How to Make Foaming Hand Soap

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There are some things that are so easy to make yourself once you get it down. One of those things is foaming hand soap.

Foaming hand soap on table with wash clothes and cotton balls.

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to make your own homemade foaming hand soap with simple ingredients like liquid castile soap and essential oils.

My recipe works really well and it’s quick to make, even if you’re new to making DIY beauty products. After years of practice, I can make 3 bottles of soap in under 5 minutes without looking at the recipe – it’s that easy!

Supplies and Tools

  • ¾ cup of distilled water
  • ¾ cup of castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin
  • 15-25 drops of your favorite essential oils
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 16-ounce foaming hand soap dispenser
  • Funnel

By the Numbers: Homemade Hand Soap Recipe

Follow these simples steps to make your own foaming soap.

Step 1: Prepare Jar.

The very first step is to gather your ingredients and prepare your jar. Make sure it’s nice and clean so you don’t end up with anything unwanted growing in your hand soap.

Ingredients to make homemade hand soap.

A funnel can make pouring ingredients into a jar just a bit more tidy, but it’s not necessary.

Step 2: Add Water.

Next, add ¾ cup of water to the jar. You want to add the water first, before adding anything else, so you don’t end up making soap bubbles. Not all of your ingredients will fit in the jar if you fill it with bubbles.

Filtered water in a mason jar.

It’s best to use room temperature distilled water because it’s sterile. The second-best option is filtered water (I typically just use water from my Berkey Water Filter). I don’t recommend straight tap water.

Step 3: Add Castile Soap.

Next, slowly pour in ¾ cup liquid castile soap, being careful not to get it all foamy and bubbly when you pour it in.

Liquid castile soap and water in mason jar.

Step 4: Add Oils & Glycerin.

Next, carefully add 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil, 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil and 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin to the mason jar.

Vitamin E oil, sweet almond oil and vegetable glycerin added to jar with castile soap and water.

Step 4: Add Essential Oils.

Finally, add 15-25 drops of essential oil. I have included a list of some of my favorite scent combinations below if you need some new ideas.

Lavender essential oil being added to jar with hand soap ingredients.

Step 5: Close Lid & Shake.

After you’ve added essential oils, it’s time to place the foaming pump lid on your jar and shake it up. It’s now ready to use.

Homemade foaming hand soap with wash cloths, qtips and cotton balls.

Tips for Making Foaming Hand Soap

1. How to use foaming hand soap?

It’s best to shake the soap dispenser before each use to make sure the ingredients are well combined.

Pump a small amount of foam soap into your hands, then scrub away for 20 seconds and rinse.

Jar of foaming hand soap laying on its side with 2 wash cloths.

2. Which essential oils to use?

While you can make unscented soap, it’s fun to experiment with different essential oil scents. Some great essential oil combinations for hand soap are:

  • Lavender and tea tree
  • Cinnamon and orange
  • Spearmint and fir needle
  • Lavender, frankincense and helichrysum

I currently buy all of my essential oils from Rocky Mountain Oils because:

  • The scent of their oils lasts much longer than other brands you can buy online.
  • They have a great selection, including my favorite essential oils plus lots of new blends to try.
  • You don’t need a membership (but you can earn rewards)!

If you’re going to be making DIY beauty products regularly, check out the Rocky Mountain Oils Essentials Kit.

It includes 6 commonly used essential oils to get you started, and you can use my free guide to choosing the right essential oils for your homemade beauty products to learn some ways to use them in your creations.

3. Why use vegetable glycerin?

Glycerin is a humectant, which basically means that it draws moisture to your skin, so it’s great for the dry skin we all get from time to time. If you leave it out, your soap foam won’t be as moisturizing.

Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place to get Vegetable Glycerin.

4. Why add vitamin E?

Vitamin E oil is very nourishing for skin, and it also has mild preservative properties (not enough to preserve a water-based beauty product though).

I like to get many of my oils like Vitamin E from Mountain Rose Herbs as well.

5. What carrier oil can be substituted for sweet almond oil?

You can use any liquid oil in place of sweet almond oil when making your own foaming hand soap. Some popular options are fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and grapeseed oil.

Check out my post on carrier oils if you need help choosing the best one for your needs.

Mountain Rose Herbs carries a huge selection of carrier oils and is a great source of information about them as well.

6. What type of natural castile soap is best?

You want liquid castile soap, not castile bar soap for this recipe. My preferred brands are either Dr. Bronner or Mountain Rose Herbs.

The cheaper brands I’ve tried often feel diluted, which means you need to use a larger ratio of castile soap to water than this recipe calls for.

7. Is a foaming dispenser necessary?

While a foaming pump dispenser makes your hand soap last longer, it’s not necessary. You can use a normal soap pump to make liquid hand soap.

Be aware that it will be a bit runny without a foaming pump. You can use Guar Gum to thicken it up though.

Add 2 teaspoons of guar gum into your carrier oils before adding them to the castile soap and water.

It’s best to use a mixing bowl to get everything really well combined before adding to your jar as well. Other than that, the ingredients are the same.

8. What’s the shelf life?

Since this is a water-based recipe, it does not have a long shelf life… maybe a few weeks depending on the conditions in your bathroom.

Leucidal liquid makes the best natural preservative for liquids if you want to add one (follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for measurements).

Our family of 4 goes through about 24 ounces of homemade hand soap a week, so there isn’t time for it to go bad. If you’re a single person, you can cut this recipe in half and use an 8-ounce bottle for your needs.

9. More DIYs for your hands…

Now that you know how to make natural foaming hand soap, try these other DIY beauty recipes for your hands:

10. Where to buy natural hand soap?

If you’d rather buy hand soap, check out Grove Collaborative. They have a great selection of natural products for the home, and new customers get a free Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Kit, including a bottle of hand soap!

Homemade foaming hand soap on table.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

This foaming hand soap is easy to make and you can customize it with your favorite essential oils too.
4.35 from 29 votes
Print (no photos)
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 Pint



  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 16-ounce foaming hand soap dispenser
  • Funnel (optional)


  • In the jar a foaming soap dispenser, add the water first (to prevent bubbles).
    Filtered water in a mason jar.
  • Next, add the liquid castile soap
    Liquid castile soap and water in mason jar.
  • Add the vitamin E oil, sweet almond oil and glycerin.
    Vitamin E oil, sweet almond oil and vegetable glycerin added to jar with castile soap and water.
  • Finally, add your essential oils.
    Lavender essential oil being added to jar with hand soap ingredients.
  • Top your mason jar with a foaming soap pump, then shake the jar to combine the ingredients and keep by the sink.
    Homemade foaming hand soap with wash cloths, qtips and cotton balls.

Free DIY Beauty Products Guide

How to choose the right essential oils for your homemade beauty products.

Open mason jar of pink peppermint body butter on pink and white background.

5 thoughts on “How to Make Foaming Hand Soap”

  1. These sound skin nourishing, body nurturing, and wonderful gift skin care recipes. I’m off to make a few of those now! Super excited! Thank you! 👑❤️

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