I really like foaming hand soap. I love how it goes on, and how easy it is to wash off. I also love how it’s really frugal – one pump is really all you need to wash your hands. What I don’t love are the pungent fragrances, even on “natural” products, or the price.

So with some DIY we can do better, right? Yes!

Homemade foaming hand soap.

What you need to make your own foaming hand soap:

A dispenser
You can use an old dispenser (e.g. Method) or buy a nice glass set.
Distilled water
Buy a gallon at your local grocery store for a dollar.
Soap
Some other online recipes recommend Dr. Bronners Castille soap, which I mostly like except for the soapy "aftertaste" that seems to linger on your hands. At $12/32oz at Trader Joe's, it's also kind of expensive. I tried Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle shampoo ($4/16oz) and it works great, smells great, and when you rinse your hands there is no smell left at all. Winner!
Olive oil (optional)
Add a drop of olive oil to be friendly to the seals inside of the dispenser. I don't have any empirical evidence this makes a difference, but it doesn't appear to hurt.
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Homemade foaming hand soap.
It helps to have a kitchen scale to measure stuff out, but this isn't exact science - it's hand soap.
  1. Empty out the dispenser and rinse it out. Fill with water and pump it until it's mostly just water coming out (it will always be a tiny bit soapy, but again: not exact science).
  2. Assuming it's a 10oz container, fill with 8.5oz of distilled water.
  3. Add 1.5oz of the Tea Tree Tingle.
  4. Add a drop of the olive oil.
  5. Screw the lid on the dispenser and swish it around, swirl it, invert it, spin your self around. That's what it's all about.
  6. Pump it and marvel at your ability to create what once seemed impossible.
  7. </ol> A bottle of Method Foaming Hand Wash costs $3 at Target. This is a good price for the dispenser, so it may be worth buying one just to dump the smelly contents out. A refill using this recipe costs:
    • $0.07 for the water
    • $0.37 for the shampoo
    • $0.000001 for the olive oil
    For a grand total of $0.44, and it is exactly what I want. Done!