It’s great to have liquid hand soap in handy dispensers close to various taps in your house. It can encourage children (and some adults) to practise good hygiene by washing their hands more often. But, the commercial stuff can be very expensive. Especially, if you have young children who often seem to be fascinated by liquid soap dispenser pumps.
But, making your own liquid hand soap is amazingly simple and extremely cheap.
I used pure Sunlight Soap which should be available in any major supermarket here in Australia. However, you could use any kind of soap. Preferably go for one that is mild and as chemical free as possible.
If you want fragrance, just add a few drops of essential oil. I used lavender oil in this mix. However, adding fragrance is optional and the soap will work fine without it.
You could also add colouring to your soap, although I didn’t bother for this batch.
I bought three ceramic pump soap dispensers for $3 each at K-Mart. But, if you have some empty commercial soap dispensers laying around, you could certainly use them.
I used a little under two litres of water for my mix. My first batch was way too thick, so I added a lot more water. Exactly how much water you need will depend on the type and quantity of soap you use. You may need to experiment when making your first batch. Be sure to note how much water you ended up using to make it easier to prepare future batches.
Note: When the mixture is still hot, it will be very watery and you may think that it will never be thick enough for liquid soap. However, when it cools, the mixture thickens a lot more than you might anticipate.
Anyway, on to the recipe:
1 bar of pure soap of your choice
up to 2 litres of water
large saucepan, wooden spoon, jug, grater, mixing bowl, funnel, several pump soap dispensers, jar for storing excess soap
- Grate the bar of soap into the bowl
- Bring one litre of the water to the boil. Remove from heat and add grated soap.
- Return to heat and stir until all of the soap is fully dissolved. At this point the liquid will still be very thin and watery.
- If you wish to add fragrance or colour you can do so now. Add and stir well.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool until the soap begins to thicken.
- You may find that the soap has become too thick. If so, return to heat and add more water. Conversely, if the mix is too thin, simply add some more soap. Allow to cool again
- When you have your mix just right, reheat to thin the mixture a little and decant into your soap dispensers using a funnel.
- Any soap left over can be stored in a jar for future use.
- After a few hours the soap should have thickened up and be ready to use. If you have a fairly thick mix, it may take some vigorous pumping to get it to start flowing for the first time. But, once started, it should pump easily from then on.
This is admittedly a pretty rough estimate. The soap bar I used cost around 80 cents (bought in a 500 gram box of bars). Add a few cents to cover the cost of heating the mixture and a few cents for essential oil. So, I reckon that $1.20 would get you around 1.5 litres of soap. Around 30 cents per dispenser fill.