Thursday, October 4, 2012

Liquid Hand Soap from a Solid Bar

This summer, the kids and I embarked on a road trip to visit family.  Since none of my family had the common courtesy to settle in the same area - and closer to me - the road trip ended up being 4000 miles.  It was a long one!

While in Wisconsin visiting my grandfather, I took the kids to an Amish farm and we bought some amazing soap.  It's labeled as "hand soap" but I put it in the shower.  It has a nice, clean smell to it.

I'm down to one bar and, in an effort to make it last longer, I turned it into liquid hand soap.

Start with your bar of soap (about four ounces. . . double the recipe if you have a big bar), a half gallon of distilled water and some glycerin.  You can find glycerin in the pharmacy section with the band-aids.  Some pharmacists keep it behind the counter so you can ask them.  I opted to buy mine at a craft store in the soap section.  It was 3.99 for this big bottle (it's about $10 for a much smaller bottle at the pharmacy) and I had a 40% off coupon.

**You don't need distilled water BUT if your water is hard, your soap might not hold the fragrance for very long.

Grate your bar of soap into a pot.

Add your water and boil until the soap is dissolved.

Add one tablespoon of glycerine and stir in.  Let it cool.

It will be thick and kind of a clearish  color.  Whisk it or beat it with a blender.

It's ready to use!  Pour into soap dispensers and store what's left in a clean jug or jar.

If I do it again:

Hind sight being what it is, I should have left the soap in the pot to cool completely.  It takes about a day to cool down and thicken to liquid hand soap consistency.  I don't like leaving things sit on my stove, especially when they're NOT edible, so I poured it into an orange juice jug to let it cool.

I lost a bit into the sink when I slopped some on the hand holding the funnel.  It was a little hotter than I expected (I did let it cool a bit. . . just not long enough).  If you are smarter than I am and leave it in the pot or a bowl, whisk it before putting it into your soap dispensers and storage containers.  It will turn a creamy white color.  Mine turned into the consistency of jello IN the container.  I had to squeeze it out of the jug to beat it with a mixer to get it to the right consistency.  Oops.

Check out some other amazing ideas on Mostly Homemade Mondays here:



  1. This is super interesting. Is it truly money saving do you think? I take my hand soap and dilute it so that I can use it in the foaming hand pumps and I'm wondering if this would work for that. Thanks for posting about this, I might try it! (In about a year or so when I run out of my costco size jugs of hand soap :)

  2. If done right, this is money saving. I used one small bar of soap that cost $1.20 and got a half gallon of nice smelling "gourmet" liquid soap. The tablespoon of glycerin didn't even make a dent in the bottle and the water was fifty cents for a gallon.

    If you made it with more expensive soap, like a bar of Meyers soap ($5.50 a bar) you could get a gallon of liquid soap (those bars are HUGE!) A 33 ounce refill of Meyer's Hand Soap is $8.00. A gallon has 128 ounces. . . That's $31.03 for a gallon of hand soap from the store vs. less than $7 for the same amount.

    You could also use those amazing soaps they give you at hotels when you stay the night and get your soap free.

    The only thing about this is that, at least with the soap I used, it doesn't foam a lot so I'm not sure it would work in the foaming dispensers. The bar of soap didn't foam much, though. If you picked a soap that was naturally foamy, maybe your liquid version would foam better.

    This works better for us (vs the foaming dispensers). . . my kids love the foam but it ends up all over when they use it because it's too fun to play in!

    Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!!!