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My family goes through a lot of soap. We particularly go through a lot of castile soap, which makes sense because we use it in practically everything!
We use castile soap for our body wash, hand soap, dish soap, shaving, scrubbing, and probably a lot more! I used to buy liquid soap by the jugful but then I wondered, can you make your own liquid soap?
I used to pay about $30 for 64 oz of Dr. Bronners or Dr. Woods. Now looking at those numbers, I guess you could say that it doesn’t seem very expensive but that price can add up when you go through soap as often as we do!
Besides, why pay that much when you could pay just $4 for 64 oz if you make your own liquid soap (even less if you went with a cheaper brand)?
Seems like a nice price to pay, doesn’t it? You could save $26 on just 64 oz of soap!
Price would vary depending on what brand you buy and what you’d compare it to) I can think of plenty of other ways to spend that extra $26!
How do you get so much soap for so little? Easy! All you need is 1 bar of soap!
It doesn’t even have to be castile soap. I just mentioned castile soap because it’s what we have but you can definitely use any of your favorite bar soaps and turn them into liquid soap.
Bar Soap to Liquid Soap
1 – 4 oz bar of soap
8 cups of water
1 Tbs. vegetable glycerin (optional -see notes below)
Pour 8 cups of water into a pot and heat until just before boiling.
While the water is heating up, grate one bar of soap either by hand or in a food processor.
Once your water is just about to boil, add in the grated soap and stir.
Mix until all the soap as dissolved, it will look like soapy water, don’t worry it will turn into proper liquid soap.
At this point, add in the glycerin if using.
Allow mixture to cool for about 12-24 hours.
Once cool it will have thickened. Beat mixture with a electric mixer to fully incorporate.
If the mixture seems too thick, you can add more water to thin it out.
Pour into containers and you are all set!
Soap Note: Bar soaps vary in size. Dr. Bronner’s soap for instance is 5 oz and because of this I needed to add more water. If you were to do the math, it’s about 2 cups of water per 1 oz of soap. You should be able to use that math, to adjust your recipe if your bar soap is not 4 oz.
Glycerin Note: I have yet to add glycerin to my soap because so far I do not feel like it’s needed it. By adding glycerin to your soap you can make your soap more moisturizing, so if you feel like your soap needs to be a bit more moisturizing then go ahead and add the glycerine!
Frugal Note: If you want to save even more money, double your batch! 2 bars of soap will make 1 gallon (or 16 cups) of soap. Just like you would save money on buying in bulk, so you can save by making in bulk!
Looking for more ways to DIY personal products?
Homemade Peppermint Toothpaste
All Natural Homemade Deodorant
Do you get a nice lather? I have tried this with a few different bar soaps but I don't seem to get enough lather to use as body wash. Any tips?
Thank you for the recipe. In place of grating, I use my food processor and instead of mixer, I found that my emulsion mixer works a lot better. I grate Dove bars so no need for glycerine.
Yes, I think it lathers nicely. In fact, perhaps too much. When I mixed it with my mixer it got and stayed a bit foamy so when we quirt it out of our bottles it's almost like foam…not quite because there's actual soap there too. I think the key is to make sure you use enough soap. My very first batch, I made with someone else's recipe and it was way too much water. You could always start with less water then called for and then add in the water later if needed, to ensure that you get thick enough – sudsy enough soap.
Question, if I used a bar of soap that was for laundry, would this make liquid laundry detergent?
Interesting question! I really don’t know! I know there are recipes that use a similar method to this for a laundry detergent (they add other ingredients) but I’m not familiar enough with laundry bar soaps to know what it would do… I’d suppose it would work but I can’t say for sure. Let me know if you try it out!
Yes I have made a 5 gallon bucket out of one bar of soap
How did you make 5 gallons
This sounds like such an easy way to make a great soap! Is the consistency of the liquid soap the same as the liquid Dr. Bronners?
I have tried this several times and all I get is soap smelling water. It never gets thick. I let the last batch sit for 24 hours and still nothing but water…
The type of soap you use can definitely change the recipe. I’ve only had good results with Dr. Bronners or Dr. Woods soap (although to be fair, I’ve not tried too many other brands)
I made it and it feels slimy. Should it be like that? When I put my hand in the pot, it strings ( like hot cheese) from my hands. Is this normal?
It won’t feel just like store-bought castile soap… it’s more of a snot consistency. lol Sounds like that’s what you’ve got so you’re good to go.
Use a foam pump if it’s watery
I would say that when you are using it it feels like Dr. Bronners…but mine at least (and this could be because I needed to add water at the end and then beat it in) is more foamy looking. So when I squirt it out of the bottle, it looks a lot like foam but then you start lathering and it feels the same as Dr. Bronners. It's like the bubbles are hiding the actual soap in my bottles.
I keep considering making more products at home so Thanks for the tip!
Does this dry your skin out at all? EVERY THING dries mine out. If so, how would you recommend incorporating a moisturizer?
It doesn't dry our skin out (this is referring to the Dr. Bronners…different soap will of course, give different results) but Dr. Bronners doesn't normally dry our skin out. I would recommend finding a bar soap that is designed to be high moisturizing and use that and then be sure to add in the vegetable glycerin as that helps with moisturizing as well.
Can. You substitute with coconut oil
Hmmm… you might be able to add in liquid coconut oil (not sure how it will end up since coconut oil is a more solid oil)
Do we need to add any preservatives to it?
You do not need to if you use if quick enough. If it will take awhile to get through (or you want to be cautious) Then you can add a natural preservative (vitamin E and rosemary extract are two common options)
I'm glad you posted this! I've seen things for making soap like this with other brands and keep thinking about trying it w/ Bronner's, too. My question is this… When we use liquid Bronner's, we dilute it (at least 1 pt soap to 10 parts water – maybe more, I don't actually measure but just know about how much to put in each different pump) – that works great for hand washing, dishes, body wash, etc. So, even though the bottle of soap costs about $14, it goes a long way once diluted. I know that making it with a bar of soap would be cost efficient comparing it to just the bottle, but not sure if it is if I don't then dilute it more when we go to use it, you know? Just curious if you end up diluting it more after you make it? Thanks!
Well I never dilute our Dr Bronners so I think the homemade version is about the same consistency. So I think you'd still want to dilute even the homemade stuff if that is what you are used to.
wow, this is so cool! Could i use a packet of pure soap flakes? I'm thinking yes…and I have some lying around somewhere…! Wish I could find castile soap here in Perth.
I don't see why not. You could always order castile soap. I order mine even though I can find it in my stores just because it's cheaper to order it (usually)
Did your homemade liquid soap get the consistency of Jello after it sat around? I think it took a month, but it became thick. I followed the recipe to a 'T', but maybe it's because I live in the South and the water/humidity is different. Not sure, but it makes it hard to work with, unlike purchased liquid Bronner's, which always stays liquid.
It can get thicker as it sets up. If this happens and you find it to be an issue then you can just add more water to the mixture. Some soaps seem to "gel" worse then others it seems.
I made this today with a bar of the almond! Smells so good! Anyways, I can just put this in a old bodywash container and us it on my loofah? Without dilution or any additives?! How exciting!!
Yes, you can just use as is. Depending on how thick your soap came out, you may or may not want to dilute it but it's really just preference at that point.
I have black specks in my soap…is this because of the almond soap? Or do I just have weird black specks that somehow started floating around my soap?! Help!!
Hmm that's strange. I'm not familiar with the almond soap… does it come with black specks? I know that a brand I recently tried has specks of basil in it so that carries over to my soap. There shouldn't be any specks unless it was originally in the bar soap. How long ago did you make it? Did it perhaps mold?
I don't remember if it had specks already. I think I have figures it out. I don't have a big enough bowl so I kept it in the pot. Well its Teflon. So when I mixed it maybe I scraped some of the Teflon off?! Ugh 🙁
Ooo that's totally a possibility!
Just wondered if you use a designated pot for soap making? Is it ok to use something I regularly cook with???
In this case, it's totally ok to use a regular cooking pot. You are really just doing an extra good cleaning job on the pot. 🙂 If you were making soap from scratch (such as when you use lye) then you'd want a designated pot but this recipe is fine for normal cooking pots.
I have a question so i didnt wanna make the wrong size. But if I got a gallon of distilled water how many 5oz bronner's soaps would I add to it and how much glycerin? thanks so much!
You need 2 cups of water per 1 oz of soap. So 3 Dr Bronner's soaps would need 15 cups of water. As there are 16 cups in a gallon, I would say it's probably safe to do just 3 bars of soap for one gallon. As for the glycerin, you'd want about 2 tbs for a gallon
Thanks sosososo much for responding. didnt know if you would or not! I'm about to move out on my own, me and my 2 year old daughter and I want to be as cost effective as possible. Thanks so very much for getting back to me so soon and on the same day at that!
For three 5-oz bars of soap you'd need 30 cups of water, not 15! For one gallon you'd need 8 oz of soap, so two 5-oz bars and measure one of them into 3 oz using a kitchen scale or something.
Bah! Yes you are correct beichan! I don't know what I did…think I was originally planning on writing that 3 Dr Bronner's soaps would be 15 oz..and it just got jumbled in my head somewhere…. Yes 15 oz of soap would mean 30 cups of water!
For one gallon of water, I'd just do a bar and a smidgen more than half of Dr Bronner's soap.
You can get castile soap at http://www.naturalwayorganics.net. Still does all the same wonders just more affordable and I think it's a lot better.
i'm curious as to how to use this liquid soap… usually dr. b's suggest diluting their liquid soap depending on the use (shampoo, hand soap, APC, etc.) So, is this liquid version already diluted? Or is this liquid version the same exact as when you buy the liquid Dr. B and you have to dilute it further? Please help!
I personally use this "undiluted" but then I also used Dr Bronner's undiluted (I'm an oddball I guess). However, this recipe is almost just like Dr. Bronners. There is a slightly different consistency but it works the same. So if you prefer to dilute Dr Bronners then feel free to dilute this recipe too.
I tried making liquid castile soap with the bar of Kirk's Castile soap and I followed another recipe that said to use 1 bar of soap with 6 cups of water. I put it in a glass jar, but a day later it was still very liquidy. It didn't thicken at all. I then heated it up again and added 1 more bar of soap. Another day later it still hasn't thickened. What should I do? I would like a creamy consistency. I appreciate your help!!
That's very interesting. In theory a Kirk's bar would need 8 oz of water (as it's a 4 oz bar). So the fact that you originally used 6 cups should have made for a very thick soap. Not sure why it wouldn't have thickened. Now as far as thickness goes…it does end up liquid (obviously as it's being turned into a liquid soap) but it's still as thick or a bit thicker than liquid castile soap.
You might want to give it another try with a different bar soap. I've had good luck with Dr Bronners and Dr Woods. Dr. Woods is currently my favorite and is cheaper than Dr. Bronners.
Thank you for responding. Do I put 8oz or 8 cups of water per 4oz bar? I noticed in the recipe above it says 8 cups, but your reply says 8oz. I just want to make sure I do it right. Thank you so much for your advice. Also, where can I find Dr. Woods soap?
Oh bother. Yes it's CUPS. 2 cups water per 1 oz of soap. (it's all the talk of oz that always makes me mess up the wording) So for a 4 oz bar of soap it would be 8 cups of water. 🙂
You can find Dr Woods at amazon or vitacost. You might be able to find it in health stores but I've never looked.
This recipe was great! I made a batch last night and let it cool and just filled all my soap containers. thanks for sharing!
Just wanted to say that mine with Kirks Castile got way too hard to use, but I added a little water and put the jar in a pot filled 1/2 way with water and heated it up a little and it turned back into awesome usable liquid. I dont know if anyone else has had this same thing happen but thats what I did to fix the problem. Otherwise it was too gelled-like to even use.
my two bars of Kirks castile soap 2 1 gallon of water did not thicken. could it be my hard well water ?
Hmm that is interesting. As far as I know water type really shouldn't make a difference. And your soap-water ratio is correct. How liquid-y is the soap? It doesn't necessarily need to thicken to a solid state… just close to liquid castile soap (at least)
I made this last night with 2 bars of kirks to 1 gal of purified water, it has been sitting for 16 hours and it's still like water with just a film on top
Hmmm I'm sorry. You are the second person to mention kirks not working. As far as I can tell, it really should work as the ingredients are about the same as all castile soap but it seems that perhaps kirks is a more "diluted" bar soap and thus maybe it just needs less water.
After cooling, the soap did not thicken; is it possible that I used too much glycerin?
It looks like Dr. Bonner liquid Soap
It doesn't need to thicken a lot. Different soap brands give different results. Considering the point of turning bar soap into liquid soap… I'd say that it looking like Dr. Bronner's liquid soap would be a good thing. 😉
Wondering what went wrong. I used a bar of Dr. B's unscented and had to add almost 2 gallons till it seemed to stay liquid. After about 2 days i went to use it and guess what, jello again. I started out with the 10 cups of water that the recipe called for and as long as it was hot it stayed liquid. I would mix it until it seemed to be incorporated then it out turn jelly again. Now I have a gallon and a half of, for lack of a better consistency, snot. I love Dr. Bronner's and and use it in everything from my dishwasher detergent and soft scrub to body wash, shampoo, and facial cleanser. It seems to work OK, but gloopy is really hard to measure. Please help if you can. Should I just try with another bar?
I'm amazed that you could even use 2 gallons of water with just one bar of soap! The soap will not usually stay a complete liquid. I will beat mine right after making it, transfer it to a large container and add into any small containers that we use currently (like body wash). The small containers usually stay liquid just fine. I sometimes add more water to a small container depending on what consistency I need but the small containers don't turn to jelly (especially if it's a container like body wash that we are constantly turning upside down and thus shaking it up)… The large container does turn to jelly but I just give it a good shake when needed. And yes, the consistency is more like snot. You can't make liquid soap from a bar soap and get the same exact consistency as liquid castile, unfortunately.
How do you use this for shaving? I am getting ready to make this now, and thinking about just going ahead and doing several “projects” with it while I have a mess already, lol. Thanks!
I just lather it up and use it like soap or body wash but I shave with everything all lathered up.
Has anyone figured out the Kirks Castile bars yet. I made a batch last night with one bar of soap and only 7 cups of water. It is still water thin?
I’m so sorry you are having issues. It seems that Kirks Castile soap just doesn’t like this method for whatever reason.
I worry about mold.
Since glycerin it technically an alcohol, does it help preserve the liquid soap?
Since the water has been heated (you could bring to a boil and remove from heat if you are really worried), there should be no contaminants. I’m not aware of if glycerin helps preserve. You can always add vitamin E or an essential like tea tree to help preserve it though. I’ve never had any issues with mold.
can i use this as shampoo or do i need to add other items? i have found a few sites for homemade shampoo calling for liquid castile soap and honey or coconut oil. Would i substitute the same amount of liquid castile soap with the liquid i make with a bar?
If you want to use castile soap as a shampoo then you can use this diy soap in the same amount that you’d use store bought castile soap. That said, I usually do not recommend washing your hair with castile soap because it just doesn’t seem to work well with hair.
It works great on my hair, better than anything I’ve ever used in my life (i’m 60 years old). I use it as a base in my homemade shampoo and don’t need to use conditioner at all.
That’s wonderful to hear!
Could you share your recipe for homemade shampoo please ? This is the main reason why i want to start using this soap. Thank you in advance
This is a great way to use leftover scraps from bar soap.
Just experiment to get the texture that you want.
Mine got very snotty… is it supposed to be like that?
Yes… homemade liquid soap is a slightly different consistency from store bought. It will be “snotty”.
I am going to try it with J.R. Watkins castile bar soap. It is an 8oz bar for $5. I will let you know how it goes!
Hi I added the glycerin and it is so thick how can I thin it please?
Some bars of soap just make for thick DIY liquid soap. I recommend adding a bit of water (distilled or pre-boiled) until you reach the consistency that you want.
Trying this right now with Shea Moisture bar soap. Holy sh**t that’s a lot! Cooling now. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Not a good result! Very slimy & slippery. Frustrating to try to wash with. Anyone know how to dispose of a gallon or more of liquid soap?
I’m sorry you feel like it’s a waste. Sometimes diluting it more can make it easier to handle.
I got a Dr. Bronners bar of soap, divided it into 5 even sections, boiled 4 cups of water and I used 2/5 of the bar — cut them with a knife as small as I could chop it and put it all in a mason jar together- it came out the consistency of Dr. Bronners liquid soap after about an hour. Perfect.
I made this and the mixture is like water. It separates and it stays like water. What did I do wrong?
Oh no! It really shouldn’t separate. Most people have the opposite problem where it might firm up a bit too much. What bar of soap did you use?
how much essential oil would i use per 4oz bar? I have use every soap and it works great but I want to start making peppermint liquid from original soaps. love this way so much more cost effective
I would start with 20 drops of essential oil for a 4 oz bar batch of liquid soap… but you can adjust as you see fit.
please can we use any bar soup? since I’m in Nigeria, and I don’t know how Dr Bronners looks like.
You probably can use any type of soap. I’ve only used castile soap bars so far so I can only vouch for those.
I was wondering as well if anyone tried using Ivory Soap for this? May have to google to see if there are any.
Another way you could do this is cutting or grating the bar and putting it into a wide mouth mason jar. Then fill the jar with hot water (I usually run some water through my coffee maker real quick). Let the jar sit on your counter over night. Use an immersion hand blender to blend in the jar, then add more hot water if need be. I make clothes detergent this way (with different ingredients of course).
Just a heads up. I know this comment is years later after this, but I wanted to add this. I took this simple recipe and added a few things and made simple shampoo. I have dreadlocks and needed a diy shampoo cause all the “name brand” dreadlock stuff has so much stuff added that is not needed. Anyway, 1 bar dr broners peppermint soap, aloe, (just put a tablespoon from a plant), tea tree oil, peppermint oil. About 9 cups of water. This is the most refreshing shampoo I have ever used in my life. I get an itchy scalp and the tea tree and peppermint not only makes it smell amazing but gives you that tingle cool feeling on the scalp. This is amazing. I have yet to put glycerin in this recipe but I think next time I might give it a try. Just thought I would share my thoughts and ideas!
I was so excited to try this recipe! But it isn’t thickening up at all 🙁 After it failed to thicken, I grated a second bar into the mixture. It still didn’t thicken, and now I’m left with 8c of soapy water and no idea what to do with it 🙁 could I thicken it with something like cornstarch? I could keep adding more soap… but the two bars I used were from a specialty lavender farm and I can’t get more. They were lavender Castile bars. Maybe it was just the wrong kind of soap? Any advice would be much appreciated!! Thanks in advance!
I’m so sorry. It does seem to be picky on what types of soap they are. I’ve had bad luck from the more homemade specialty soaps. I now just stick to Dr. Bronners bars or Dr. Woods bars.
Not sure I’d thicken it with cornstarch…
I tried the recipe instructions and it did firm up quite a bit. I had to dilute it twice the amount and then after trying to blend it together more…it’s just a giant foamy mess…and the stuff I haven’t tried to blend is chunky and slimy. I grated the soap down pretty finely too. Isn’t really working to well for me. I use mine for household cleaning so I should be able to use it still but idk if I’ll do it again.
A lot of the results will depend on which soap you use. I’ve only had good results with Dr. Bronners or Dr. Woods bar soap. It does firm up a lot (at least with those soaps I mentioned) almost like a gummie snack. Just plunge the beaters in there and blend away. There shouldn’t be a need to pre-dilute it before mixing (unless it’s rock hard in which case more water would be needed)
Could I make specialty soaps by adding essential oils to it?
Yes, you can definitely add essential oils to the soap (after it’s cooled). Just make sure they are safe to use on skin.
I’ve tried this and all good until I beat it at the end. Now it’s a mass of foam. Will it subside if I leave it for a while?
Hi, sorry it foamed up on you. If it’s too liquid-y (too much water to soap bar) then it may foam excessively. Beating it too fast or too long may also cause it to foam. The foam should go down but it may take a while depending on the why.
Anyone have problems with growth? Water seems to breed life, I was wondering what the Shelf life is? And if a preservative is needed?
I’ve not had any issues and mine stays in the bottle for at least 6 months. But you could always add in rosemary extract or tea tree oil or some other preservative just in case.
Can I use any kind of bar soap?
You can try but I only recommend Castile bar soaps as it’s the one I use.
great cost savings