Make Your Own “Resort Quality” Liquid Hand Soap for Pennies!

Whenever I go to our local thrift store…I’m always drawn to the room with all the health and beauty odds and ends because they have a big basket FULL of wonderful smelling soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners that come from fancy resorts and hotels in the area. (There are a lot around here, trust me!)

The little bottles of lotion are the perfect size for keeping in your purse, the shampoos and conditioners are great for travelling (unless you’re staying in a fancy hotel, then you’re already covered) and the soaps (about .10 cents each), I have discovered, are perfect for making great-smelling liquid hand soap!

While I was working on the boys bathroom “mini-makeover” I came across a really old bottle of Dial liquid hand soap tucked in a drawer. I realized the new set-up called for a nice, new bottle of soap, but I just can’t bring myself to throw away perfectly good containers! So I decided it was time to try my hand at making one of the few homemade solutions I haven’t tried yet…liquid hand soap (then refilling the bottle I already had with it).

liquid hand soap

I’m sure many of you reading this have seen “recipes” for making your own liquid hand soap from bar soap before…so this isn’t anything new. Truthfully, when I’m in the kitchen I usually just use a drop or two of dishwashing liquid because it’s what’s “handy”, but it’s not so great for your hands. The “hotel” soaps, however, are usually labelled as “facial bars”, so I figure if they’re gentle enough for your face…they’ve got to be nice for your hands too. And did I mention how NICE they smell?? :-)

liquid hand soap

The method for making your own liquid hand soap could NOT be any easier.

liquid hand soap

liquid hand soap

All you need to do is grate the soap (I actually put mine in the blender)…dissolve it on the stove in hot, distilled water (be patient, it takes awhile), add some glycerin which helps moisturize the skin, and wait. About 24 hours is what I’ve found to be ideal.

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

(1) 8 oz. bar of soap, grated (or equivalent of smaller sized bars…I used 6 ‘hotel-sized’ bars)
Note:  if you are “allergic” to grating…you can also stick it in a food processor or blender, you can melt soap in the microwave, or SEE NICOLE’S COMMENT BELOW! Great idea!

2 Tablespoons glycerine (found in pharmacy. It’s over-the-counter but I had to ask the pharmacist)

1 gallon water (doesn’t HAVE to be distilled, but using distilled or purified water will make the soap more effective and keep it smelling fresher, longer.)

Then you will have approximately 1 gallon of some of the nicest liquid hand soap you’ve ever used.

liquid hand soap

After it had cooled, I gave it a good whisking (you can also use a mixer) because it will thicken quite a bit overnight……

liquid hand soap

….and poured it into these mason jars for storage. Now all I have to do when I run out is take the top off my DIY Mason Jar Soap Dispenser and pop it onto another jar.

Pretty slick huh?  Not bad for about .60 cents. :-)


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  1. Sara says

    For those who like myself are allergic to the granting part, you can pop any bar of soap in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30-45 seconds. With ivory (my go to bars) it puffs up and others become melty. Either way you can then dissolve it in your already boiling water. No grating involved.

  2. Linda says

    I did this once before, also. After the first 24 hrs it was too thick, added more water (I didn’t use distilled, maybe that’s where I went wrong.) Then it was the consistency of snot (not attractive at all). I used an old bar of Bath & Body Works. I’m willing to try again, more details, please, Jillee.

    • says

      I had this problem, too. Definitely a turn off when trying to convince my hubby. The soap I used was high in glycerin content…so I wonder if that might be the issue? Trouble is, I now have a gallon of super slimey soap.

      • Amanda says

        I am having the same issue & I used the distilled water. My hand soap wont even come out of the pump because it is so thick & congealed. Does anyone know how to thin it out to make it the right consistancy?

      • HardestyMom01 says

        My daughters (ages 4 and 6) and I love to make our own liquid hand soap. Whenever we have had a batch come out too thick I just place it back into the blender and blend on high until it is a little runny like canned milk. After that it stays at the consistency we like it. The soap does not seem to thicken up again. Hope that helps.

    • Brenda says

      Bath and Body soap does not do well when mixed. You can’t use most of their soaps to refill a foaming soap dispenser. It clogs it up and it can’t be used anymore. They put something in their soap and that’s what makes it great.

  3. Cindy says

    So I was wondering why you need to use distilled water instead of tap water. Does is really make a difference?

    • Alice says

      Distilled water will not go bad as soon as tap water. Ever put tap water in a bottle and leave it for a time and have it smelling bad when you open it?

      • Cassie says

        Actually, you don’t need to use distilled water. Just boil the water first, let it cool to the “hot” in the recipe, then continue on. Boiling the water first (stay with me, I didn’t get a degree in biology for nothing) will kill all the bacteria that might be lurking in your water. If you are worried about the bacteria in the air, place a lid on the pan as it boils. There is no point in buying water, when it comes out of the tap for free.

    • says

      Distilled water is also free of minerals and solutes. This only really matters if you have hard water. For making soap and lotion from scratch, I prefer distilled.

  4. chelsie says

    Ive done this before for body wash and it doesnt lather like regular liquid soap and tends to congeal so that it all sticks together. Probably wouldn’t do this method again.

    • Cheri says

      Chelsie I had the same problem when I made the bathwash and figured I would just stick with the store bought.

    • Jamie says

      Soap/shampoo , all that stuff doesn’t need to suds up or lather to clean. Store bought products only do that due to additives to make them lather.

      I’ve made a similar recipe and I’ve never had an issue. It does have a slimy kinda feel but if you can get past that it works great.

    • Joon says

      Chelsie-I tried this recipe too and it continues to congeal, doesn’t lather, etc..I gave up on it, too…lol :)

    • Patricia says

      I also made this with Yardley soap. I also added some almond oil because the previous batch was too drying. Then an another batch I made, I waited for it to cool completely and threw in as very inexpensive body wash and mixed with my mixer. It made tons of hand soap/body wash. It wasn’t drying and made bubbles.

  5. Heather S says

    I too am a numbers girl. Do you also use the same brand/hotel or do you mix flavors/scents

  6. Alisha says

    Jillee, how much soap, how much water, how much glycerine? I deal in numbers. Can’t manage to make anything work without it.

  7. Sandy says

    How much water do you use? I love foam soap myself but the amount of soap we go through at work, I’d love to make this!!

    • Sarah says

      I make the foaming stuff out of regular handsoap. Fill up a foaming dispenser 2/3 water and 1/3 handsoap (water first). I shake it very gently and I have foaming handsoap for a fraction of the cost. I usually buy a big refill jug of the handsoap so I can always make the foaming stuff.

      • sarah i. says

        Question, Sarah – have you tired using this homemade soap in a foam dispenser? I use those for my kids, and I’ve always refilled like you’ve described, but I wondered if the homemade soap would be the right consistency??

  8. Shay says

    I was wondering where to find glycerin at? I herd it was in the aisle with the bandaids, but I couldn’t find it. Any suggestions?

    • Interested says

      At my WalMart, it is with the alcohol/hydrogen peroxide/stuff like that. I went to Walgreen’s and asked for it and they don’t carry it anymore.

      • Jamie says

        Hobby stores with soap making items also have it. And I found some at a beer & wine supply store along with several other goodies for homemade beauty products. ;)

      • Debi says

        Our Target was about $2 more for the bottle of glycerine than I’d recommend Walmart!

    • Pattie says

      You can find it at Whole Foods, in the lotions section. You can also buy the gallon jugs at Orson Gygi.

      • vi says

        All of my local stores including walmart and target said they didn’t have it. I found it at a natural food store with the soaps, etc.

    • Amy Fitch says

      I looked over your ingredients and noticed you had glycerin in your list. Not sure if you knew this but glycerin is a animal waste product that comes from slaughter houses. Your putting that on your skin….? Try a different in ingredient.

      • Caren says

        Glycerin is also from veggies, mine is labeled as such, I make cp soap and lotions so I do only use veggie oils and items that are not from dead animals.

      • Mo says

        glycerin is not an animal was product from slaughter houses. It is a natural part of saponification in making cold process soaps. Now ifnone were to use a tallow as opposed to olive or some other oil to make the soap then you could probably draw a conclusion of it being an animal product. I am a farmer and a soap maker so I am quite sure of this.

      • says

        Actually the glycerine I use in my soaps and lotions is vegetable glycerin, and therefore animal friendly and vegan. Just check to make sure it says pure vegetable glycerin on the label! :)

      • says

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      • cougar says

        get a grip petapest! Vegetable glycerine is 100 percent animal free. Don’t you parasites have anything better to do with your time than be annoying busy bodies? ….

      • Rhonda says

        You don’t have to use animal glycerine, vegetable glycerine contains no animal byproducts (hence the name) and is just as awesome – if not more – for your skin! We use it to make soap and lotion for my kids who have eczema and very sensitive skin.

      • Jennifer says

        You can actually buy vegetable glycerin. I’m in Australia so I’m not sure where you can buy it in the US but I bought mine online.

      • Marissa says

        You can buy vegetable glycerin. Check with a soap supply website, that’s where i get mine.

    • Deborah says

      I actually went to the pharmacy counter in walmart and asked, they showed me right where it was. I do believe it I net to the caster oil, on the bottom shelf.