DIY foaming hand soap

I was once a Bath&Body Works fan: I stocked up on their antibacterial foaming hand soap anytime they had a sale (anything for $3 or less for a bottle was considered a deal) because they smelled nice and looked fancy; I also didn’t have to pump a lot of soap to get a nice clean feeling on my hands. And yet, each bottle became recycled waste every time it emptied because one soap pump on sale was cheaper than a bottle of soap refill.

Then, I became a parent.

I read about how triclosan, an ingredient in these antibacterial soaps aren’t the best choice for little hands, because they kill everything along with other questionable things that are associated with it. It seems like they’ve banned this ingredient now, at least in US, which is a good start, and that Bath & Body Works has “gentle foaming hand soap” now in its place. And, I started to shift towards more natural products, preferring unscented or scented with essential oils over added (synthetic) fragrance or parfums.

Eventually, I quit buying from Bath & Body Works and saved the last few bottles once they were empties and have used my own foaming soap since, which is probably a more frugal and more environmentally-friendly alternative. [1]Glass or stainless steel dispensers is probably best, but I’ve used plastic without any … Continue reading Interested in making your own?

Easy as 1-2-3:

You can follow the many recipes on Google but here’s my version:

  1. Get some liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) – the just-under 1L bottles of castile concentrate go on sale sometimes for under $15. If you want, you can buy unscented or scented and skip adding fragrance in later. [2]just be careful that you don’t get any of it undiluted in your eye or your face, especially … Continue reading
  2. Add some soap into an empty foaming dispenser
  3. Add water – I do 1/4 or less of soap and the rest with water. You can experiment with a ratio you like by washing your hands and feeling how clean it is after.

Pro tip: I don’t actually fill up the entire bottle; I rather make the foaming soap solution more frequently to lower chances of having any bacterial growth / residue in a bottle that sits unused. Note that if it sits in a cool area, it may cloud over, which is fine.


  • Use distilled water instead of tap, as I’ve read that it may keep bacteria and floaties (precipitate as my friend calls it) at bay. I’ve just used filtered and haven’t run into any trouble since I switched from tap.
  • For your own custom blend or to add a nice scent, add only a few drops of essential oils (do you research and avoid the ones that may have a risk if you have little ones in your household: rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus are at the top of my mind to avoid); sweet orange (be careful as acid may react with plastic in the bottles; I haven’t had that problem) and lavender may be good choices to start.
  • Add a few drops of Vitamin E for moisturizing and to possibly help with extending its shelf life, but Dr. Bronner’s has tocopherol as an ingredient which some labels will also say Vitamin E as a preservative.

On the featured image: Since I don’t have time to make my bottles fancy with custom labels to show off, perhaps a DIY faucet extender hack will go well with DIY foaming soap? :P


  1. Anonymous

    January 4, 2018 at 1:38 AM

    time to go no-poo!

    1. Emily

      January 4, 2018 at 8:14 AM

      What does that mean? :-/

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