How to make liquid soap

how to make castile liquid soap from barNatural liquid soap is incredibly versatile, to say the least. You can use it around the home to wash dishes, laundry, floors, windows and toilets; or you can use it as part of your skincare regime as body wash, shampoo, face wash, shaving cream and even bubble bath! This is a MUST-DO on anyone’s natural DIY list, especially because this one recipe can replace the multiple toxic cleaners in your home. You no longer have to fork out the cash for Handy Andy, Sunlight, Pantene, Jik, Domestos et cetera et cetera.

Liquid soap, or even castile liquid takes two minutes to make once you have a hard bar of natural soap. If you don’t have a bar of soap, then make your own natural or organic soap bar (here’s the recipe). If you are interested in making a true castile liquid, you will need to make or use an olive oil based soap. Again, you can follow my beginner soap bar recipe and just use olive oil as your ingredient.

Once you’ve made this liquid soap (see the method below), you can transform it for different uses with different essential oils, or you can embark on making these recipes:

Moisturising honey & coconut body wash
Anti-dandruff shampoo

TIP: You can change the thickness of the texture by adding less water. In other words, if you add about 50ml instead of 250ml of water, you will have a gel-like soap that may be better suited for shaving cream, bubble bath etc.


DIY Castile Liquid Soap
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  1. 1 Bar of natural/ castile soap
  2. 250ml Water
  3. 10-20 drops Essential oils (optional)
  4. Funnel (optional)
  1. One standard soap bar, makes about 250ml of liquid soap.
  2. Grate your bar of soap in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Boil 250ml water, and mix gently with the grated soap until all the soap dissolves. Avoid mixing too vigorously, as this will destroy the bubbles.
  4. Transfer the mixture to your container with a funnel.
  5. If using essential oils or other additives, wait for the mixture to completely cool before adding.
  1. Dishwashing liquid, multipurpose home cleaner, body wash, shampoo, shaving cream, bubble bath.
Essential oil suggestions
  1. For strong antibacterial action for home cleaning -> Tea tree, Thyme, Eucalyptus
  2. For shampoo -> Rosemary
  3. For body wash -> Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Rose
  1. To make a thicker, gel-like texture use less water (+/- 50ml water per bar of soap).
Natural Nerd


Approximate cost: R10,69 per 250ml (this is how much it costs to make one bar of a coconut-olive oil soap)
Lasted me about:
 3 weeks (using every day as body wash)
Estimated shelf life: 1 year (stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight).

*Costs accurate at time of writing this blog post. Costs based on the best available prices I’ve personally found.


  • Time: Making liquid soap only takes two minutes, but if you have to start by making your own soap bars and waiting for them to cure, then the process takes about two months.


  • Versatile: I have saved so much money, since I no longer have to buy separate cleaning products anymore. This one soap works on everything I need it to!
  • Easy Customization: In order to transform this soap from Sunlight dishwashing liquid to a Radox-like body wash, you just need to use different essential oils, add a bit of honey and Vitamin E oil.

Not sure where to find ingredients? My shopping guide may help you.


If DIY just isn’t your thing, I recommend buying this product which I have personally used and approved: Pure Simple’s Castile liquid , or for more home cleaning power then use Triple Orange All Purpose Cleaner Wonder Gel.

How will you use this liquid soap? Let me know in the comments below.

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12 thoughts on “How to make liquid soap

  1. Anni Boje says:

    Oh thank goodness for your blog!!!! I’ve recently dipped my toes in the more natural approach and I have to admin I struggle my butt off to find supplies! My local health shop has been such a blessing, but oh the castille soap…..must be sent from Cape town 😒. Wonder if I can buy a barrel😂. Thanks a bunch for your blog, its a lifesaver. I almost fell of my chair when I noticed the cost calculated in ZAR

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi again Anni. It’s so wonderful to hear from you! I’m so happy that my blog could help you out. Struggling to find supplies is one of the reasons I started this blog. Gosh, all my Google searches turned up American sites! So I wanted to make it just that little bit easier for my fellow South Africans 😉 If you want a barrel of castile soap, then you should really look into making it yourself. I am going to attempt making liquid soap from scratch soon (i.e. not melting it, but making it liquid from the very beginning). So I will share the recipe if it works out and I’m sure you’ll save a ton of money if you make the barrel yourself =P

  2. Masibulele Mamnkeli says:

    Mine is not a reply but a question. Do I heat these ingredients up or I just mix and let them settle at room temperature? Because I want to start a soap manufacturing business.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Masibulele. Thank you for your question. This recipe requires melting the grated soap with boiling water. If the soap doesn’t melt completely by the time the water cools, then you can continue the melting process over a double boiler (or low heat in a slow cooker) until it is all melted. However, this method is best suited for home use, as the texture may not be ideal for retail. If you want to make liquid soap professionally, then I suggest you make the liquid soap from scratch using potassium hydroxide (KOH). Here is a link which explains this method (I haven’t had a chance to test and blog about it just yet). Follow the instructions for method 2: .

  3. Yvette Newton says:

    Hi there. I’m trying to find the Castile soap that can be used on face and body. I use the one you’ve recommended from Faithful to Nature but that is a cleaning one and I was told not to use it on my body. Please point me in the right direction. Thank you!

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Yvette

      Thank you for your comment. I realise that the company Pure Simple have said not to use it on face and body, but I just want to reassure you that it’s not harmful if you do. All “Castile” soap is simply made out of water, olive oil and caustic soda. Which is not harmful when combined correctly to make soap. So it may just be a marketing ploy to get you to buy their body range soaps, as there is no difference in the ingredients between the two. I use that liquid soap in my body wash recipe with no problems. The only reason that I can think of for their recommendation is that their body range has a higher ratio of olive oil so that it is more conditioning for the face & body. I normally fix this by simply adding Vitamin E oil and a few drops of olive oil. Nevertheless, if you’ve experienced dry skin and still want to use a castile soap made specifically for face and body, then I recommend using their body range soaps which you can find here for R35 each.

      I hope that helps.

      Kind regards

  4. Jen Price says:

    Hi! Do you have a recommendation for a natural soap sold in South Africa at stores that is not castile soap? I can’t find castile soap anywhere in my area. I would rather not have to order and pay shipping nor have to deal with lye and make it. I want to make some homemade cleaners but every recipe I find calls for liquid castile.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Jen. Thank you for your comment. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a purely natural soap in standard retail stores, which is incredibly concerning. Just shows how difficult it is for the average person to make better consumer choices. If you have some health stores, or even flea/farmer’s markets in your area you could have a look to see if they sell natural homemade soaps. The closest products I’ve found at a retail store is Reitzer’s Pure Glycerine Soap, and Treet-it Tea Tree soap both of which you can find at Dischem. However, since they are glycerine soaps they won’t make good household cleaners, but are good for skin cleansing. Online shopping really is the best option if you don’t want to make soap yourself, but want the best natural soap. I know you don’t want to pay for shipping, but many online stores offer free shipping if you order up to a certain amount. Or the shipping is really cheap (+/-R60). For example, Faithful to Nature offers free shipping for orders R350 or more. So maybe there’s other ingredients you might like to buy from them too. Just an idea. Otherwise, your best bet is Dischem, or your local farmer’s market. I hope my answer has been a bit helpful.

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Rob. Thank you for your comment. I agree, castile won’t work as bubble bath by itself. I meant that you can use it as part of a recipe for natural bubble bath. I’ve heard that some people use egg white & castile to produce longer lasting bubbles. I’m yet to try this though, but I will let you know once I do =)

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