Wednesday, December 1, 2021

How to Make Liquid Soap Out of a Bar of Soap

Learn how to turn bar soap into liquid soap without glycerin.  Making homemade soap from bar soap helps you save money because you can make one gallon of hand soap with just one bar of soap!  Use handmade soap or store bought soap to make your hand soap, and you can use essential oils for a natural scent.

How to Make Hand Soap From Bar Soap

We have five people living here plus the kids always have friends over.  We can go through a bottle of soap in just a few days!

I’ve tried the trick of adding a hair tie to the pump to reduce how much they use, but it still adds up.  I have eczema on my hand, so I have to use more expensive hand soaps.

Instead, I learned how to make liquid hand soap from bar soap.  I can make a gallon of hand soap for about $5!  That’s just 3.9 cents per ounce. 

If I buy a bulk bottle of hand soap to refill my dispense, I spend about 30 cents per ounce for a natural soap.

For SoftSoap, you’ll spend about 15 cents per ounce.  I used to buy SoftSoap quite a bit, but it started irritating my skin.  

This DIY soap from bar soap is a considerable savings, and you’ll save even more if you make your own soap use a less expensive bar of soap!

Keep track of this recipe and more with my Recipes for a Natural Home printable recipe binder.

For more DIY bath and body recipes, read these posts:

Can I Make Liquid Soap From Bar Soap?

Yes, you can absolutely make hand soap from a bar of soap, and you can learn how to make liquid soap from bar soap scraps.

So save those little bits of soap and combine them to make a batch of liquid hand soap.

Can You Use Body Bar Soap as Hand Soap?

So why bother learning how to turn bar soap into liquid soap without glycerin?  Why not just use the bar of soap to wash your hands?

Bar soap needs to dry between uses.  If it stays wet, it dissolves and doesn’t last as long.  

I use a metal soap dish that allows the soap to drain, but with so many people using one bar, it doesn’t get a chance to fully dry.

For our family, it’s easier to just make liquid hand soap from a bar to save money.

Why I Love This DIY Soap From Bar Soap?

Making liquid soap from scratch isn’t an easy process for a beginner.  I’ve made lots of soap in my time, and I don’t care for making liquid soap.

It also uses a different lye than bar soap, so you’ll need more supplies.

So I either use liquid castile soap to make hand soap or make homemade soap from bar soap.  You can also use soap paste to make a hand soap if you want a little more control over the ingredients.

How Do You Dissolve Bar Soap in Water?

Since you grate the soap, it has more surface area to dissolve quicker.  You can either put the soap flakes and water on the stove or use a microwave.  

You can place a microwave safe bowl of soap flakes and water in the microwave and heat on high for four minutes, stirring after each minute.

However, this will leave a lingering scent in your microwave.  I really don’t recommend this with scented soaps.

Why Does DIY Soap From Bar Soap Have Glycerin?

Most homemade liquid soap from bar soap recipes have glycerin in them.  Glycerin is a humectant that helps moisturize your skin.  It also makes more lather.

Glycerin makes the hand soap creamy and prevents clumps  However, it is optional.  You can safely omit it if desired.

Best Bar Soap for Liquid Hand Soap From Bar Soap

You can’t use just any soap to learn how to make hand soap from bar soap scraps.  Glycerin soap does not work well.  It gets stringy and gloopy.  Melt and pour soap also does not work well.

Cold process and hot process soaps work best for your DIY soap from bar soap.  I like using the basic bastille bar soap recipe.  

I also buy handmade soap on Etsy or buy it locally.

You can also use Dove soap, Kirk’s Castile soap, or African black soap.  Black soap is really good for dry skin.  Learn about the benefits of African black soap.

You can also use soap scraps from bars you’ve used.  Some soapmakers sell ugly soaps or shredded soaps.  

Don’t use very dry bars of soap because they don’t work well.  Make sure the soap has some moisture in it.

Using Essential Oils for DIY Hand Soap

If you use an unscented bar of soap, you can use essential oils for a natural scent.  If you want more scent options, you can also use natural fragrance oils.  Nature’s Oils has a large selection of natural fragrance oils.

You’ll want to use a 1 to 2 percent dilution of essential oils, which is 6 to 12 drops per ounce of hand soap. Use this printable dilution chart to help you know what percent to use.

I like to use this formula so I can add the essential oils per bottle as I refill my soap dispenser.  Add 48 to 98 drops per 8 ounce bottle of soap.

You can use your favorite essential oils or blends.  Try these essential oil blends that smell like candy or learn how to make a thieves oil blend.

Handmade Soap From Bar Soap Ingredients

You will need the following to make DIY soap from bar soap:

  • 1 4-ounce bar of soap or 4 ounces by weight soap scraps or shreds
  • 1 gallon distilled water
  • 6 to 12 drops essential oils per ounce of liquid soap
  • Cheese grater or knife
  • Large pan
  • Stick blender

How Do You Make Homemade Liquid Hand Soap?

Step #1

Use the cheese grater to shred the soap.  Place the soap shreds in a large pot with 1 gallon of distilled water.

Step #2

Heat the soap and water over high heat until it comes to a boil.  After it starts to boil, turn it down to medium and stir until the soap is dissolved.

Step #3

Turn off the heat and let the melted soap sit overnight.  It will turn into a gel in the morning.

Step #4

Mix the soap gel with a stick blender.

Step #5

Pour your hand soap into a container.  Use it to refill your soap dispensers.  Use 6 to 12 drops of essential oils per ounce if desired.

Tips for Making Homemade Soap From Bar Soap

Here are some tips to help you avoid a big slimy mess like I had the first time I made it:

  • Use cold process or hot process soap only.  Do not use glycerin soap or melt and pour soap.  Dove soap also works really well.
  • You can cut the soap with a knife to make small chunks, but it’s best to use a soap grater.  Chunks will take much longer to melt.
  • A stick blender is the best way to mix the soap.  Your liquid soap may separate if you don’t use a stick blender.  You can also shake the soap really well, but it might separate and clog your soap dispenser.
  • Use distilled water because it won’t have impurities.  I use water from my Berkey water filter.  You can also boil water and let it cool completely before making the soap.
  • I don’t recommend adding essential oils to the entire batch because you’ll use a lot of oils.  You can add it as you refill the dispenser, and feel free to use less.

Now you know how to turn a bar soap into liquid soap without glycerin! 

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liquid soap, hand soap, soap making
Yield: 1 gallon
Author: Cari @ Homesteading in Ohio
Estimated cost: $4

How to Make Liquid Hand Soap from Bar Soap

prep time: 5 Mperform time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 5 M
How to turn a bar of soap into a gallon of hand soap or body wash.


  • 1 4-ounce bar of soap
  • 1 gallon distilled water
  • 6 to 12 drops essential oils per ounce


  • Cheese grater or knife
  • Large pan
  • Stick blender
  • Soap dispenser


  1. Grate or cut the soap. Place in a large pot with 1 gallon water..
  2. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn down the heat to medium and stir while the soap dissolves.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the soap sit overnight to gel. It should be a thick gel in the morning.
  4. Use a stick blender to mix well.
  5. Pour into a container and refill your soap dispensers as needed.


For best results, use a bar of castille soap, African black soap, Dove, or cold process soap.

Add 6-12 drops of essential oils per ounce of soap.
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