DIY Foaming Hand Soap

I have three kids ages 6 and under. I don’t think there’s a one of them that can do less than a full pump of soap, lotion, or shampoo! Now, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t used a full pump of soap in years, except on occasions where I come in from outside and have really grubby hands! I find that most regular soap pumps provide way too much soap on a single pump and I end up spending twice as long washing my hands. And with kids, well, I think we all know that they don’t spend twice as long washing their hands, they just dry the bubbles and excess soap off (on their pants, right?).

Once my oldest was old enough to wash his own hands without help, it wasn’t long before I decided that regular hand soap had to go and foaming hand soap was the new best thing! After all, three squirts of foaming soap is still likely less soap than one squirt of regular soap!   But it wasn’t long after that when I decided it couldn’t be that hard to make my own foaming hand soap for much cheaper than what it was in the store!

I’ve mainly been using recycled Method foaming soap containers. You can buy the foaming soap dispensers, but I find it much cheaper to simply purchase a Method one, use the soap, then reuse the container. Why Method? Simply because, of all the foaming hand soap brands I’ve tried, their bottle seems to have the greatest longevity.

Foaming Soap 2What do you need? It’s pretty easy! I’m sure most of you have probably heard of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap. It’s organic, fair trade and you can pronounce pretty much all the ingredients. The only ones you might not know are Potassium Hydroxide – which is essentially lye – a soap ingredient that has been used since way before you or I were even thought of! The other is Tocopherol, which is Vitamin E. I usually keep the unscented version around, then if you want to add some scent or some antibacterial/antiviral properties you can use essential oils and not worry about the scents not combining well.

The other ingredient I use most of the time is Dawn Dish Soap. The main reason I use it is because it adds a bit of scent and a bit more grease-cutting power to the soap. I have a hubby who comes in with grease-covered hands some days. He doesn’t find the soap made with only Dr. Bronner’s works as well for getting the grease off, so I always make sure our back sink has a good dose of Dawn mixed in.

Foaming Soap 1Lastly, during flu and cold season, I also put in a few drops of essential oils in – generally Tea Tree and Lemon or perhaps a blend that has antibacterial/antiviral properties. You do need to be careful with how many drops you put in, as some of them are “stickier” than others and will bung up the foam maker. I would suggest no more than about 5 drops.

There are lots of recipes out there, but this is what I’ve been doing. Most times I just eyeball the soap, but for our readers, I actually measured it out!  And if you prefer not to use the Dawn dish soap, just replace it with more Dr. Bronner’s.

Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castille Soap – 3 tbsp
Dawn Dish Soap (I like Thai Dragon Fruit for the scent) – 2 tbsp
Water – to fill the container, which holds 300 mL in this case.

Now are you ready for the price? If we reuse the Method container an average of 24 times (used for 6 months, refilled once a week, in my house), it would cost 20¢. The Dr. Bronner’s soap costs 8¢ (when purchased on sale) and the Dawn Dish Soap costs 1.8¢.

That makes for a grand total of 29.8¢!

Wow, I can handle that! Compare that to the $4.79 you’d be paying if you purchased the soap and container every time. Or, if you purchased the Method refill, it would still cost you $2.64 for every refill! And since I’m cheap frugal, I’m totally on board with 29.8¢ instead!

What about you? Are you a DIY’er? Do you make anything – like soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste? Tell me your ideas, your proven recipes, I’d love to hear them!  Do you have any DIY projects that you’d love to do but either haven’t gotten up the courage or haven’t found the time?

**Disclosure: has not rewarded me in any way for providing links to their webpage. I just happen to like and enjoy buying from them!


  1. Oh wow! That is a HUGE money saving tip – I wouldnt have thought it to be that easy 🙂 Thank you for sharing

  2. Sounds pretty cheap to make!! Thanks I will have to try 🙂

  3. Judy Cowan says:

    Wow, that is a huge savings! Thanks so much for the tip!

  4. Lynda Cook says:

    Wow this is amazing, I love the foaming hand soap, and I love it even better now that I know I can make my own!!

  5. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    That is a fantastic saving, well worth the effort I’d say. My daughter makes her own laundry detergent and saves a lot of money with that too. 🙂

  6. Anne Taylor says:

    What a brilliant way to save money and its so simple! Who’d have thunk it? Thanks so much!

  7. I’d like to make laundry detergent, I think it is worth it every penny. We pay so much for containers every time we buy it, so it is going to be good savings.

  8. Debbie Bashford says:

    I’ve done this a few times

  9. Christina A. says:

    Ohhh….I love this! I should totally be doing this!

  10. I have reused a foam soap dispenser, and I love Dawn in it. The ones I have reused are the fancy ones from the Mall, but refilled with part dawn and part water and have it in the kitchen for greasy fingers.

  11. Melissa S says:

    This looks very easy to make, thank you for posting.

  12. Definitely something to try! I’ve got a few foam bottles on hand too!

  13. kathy downey says:

    Soon as my bottle is empty I will be trying this,thanks!

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