Make Your Own Body Wash

When I was growing up…I don’t think we ever bought “body wash”. It was Ivory or Dove bar soap…or nothing at all. :-)

Even after I first got married we still did the bar soap thing…because I remember trying to convince the hubster that Dove soap was better than Irish Spring. lol. (I still try to convince him of that, but to no avail.)

But somewhere along the way…we completely stopped buying bar soap (except for the stuff I buy for making Homemade Laundry Detergent) and made the switch to body wash exclusively!  Apparently we’re not alone either. Since 2003, the year Old Spice entered the body wash market, sales of deodorant bar soap have plummeted nearly 40%!

So this week when I was shopping for the family staples…two things HIT me: 1) how much body wash we go through! And 2) body wash ain’t cheap! As I mentioned, I am a Dove girl from WAY back. I have been using it for as long as I can remember. So that’s what I like to buy for body wash. A bottle of it sells for almost $6.27 at our local grocery store. I knew I had to be able to do better than that by making my own.

Problem was…there are hardly any “recipes” out there for homemade body wash! Believe me…I’ve looked! I was actually quite surprised by this!

I did manage to find a couple of blog posts from people who had made their own organic body wash. Sounded like it was worth a try to me!

Here is the recipe I found at

Easy-As-Apple-Pie Body Wash
2 cups grated bar soap (use an organic soap–Dr. Bronner’s castile soap works great.)1/2 gallon distilled water
2 Tbsp. vegetable glycerin
15 drops skin-safe green apple fragrance oil (or other essential oil of your choice.)
Few drops organic green food coloring (optional.)

Mix first 3 ingredients together in a large pot. Set over low heat stirring occasionally until the soap has dissolved. Add essential oil and food coloring if using and mix well. Transfer to a jar and cover tightly.

I followed the recipe to the T…except I didn’t use apple essential oil…I used lavender…and I didn’t use any food coloring.

Here is the final product.  It’s a pretty thin consistency. I thought it might “set up” overnight. But it really hasn’t so far.
I decided to give it a test run in the shower and while I loved the soft, soapy feel of itit just wasn’t moisturizing enough for me. I have VERY dry skin!
However, this is supposed to be excellent for people who suffer from eczema.

I decided after this to continue searching to see if I could come up with anything closer to my beloved Dove. Well guess what? I found something EXACTLY like my beloved Dove…because IT IS Dove! :-)

After MUCH SEARCHING I found Stacy at The Brady Bunch website had figured out how to take the Dove BAR SOAP and make it into a BODY WASH simply by grating, adding water, and heating to make a liquid form… Body Wash!  Now this sounded more like what I was looking for….all the things I liked about Dove Body Wash…but a much cheaper price.

How To Make Your Own Body Wash:

6 cups water
3 bars of soap, grated
Put into a pan on the stove on medium heat, stirring occasionally until all the soap is dissolved.

Transfer to a glass jar or bowl and allow to cool, then pour into a plastic bottle for shower use! (It will thickens as it cools).

Update:  This is what it looks like after 24 hours….
It’s the PERFECT consistency!!!

A word of caution here if you decide to use another bar soap OTHER than Dove. Because Dove has a lot of moisturizer in it….the 6 cups of water is perfect. If you try another type bar soap it will turn out too thick with only 6 cups of water. It can still be done…you’ll just have to experiment with the amount of water.

Here is the price breakdown:

I bought a six pack of the Dove Beauty Bars (got plain WHITE) for $6.88.
I used 3 of the bars at a cost of $3.44. This made approximately 48 ounces….or….$1.72 for a 24 ounce bottle!

I have to say….I’m pretty thrilled with how this all turned out. Especially after the initial version wasn’t really “my cup of tea”.  I love that I can make a “homemade” version of my favorite body wash in less than 30 minutes for almost 75% LESS!

I might just have to try making some Irish Spring body wash for the hubster. ;-)


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  1. Stacy says

    made mine a month or so ago. Used 3 bars & cut back on the water. Way too thick. Used a different reciepe, but basically same concept. Going to try your reciepe next time exactly & see if I get the same results.

  2. melizajane20 says

    So, when I was in the shower about 20 minutes ago I was thinking to my self, I need to go online and find a recipe for making my own body wash for when I run out of my back stock of Bath and Body Works that I won't be using once I run out. Three articles into my rss feed and I find this! Yay. Thank you for sharing, I can't wait to try.

  3. Jill Nystul says

    Tracy…I definitely think it would be worth a try with another soap. I liked mine so much I went out and bought some of the Men's Dove Bar soap to make some for the hubster. I thought I might have to twist his arm to get him to use it…but he actually seemed excited about it! lol. Go figure. :-)

    melizajane20…well, what a happy coincidence! I love when that kind of thing happens. :-)

  4. Lura says

    My Boyfriend LOVES Irish Spring (and I enjoy the smell so bonus there). This will definitely be part of his Valentine's gift. Thanks for the ideas.

    (First time commenter, by the way. LOVE your blog.)

  5. Alyssa says

    I have really dry skin too, so I use Dove as well.

    If you have a Costco membership, I find their Kirkland Brand moisture bar soap, which is basically their version of Dove, works just as well! AND, it's around $10.99 for 15 bars, so that would bring down the price to $1.10 per 24 ounce!! :)

  6. Glenda says

    This is a great idea but I'll try it with a different brand of soap. Although I love Ivory, I realized after using it for many years that it causes more build-up in the shower than any other brand I've tried. Anyone else notice this?

    • says

      I used Ivory in a body soap recipe – never again….
      I made a very big batch, so I used my food processor to do the grating – worked very well!
      When I washed the pieces to my food processor in the dishwasher, EVERYTHING IN THE DISHWASHER CAME OUT WITH AN AWFUL FILM! I rewashed, then again using dawn soap and vinegar – finally came clean after 4 washes.
      I know many are loyal to Ivory, but after this experience, I wonder what this film is doing to my skin, pipes, septic tank, etc.

      • Loren says

        I am a little late with this but instead of using your food processor to grate the ivory, put it in the microwave on a paper plate for a few seconds, keep an eye on it as it will expand. After it cools down, it will crumble. This makes it easier to melt down. I make a detergent strictly for my unmentionables with ivory. This is the way I break down the bars of soap.

  7. Anonymous says

    made a batch of this for the guys using Iris spring, followed the recipe to a T, the next morning after it was cooled, it was back to a solid form?? added a cup of water and melted it in the microwave…its sumwhat better but still pretty thick? doesnt lather well according to the guys? i wonder if it depends on the soap your using and should i add even more water?

  8. Heather Rotz says

    I have a question on the very watery soap. Did you try putting it into one of those foaming dispensers? The recipe I was going to try this week was very specific about two things on the soap. First was that it absolutely must be 8 ounces of soap per gallon of water. Second was not using Dove or other soaps with extra moisturizers as they end up too thin. You are very right, we also go through a LOT of body wash.

  9. Jill Nystul says

    Anony…it DOES thicken up quite a bit (I haven't tried the Irish Spring myself). I would just keep adding water until it's the desired consistency. You might have to USE more…but there's more water in it…so it kind of evens out. I plan on making some "manly" body wash tomorrow…I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Tektak…I grated my soap with a simple box cheese grater. Some people have used their food processors. The Dove soap was actually pretty easy to grate. MUCH easier than the Fels Naptha I use for my laundry soap! :-)

  10. Anonymous says

    ooooh my I made this awhile ago and have two large bottles. It does not lather up and it is the consistency of mucus. I used caress with glycerin. may have to try the dove soap and see how it works. I also made hand soap i like it however it does not lather up either. I also want to say i just sbscribed to your post. everything I love on Pinterest leads me back to you. so might as well stick around!

  11. Anonymous says

    Curious as to how well adding finely chopped herbs during the cooking process would work and how it would affect the consistency. For example, blending up some fresh lavender. Or maybe adding oatmeal for more of a scrub? Though that might be added later…

  12. Wendy Schlensker says

    Jillee, I love love your Blog, on and on. The love started with Pinterest! Thats where I found and made the laundry soap (which is my couponing addiction #1) Score!!! Fatric Softener another Score and now the Body wash! I think I love you. You have become such a wonderful asset to my money saving household!!! Thanks soooo much for taking the time out of every day to give us "one good thing". I wish I could find the time to catch up on all of your "one good things". My baking sheets are gross, but being a "cookie mom" and a Girl Scout Troop leader I don't have much extra time to enjoy until 4/1.Anyways sorry for the Blah, Blah Blah… And Thanks Again! *:)

  13. Anonymous says

    So I had to share my experience. I tried first using an off brand soap and it turned out hard as a rock!!! So I took the $1.60 loss… :) I then did it with dove…wow Perfect. It is so perfect, thank you!! I made my second batch today!

  14. Anonymous says

    I think the key to having it turn out great is to use a creamy/moisturizing type soap bar (ie Dove and NOT Ivory which is very pure)

    Can't wait to use up my stockpiled body washes and try my hand at this. I am definitely saving the old bottles!

  15. butterfly0521 says

    I made the second recipe last night with 6 cups water and 3 bars of castile soap and nothing happened by the next morning it never set up so what am i doing wrong??? Please give me ideas. I did although just use what I made in the shower but it was liquid form and I want the creamy!! Thanks ladies

  16. Stacy Brady says

    Hey! Thanks for trying out my recipe. I just found this today. I also just posted an update on my post because a lot of people were trying to use other types of soap and not Dove. Dove has a lot of moisturizer in it which makes the ratio to water perfect. Other soap will turn out too thick with only 6 cups of water. I use the men's dove for my husband. He now loves it too and he's a pretty manly man to be using a loofah!

  17. Anonymous says

    i tried this with irish spring. Started with 2 cups water per bar. stayed thick so i tried adding more water. ended up with a GALLON from 2 bars & it's still a little like homemade silly putty. i'll probably have to add water as i put it in my dispenser.

  18. Kurran says

    Oh, my!! I made this last weekend with Dove pomegranate soap and it is by far the creamiest body wash we have ever had. My husband is in love with it as much as I am. Thank you, Jillee, for all of your awesome DIY things!!! :)

  19. Lisa says

    Jillee, AWESOME blog!

    I made the Dove body wash last night and am super-excited to try it tonight! As of this morning, the consistency was starting to thicken up nicely. I’m a little bummed though, reading about the poster that tried Irish Spring. I just bought 3 bars of it to make for my husband. Oh well, guess I’ll switch him over to the Men’s Dove!

  20. Shannon says

    OK, so I tried this & am liking it! The only thing is mine didn’t turn out as thick as yours looks & I followed your “recipe” to a T… Any thoughts? I guess next time I’ll try using a little less water & see what happens. I also checked out a couple of other sites & some suggest to use salt. What would the salt do? I wasn’t sure if it would dissolve or stay gritty to act as an exfoliant. ??? Not sure about adding more ingredients anyway – the more stuff you have to add the more expensive it will be to make, which kind of defeats the purpose. :)

    Anyway, thanks for the great idea! I can’t wait to try it w/ other types of soap!!!

  21. Kim says

    the reason Dove works so well is because its not actually soap. it doesn’t claim to be on the label its a moisture bar. … Real soap goes gluggy (as some of you have no doubt found). and the addition of salt to a surfacant will cause it to thicken but I don’t think Dove is a surfacant either so it probably wont work.

  22. Amy says

    Hi, love this blog! Question about this though- I have made three separate batches of body wash using the first recipe (not the one with Dove) with three different types of soap- and I keep getting the same consistency. It’s kind of gooey, and ends up looking like melted Mozzarella Cheese when I try to get it out of a bottle- like it all wants to stay together and not seperate. Could this be the glycerin? Any ideas would be helpful! Thanks so much!

  23. Shannon says

    Update: My bw I made w/ Dove finally thickened a little bit, but it took a week or so rather than a few days. I still really like it, but definitely want to try to make it thicker next time. I just made a batch using Olay Quench bars (which, are in fact called “moisturizer bars”). I made it using 1 cup of water to 1 bar & it is the perfect consistency! Yes, this will lessen the amount made, but a bottle of Olay bw costs about $6-7, so if I can make 2-3 bottles for the cost of 1, I will be a happy camper! I just got it done today, so I haven’t used it yet, I will post the results when I do! =]

  24. says

    I wonder if it could also be used as hand soap? I did have castille soap before, but I find that it both dries out my eczema prone hands (and that of my youngest daughter) too much. I started buying (EXPENSIVE) moisturizing soap to help us both with this, but, like I said, it is expensive. It works, but now it’s my wallet that feels kinda dry ;)

    I’m going to try and put the batch of bodywash I DID make into the hand soap dispensers and see how that fares. So far, I’m not a huge fan of the original scent of Dove bars (but it was free with a minimum purchase at the grocery store!). Next time, I’ll use unscented and scent them myself with ess. oils.

    BTW, I have been up and down your blog, have had multiple pages up all weekend and am just in awe of all the research and googling you’ve done to bring us your recipes AND that you’ve tried them too! That’s the most important part :)

    Oh and I’m also on day 2 of no-poo (just used the baking soda/water thing once!) and the oil cleansing method and both my hair and face look TONS better, after just 2 days!!

  25. Shawna says

    I want to thank you sooo much I LOVE this! I love dove but just cant afford it and had tons of bars from when I bought some while they were on sale and I had coupons. I did this a few nights ago for my fiance and for my soap and it worked great! I cut the recipe in half though because I didnt have enough storage for the whole thing. I was a little worried changing it would effect the way it turned out and I was worried because it was pretty thin at first but after letting it sit for 24 hours it was PERFECT! Thank you!!

  26. Judy says

    Jill – - have you tried using Bronners Castile liquid soap (made with organic oils)? I am not a Dove Bar fan (but I do love the ice cream bar!!). This bottle was all I could find and it seems “ready to use”.

  27. Mary says

    I used dial soap instead of dove. when I was done and let it sit for a few hours it turned it to like a big thing of lard gel.Did I do something wrong or was it the soap?

  28. Esther says

    I made this with three Shea Butter Beauty Bars and six cups of water and love it! I added peppermint and rosemary essential oils but I felt like I had to add a lot to cover the scent of the Dove bars. It also took over a week for mine to thicken up and now it’s the perfect consistency. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  29. Kalie Dalbey says

    I tried making this with Oil of Olay moisturizing bars. 3 bars and 6 cups water did not thicken so I used 2 more bars of soap no more water and it still wont thicken. Does anyone know why this is happening?

    • Katrianna@PrettyChaotic says

      Apparently for oil of Olay you have to use 1 bar to 1 cup water ratio for the same creamy consitency, so you will yield less but that’s how to get it the consistency you’re looking for! :)

    • Lara says

      I also made it with Oil of Olay for my daughter, I used 1 bar to 2 cups of water, it’s quite thin, but it does lather pretty good. I also added some red food coloring to make it pink as she’s only 7. I really don’t want to use to much soap so I’ll use up the bars I have (it’ll take years), then I’ll switch to Dove.

      I find that because of her Eczema I’ve been making more and more “personal” products and laundry soap. It’s made a difference in not only her skin but also my wallet :-)

  30. alilokiloki says

    If you learned how to do extreme couponing (I prefer truecouponing) you could just buy Dove bodywash and get it for free or almost free, depending on what the store sale is and which coupons you have. A couple of years ago I used a store sale plus a coupon for each of 10 Nivea body washes and got them all for free! Didn’t spend a dime. And it’s a lot less work.

  31. Shelia Thompson says

    Have you ever used Zest soap? I love the scent and someone told me to use it in my laundry soap. I bought it and will have some left over. Thought I’d try it in the body wash?

  32. Kirstie says

    ok got a question, you said to use Dove bar soap. No problem. Could someone mix the Dove with the irish spring? See my boyfriend’s son goes through body wash like mad. He feels he has to use an 1/8 of the bottle per wash (ok not that much but still to much). Looking for the cleaning part for a teen age boy.

  33. Terri H says

    I made an irish spring version of body wash for my husband. All I did was grate a bar of irish spring and put in a 16 oz glass container and added a lil warm tap water to the container and let it sit overnight and by in the morning it was a a rich thick consistency and ready to use for body wash. if you let it sit for two days it will get thicker. when u use bar soap and leave in the soap dish it gets that liquid effect from sitting there in a little water and that is where I got the idea. if it melts in just water then why not just add water and let it sit a couple days and the smell was fabulous!!! I originally followed recipe above but the smile of the irish spring was altered after the heat almost as if took the smell away and it did not smell as good as the one that I didnt use heat on……thought I would share

  34. Linda Hillmer says

    I tried this and loved it. I have used Dove sensitive skin body wash for years. It was so easy and loved the way it turned out. Thank you for showing me a new way to save money.


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