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DIY Liquid Hand Soap for as Little as 5 Cents

DIY Liquid Hand Soap for as Little as 5 Cents

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe


Liquid hand soap has to be the easiest of all DIY projects. Better yet, you can fill a hand soap pump for pennies.

Most recipes have a slimy consistency and do not lather well at all. I understand that most of the lathering from commercial hand soaps comes from chemicals that are not actually good for us – but I am fond of a little lather.

I am going to share two liquid hand soap recipes here today. The first one is beyond simple and costs a nickel (that’s right, only five cents!). The second is also very simple and costs about fifteen cents – and it lathers!

DIY Liquid Hand Soap (5 Cent Version)


  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Bar Soap (About half of a bar)


1. Bring water to a boil on the stovetop.


2. Add 1/2 cup grated soap. Stir until soap is melted.


3. Remove from the heat and stir after 10 minutes, after 1 hour, and after 5 hours (or overnight).


You really cannot mess this up. If your soap is too thick, add a little more water. If it is too liquidy, heat it up and add more grated soap. If you forget to stir it, stir whenever you remember.

4. Pour into soap hand pumps. This recipe makes enough for 3 average soap dispensers.

Approximate cost: 5 cents per soap dispenser (if using the 10 pack of Ivory bar soap from Walmart, which costs $3.50). If you use coupons, or get this item on sale, the cost will be less than 5 cents.

DIY Lathering Hand Soap

The above recipe is very simple, works great, and is incredibly inexpensive. But it has an odd consistency, almost mucous-like, and does not lather.

The following recipe is still very easy, but has two added ingredients which give the hand soap a gentle lather.


  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut or Castor Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Bar Soap


1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and dissolve completely.


3. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or castor oil and melt completely.


I use coconut oil which can be bought at any grocery store. It makes the soap smell delicious. I use coconut oil in a lot of my DIY projects (baby bum cream, lotion, lip balm, etc). I will be sharing all of these recipes here on, so it may be a worthwhile purchase if you intend to try some of those as well.

Tip: There are a lot of health benefits when using coconut oil for cooking as well.

4. Add 1/2 cup of grated soap and stir until melted.


5. Remove from heat and stir after 10 minutes, 1 hour, and 5 hours (or overnight).

6. Pour into your soap dispensers. For added “foaminess” pour into a foaming soap dispenser.


Approximate cost: 16 cents per soap dispenser.

Liquid handsoap can be made so simply and inexpensively – please don’t ever pay full price for it! This is a wonderful, simple way to save your family money (while also avoiding chemicals in commercial hand soaps).


  1. Vicki

    My Last DIY was household cleaner. I was spending so much money on cleaners etc. and decided to take the advice I have read about and made my own for sooo much cheaper and NO chemicals. πŸ™‚

    [email protected]

  2. Dawn

    My last DIY was fabric softener, I chose this mostly because I ran out of bounce sheets, and really couldn’t bring myself to pay for them anymore. It took me all of 2 minutes to make, and then I threw in a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer to reduce the static. Cost me $1.73 for a 3 liter bottle and I love the smell!

  3. Donna

    My last DIY was cleaning wipes. It wasn’t a huge success though!

  4. Soniway

    In the 2nd recipe the ingredients say 1/2 cup of soap but in the instructions it says 1 cup. I was wondering which one it is, as I would love to make this. Thanks!!

    • Sarah

      Thanks for noticing! Sorry – it is suppose to be half a cup of grated soap.

      • Soniway

        Thanks…now I am off to make some.

  5. Michelle

    Thanks for sharing.. My last DIY was the household cleaner using vinegar and water.

  6. Soniway

    I use vinegar to clean but wanted a different smell then regular vinegar. So my last DIY was I added orange peels in a jar with vinegar. I let it sit for a couple of weeks, then strained it, and put the vinegar in a spray bottle. I loved it and am now making more with lime peels.

    • Sarah

      Yes! This is what we use in our household too! I love that it still leaves the clean smell without the chemicals. My favourite is using Grapefruit peels.

  7. Linda

    I would love to try these recipes for DIY hand soaps. I just use liquid dish soap for hand cleansers. The last DIY project I attempted was the vinegar and baking soda foaming cleansing scrub.

  8. Cathy Simon

    The last DIY project I completed was homemade face and body lotion. Thanks for the opportunity to win.
    [email protected]

  9. Odie Araujo

    My last DIY project had to with my love of jewlery. I had alot of necklaces and bracelets and kept seeing the nice jewlery over the door hanging holders with all these nice little individual pockets. Well I realized I would never pay 19.99 for one, I made my own. Real easy, found a peice of wood about 1-1/2″ high, 1/2″ thick and about 3ft long. Behind my closet door I nailed the wooden bar to the wall with two large nails and added smaller nails along the bar for about every 5cm on a bit of an angle. Presto!!! all my necklaces and bracelets are now hung and easily visable to choose from every time i open my closet:) Total cost for me nothing!!! already had the wood and nails in the garage. Oh and just to make it look alittle more ladylike I wrapped the bar of wood in some marble designed wallpaper that I had left over from lining my cupboards.

  10. Susan

    The last DIY that I attempted was homemade household cleanser, and it worked great! No more chemicals in my house!! Especially with my little one crawling, I’d rather make my own, save some money and know that it doesn’t have the chemicals other commercial cleaners do! Thank you for the chance to win!!

  11. Cheryla

    Lastest dyi was a drain cleaner. I had a bit of a slow running drain. Put some baking soda down the drain and then poured white vinegar down, it causes a big “fizzyness” to happen. Kept pouring the white vinegar until the extreme “fizzyness” stopped. Then ran some hot water and now the water drains fast.

  12. carrie h

    My love the garlic and cheese biscuit and pancakes, but I hate processed food but like to save time.

    Homemade Baking Mix (Bisquick)
    5 cups Flour
    1/4 cup Baking Powder
    2 Tbsp. Sugar
    1 tsp. Salt
    1 cup Butter, margarine or shortening (use only one)

    1. Mix dry ingredients together then cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
    2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks. You can store in the fridge or freezer for longer storage.

    To make Biscuits
    Mix 1/3 cup of milk (or more if still dry) for each 1 cup of mix. Place un-greased cookie sheets and cook @ 450ΒΊF for 10-12 min.

    To make Pancakes:
    Mix 2 cups of mix with 1 cup milk and 2 eggs.

  13. Dream

    The last time I tried DIY was sewing a throw pillow. Didn’t turn out very nice, but still useable πŸ™‚

  14. Krista Sidhu

    My last DIY was floor cleaner.
    I purchased a “swiffer” with a micro fiber cleaning pad at an Eco Friendly show 2 years ago. I used it once about a year ago, but didn’t like that it only called for water. I came across a recipe for floor cleaner to put into swiffer wet jets. I just use a left over spray bottle, spray my floor and clean away with the micro fiber pad slightly damp. It works great! (its a vinegar recipe)
    I hope i win! I’d love to try out your hand soap. If i love it, i’d be more likely to start making it myself.

  15. 050937k2

    My latest DIY was glass cleaner – 2 cups warm water, 1/4 rubbing alcohol, 1/4 vinegar, 1 tbsp of cornstarch and shake before using. It really worked!

  16. Amanda Geering

    I did my DIY last night. I made a pluto travel pillow for my son from the disney daily spoonful site. It turned out amazing!

  17. Jonnie

    The last DIY project I did was making some shelfs for my sons room. They turned out really well.


  18. Lori

    Thanks you for sharing your ideas. The latest project I made was gardeners hand scrub in dollar store jars. Only 2 ingredients, sugar for the exfolient and dawn dish soap with the special hand cream in it. It turns out a light pink colour, smells like pomegrante and works wonderfully. Add a tag and voila an inexpensive gift! I hope I win!

  19. Vicki

    The last DIY project I did was bath salts. So easy and I love customizing the scents with essential oils.

  20. Joey

    The last DIY project I did was to make homemade peanut butter. It was easily made with 4 cups of peanuts, 1 tbsp coconut oil, honey & salt to taste. It was so good, I’m now making for several friends as well as my husband.

  21. Coupon Queen

    the last diy I did was making a jam jar into a vase for outside by wrapping it in twine and adding some white flowers!

  22. Rachel

    I made lavender salt scrub. Very nice.

  23. Amy M

    My last DIY was mama pads. They actually turned out quite well, and oh so comfortable!

  24. Kathleen Lowe

    The last DIY project I did was christmas ornaments for my tree.

  25. Sylvie Daigle

    My last DIY project was homemade fabric softener. It works great.

  26. Barbara Kovach

    My last DIY projects were: Homemade jam, bathsalts, heat bags, homemade caramels, homemade hot chocolate and am now in the process or organizing my entire home!

  27. Crystal

    Granola (low fat no sugar) Not bad with yogurt!

  28. Ashley J

    My last DIY project was a pet bed for my Buddy & Pal. πŸ™‚

  29. Rhonda M.

    My last DIY was floor cleaner. I filled a bucket halfway with hot water and to that I added 1 brewed cup of black tea (I like using Chamomille :), about 1/2 cup of white vinager (this is just a guess as I tend to eyeball it lol) and 6 drops of either liquid hand soap or dawn dish soap (I tend to use whatever I have on hand)you could also add a few drops of your fave essential oil for a nice scent..I love making this floor cleaner πŸ™‚
    [email protected]

  30. Anita

    I made wipes for my baby. Love coconut oil – it’s good for everything!

  31. Erika E

    I made a face mask for myself with avocado and almond oil. Smelled good!
    jsmom92 at gmail dot com

  32. Krista M

    I made homemade baby wipes and they work great.

  33. Melanie D

    I am so trying this out soon!

    • Melanie D

      Major fail!! πŸ™ Was really hoping for this to work but it was not foamy at all, it looked and felt like mucous, when dispensing it was a never ending string of soap and the coconut oil left a film in the sink within a few uses.

  34. Danielle L

    Homemade baby wipes. Really looking into all the different things you can do with coconut oil as well.

  35. Courtney

    Im not great with DIY so i’ve never really tried anything

  36. Lori

    I have never tried a DIY project but this one looks easy for a busy working mom of three. Maybe it will be my first.

  37. Nicole B

    omg i will try adding the sugar and the coconut oil and see if that works. I’ve tried a similar recipe but with glycerin added with the grated soap shavings. All I can say is SNOT! it had the same consistency as the grossest mucus ever. Lets just say that there is no weaning oneself off of Bath & Body Works soap onto that. . .

    I’ve had homemade lip balm recipes turn out perfectly, no matter what recipe I’ve tried. If starting out with DIY products, I’d start there for beginners, lol, especially after my soap fiasco.

    • Sarah

      Yes – very much agreed – the mucous-y consistency was not cutting it for me either! By playing around with the amount of coconut oil you can get a more pleasing consistency. And the sugar changes the pH of the water which somehow allows the soap to lather a bit. Hope it works well for you!

  38. Jenn

    I have never done a DIY project but I am VERY interested in this one. The anti-bacterial soaps dry my hands out so bad.

    • Sarah

      Jenn, my daughter’s poor hands get so dry as well. We use either a Natural Oatmeal soap or a Dove bar. Mixing that with the coconut oil really helps.

  39. hannasmom

    This would be a good use of those hotel bar soaps we accumulate, which would knock the cost down too. Great idea.

  40. lilian gramajo


  41. Sefora

    The last DIY project I attempted that worked well was a strawberry and honey face mask. I was sceptical at first but it worked wonders for my oily skin.

    I would love to try this hand soap. I have dry skin from the soap I am currently using. My hands are very sensitive these days and I can only assume it’s my hormones kicking into gear since I’m 38 weeks pregnant.

    Thanks for the contest give away!

    email: [email protected]

  42. Sharon Dunkin

    I do the 5 cent soap a little differently. I use the little bits and pieces of leftover soap and therefore costs me nothing. My family also knows I do this and saves me all their pieces as well. I turn this into presents for them at Christmas.
    We all have fun trying to make Sharon’s Mountain of “Soap Shaving” grow.

  43. Eric

    How is this recipe “avoiding chemicals in commercial hand soaps”?? The recipe calls for commercial hand soap πŸ˜‰

    • Kay

      If you buy an all natural soap bar you’re avoiding the chemicals. I understand what you mean though. She mentions “avoiding chemicals” and tells people she used Dove. She’s fooling herself if she think it’s all natural.

  44. amy Lovell

    The last DIY project I did was a bathtub paint soap which did not turn out properly it was a colored chunk! My next one im planning on doing is a framed flower piece out of toilet paper rolls.

  45. supersu

    i am really not a do-it-your-selfer – but DO want to elimate packaging and excess garbage from my life!
    i buy soap at the market from a vendor who doesnt package it to death-so will try this recipe and see if it works!

    thanks for this – would love to win some of yours to compare

    [email protected]

  46. Carol Ceaser

    Your recipe for the lattering hand soap calls for1/2 cup of grated soap; but in the method it said to use 1 cup? I’am new to site but would love to try some of your tips.

    • Sarah

      Yes, sorry. It is suppose to be 1/2 cup. Thank you!!

  47. Lisa

    I am sooo excited that my friend introduced me to your site. My most recent diy was my daughters valentine i found on pinterest, super cute photo of her holding out her hand i then cut 2 slits near her hand on the photo and passed a sucker through and it now looks like she giving you the sucker. A 3D card . The other diy we did was our stairs in our home. We removed our carpet and painted the steps brown and risers white and matched our handrails. Also found on pinterest. Thank you sharing all your tips with us. πŸ™‚

  48. Amy

    I started making my own body wash (works great but doesn’t lather much, which I miss), powdered laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent.

    Would adding honey instead of sugar do the same thing?

    • Sarah

      I believe so. I certainly do not understand the chemistry behind it – but the sugar changes the pH of the liquid which is suppose to help with lather. Assuming it is the sweetness that changes the pH honey should work too. Great idea.

  49. Jenn

    Homemade baby wipes. Tricky to get it right but they do the trick.

  50. Katrina Holmes

    Homemade baby wipes! First time was a fail. They went moldy. Second time added tea tree oil and worked great!

  51. donna reaume

    With 5 granddaughters and two more grandchildren on their way..we go thru a lot of hand soap when they come over….THIS IS PERFECT!!! Thank you so very very much!

  52. Erin

    laundry soap, works great!

  53. Leah Ryan

    Latest DIY was making pillows!

  54. stacey

    very cool! [email protected]

  55. donna reaume

    With five granddaughters and two more grandchildren on their way …. this is wonderful as we go thru a lot of hand soap when they visit! Thank you so much

  56. Kim

    I would love to try this! What a great money saving idea!

  57. Cheryl

    I taught myself how to trim my own hair. My last trim and my last hair cut (I took off 4 inches) were done for free by me πŸ™‚

  58. Melanie C.

    Last DIY project I made were hanging baskets affixed to a rod hanging on our bathroom wall to store towels (extra storage over the toilet wall). We have a small bathroom and no place for a closet or large cabinet, I simply love my new suspended baskets, sooooo pretty!
    I’ve been wanting to make homemade soap for a while now, it can be so expensive and this looks so easy to make, thank you so much for these recipes!
    Being a lone female in a house full of boys, soap (especially hand soap) is a must!

  59. Tracy Moran

    my daughter and I made cheese bagels…they turned out great!

  60. Mouselette

    Instead of using commercial bars of soaps, you could also try the Glycerin Soap available in pharmacies. You could either melt it, or grate it. For those with allergies, it is one recommended kind of soap

  61. Dennis

    I made a ramp…. Ok so I just laid down some plywood. But it counts right?

    [email protected]

  62. Cindy T

    My last diy was homemade hand soap as well, some dishwashing soap(bought with coupons of course)with lots of water in a foaming dispenser.

  63. Shawna Banman

    Oh dear – I have tried a few recipes for home made soap and been totally unsuccessful (mostly they are slimy or stinky) so I am looking for a good recipe. I will give these ones a shot for sure. I just started menu planning too – what a huge relief!!

  64. maggie hanley

    Im not much for do-it-yourself projects but this handsoap sounds so simple that I may give it a try.I do believe that my last attempt at diy was hair moisturizer made with miracle whip and eggs.It didnt turn out that bad.

  65. Stephanie

    Thanks for the awesome idea. Even though it only costed me $1.50 for a huge jug of jergens with coupons that’ll last me at least a year, since I make my family use bar soap to wash their hands as well, we’ll hav e to try this out when we run out.

    My question though, as I was told coconut oil hardens and can also go bad when using it for baby wipes- does it harden when using this for the liquid handsoap?

    • Sarah

      Coconut oil is very affected by temperature. It hardens when it’s very cold and melts when very hot. Just keep it room temp and you’ll be fine!

  66. Kathleen Stephen-Burnside

    I have many allergies, my skin is always breaking out in a rash. I look forward to trying this with a bar soap that I know doesn’t irritate my skin. My last DIY was a Christmas wreath

  67. Renee Leary

    Can you use something besides coconut. Oil maybe something with a different smell?

    • Sarah

      You can use Castor oil (I haven’t tried this myself). You can also add essential oils for fragrance – or vanilla extract.

  68. joy

    There is a discrepancy in the amount of grated bar soap. The ingredients says half cup, and the directions says one cup…looking forward to making it, which quantity will work best? Thanks!

    • Sarah

      Sorry about that. 1/2 cup. Thanks!!

  69. Darren

    Hmmmm. 10 pack of ivory bar soap was 3.47 in January or early February but now 4.28. Is it common for prices to rise? I suppose like any other commodity or if they were trying to clear stock

    • Cassie Howard

      The price may be different at your location.

  70. Krista

    This totally failed for me. I have wax soap. I added another 2 cups of water and warmed it again. Still, wax soap upon cooling after 5 hours. I started first thing this morning and it’s now 10 p.m. and I’m determined to rescue this, so I’m adding more water and some glycerin and hoping for the best.

    • Sarah

      Shucks! I have never used waxed soap. It certainly does depend on the type of soap you use as to the quantities. If it is still too solid just keep watering it down. May take a surprising amount of water – but it will eventually work !! I am assuming this wax soap would be similar to adding beeswax – just a tablespoon of beeswax will really harden the soap. Let me know your end result please!! Good luck!

  71. Jeannie

    Just wondering if you could make a big batch of the second recipe for hand soap. I would love to make enough to last 6 months or so. Do you know what the measurements would be?

  72. AAC

    I have to say I was really excited to try the second method listed. I have made hand soap before, but it always ends up “mucous-like” and stringy. It a big annoyance you’re just trying to wash your hands and it won’t stop “stringing” away from the dispenser. So I was hoping your second method would be the solution.

    Well…didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but I made it work. The first result, after sitting overnight, was something like pudding. Even stirred there was no way it was going to work in a dispenser. So heated and added more water. Up to 3 cups now. I repeated the stir, wait, stir method. Finally after 8 cups total water and a bit more sugar I had something that was useable. I may have been ok with 6 cups, but I got frustrated and wanted to be done with it! So now I have 6 1/2 dispensers full of soap and it’s not slimy. It doesn’t lather either, but it’s not slimy! Next time I will try another kind of soap (I’ve tried Ivory, goats milk soap, and coast–all seem to influence the results greatly) and adding more coconut oil.

  73. Heather

    Just curious, why does the picture at the top show ‘natural oatmeal’ soap but it’s nowhere within the recipe or on the page?

  74. Heather

    Found this on Pinterest and was really excited to try it. However, it’s a total flop. πŸ™ I ended up with a pot of snot. That’s the best way I can describe it. I just can’t get past the texture of it or the slimy feel to use it. I even tried to coloring it but still couldn’t get past it. Bummer.

  75. Sonia

    Easiest DIY hand soap that isn’t drying or full of chemicals. It is pure liquid castille soap mixed with distilled water. If you want it scented, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Use a foam dispenser and it’ll go a long way.

  76. Liz

    Great recipe. When I first used it, I found it quite stringy and it didn’t lather much. But when I put 1-2 tablespoons of it in with water in a foaming dispenser, it is totally fantastic. I love the way the oil makes my hands feel. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Cassie Howard

      Glad you liked it, Liz!

  77. Ines

    I made the 2nd recipe for liquid soap but it didn’t lather up….. I winded up tweeking it. But disappointed. Still no lather… Any suggestions on how to get it to lather more? I did put in 1/2 cup of shredded soap…..

  78. Alicia R

    I made this and it turned out just like the directions said; mucus like. I just put it in my old blender with a little bit of extra water and some essential oils and its now a whipped perfection! Its just like actual hand soap.Thank you for the great money saving idea! Can’t wait to try other scents with oils.

  79. Jamie nowlin

    I doubled the recipe. Turned out great. My only expense was the bar of Yardley soap which was 2.40. Totally economical and great for gift baskets

  80. Michelle

    I’m curious as to the purpose of the sugar. Anyone?

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