Okay, so I can’t believe that I waited all these years to try making homemade foaming soap. It is SO easy to make and it will greatly extend the life of a bottle of handsoap.
In case you’re like me and one of the last people on earth to discover this amazingly easy way to save money, here’s how to do it:
Homemade Foaming Soap Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons liquid hand soap (Any non-creamy kind will work. I used Mrs. Meyer’s because I had some on hand. If you prefer a stronger soap-y foam or you have a larger bottle, I’d suggest putting in 1/4 cup liquid soap.)
- 1 empty foaming hand soap bottle
Squirt the liquid hand soap into the bottom of the foaming soap bottle. Carefully fill the rest of the bottle with water.
Put the lid on and slowly swish the water and soap together. Note: do not shake vigorously or you may end up with a sudsy mess.
I use VO5 shampoo, I like the smell and I’m allergic to Suave shampoo. I’ve had a lot of people comment about how my soap smells good. I also use a cheap dishwashing soap- usually Gain dishwashing soap- in my Lysol hand soap dispenser. I just pop the top and fill with the cheap liquid soap.
I use the free Suave shampoo I always seem to have an abundance of (any shampoo will work though)!
I never would have thought to make my own foaming soap! How can I NOT give this a try when it’s so easy. 🙂
Cathy @ BudgetingForChristmas says
Love this idea, can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner!
My favorite is to use the Dawn Hand Renewal that you always get for free at CVS when on sale! I find putting the water in first then adding the soap is easier!
Kim @ Eat What You've Got says
I have been doing this for some time and it works great! I also use the last little bit of our shower body wash to make the foaming hand soap by washing out the bottle and pouring that into the foaming soap dispenser.
this is genius!! i can’t believe i never thought to do this! even as cheap as i get all my body wash for, i hate leaving even a few drops on the bottle. and i have to rinse them before recycling too, so i really was washing it down the drain! thanks for the tip!!
Jennifer Morbeto says
I’ve been doing this for several years now. However, I use the soft soap refill jug (not anything antibacterial) that you can buy at Walmart, Kmart, etc., and add it to the soap foaming bottle, give it a shake and presto you have it. Works great and saves on so much money.
I recently heard on the news that a new study showed that people that use antibacterial soaps and hand cleaners are more susceptible to staph and MRSA infections. In fact, they are most susceptible in the specific areas where they have used the products the most!
I do this with body wash for my kids to use in the bath or shower too. You can use body wash or shampoo, whatever’s on hand and cheap.
I got a ton of these soap dispensers for free over the years (with my purchase of gallon-size bottles of environmentally friendly cleaner at nontoxicsoap.com) and have never consistently used them. The dispensers tend to be so lightweight, they don’t stay put like the “regular” soap dispensers I use. But having read this post, I may try it again. I have saved them all, wondering what use I might make of them. Thanks for the post!
Julie in IN says
I did this for a while a couple years ago till my little ones decided to be just like mom and fill up the soap pump with water. Yikes, all my savings down the drain.
We switched to good old bar soap; it last SO much longer than liquid soap and is much cheaper, too. At that same time, I moved away from antibacterial hand soap on a daily basis and now use it only for times of tummy illness in our home. Would you believe we have had minimal illness since making this change in our home?!?!
I think that the cost would actually be significantly cheaper to make your own foaming soap, than to buy bar soap–unless you got the bar soap completely free. Otherwise, if you use hand soap that you got for less than $1 (I typically pay no more than $0.40 or $0.50 per bottle of hand soap) and it lasted you for a year–or longer–it would definitely be much less than paying for bar soap.
I prefer pump soap to bar soap because it is much less messy (i.e. no need to scrub off soap scum!). However, I just might be weird. 🙂
Real Food Whole Life says
I’m with you Crystal. The thought of a slippery bar of soap skidding around the bathroom is enough to make me cringe:) Mine are toddlers, though, so maybe an older child would be more coordinated.
I make my hand soap for pennies, as well, so bar soap wouldn’t be a savings for me, but it’s great testimony to hear that Julie’s family has seen less illness!
Julie C says
Yes, the lack of illness has paid off in dividends incrementally.
I had a problem with my soap pumps failing to work after a while; the lack of the correct coupons to find the soap on sale was also an issue.
Lastly, with 7 children, the challenge of always finding the liquid soap on sale when I needed it was just too much of a weekly challenge.
We all only have 24/7 to work with in our lives; putting time into my children’s education and upbringing must be balanced with looking for coupons, deals and stretching the budget which I work on weekly. Many of you are in the beginning stages of bringing up your small families; if the Lord leads you to have as many children as He gives you–you will find the new challenges of having enough hours in the day to do it all with many children. I am typing while overseeing handwriting and math this morning.
It’s important to remember that when you use bar soap it should be nowhere near your toilet! Every surface in the bathroom collects bacteria and a bar of soap is no exception. Even in the shower it becomes moist and icky if your not careful. The trick is to use it all the time or not at all and to not let it set in water. Our kitties frequently jump up on our bathroom counter so bar soap just dosen’t work for us.
I refill my foaming soap container with 1/4 body wash to 3/4 water and mix as you recommend. It’s great because I don’t particularly care for body wash, but frequently get it for free or nearly free with the drugstore games.
I reuse the regular pump containers and refill with whatever free, smell good dish soap (all that free gain) I fill the bottle about 3/4 full of warm water and add a healthy squirt of soap & mix. It is pretty much the same recipe for foaming hand soap. Just in case you don’t have a foaming dispenser on hand, it does work in a regular pump.;)
That’s good to know! I was gonna ask anyone if a regular pump would work. Thank you!
I, too, have been doing this for years! Even though I can recycle plastic, and therefore my empty soap pumps could be recycled, I love the fact that I can reuse the same pump over and over again, just refilling it occasionally from the 64 oz mega bottle I bought eons ago. I don’t dilute it quite as much as Crystal did, however. And I agree with the person who mentioned the foaming soap is much less “messy” than the regular pump soap.
I wash my dishes with the same mix just about maybe a smidge more soap, not sure i just eyeball it. The dishes have always been nice and clean and we have been doing this for over 2 years… Makes soap last forever and I don’t feel so guilty buying Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena delish dish soap. I actually just bought some because the joy we had from BJ’s when we first started doing this just ran out. It lasts a LOOOOONG time.
I have been doing this for years myself. Think i may have even convinced the mother-in-law to do it too!
Just thought I would let everyone know that anti-bacterial soap is not good for a septic system. It will kill all the “good” bacteria needed in a septic system to break down the solids. 🙂
Real Food Whole Life says
Very true. All those anti bacterial and sulfate ingredients are terrible for us, our septic systems, and our wallets:)
Not only is it a huge money saver, but also a mess saver. I’m not sure about anyone else’s kids, but mine could never grasp the idea to only use a little, not an entire pump of liquid soap. Needless to say, I would end up with a gooey mess on the countertop or a sink overflowing with suds. This is perfect because 1 full pump does the job, and no sticky mess makes mom happy!
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
Somebody wrote, somewhere, sometime, can’t remember…that they wrap a rubber band around the pump so it only goes halfway, thus eliminating the messes.
Thank you! I’ve been trying to refill mine and they kept not working. I was using a creamy soap though. Now I know what the problem was!
Jen @ MyPotpourriWorld says
I’ve never thought to do this. Interesting! I’m a bit of a hand soap “snob” though. LOL I always buy the foaming kind from Bath & Body Works. I wait for the 7/$20 deal and then use my 20% off. 🙂
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
The B&BW soaps are my “simple pleasures”. I love choosing the flavors and get excited when I soap runs out so I can get more 🙂 Not the most frugal thing I could do, but it’s my little luxury in life 🙂
I feel the exact same way!! It is such a treat to smell & purchase the new season scents. Right now I am in love with the carmel apple soap!!
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
I can’t wait for the Cinnamon Clove ones during Christmas. I get the cinnamon clove wallflowers too.
Can you use those soaps with the little balls in them?
From my experience, those soaps don’t work. They gunk up the foaming mechanism beyond repair.
I’ve been doing this for several years. It was just common sense to me.. but Im certainly not young & I’ve been around several blocks. 😉
I bought the Pampered Chef ones when they first came out (my deal got me 2 for the price of one) but the first one didnt work well, in my opinion.
I use an old Dial pump, and it does stick, but I just manually pull it up. It works for me. I just use it in the kitchen and use Dawn in it.. whichever one I have at the moment it needs refilled, usually the pink Hand Renewal w Olay.
I have been adding more water when the foaming soap gets about half way used up and making the soap last longer. I had never thought to make my own foaming soap and I never thought that it could be that easy. I will never buy another foaming soap again.
I completely stay away from the antibacterial soap and all other antibacterial products. It can be dangerous. I have a challenged immune system and it is not good at all for someone with major health issues to be using antibacterial products. Washing with soap and rubbing the hands together with soap and water for long enough gets hands clean enough. Antibacterial soap can kill good bacteria too and if you have cuts or sores on your hands it is another reason to not use it. If I find the article online that had all this info I will put a link.
I would really like to read the article if you can find it! Thanks 🙂
Yes, I have read many times from different reputable sources that antibac soap products can contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria (a very serious problem), but yet the stuff is still sold everywhere.
Danielle B says
You’re right! I was just talking to my mom, an RN for 34 years, about this. Antibacterial products can actually make you more susceptible to infection if used on a regular basis, because they wipe out all bacteria on your skin- good and bad.
The Top Two Tips for Staying Healthy:
1.) Wash your hands frequently.
2.) Don’t pick your nose, bite your nails or scratch your face after touching everything at the store. 😉 Wash your hands first!
I would add that eating the right foods has made a huge difference for me. Since we started eating a mostly primal diet (limited grains) we haven’t been sick as often as we used to be.
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
One thing that has helped us stay healthy (my 3 year old has had 5 colds in her entire life, and I haven’t had a cold in almost 4 years), is taking probiotics every single day. Up to 75% of your immunity begins in your stomach, and taking a probiotic (such as acidophilus) can preserve healthy bacteria and keep you from getting sick.
I’m susceptible to fungal infections, so I have to avoid antibacterial soap. It’s really bad for my skin.
Pampered Chef has “the suds pump” for $11.50. It comes with a 2-year warranty.
here’s a link… http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=634&words=soap
My Pampered Chef bottles both broke so I can’t recommend those.
I re-use the dial pump that I got at Kmart years ago and it works fine. Unfortunately it’s ugly!!!
All our foaming soap dispensers are Method brand. Then I buy the bulk soap and dilute it in a mason jar, 5 parts water to 1 part soap. I make a big batch every so often and refill all the containers at once.
The Prudent Homemaker says
I like this idea. I always dilute our soap (it’s concentrate, anyway) but this is a great idea. I also liked the suggestion one person made above to use hot water instead; I may try that next time.
I’ve done this for almost two years and am STILL using my original dispensers! I use clear Dial Foaming Dispensers for the bathrooms and a Dawn Foaming Dispenser for the kitchen. I also make mine with Dr. Bronner’s, but I make the kitchen one with a tad more soap, as I sometimes hand-wash dishes with it, so I wanted it to be a little more potent.
I use regular tap water and haven’t noticed any build-up issues, but we had a water softener, so that might make a difference.
I’ve told so many people about this, and they seem so surprised that it works!
Coupon Cutting Mom says
Blogging minds must think alike, I just posted the exact same thing earlier today. It is a wonderful way to make soap go lots further, especially if you have kids that use as much soap as my kids do. Thanks for all the great deals/ideas you post. Have a wonderful day!
I’ve been doing this too to extend the life of my *favorite* scent from The Body Shop (Satsuma), but I put more soap in. Otherwise, it’s still foamy but doesn’t feel that soapy to clean compared to the concentration of, say, Bath & Body Works foaming soap. The method I read about was put liquid soap in, add a little hot water and gently shake the bottle to mix, then fill the rest with water. I don’t get any suds that way.
I’m using B&BW dispensers…I tried to keep reusing a Dial dispenser but it didn’t last past it’s original fill of soap. My local Ace carries an Endurance brand dispenser: http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Acrylic-Foaming-Soap-Pump/dp/B000W8AFU0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317244397&sr=8-1
I had it once but I broke it…I think it was my fault. I would have replaced it when I returned it to Ace but they were out.
Just found your site. Can’t wait to explore it more. I actually just posted about foaming hand soap last week on my blog, as well. It really does save a ton. I buy my soap concentrate in bulk and it last FOREVER!
ok if anyone can tell me where to find empty foaming pump bottles, i’ll be your best friend forever. 😉
I have a link to the ones I use over on my blog. Others seem to break after awhile, but so far these have been little troopers.
Here you go
Crystal @ Coupon Out of Debt says
Thanks! I had no idea where to get these!
Susan Hogan says
I do this but refill using distilled water. The plastic parts inside don’t seem to get build up or contaminated either. I’ve actually spray painted the bottles metallic so they match my fixtures. 😉
Here, I posted my less-successful attempt at the same project:
You can also do this with regular soap dispensers — I use about a third hand soap and two-thirds water, it takes a while for the soap to dissolve into the water.
Linda G. says
I do this, too but from reading the comments it seems as though the foaming pump stretches it even farther. I may have to get a foaming pump dispenser and try that out.
I have done this before, but the containers that I use seem to not work as well after I refill it a few times. Does anyone have experience with this?
I had that with a Dial container, it was shot one I used the foaming soap it came with. I’ve now reused B&BW dispesners a few times and they’re still going strong. There is also this one from amazon which has mixed reviews. The spout doesn’t stick out that far so often you have to pick it up and dispense with one hand into the other, compared to a dispenser you’d get when buying foaming soap at B&BW.
If the foaming mechanism is getting gunked up I let it soak in a sink of HOT water and rinse it good, or throw it in the dishwasher. But sometimes the foaming mechanism wears out and you have to invest in a new foaming soap container. Don’t use too much soap. I’ve had to explain this to my mom countless times.
We do this with our baby wash/shampoo— we got a a bottle of foaming baby wash/shampoo as a gift when our son was born, and when I saw this DIY idea online for hand soap, I figured why not try it for baby wash? And it works GREAT! So one big bottle of baby wash gets stretched out over months and months… My son is now almost two, and he loves getting to “help” bath himself because he loves rubbing the foam all over himself!
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
Great idea! My daughter has sensitive skin, and we were buying the expensive Johnson’s Natural Care Foaming Soap for a while. This would be a good thing to try!
Linda G. says
I wish I thought to do that with my son’s baby wash because that stuff is a little pricey and his skin doesn’t get so dry with that. Now I need the foaming soap dispenser to do this with, thanks for this tip!
Brandi @ Savvy Student Shopper says
That’s a great idea!
Debbie Olson says
For some reason I can never share on facebook from your page. It wont let me click on the facebook thing. Nothing happens. Boooooo
I like to share your stuff sometimes.
I was trying to click the “share” facebook thingy on the top right as well, but it turns out that you have to go to the bottom of the article that you want to post, and click on the facebook icon down there( its next to the “email” & “printer” symbols/icons.
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
Thank you for changing my life. In a good way. AGAIN! 🙂
Seriously, it’s THAT easy? That would be perfect in my kids’ bathroom, as they can go through a LOT of soap if I’m not in there to supervise.
Thank you for sharing this! 🙂
Sarah Robbins says
I’ve been doing that for awhile. It’s crazy how much longer it makes it last! If you get the free soaps or inexpensive soaps during specials at Bath and Body, you can make them last forever!!
Oh. my. chickens. I can’t believe it’s that easy, lol! And now I feel like a total fool for paying for foaming soap! 😀 Also, I bought the wrong kind of re-fill for my foaming soap and put regular soap in them….to think how much I wasted doing that. So funny/not funny 😉 Thanks for this post. Just made my day 😀
No fair, I was getting ready to post this same project today, lol. But yours turned out much better than mine because you actually followed directions.
I do the same with the Dr. Bronner’s. I highly recommend this as it is an all natural soap and so much less drying to your skin than other harsh chemical laden soaps.
Where can you buy that at?
target or a health food store..or amazon too.
Seems like an awfully diluted amount of soap that you will actually be cleaning your hands with… Or is the amount normally used overkill?
I love the idea, but like Kim, I wondering about the dilution. With two lil ones, seems like every bug makes it way home over the winter. I have a chronic auto-immune condition and just can’t afford to catch all of em.
Does anyone know if this would work with say anti-bac dish soap and a dilution that would still leave enough antibac properties in it? I know the biggest part is to have them wash wash wash but I can’t be the soap police 24/7 on my down days.
Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps don’t work any better than regular soap and water. In fact, most of them use triclosan, which is not a friendly chemical. So my guess with this type of soap is as long as you wash your hands thoroughly (rubbing and rinsing for long enough), you shouldn’t have any problems. If anyone needs a refresher on hand washing (and it seems like most people do when I’m in public restrooms), check out the CDC’s recommendations: http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/.
Studies have shown that washing hands properly with water alone gets rid of 98 to 99% of germs. The soap just provides a little boost. Anti-bac soap is not necessary and actually creating resistant ‘super germs’.
Heather T. says
I wish everyone knew this! I do not like anti bac anything, sorry if this grosses others out but remember it is killing the germs we need on our bodies to fend off the really bad ones, and they are starting to link these Super germs to this.
I avoid antibacterial soaps as much as possible. They’re really bad for my skin.
I too think it’s diluted too much, at least for the soap feel on my hands. So, I put in twice as much, usually about 1/4cup, at least. It still stretches the soap quite far and I feel like I have a more effective soap. Any less and I feel like I’m washing with water.
I was wondering the same thing.
Emily Kay says
Remember that studies have shown that just scrubbing your hands under plain running water gets rid of something like 98 to 99% of germs. The soap just gives the water a bit of a boost. 🙂
It is the friction of rubbing your hands together that really get the germs off. And soap is just to make it slippery enough to get good friction.
The diluted soap is especially good for sensitive or dry hands. I use body wash and dish washing liquid in my pump bottles also. Whatever I have on hand!
Emily @ Our Frugal Happy Life says
Yep! I make homemade foaming soap with Dr. Bronner’s castille soap. It works beautifully! I use the “baby mild” kind and it makes such a difference with my dry skin/eczema! 🙂
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Coupons says
I have that soap for my body wash – waiting for my family to use up the method foaming hand soap I bought so I can use the pumper and extend the life of that too! I agree – it’s GREAT for eczema!
Thank you for that recommendation. My son has excema and his skin has been awful lately! I have been looking for a soap that would help.
Katey @Having Fun at Home says
We actually use a creamy soap, and have found it to work too. I bought a 64 oz bottle, and it’s still going strong several YEARS later!
What kind/brand of creamy soap do you use?
Dollars and Cents in Kent says
This is brilliant! I added it to a DIY section of my blog that I had been mulling over for a while, with a link back to this blog, of course!
I use warm water and it helps dissolve the soap very well.
i did this with the dawn pump for awhile and then came into couponing and didn’t need it anymore LOL…well i now very busy with my little ones and have not been stockpileing like i used to, and i am now one bottle away from my last…and hand soap…i don’t think i ever thought about doing it for this! DUH! I will be doing this cause it is great for my 3 year old daughter who is all “i am doing this myself!” these days!
LOL that’s funny, I have been doing this for a while. Def extends the life out of soap!! 😀
Siobhan @MoneyDearest says
I think it works a little better if you put a little water into the foaming bottle first, then the soap and then more water.
But yeah! This is the best- I do it with a Dawn Foaming dish cleaner bottle. And keep refilling it with the small bottles of Dawn soap- Haven’t bought dish soap in years!