Super Easy Liquid Soap or Shampoo

I’ve read many methods for making liquid soap.  Most people agree making liquid soap from scratch, that is, from oils and potassium hydroxide, is tricky at best.  Reports of solidifying and separating are pretty universal.  I tried my hand at it a long time ago, and experienced it myself.

I do like the convenience of liquid soap, and don’t want to pay for it at the store, especially considering I don’t really like the product you’ll get there.  After going homemade, it’s almost impossible to go back.

Besides, I’ve found an embarrassingly simple way to make my own liquid castile soap, which doubles as shampoo.  I use it in hand soap pumps by the bathroom and kitchen sink, and put it in an old plastic dishwashing liquid bottle in the shower for shampoo/body wash.  It’s easy to customize with essential oils.

Here’s all I do:

  • Grate a bar of homemade or other castile soap with an ordinary cheese-type grater.

  • Place in a mixing bowl and add water just to cover.

  • Let sit overnight.  No need to heat, no need to do anything.  Maybe drape something over it to keep stuff from falling in it.
  • The next day, the soap will have magically dissolved.  Give it a stir.  If it’s too thick, add a bit of water, a little at a time, until it is the consistency you like.

You can stop there and use it as is in your preferred containers, or add in essential oils for fragrance and awesomeness.  I can’t get enough of peppermint essential oil shampoo.  I tell you, it’s unbelievable.  The kids like it, too.  Also lavender is good for bedtime, and rosemary and tea tree are invigorating and great for skin issues.

Grate it up.  Soak overnight.  Good to go.

Easy as can be.

If you don’t make bar soap yourself, Kirk’s Castile is a good way to go. It’s hypoallergenic and animal free, a good, basic castile at a decent price point. (Also good for homemade detergent).

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  1. martine–Wow. I’ve never even thought of that. You’ve completely stumped me.
    The soap should do a decent job of the grease by itself. I’d just go with either an antibacterial like tea tree or with something that made me happy like lemon or peppermint.

  2. I have been adding the leftover slivers of bath soap to my bottle of liquid hand soap for years and I now have over a gallon of liquid hand soap that I use in my kitchen or bath for when I come in from doing farm work. We are slowly working our way to natural products. I don’t want to throw away the old products as I grew up with depression parents (they didn’t throw anything away). When my mother died, my father had a full sized truck load of paper and plastic bags he took to the Salvation Army. (She did not throw anything away, including twist ties and rubber bands, quite an experience !!!!!!!!!!) I am looking forward to making my own liquid castile soap as so many recipies call for it and I like the idea of being able to cheaply purchase the bar soap to convert. Stockpiling the bars now

  3. I would like to add an oil like grapeseed as a skin softener. Have you tried this? Do you have any problems with it separating? If so, what can you put in to keep it from separating?

  4. I tried this today with my own home made castile bar soap. It worked really well!! Thank you so much!!

  5. So…I’ve tried my hand at making my own dry laundry detergent and am pleased with it. I was going to use your recipe but your site was down while I had my ingredients so I found another with WS and Borax because I wanted to follow a recipe precisely. So now I’m kinda interested in making my own shampoo, but even more I’m interested in making shampoo for my dogs. It can’t be that much more complicated, except that dogs need a lower pH shampoo than that for humans. I’ve read it would be in the high 6’s to 7 ideally. What do you suggest for keeping it simple (I don’t want oats and aloe and 100 different other things)? However, I would like to know how to add appropriate amounts of things like tea tree oil for itchiness at times. What do you suggest?

  6. To dissolve grease from dishes add 1 tbsp of Washing soda per quart of dish soap. You can find washing soda in the laundry aisle at most grocery stores.

  7. wow!this the most easier step that i ever found. i hope i can try to do it. what kind of bar soap you use. can i use almost olive oil bar soap?how much the quantity of water?

  8. Amazing! I’ve been looking around for a shampoo recipe for a while. Since I don’t have what I need to make soap at the moment, would Ivory work? Also would soap made from animal fats work as well? I’m guessing it would, though. How about the bacon soap you make? That’s my next big project.

  9. This is awesome!! I don’t know about making bar soap from lye, but this is easy!

  10. Hi! I love your website. I have been searching all night for a recipe for shampoo. We stopped buying regular shampoo after finding out what all of the chemicals in it were doing to our hair and our health. Will definitely try this soon. Thanks!! 🙂

  11. Okay…I’ve read recipe after recipe for this method but I always end up with a snotty consistency. Does anybody have a suggestion to keep it from going snotty on me?

  12. I was wondering if you have a recipe for liquid Goat milk shampoo ? Thank You so much. Love your sight. Kathleen

  13. My hubby can suffer with dandruff something fierce. I used a bar of purchased castille soap, water and tea tree oil …. dandruff is almost a thing of the past. I use the shampoo myself with an apple cider vinegar (mixed with water) spray afterwards. LOVE it.

  14. I’ll try it looks ez – cause I nomo time to mix all kinds of things..
    Thank you, as we say in Hawaii : Mahalo & Aloha
    Krissy – Honaunau, Hi

  15. Hi …wil u pls tel me from where i can buy that castile soap in india?

  16. Does this give you the same waxy build-up in your hair that bar soap shampoo does?

  17. I’m confused when you say “bar of soap”. Do you mean soap bars like Dove? And those are ok to use as hand soaps?

  18. Totally flummoxed….I’ve been experimenting for about a week now with the melting method (in a pot with water), and so far I’ve only ever ended with something the consistency of – hate to say it – snot! Will DEFINITELY give this a try!

  19. Hello,

    I am a hot process soap maker and have tried making liquid soap using hot process. The drying effect is awful and I do not want to use any chemicals to neutralize. I am now grating my bars and diluting them. I added salt to thicken which worked even though the coconut % is high. I whipped it up and it was becoming cottage cheese so I diluted more and it was fine. But a few days later, the soap floated to the top leaving a watery base on the bottom. How does one keep it together?

  20. Dale–I have experienced some separation at times. I just say to myself, this is REAL STUFF, not chemically-enhanced perfection. I can deal with texture and consistency imperfections and having to shake things periodically to reblend. It’s a trade-off I don’t mind, and with the right marketing approach, something that can be explained to consumers/customers of natural products, e.g. This is real and just like in life, sometimes you need to shake things up.

  21. I have been making my own liquid soaps/shampoos/facewash and have found that boiling raw coconut and letting it cool, then using the juice in place of the water content is amazing in these products. So silky and just wonderful. The drawback is that my husband loves the “foaming” pump containers and it does not work with this concoction.

  22. Hai Daisy, here a newborn fan from the Netherlands. Saw this recipe on pinterest and tried it yesterday (and thought, no heat yeah right) Amazing! It actually works, I even used a creamy FA bar of soap and it came out just great. Even my hubby was amazed. I have been using my heated washing detergent for a year now, but wanted to have a recipe for a not so snotty handsoap. Now I have a lovely fluffy handsoap thanks to you. Still looking for the best shampoo receipe, so going to experiment with this fluffy mixture to make a great shampoo. Thanks for posting and the best wishes for 2015!

  23. Marijke–Thank you for stopping by and welcome. I’m glad you have had luck with the soap. Hope you have a lovely new year!

  24. So easy and simple. I wanna try this. But I have a couple of ?’s. Should I use hot water? And will this recipe work for cleaning? Thanx for your response.

  25. Ginny–I don’t think the temperature matters as much as the time factor. You can use it wherever you would use soap for cleaning–that is, I wouldn’t use it on your windows, naturally, etc. 🙂

  26. I am going to try this method. I have a problem with what I have made with a different recipe in the past separating and getting slimy. Also, I prefer the foaming soap dispensers but have had issues with them clogging up even after thinning the soap with water. Anybody else have this problem? Will this soap work in a foaming dispenser if thinned down?

  27. i will be making this for sure !!! iv been looking for an easy recipe and your supper easy !! Thank you

  28. Hi.
    Here are the feedback of how it went with glyserin soapbase.

    I shredded the soapbase and filled water in the bowl like you said. The next morning i got my surprise. The transparent soapebase has turned white. A lot of the shredded soap has dissolved overnight, but not all like your’s castile soap. So i took det soapbase in my kitchenmachine on low speed to see if that could help. I had to add som more water as well becouse it was thick. More of the soap did dissolved in the machine, but not 100% of it. The liquid soap got this cind of “rustic” outlooking, but thats cool. Maybe i will try it otherwise next time. Presumably wait to add som more water, and let it work in the machine for longer time first. Maybe it will be easier to get the best results then. It’s only one thing i can do, and that is ceep trying 😀 I washed my hands with the soap after i added EO and so on, and that was nice. I found out that is more economic to make licuid soap then barsoap.

  29. Gunn–Thank you for the information on how it went with soapbase. I’m sure it will be helpful for those trying this method. Cheers.

  30. I wonder how did you make it that thick? Mine is just like water.

  31. nick bantolo–I’m not sure why yours is watery. Maybe a difference in amounts or type of soap. It tends to thicken with time, but if it doesn’t, try adding more soap shreds.

  32. I’ve read several places you need to add a preservative (even a “natural” one) once you add water to a hard, natural castile bar soap if you aren’t going to refrigerate it or use it in a day or two.

  33. Can I use glycerin soap for this? I just bought some “Clearly Natural” bar soap. I looked up the difference between castile and glycerin soap, but not sure if it is relevant for this recipe. … Thanks 🙂

  34. Please be careful of tea tree oil for pets. Cats are allergic to it.I almost killed my kitty when i used it on him. He foamed & frothed lots, in his mouth & was choking.