Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap

It amazes me how sometimes the coolest ideas are the most obvious ones! I am one of those people who HAS to have hand soap next to the sink.  Kitchen AND bathroom. I’ve tried to break myself of the habit a couple of different times….but I just can’t do it.  I’ve even tried replacing it with bar soap which is considerably cheaper, with less-packaging, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I have switched to the foaming type soap however.  It seems to last longer and I actually like it better. Feels more “soapy”. :-)

So a few weeks ago I came across this “recipe” for making your own foaming hand soap at

After I read it…I had one of those “hand slap to the forehead” moments.  duh!  lol.  Made too much sense and was too easy. Seems like some of the best ideas usually are.

So I made this “recipe” today for the first time, and I literally cannot tell any difference from the original stuff. I have purchased my LAST bottle of hand soap.

So here it is…the “recipe”.  Prepare to be amazed.

You will need:

Pour one tablespoon of liquid dish soap into an empty foaming soap dispenser.
Fill the rest of the dispenser with water (leaving a little space at the top of the container).
Screw on the lid and shake.
Pump the dispenser a few times to get the foaming started.

The KEY is the foaming soap bottle/pump.  This won’t work with a regular pump bottle. I bought the very one posted above.  Method brand, clear. (I have to have clear…I’m weird that way.)  Today when I realized it was almost gone, I mixed up the above “recipe” and voila!  Looking at it you can’t tell any difference from the bottle I first bought and it literally cost pennies to make.  I’m happy.

Now, for those of you who already figured this out all on your own…I salute you. I’m afraid my brain tends to try and over complicate most things.  Thank goodness for the logical thinkers out there. :-)

UPDATE:  10/24/2011

I was making a new batch of this stuff tonight and noticed that the chamber at the top of the tube had some discolored liquid just sitting in there. It was hardly noticeable, but it was bugging me because I couldn’t figure out how to get it out! I was about ready to go buy a new bottle (*GASP*).  I tried taking the tube out of the bottle and sticking it in a glass of water and pumping plain water through it. Nope, still there.  So I turned it upside down and tried pumping it some more and VOILA!  Came right out.  Now my soap bottle is clean and sparkly again. :-)  AND, even though it gets used multiple times a day, each and every day, it still works EXACTLY as well as when I first bought it about 4 months ago.  This definitely one of my favorite Homemade products!

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  1. J-ROK says

    I've found that Dr. Bronner's liquid soap works great…and smells delicious! 1/4 Bronners and 3/4 water!

  2. Sheryl B. says

    I, too, am a Bath & Body Works addict…love the pretty colors and fragrances. Have you ever experimented with essential oils for this?

  3. Anonymous says

    Ok… so first off the directions are totally wrong. The correct directions are 1 tablespoon of ANY liquid soap refill of your choice to EVERY 1/4 cup of COLD water. You NEED the soap to make the solution worthwhile otherwise just wash your hands with water. Hot water is NOT needed and this person that wrote this obviously doesn't know what they're talking about and just wanted 15 minutes of fame.
    It totally depends on the punp bottle you have. I use the "Dial" foaming pump bottles and I fill the bottom of the bottle about 1/2" up and the rest with just regular water from the tap. If you use hot water it will contract the space in the container (Simple science cold expands heat contracts) and ruin your container and possibly your pump. I've been doing this for about 5 or 6 years now since they first came out with the foaming pump.

    • Melissa Rios says

      Um, where I’m from simple science is cold contracts and heat expands….am I wrong? I DO live in Florida so I may suffer contractual expanding heat head at times……

      • ElizabethG says

        Cold contracts and heat expands, except when discussing water and water based fluids such as juice or coke. This is why a soda will explode in the freezer.

    • De Hastings says

      Actually, I did it exactly as written & it worked perfectly!
      ( …so there was no reason to be condescending & rude with your opinion.)

      Thanks for the tip Jillee! One of MANY successful ones I’ve tried from you!

  4. Cindy says

    Amazing recipe! This was my second attempt, being new to your site, and it was a smash! Even my rough and rugged Harley riding hubby loves it! Thank you!

  5. Em says

    So excited I came across this post because I had 3 empty dial foam pumps that I was about to recycle! I have the apple berry twist scent Gain dish soap and no one will ever be the wiser that this pretty pink hand soap was refilled! Your recipe works great :)

  6. says

    Jill, I’ve making my own foaming soap since I bought my first one and ran out and found out how expensive it was going to be to keep up my habit. Thanks, though, for the exact formula. My attempts at mixing up a new batch are trial and error and add a little more of whatever if that didn’t work as desired. I think I have more of a comfort level with it now. Isn’t foamy soap wonderful.

  7. says

    I found out that if you save a gallon container of regular hand soap, I use soft soap clear and divide the soap in half between the two bottles add a slow stream of warm water to fill the containers and then mix by turning and twisting the container until the soap is mixed with the water. This gives you twice the amount of hand soap to use in the foaming dispensers. If you check in the store you will notice the only difference between regular hand soap and foaming is the foaming is much thiner. Try it out I save money and keep using the same dispensers for years. I love all your short cuts and homemade solutions for cleaning.

  8. Kelly says

    In my empty dial pump soap container I used 1/4 Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby-mild + 3/4 water (cold from the tap) then added peppermint essential oil (15-20 drops). I started the second batch when there was about 1/2″ left in the bottom. I didn’t add the essential oil the second time and the intensity of the scent is still perfect! So easy!

    • Rita Montague says

      I use Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap and either essential oil or fragrance oil. I’ve always used a 10:1 ratio (10 T. H2O to 1 T liquid castile soap. Actually, with the size bottle I am using, I use 1.5 T. soap to 15 T. water. It comes out very soft. Nice texture. A bottle of the soap lasts forever with this recipe. I then put in a few drops of scent. I choose a different one each time it’s empty for variety.

      I’ve found that if I use a moisturizing soap, it clogs up the works. Dr. Bronner’s is actually very gentle and not drying at all on the hands and face. Hair? Forget it.

    • Rita says

      I use Dr. Bronner’s unscented, too. I only use 1 part soap to 10 parts water and some scent. The soap lasts for ever this way.

  9. Helen Forbes says

    I use my favorite body wash a/ water for this. I found that the dish detergent can be tough on my hands. I do know that the soap you use must be what I call the “clear” or see thru kind. The ones w/ lotion or “cloudy” soaps don’t work well as a foaming hand wash. We really don’t need all the antibacteria solutioins they try to sell us. Just plain soap and warm water works to kill germs. I have done this for years.


  1. […] I did manage to successfully make my own foaming hand soap.  It is absurdly simple.  I found the ‘recipe‘ on my go to site, One Good Thing by Jillee.  All it takes is a couple tablespoons of dish […]