Make Your Own Liquid Soap: Natural Recipes for Liquid Hand Soap, Dish Soap, and Laundry Soap

soap recipe image via Shutterstock

Good liquid soap–the kind with no weird scents or dyes, or dangerous artificial ingredients (triclosan? Yikes!)–can be expensive. When you want to shop frugally, it can be easier to opt for the cheap liquid soap that has questionable ingredients, or the less expensive but still good bar soap even if you prefer liquid.

If you’re a hard-core DIYer, however, you’ve grown used to the knowledge that you never have to do without anything that you desire, because you can probably make it for yourself, with better ingredients, using exactly the ingredients and scents that you prefer, a lot more cheaply than you can find store-bought.

Read on for several recipes for liquid soaps that you can make yourself–some are very frugal, some are very fancy, and some will clean your dishes or your laundry as well as your hands.

  • Liquid soap from bar soap: The most inexpensive of all these inexpensive recipes comes from Savvy Housekeeping, which offers a tutorial for making liquid hand soap from bar soap. This recipe is also quite versatile–you can use your favorite natural bar soap, your special sensitive-skin bar soap, or your homemade bar soap equally well. Be sure to read through the entire Comments section before you begin your own project, however; bar soaps can be very different from each other, and the Comments provide some valuable troubleshooting for liquid soaps that may start out too thin, or end up not completely blended, etc.
  • Liquid laundry soap: These days, we generally only use homemade powdered laundry soap–it’s an easy recipe for a kid to follow, so when we need more laundry soap, I just add it to the chore list. However, when my kiddos were younger, I found this liquid laundry soap recipe (tutorial here from Housing a Forest, because the comments have some good troubleshooting and clarifications, although the recipe was originally posted by the Duggars) to be much easier to use overall, since I could work on making it off and on over the course of one weekend and end up with basically a year’s supply of laundry soap. The recipe is also a good one for those who simply do a lot of laundry–large families, managers of emergency or animal shelters, families with kids who play in the mud as much as my kids do, etc. Don’t tell my kids, but when they’re old enough to work independently at the stove, we may switch back to liquid!
  • Liquid soap from scratch: If you enjoy soapmaking, you likely don’t want to simply rebatch a bar of soap into liquid soap–you want to make your liquid soap from scratch! Chickens in the Road offers a complete, well-illustrated tutorial for making liquid soap from scratch, and you’ll be pleased to see that it is fairly similar to traditional hot-process soapmaking. Sure, it’s more challenging than transforming bar soap, but just as in traditional soapmaking, the wide variety of oils that you can use, all with different qualities, can allow you to craft the perfect liquid soap for your skin type.
  • Liquid dish soap: Yep, you can also wash your dishes with homemade soap–check out the liquid dish soap recipe from Tried and True for a workable recipe. To get the best results from this particular recipe, I suggest using lemon juice instead of vinegar (vinegar can curdle castille soap), and double-checking the type of water in your area (this recipe will work with soft water, but not with hard).
  • soap nuts: I’ll tell you now that washing with soap nuts is one thing that I can’t give you an educated recommendation on, because I haven’t tried it. However, Crunchy Betty gives an explanation of making liquid soap from soap nuts thorough enough and a tutorial simple enough that I’m quite intrigued. Are there any soap nut aficionados out there who want to offer some recommendations or tips in the Comments section?

[soap recipe image via Shutterstock]

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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