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Foaming hand soap recipe with essential oils - simple to make, non-toxic and thrifty! #HandSoap #Cleaning #EssentialOils #DIY
Foaming Hand Soap Recipe
DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

Have you ever thought about how much money you spend on foaming hand soap?

Little did I know for the longest time, I was wasting a TON of money and exposing myself to a lot of unnecessary ingredients in those store brands, many of which were not good for my skin (or my family’s, for that matter).

And, little did I know (until now) how stupid-easy it is to make your own foaming hand soap!

How to make foaming hand soap with 3 ingredients, for pennies! #DIY #HandSoap #Recipe #SaveMoney #Frugal

Why DIY foaming hand soap?

If I’m going to make something, it’s usually because it’s:  (a) cheaper OR (b) safer/more beneficial to my family.

Since I’ve been working on cutting our household expenses and also switching to more natural products over the last few years, hand soap was definitely a DIY project I was interested in tackling.

It’s something we go through very quickly with 6 people in our house (changing diapers and all that jazz).  Lots of hand washing going on here.

• Related Content:  A Practical Mom’s Guide to a {Naturally} Healthier Home This year

What I learned about store brand hand soaps

A little background:  I used to get “deals” on Bath and Body Works hand soap and loved the smell, but even with coupons it wasn’t all that cheap.

As I started to become more of a label-reader and ingredient-investigator in recent years, I started to suspect that my chronic dry, chapped, itchy hands had something to do with those nice-smelling soaps I was buying.

Sure enough, my natural foaming hand soap recipe happens to be both cheaper and more beneficial for my skin.

This actually led to a lot of reading up on what’s in my household cleaning products.

I previously wrote about some inconvenient laundry facts and why I decided that fragrances (the kind made in a lab) aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Synthetic fragrances are actually a trigger of headaches for me and many others.

In addition, triclosan, the “germ-killing” ingredient in anti-bacterial soaps, can lead to bacterial resistance (ever heard of super-bugs?).

And guess what:  we really don’t need antibacterial soaps to wash our hands.

What really gets hands clean:  soap, water, and lots of scrubbing.  It’s basic science.  We learned this in 9th grade Biology and this is still true today.

What has changed is the aggressive marketing tactics of cleaning product companies.  And we’re all subject to this influence!

Trial and Error

After my initial research, I first switched to the Method brand of foaming hand soap from Target.  I noticed a decent improvement in my dry hands and I liked that they contained light fragrances (not as overpowering to my sensitive nose as other brands).

I assumed this was a “safer” option than others.  (Side note, I still use the Method Dish Soap as I’ve not found a better/cheaper DIY recipe as of yet).

But upon further reading, I’ve basically come to the conclusion that although some of these “green” brands (like Method, Mrs. Meyers) may be safer than others, they do contain lots of extra ingredients to extend the shelf life and make them more visually appealing, which adds to the cost and didn’t completely fix my dry, cracked hands.

I wanted my 60-year-old hands to match my 30-something-year-old body.  Is that too much to ask?  🙂


Finally, I found Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.   If you’ve always wondered what it is exactly, it’s a vegetable-based soap – about as natural as it gets- which contains 5 types of organic oils.

It’s “pure” soap, and it’s very effective and gentle on skin.

It makes an excellent, moisturizing hand soap when diluted and the simple recipe I’m sharing below costs me around $0.60 per bottle (or less when I find a good price on castile soap and buy in bulk).

My hands have have improved dramatically since I started using this DIY natural foaming soap recipe in our home.

**printable recipe card included at the bottom of this post

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe and Instructions

Ingredients You Will Need:

> Foaming hand soap dispenser

> Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, unscented (3 Tablespoons per 10-ounce container).

> Distilled Water (or boil tap water for at least 10 minutes, let cool before using).

Essential oils , optional

Here’s how to make it:

Step One:

You’ll need to either purchase some foaming hand pump dispensers like the one shown below, or recycle some of your old foaming soap containers.  Just be sure to scrub it clean before re-using.

The secret to the foam is in the container!

Check current price on Amazon
I’ve been re-using my old Method brand containers for about a year now and they still work great.

I do know that essential oils can degrade plastic over time, so I’m going to upgrade mine to glass bottles soon.

Plus, glass is considered “safer” — no chemicals potentially leaching from the plastic into your soap.

Step Two:

Fill your empty, clean container with 3 tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap.  I prefer the unscented so that I can add my own essential oils.

Generally, the larger sizes are a better value.  Amazon has the best prices I’ve found over the last year.

This 32-oz bottle will make approximately 22 containers of hand soap!!

Check current price on Amazon

Step Three:

Next, fill with distilled or boiled water, leaving about the top fourth of the container empty as you’ll need some air in order for it to pump.

Lastly, add about 15 drops of essential oils of your choice (optional).  I like tea tree, peppermint, orange, and lemon.

Experiment with your own favorite oils!  I actually get excited when I run out of soap at my house so I can mix up a new scent.  It’s the little things.  😉


Shake after adding the oils and you’ll need to do this every now and then because the essential oils will settle on the top.

I usually shake it every time I use it because I know my family won’t think of it!

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Instructions

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Instructions


  • 3 Tablespoons Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap
  • Distilled or Boiled Tap Water
  • 15 drops Essential Oils, Optional


    1. Add 3 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronner's soap to a clean foaming soap dispenser (approx 10-oz container).

    2. Add distilled or boiled tap water (cooled) to the container, leaving the top fourth of the container empty.

    3. Add 15 drops of your favorite essential oils; shake container before each use.


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8 Comments on DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

    • It’s so easy isn’t it?! And I honestly can’t believe the difference it’s made with my dry skin! I always wondered how I could drink so much water and still have dry hands. It’s so nice to not worry about that anymore. 🙂

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with the recommendation to use Dr. Bronner’s soap in a foaming dispenser. After 35 years of hands that were dry, cracked, peeling I was thrilled to discover Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. The entire family uses this special soap. I seldom need more than one pump of foam to throughly clean my hand. Dr. Bronner’s soap is also environmentally safe.

    • Hi Kristin – tap water can grow bacteria fairly quickly so unless you’re going to use all your hand soap mixture within a week or so, I’d use distilled or boiled water to cut down on contaminants.

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