DIY All-Natural Liquid Hand Soap


Have you ever walked through Bath and Body Works just to smell the fragrances? …No need to be embarrassed – I’ve done it too! There’s something alluring about the strong scents and comforting thoughts of cleanliness.

I used to splurge on delicious hand soaps. I particularly enjoy the foaming mixtures that lather up nicely. Anything lavender or citrus is perfect for the kitchen. Honey or vanilla is nice for the bathroom. I’d buy what I liked and (keep extras in my supply closet for a thoughtful gift).

I’d also find the best sales! Target would run an awesome campaign for $5 off, or I’d happen to snag a great brand at TJ Maxx, and sometimes even at the Dollar Store. Finding something on sale that you already planned to buy just makes my day!

But 2 years ago we began to transition our household to more natural products. I started with food, and then ventured into cleaning, and last year I began replacing our beauty products, including my beloved hand soaps. I assumed that DIY hand soaps wouldn’t be very pleasant. I thought that would be harsh and leave a gross film (you know, like the hotel bar soaps).

But I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy my DIY all-natural liquid hand soaps until I started making them for myself! And I also had no idea how much money I would save. And it’s pretty neat that I can personalize the scents to my liking.

The Ingredients

When I finally ran out of my supply of hand soaps, it was time to refill my bottles with an all-natural version. Thankfully, I had all of the necessary ingredients in my cabinets (and I hope you do too!)

Witch Hazel (or other emulsifier). I have grown to love witch hazel, and use it in a variety of recipes (like my DIY Face Toner and DIY Face Wash). The purpose of witch hazel in this DIY all-natural liquid hand soap recipe is to be an emulsifier. That’s just a fancy word which means it mixes with the essential oils, so that the oils can blend into the water. (Remember science class: water and oil don’t mix).

Other emulsifiers include aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar, rubbing alcohol, castile soap, honey, corn starch, or baking soda.

Note: you can omit witch hazel from this recipe, but I find it helps keep my skin soft and helps prevent dry skin in the winter!

Castile Soap. As you can imagine, a hand soap recipe should include soap. Castile soap is an all-natural, concentrated soap. I bought a bottle on sale over a year ago and have only depleted a few inches…it lasts a long time so it is worth the investment!

Essential Oils. Pick your scent! I always add an oil that is antibacterial or a disinfectant since this is used to wash away the germs from the day. My top picks include tea tree, oregano, lavender, orange and lemon, although there are many options! See the notes below my DIY all-natural liquid hand soap recipe for the best scent combinations.

Water. Water dilutes the potent ingredients and also helps your soap last longer. I add more water when I used a foaming soap pump since the pump works magic.

The Cost

You guys, I’m not wealthy. I’m also not poor – I’m just a middle class girl. But the cost effectiveness of this astounds me! Check out this price breakdown:

Witch hazel – 12 oz for $6.59 (at Target)

Castile soap – 32 oz for $15.99 (I prefer the unscented one)

Essential oil – The price varies, but here’s a sample pack of 6 scents in 5mL bottles for $24.95

Water – Free (I know you pay a water bill, but you hardly make a dent in your bill when using a few ounces of water.)

Grand total for all ingredients: $47.53

Let’s break it down to estimate the cost of a single bottle of DIY all-natural liquid hand soap:

Witch hazel – $0.55 for 1 oz (a generous amount)

Castile soap – $0.03 for 1 oz

Essential oil – $0.21 for using 1mL (a generous estimation)

Water – free

Total for one 12oz bottle of DIY all-natural liquid hand soap: $0.79

Wow – can you even purchase an all-natural or organic brand of hand soap for less than $1 per bottle? I don’t think so!

You may be thinking, “Yeah, but won’t this take a bunch of time to make?” The answer is nope! Now that I’ve made this a few times, I don’t even properly measure. I just eyeball the amounts and swish everything around in the soap bottle (no dirty dishes required!).

The Recipe and The Possibilities

DIY All-Natural Liquid Hand Soap

Fills a 12oz bottle. Use any sort of hand soap bottle (this will even work for a foaming pump!)

1 Tbsp witch hazel (or a similar emulsifier)

1 Tbsp castile soap

15-25 drops of essential oils


  1. Add the witch hazel (or emulsifier) and the essential oils into the bottle. Swirl or shake to combine.
  2. Next add the water, leaving enough room on top for the castile soap.
  3. Finally add in the castile soap. (If you add the soap before the water, you will end up with extra bubbles in your bottle!)

My favorite essential oil combinations:

  • Earthy orange: 10 drops of tea tree and 15 drops of orange
  • Lavender-Lemon: 15 drops of lavender and 10 drops of lemon
  • Earthy lemon: 5 drops of oregano and 15 drops of lemon
  • Citrus: 10 drops of orange and 10 drops of lemon
  • Lavender: 20 drops of lavender

What are your favorite essential oil combinations? Do you have a favorite tried-and-true DIY liquid hand soap recipe? I’m always looking for new combinations and recipes, so please share your ideas in the comments below!

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