Monday, April 16, 2012

Making Liquid Soap from Bar Soap

I love my homemade bar soap, but I've discovered that my 4 year old boy thinks of it more as a toy than as a cleaning agent - he loves to get it wet and play with it when I'm not looking. This means we go through soap a lot faster than absolutely necessary, which kind of defeats the purpose of saving money by making my own soap!

So yesterday I finally went online and looked for ways to make liquid soap, thinking that if anything it will at least take him longer to go through it! I found a few different ideas, and took what I liked out of each and put them together into my own simple method. Here's what I did:

First, shred a bar of soap (I used my tallow soap, which I honestly wasn't impressed with; even after it was fully saponified, it still smelled like beef! My dog really liked me, but my husband wasn't as impressed . . .)

(Thankfully my boy liked being part of the solution as much as he enjoyed being the problem!)
Then take one cup of this shredded soap (packed down a little bit so you get a full cup) and add it to 10 cups of hot water (I boil the water, then turn off the heat just before I add the soap, so it's very hot but not actually boiling anymore). Stir it well, so that the soap is fully dissolved. It will be really runny at this point, but don't worry! Cover loosely and let it sit overnight, or until it's completely cooled. When you come back in the morning, stir it up well one more time. At this point, it should be thick, like purchased liquid hand soap, and you can now put it into your empty hand soap pump and use it.

If it's not thick, you can try mixing 3 tablespoons of salt into 8 oz of water, and then stirring this into your runny soap - a little bit at a time! - until it thickens to the consistency you like. I haven't tried this myself, since my batch worked just fine without it, but apparently it works really quickly so you can see if it's working right away.

An added bonus to making liquid soap is that you can add scents or oils very easily - just stir them in just before you pour your soap into your pump. I added tea tree oil to mine, thinking it would cover the beefy smell, and it seemed to work just fine.

(By the way, you don't have to have any special separate equipment like you did for making the original soap - after all, you're working with finished soap. Your pots and spoons won't be touching any dangerous chemicals, just good, clean soap!)


In case you were wondering, here's the cost breakdown for this soap:

1 bar of my tallow soap cost 64 cents, and I used half of it - so 32 cents for the whole batch;

the whole batch filled up four 7.5oz soap pumps, plus a 48oz spaghetti sauce jar, for a total of 78 ounces, or enough for more than 10 soap pumps.

Dividing the batch cost - 32 cents - by the number of pumps you can fill - 10 - you get a total of a whopping 3.2 cents per container, or .4 cents per oz (that's four tenths of a cent).

A quick check on amazon found that the big soap refill bottles cost anywhere from 5 to 40 cents per ounce, so you can see that this idea could save quite a bit of money!

This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop.


  1. I just did this last week, too! :)

  2. I'm going to do this tonight Ruth--awesome! Knew I "Pinned" this for a reason! ;-)

    -Cassie B.

  3. I was excited to try your "recipe" and got the whole family involved. However, our liquid soap turned into a slimey, snot-like consistency. (sorry for the gross description) Figured that maybe in the pump it would work okay, but still get the strings of soap that land all over the counter and sink making a mess! Any suggestions? (btw--we used a bunch of the free small hotel bars of soap, compliments of my mother who used to travel and hoard them!)

  4. Hi Michelle! Apparently that's very common - did you try adding the salt? Not sure if that would work, but I've read that that can help. Maybe try one of the foaming soap dispensers?

  5. Thanks for the response. I did not try the salt, but may with the next batch. Either way, we'll still use the soap. Great savings.
    I came to your site to read about your chicken tractor (just built ours this weekend), and now have bookmarked to return for several recipes. Thanks for all the great information.