DIY foaming hand soap is a great, natural alternative to store-bought hand soaps that contain harsh chemicals. Plus, it’s easy to make, affordable, and eliminates waste when you use your foaming soap dispenser again and again.
Why Switch to DIY Foaming Hand Soap?
You may be wondering what’s wrong with your store bought hand soap. If you’re using a conventional brand – there’s probably a lot wrong with it. And if you buy a natural brand, you’re probably still wasting money and plastic. So, here are the reasons to DIY.
Harmful ingredients in store bought hand soaps
The first reason that we use DIY foaming hand soap in our household is because many conventional foaming soaps contain harsh chemicals and endocrine disruptors.
The FDA banned triclosan in soaps and hand sanitizers in 2016 stating “the evidence is strong that these products don’t reduce infectious illnesses” (source). That was great news, but most soaps still contain parabens, sulfates, and animal derived ingredients.
Plastic pollution from personal care products
Secondly, we switched to DIY foaming soap (in a glass foaming soap dispenser) is that the repeated buying and disposing of plastic soap bottles contribute to the environmental problem of single-use plastics.
Yes, you can technically place those plastic bottles into your recycle bin. But “only a small percentage of the recycled goods end up as another recycled good. Most of what is happening is that it just goes into foreign landfills,” explains Julianna Keeling, founder of Terravive.
But who knows if they ever actually make it to that foreign landfill. Could our household plastics fall off the barges and into the ocean? Does that explain why images of floating trash islands always include laundry detergent bottles? Those aren’t exactly things people bring to the beach.
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Constantly replacing soap bottles is expensive
Plastic rant aside, there’s a third reason to use homemade foaming hand soap: to save money.
I used to buy a natural brand of foaming hand soap at Earth Fare was $4.99 a bottle. I didn’t like that it was plastic and that we went through it pretty fast, so it got expensive.
Every few days I would add water to it to make it last longer.
That’s when I realized how effective a foaming pump was and how little “soap” it took to make a good lather.
Sometimes you’ll find a 32 oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap on sale for $12. That bottle will keep you in hand soap and DIY baby wash for a couple of years.
And here’s a bonus reason…
Foaming DIY hand soap is not only fun for kids, I think it works better. They wash their hands more thoroughly to get the bubbles off.
Sometimes plain liquid soap runs down little hands and into the drain without cleaning much surface area. So the more you can get them to scrub the foam off, the cleaner their hands will get.
DIY Foaming Hand Soap How-To
This foaming hand soap recipe takes only a few minutes to make. If you’re refilling soap bottles in a hurry, you can actually get away with guessing at 2 tablespoons of liquid Castile soap and water from the sink. Adding Vitamin E oil or olive oil keeps your skin moisturized and can help prolong the life of the soap dispenser.
Essential oils are optional, but I like them for adding a nice scent and making sure there’s no bacterial growth or germs in the bottle.
Foaming Soap Dispenser
For the container, you may already have a plastic foaming soap dispenser to reuse.
I used to refill plastic containers, but the more I learned about endocrine disruptors, the more we started phasing plastics out of our home. I found this set of two glass foaming soap dispensers (in the photo above) and they’ve worked great.
Here’s a low profile, neutral foaming soap dispenser from Etsy that I’d love to get for our guest bathroom.
If you’re really into reusing, you might like this foaming pump for mason jars from Etsy. You can find them to fit small mason jars or the wide mouth – whatever you have on hand.
DIY Foaming Hand Soap Ingredients
- Foaming soap dispenser bottle (reuse one you already have or buy a reusable glass foaming dispenser)
- 12 oz. distilled, boiled, or filtered water
- 2-3 Tablespoons liquid Castile soap – this is the foaming agent
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid oil (olive oil, fractionated coconut oil, Vitamin E oil, or almond oil) for moisture
- 6-8 drops essential oil of choice – we like Lemon or Thieves
How to Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap
- Fill foaming soap dispenser about 3/4 of the way full with distilled water
- Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of Castile soap
- Add oil and essential oils
- Replace lid
- Gently shake or swirl bottle to mix ingredients
You can experiment with the ratios of your homemade foaming hand soap to see which consistency you prefer.
Adding too much soap can clog the pump. If that happens, just pour out a bit and add more water.
When you make your own personal care products with carefully vetted ingredients, you can rest assured they won’t contain any harmful parabens or phthalates.
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Do the oils separate and/or leave oil line marks inside on the bottles after sitting undisturbed for awhile?
Amity Hook-Sopko says
It doesn’t typically separate but sometimes it leaves a little bit of film on the inside of the bottle. Every 3 or 4 times I refill, I will soak it in hot water to get rid of any buildup.
Don’t those glass bottles still have plastic straws and other plastic components in them?
I spent a great deal of time to locate something similar to this