How to make liquid soap from a soap bar

Making liquid soap from scratch is a little complicated, which is not for everyone. If that’s you, then you will be happy to know that you can easily make liquid soap from a bar of soap. You can use this liquid soap for household cleaning or as part of your skincare regime. Liquid soap is a MUST-DO on a natural DIY list, because this one recipe can replace multiple products in your home.

How to make liquid soap from a soap bar

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Natural Cleaning

recipe image: melted soap bar into liquid soap

A simple method of achieving a liquid soap by dissolving a natural soap bar. This liquid soap is not suitable for re-selling, but is a good option for personal use.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. One standard soap bar, makes about 250ml of liquid soap.
  2. Grate your bar of soap in a medium sized pot.
  3. Boil the distilled water, and add gently to the grated soap.
  4. Mix gently until all the soap dissolves. Avoid mixing too vigorously, as this will destroy the bubbles.
  5. If you find that it is taking too long for the soap to dissolve, put the pot on the stove (lowest heat) to help the soap dissolve faster. Otherwise, let the pot just stand for a few hours and check on it again then.
  6. When all the soap has dissolved, transfer the mixture to your container with a funnel.
  7. If using essential oils or other additives, wait for the mixture to completely cool before adding these.

Notes

1.) Uses: Dishwashing liquid, multipurpose home cleaner, body wash, shampoo, shaving soap.

2.) Essential oil suggestions:

For strong antibacterial action for home cleaning -> Tea tree, Thyme, Eucalyptus

For shampoo -> Rosemary

For body wash -> Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Rose

3.) To make a thicker, gel-like texture use less water (+/- 50ml water per bar of soap)

https://naturalnerd.co.za/melt-and-pour-liquid-soap/

TIP:
You can change the thickness of the texture by adding less water.

Melt-and-pour liquid soap, takes a few 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 soap bar (here’s my soap bar recipe). If you want to make proper liquid soap from scratch (i.e. not diluting a bar of soap), here is my liquid soap recipe.  That’s the long way around – which is totally worth it if you want professional liquid soap for selling purposes. But for home-use, the melt-and-pour method described in this post is all you need to have liquid soap quickly and easily. By the way, if you are interested in making castile liquid, you will need to make or use an olive oil soap bar in this recipe.

Once you’ve made this liquid soap, you can transform it for different uses with different essential oils and additives, or you can embark on making some of my other recipes: Moisturising honey & coconut body wash; and Shampoo.

You can also join me for a real-life soap-making lesson. If you’re interested in attending one of my soap-making classes, you can sign-up to be notified about the next workshop here. No spam, I promise!

COST & SHELF LIFE

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: 6 months (stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight).

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

CHALLENGE

Consistency: This method can result in a lumpy or layered consistency. The consistency is not as even and clear as making liquid soap from scratch. But it is an effective liquid soap. So if aesthetics isn’t a problem, then this method is perfectly suitable. If you want to sell your own liquid soap, you will need to make it from scratch.

CHERRY ON TOP

  • Easier and quicker than making liquid soap from scratch, especially if you are nervous about using lye.
  • 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! 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.

RECOMMENDED RETAIL OPTION

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 have you used this liquid soap? Let me know in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “How to make liquid soap from a soap bar”

    • 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 =)

  1. 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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!

    • 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
      Christina

  3. 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.

    • 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: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Liquid-Soap .

  4. 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

    • 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

    • Hi Niculine, thank you for your question. How are you making your own Handy Andy? If it is a liquid soap recipe, you can use a salt solution to thicken it, or xantham gum.

  5. I am so glad I came across your blog, and that it is still active!
    Any chance you might come do a workshop in Namibia?

    • Hi Ingeborg

      Thank you for your positive comment. I’m happy that you found my blog, and that you like it 🙂
      Unfortunately, I don’t have any workshops planned for Namibia, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen some day. I am open to going anywhere. I just need to find a suitable venue and reasonable travel costs. However, I really don’t know when Namibia will happen. I’m still trying to get to all the places requested in South Africa. You might be happy to hear that I will soon be launching online workshops – so that anyone can watch my workshop class from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their own kitchen. I know it is obviously not the same as attending in person, but it’s the best that I can do to reach as many people as possible. Plus it will be more affordable to attend online than in person.

      I hope you continue to enjoy my blog, and recipes. Let me know how they turn out, or if you ever need any help.

      Best regards
      Christina

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