DIY foaming hand soap is a great, natural alternative to store-bought hand soaps that are processed with harsh chemicals. Plus, it’s easy to make, affordable, and eliminates waste when you use your foaming soap dispenser again and again.
Why Use Homemade Foaming Hand Soap?
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.
The other reason 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 recycle those plastic bottles, but if you live in a city without its own recycling center, your plastics are probably shipped to China for recycling.
But who knows if they ever actually make it there. 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.
Plastic rant aside, there’s a third reason to use homemade foaming hand soap: to save money.
Natural Hand Soap
The natural hand soap I used to buy at Earth Fare was $4.99 a bottle. I would add water to it every few days to make it last longer. That’s when I realized how effective that foaming pump was and how little “soap” it took to still make a good lather.
DIY Hand Soap
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 cleaner their hands will get.
DIY Foaming Hand Soap How-To
This mixture 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 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 quickly we phased plastics out of our home. I found this set of two glass foaming soap dispensers (in the photo above) and they’ve worked great.
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
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid oil (olive oil, Vitamin E oil, or almond oil)
- 6-8 drops essential oil of choice – we like Lemon or Thieves
DIY Foaming Hand Soap Directions
- Fill foaming soap dispenser with a little more than 3/4 with water
- Pour in liquid Castile soap
- Add oil and essential oils
- Gently swirl bottle to mix ingredients
You can experiment with the ratios of your DIY 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.
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