· Natural Remedies · How To Make Resort-Quality Liquid Hand Soap For Under $1

How To Make Resort-Quality Liquid Hand Soap For Under $1

Liquid Hand Soap

Whenever I go to our local thrift store, I’m always drawn to the room with the big basket FULL of wonderful smelling toiletries that come from fancy resorts and hotels in the area. (There are a lot around here!) The little bottles of lotion are the perfect size for keeping in your purse, the shampoos and conditioners are great for traveling, and the soaps, I have discovered, are perfect for making great-smelling liquid hand soap!

Liquid Hand Soap

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 very gentle on my hands. They tend to get dry and itchy if I don’t follow up with a moisturizer, but the hand soap I’ll be sharing with you today is much gentler. After all, the little hotel bars of soap are usually labelled as “facial bars”, so if they’re gentle enough for your face, they’ve got to be nice for your hands too, right? That’s my logic anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

The method for making your own liquid hand soap couldn’t be easier.

Liquid Hand Soap

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe


Liquid Hand Soap


The first thing you’ll do is grate the soap. The easiest way to do it is to stick it in your blender or food processor, but you can also do it by hand using your box grater. (Or you can stick the soap into your microwave for a minute or two, let it cool, and then crumble it into smaller bits with your hands. Cool, right?)

Liquid Hand Soap

Pour the gallon of distilled water into a large pot and place it on your stovetop to warm up. You don’t want it to be boiling hot, but it needs to be warm enough to dissolve the soap.

Liquid Hand Soap

Once the water has heated through, dump the grated soap in and stir. Keep stirring until the soap has dissolved into the water, and then mix in the glycerin.

Liquid Hand Soap

Transfer the mixture into a large container and let it sit overnight.

Liquid Hand Soap

The next morning, you’ll want to whisk it up a bit, because it will have thickened quite a bit overnight. I like to use my stand mixer for this step.

Liquid Hand Soap

Finally, transfer the finished hand soap into a soap dispenser. I like to use a mason jar with a soap dispenser top! (You could also transfer the soap into many soap dispensers, if you want to give them as gifts!)

Liquid Hand Soap

I did a bit of quick math out of curiosity, and I paid about $7.65 for the supplies I used to make all this soap. (About $2 for distilled water, $1.25 worth of glycerin, and 8 bars of soap at $0.55 each, if you’re curious.) The recipe yields about a gallon of soap, which I distributed between 9 pint-sized jars. That’s about $0.85 of materials for each jar of hand soap. Quite the bargain, I’d say! Plus, it smells and feels so luxurious!

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Natural Remedies

  • Yes you can make hand soap using the liquid version for the pumps. I just use Mrs Meyers dish soap.l Just use a few squirts in an old foam soap dispenser. Then use the hot water and fill it most of the way. It works well at our house with our foaming soap dispensers My sister’s family has used the big Costco version for their pumps.

  • Is there a way that you can make hand soap from liquid hand? I can buy a gallon of liquid hand soap from Amazon. Can I stretch that gallon to make a smaller bathroom liquid soap?

  • I’ve tried to make this several times and could not make it work. Which is too bad because I LOVE liquid soap. Fortunately, it’s not too expensive to buy.

  • I made this recipe a few days ago. I really like it, but it starts to gel again after a few days. I have to stir it up so it will come out of the dispenser. How can I think it out a bit?

  • Hi!
    I tried making it few days ago ~ it was interesting… I used Pears Transparent soap (I was trying to use up all unopened soaps I have in the home), it’s 3.5 oz bar ~ I used all 3… I think by adding 2 tablespoon of glycerin made the hand soap feel a little “waxy” after washing my hands. I was thinking of adding another gallon of distilled water to the soaps mixture. (I’m thinking of using 5 gallon bucket for this) I figured I better ask first before I “mess up” on anything. LOL

    Could you let me know your thoughts?
    Thank you!

  • I tried it but completely failed…. First because it got thickened a lot after sitting overnight…. Then i boiled again and added more water to loosen it….is it a mistake? I ended up with a slimy texture liquid with absolutely no smell…. And also found its not that effective in removing grease/oil from hands…..any thoughts how to improve it?

    • I think that boiling it a second time may have ruined it, you don’t want to burn the mixture! The texture is a bit slimy, but it should remove oil from your hands and have a nice scent – although the scent depends on the type of soap you used.

  • I’ve done this recipe twice, and both times I ended up with a slimy, not so pleasant consistency. Any thoughts on why? Thanks a bunch!

    • The texture is definitely a little runny, but I don’t mind it! You can thicken it a bit with a mixture of water and salt. Combine about 1/4 cup water with a teaspoon of table salt, and stir until the salt dissolves. Then mix this with your soap let sit for an hour. Repeat this method until you’ve reached the desired consistency. :-)

  • Where do you purchase the vegetable glycerin and little bars of soap? I found the pump and jar top with precut hole opening at Michael’s for $4.99. The alternative is a hole saw drill bit 1″ for about $10.00 at Home Depot.

  • This may seem like a silly question, but how do you get the different colors? Is that from the color of the soaps you used or did you add food coloring?
    As to using essential oils, I’d say you definitely could! I was thinking of doing the same thing!!

      • I thought about that after I submitted my question. HA! I wasn’t sure if jars came in mint green, peach, and purple colors as shown in the pic. I’m new at this, so my apologies. I figured it couldn’t be food coloring since that would stain our hands.
        Thank you!!!

      • Actually I found out there’s such thing as coloring that can be added to homemade soap!

  • I’m thinking this might be an idea to do with my leftover scraps of Dove soap when it gets too small for me. I’m also thinking of just doing half a batch of this instead.

  • Can this recipe be done with any other bar soap? My local thrift store does not carry the hotel soaps. I usually save up from our travels but I am all out.

  • This looks great, my question is, which recipe do you ultimately prefer – this one or the antibacterial foaming hand wash? Both look great and I can’t decide which to make.

  • Good idea. Occasionally when traveling we will keep the soap scraps from our motels. They usually wind up in my Dads travel case. He’s kind of funny about us touching it. I’d probably have to go to our local stores travel section for the small size soap. Good idea.,

    • You can buy glycerin at some pharmacy sections at places like Walgreens and Wal-Mart. It seems like some have it and some don’t! Amazon definitely has it, just search for vegetable glycerin. Health food stores would be another option. Hope that helps!! :)

  • I’ve never tried this way before, I’ve always heard it either separates or ends up pretty slimy, so I have only made liquid soap the old fashioned way with potassium hydroxide and oils. I love my homemade soap, but your way would save me a lot of time and money! So I just wanted to be sure, it’s not slimy, and if not, do you think it’s because you whisk it more with your mixer? Thanks!!

  • Thank you for the many awesome tips I use. My favorites are the recipe for cleaning bathtub toilet and lavatories. Chips in the freezer! What a great idea. Myna

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