile. You realize that the recipe is for about 60 oz of liquid soap, right? That’s because I like to make a big batch and use it for other all natural creations. Use it to wash dishes? Yep, you can do that. Use it as a body wash? Yep, you can do that. Just add more Glycerin to the diluted soap. Use it as shaving cream? Yep, yep, yep. You can do that after adding some luxurious and nourishing butter. There are so many different uses for this DIY liquid soap that it makes sense to make a big batch.
So, will you be making this DIY liquid soap from scratch?? If you like this recipe, remember to pin it or share it. Don’t forget to reach out. I’d love to hear about your liquid soap creations. Happy soaping!