I’m not the craftiest person, so DIYing for fun is kind of a foreign concept to me. I like things I know I can’t mess up so there’s no chance of wasting my time or money. Yeah, I’m one of those serious perfectionist types who gets frustrated at her lack of skills during a paint night and who would never attempt to do most of the things she saves on Pinterest.
That’s why the only DIYs I do are things that have a practical purpose and are so easy that they can be completed in a matter of minutes.
I started making this natural hand soap several years ago when I was a broke grad student trying to save money and reduce my environmental impact. I’d just read the Ecoholic series by Adria Vasil and was waging war on all the hidden toxins in my home.
My friends and family loved the liquid soap so much I started gifting it and even tried my hand at a (failed) homemade natural products business. Maybe one day I’ll get back into making bulk orders of this recipe, but for now, all I really want to do is share it with you so you can save some money and reduce your family’s exposure to nasty toxins found in most household soaps.
So here you go! I’m going to share the base recipe and then let you in on the some secrets I’ve learned over the years for how to make this hand soap even better.
These base ingredient measurements are meant for a standard-size hand soap dispenser.
- 2 tablespoons of liquid Castille soap
- 4 – 6 drops of essential oil
- 3/4 cup water
You can use any brand of liquid Castille soap, but I’m a fan on Dr. Bronner’s. Previously I’d use the unscented kind, but have recently fallen in love with the citrus. It adds a nice scent and cuts down on how many drops of essential oil are needed.
- refillable hand soap dispenser with pump
- measuring cup
- small whisk or fork
- label + pen
How to Make It
Time needed: 5 minutes.
- in your measuring cup, gently whisk together Castille soap and essential oil of your choice
- add water
- whisk together
- pour through funnel into your dispenser and secure with pump lid
- gently shake
- add your label
- you can add 2 tablespoons of almond, apricot, or olive oil for a moisturizing effect that’s great in winter months
What essential oil should you use?
I chose grapefruit essential oil this time around because I wanted to give the scented Castille soap an extra kick of citrusy aromatherapy.
Grapefruit essential oil is great for reducing stress and enhancing moods — two things I definitely need during the winter months.
That being said, there are endless options for essential oils you can add into your homemade soap. You can choose an essential oil to pair with the seasons or stick with one you love all year round.
Here are a few of my personal favourites:
Lemon is a great choice for any time of year. It has that characteristic clean scent and has naturally antibacterial properties. I like this option for the kitchen because it helps neutralize odours from chopping onions and garlic. Plus, lemon acts a mood booster, so you can’t go wrong. Just note, lemon can be a bit drying on certain skin types, so I definitely recommend adding a moisturizing oil to the mix as well.
Peppermint is perfect during the holiday seasons with a dash of cinnamon to spice things up. It can also be used during hotter seasons because it’s got a natural skin cooling effect and can repel mosquitos. Added bonus: It’s can help reduce itchiness and calm symptoms of allergic rashes.
Lavender has a characteristic calming effect and has naturally antibacterial properties. It’s perfect for those who love floral scented soaps and want that spa-like feeling after washing their hands. Just note, some people find lavender irritating, especially if they have really dry skin. It’s best to add some moisturizing oil to this mix.
What can I expect from this hand soap?
Because this hand soap is toxin-free, it doesn’t contain the foaming agents cocamide DEA, MEA, or TEA. If you’re accustom to bubbly hand soap, it’ll be a small adjustment with major payoffs. Just know this soap will come out of the dispenser quickly and still in liquid form. You don’t need much to get a good wash, and it will lightly lather as you rub your hands together.
If you can’t forgo the foam, I have a simple solution: Purchase or upcycle a foaming hand dispenser. This exact same recipe will foam like those fancy spa soaps if you simply put it in one of these dispensers. Not sure what I’m talking about? Here is a good option from Amazon.
Making this hand soap can save you money, reduce your consumption of plastic, and decrease your exposure to harmful toxins. Plus, doing it yourself is super satisfying, especially if you’re like me and lack natural talent for DIY projects.