So this method has been ALL over the internet, you have probably seen it already, and I’m not quite sure where to cite as the original source. However, I have been experimenting with it and have had great results, so I thought I’d pass it along.

The idea is that you start with one (1!) bar of soap, of almost any variety, add water and a bit of liquid glycerin and end up with lots and lots of liquid hand soap. I should have measured ounces – next time I make a batch I will, but I can comfortably say I will get at least 10, if not more, refills for my liquid soap containers from the batch using 1 bar.

You can start with almost any bar soap, although several people have posted online that extra moisturing varieties don’t work as well. I have found that castile bar soaps, regular Ivory/dove/etc, and these Yardley bar soaps pictured above, work really well. I paid no more than a dollar for each bar when on sale at drugstores like Walgreens.

The only extra ingredient you need is liquid vegetable glycerin, which I found in the beauty aisle at Sunflower Market. Lots of groceries carry it, and you can get it very cheaply online too. It cost not quite 2.00 for the bottle you see in the center of the picture above, and I used a whopping 2 tablespoons for the entire batch of soap.  I will estimate that my total for 10+ refills of hand soap is as follows:

$1.00 for soap +$0.40 for glycerin+ water (negligible) = 1.40/10 refills = $0.14 per refill of soap. 

Is my math right? :) Not bad huh? Definitely beats even 1.00 per bottle for the cheap stuff at the store.

Also, it’s about 5 minutes hands on time, the rest is just letting it sit. So fast, with great results!

Here’s the process, and here’s the source for just one of the places I read about it online:


Liquid hand soap from one bar:

1. Grate the bar of soap using a cheese grater (don’t worry, just soap – cleans up very easily!!)

2. Bring one gallon (16 cups) of water just to a boil in a large soup pot.

3. When water just starts boiling, turn off the heat and dump in soap shavings and 2 Tb glycerin. Stir until soap is melted. Let sit until soap congeals (at least 12 hrs, probably more).

That’s it! :) Ok so at this point it will look like a big pot of soapy bath water. Nothing remarkable, just soapy water. But WAIT FOR IT. The directions I read said to wait 12 hours, so I did this before going to bed, and let the pot sit all night. In the morning I was disappointed to see I still had just a pot of soapy water. I figured I’d used the wrong kind of soap or something. I left it alone while I took the kids to run errands for a few hours. When I got home, the soap in the pot had gelled and turned into the texture/consistency of liquid hand soap that you would expect – thick and  . . . slimy? : ) I poured it into my soap dispensers and the rest into a big washed out laundry detergent bottle I’d saved (handy pour spout on those!) and it works great! Just like the consistency of softsoap brands, etc. I thought the texture was kind of gloppy pouring into bottles, but in the pumps it works great and dispenses and lathers, etc just like the store bought kind.

So give it a try! You can always add a few drops of essential oils for scent too if your bar isn’t scented. You can also add a Tb of shea butter or coconut oil when you add the glycerin to make it even more moisturizing (glycerin is already a skin moisturizer).

Also, I read about this method in several places online, and some people had mixed results. Some people felt like their soap didn’t gel fast enough and kept adding more glycerin or more bars of shaved soap. I could be wrong but I kind of wonder if they were just impatient – like I said, for OVER the recommended 12 hours mine looked like nothing had happened, just a big pot of soapy water. But then all of a sudden at some point it gelled into the handsoap consistency. So be patient. Also soap bars with lots of additives (like the extra moisturizing kinds) are trickier to work with. However castile bar soap isn’t drying and is very inexpensive so try one of those if you’re worried about dryness. I find the soap I’ve made with both types of bars above has not been at all too drying.



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

One Response to a gallon of liquid hand soap from one bar DIY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.