The easiest way to make liquid soap is by starting with a bar of soap. Here’s how to do it, including creating three consistencies of natural liquid soap
Have you ever wanted to try making your own natural shower gel, liquid hand soap, or whipped soap at home? The most common ways to make them often involve a complex process that the average person might shy away from. It takes a long time, involves the use of lye (potassium hydroxide), and requires diligence and testing. It can also be expensive. Fortunately, there’s an easier and cheaper way to make liquid soap. All you need is a bar of soap, or soap scraps, and distilled water.
This method of making liquid soap should only be used within the home and not sold. Though a preservative is always a good idea with skincare products that contain water, this liquid soap is fine to use without one, permitting that it’s used within a month.
Liquid soap ingredients
As a producer of handmade soaps, I always have pieces and off-cuts that can’t be sold. Some of it I re-batch into bars and we use it ourselves (it’s customers who get to use the pretty soaps) but there’s always some to spare. Using these pieces to make liquid soap for the home makes sense. For yourself, you could begin with a full bar of soap, be it handmade, natural, or even bars purchased from the shop. Some of these are detergent-based but they’ll work as well as real soap.
The other main ingredient you’ll need is distilled water. Tap water varies from region to region and hard water or water filled with chlorine or other agents can introduce impurities. If you can’t find distilled water, you could also use bottled water but probably avoid mineral water.
How to Make Liquid Soap from Handmade Bar Soap
- 120g (4.2 oz) bar soap or soap scraps
- Distilled water
- Grate or cut your soap into small pieces and place into a saucepan. Pour the water into the pan and bring it to a simmer.
- Stir the soap and water until the soap has dissolved then take the pan off the hob and set it someplace to cool down. It will look like soapy water at this point.
- Let the pan sit for 12-24 hours before adding any optional ingredients. Remember that for soap you should be cautious with overindulging with essential oils and that their quantity should be around 3% of your entire recipe. If your starting soap had fragrance in it already you should reconsider adding any at all. Whether you’ve added optional ingredients or not make sure to stir or even blend the soapy mixture well.
- Pour into bottles (if applicable) and you can use it immediately. If you have sudsy bubbles in your mixture don’t worry, they’ll, for the most part, settle back into the soap.
Notes on preservatives: Any product that contains water can be an environment for bacteria to thrive in. To reduce bacterial contamination use clean pots and utensils and make sure to store the soap in containers that won’t come into contact with grimy hands or surfaces. Pump and squeeze bottles are best and if you store your liquid soap this way then the soap should last a month without preservatives.
Whipped Soap / Shaving Soap
- You’ll need 360ml distilled water (equivalent to 1.5 cups or 12.7 fluid oz)
Though not a true whipped soap, the result of using the ratio of 1:3 (soap to water) results in a light and creamy soap that creates a rich lather that you can use as a shaving soap. You will find that after you let this soap sit for the required 12-24 hours that the result will look and almost feel solidified at the bottom of the pan. Don’t panic! Just whisk it and after a few seconds, it will look just like whipped soap
Make liquid Shower Gel
- You’ll need 1080ml of distilled water (equivalent to 4.5 cups or 38 fluid oz)
Because natural handmade soap doesn’t use artificial foaming agents (SLS/SLES) the lather with this handmade shower gel is fine. Similar to castile soap later if you’ve used that before. The consistency of the ratio of 1:9 (soap to water) makes for a thickened liquid soap that will suit being stored in a squeezy bottle.
Make Liquid Hand Soap
- You’ll need 1440ml of distilled water (equivalent to 6 cups or 50 fluid oz)
Stretch that a single bar of soap into about 1.5 liters/quarts of liquid hand soap with this water amount. Fill up your pump bottle with what you need and then store the rest in a clean jar with a lid. Topping up should be a breeze and you’ll feel great at saving so much money on natural liquid hand soap.
One thing that you should be aware of when using this 1:12 ratio (soap to water) recipe is that it needs a bit more time to reach its final thickness than the other two recipes. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater if your soap mixture looks too thin after 24 hours. Give it a bit more time and it will thicken up nicely.
Make Real Liquid Soap
You can easily create liquid soap from bar soap but there are drawbacks. The soap will always be cloudy, the lather unpredictable, and some people aren’t keen on the texture. If you’re interested in learning how to make real liquid soap from scratch, head over here to learn more. Real liquid soap has fluffier lather and is a lot more like what you’re used to. It’s an advanced soap making recipe but if you’ve made soap before, I’m confident you could master this too.