Making your own all-natural foaming hand soap is fun, super easy, and totally customizable! Try this recipe to have your very own safe and gentle soap that will keep your hands clean and soft!
This recipe does not include a preservative, meaning it should be kept cool and used within a week. If you would like to use a preservative, there are several great choices that will help to reduce the instance of bacterial growth in water-based products.
Foaming Hand Soap
What you’ll need:
- ½ cup Castile Soap
- 1 tsp Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 20-30 drops Germ Fighter
- 1 cup purified water
- 1 foaming pump bottle
What you’ll do:
Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into the foaming pump bottle. Shake, pump, wash, and enjoy!
Want even more great videos? Check out our Plant Therapy YouTube channel, or join our Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook group for even more inspiration!
143 thoughts on “Plant Therapy Essentials: Foaming Hand Soap DIY”
Instead of preservatives, can I add more Castile soap and almond oil and totally eliminate water ?
Because Castile soap comes in a concentrated form, it’s important to dilute it with water. In addition, changing the ratio of water to Castile Soap will affect its ability to be a foaming hand soap. If you don’t want to add a preservative, store it in the fridge and use within a week or two.
In the YouTube video for making this soap Optiphen is one of the ingredients. Why is it left out here?
Optiphen is an optional ingredient (preservative) that is only necessary if you do not use the product within a week.
I add some almond oil to stop my hands drying out. It’s pretty much the only soap I can keep using, with out my hands getting to dried out & rough for sewing.
Can I use defender for this recipe?
You sure can!
I love this recipe. It seems like my soap lasts so much longer now!
What is considered purified water? Can distilled water be used in this hand soap mixture? I thought using distilled water made it harder for bacteria to grow?
You can definitely use distilled water in this recipe!
May i know how much distilled water to add to this recipe?
You’ll need one cup of water.
How much optiphen do you recommend using for this recipe?
Optiphen plus should be used at 0.75-1.5% of the overall total. It isn’t the best choice for foaming hand soap. Optiphen plus performs best at a PH of 6 or below and foaming handsoap is around 9-9.5. I personally use Germall plus but would recommend self-research to determine what works best for you and your family. https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/10/18/preservatives-and-essential-oil-diys-an-overview/
Has anyone used willow bark extract as a preservative for the foaming hand soap?
If I am not using this up in a few days, should I use a preservative or does the Castile soap already count as the preservative?
When doing DIYs that you want to last more than a few days, it’s best to always use a preservative 🙂
Do you have to use a foaming soap dispenser or will this work as a non foaming soap as well?
Hi Sarah, no you don’t have to use a foaming soap dispenser!
Can’t wait to try this! Just got all my supplies, including Shield Me. Hope it works well, and my kiddos like it too!
After having an allergic reaction to my last store bought hand soap, I can’t wait to try this!
I’ve made this a few times with Kid Safe Germ Destroyer. Everyone always comments how nice it smells!
I have been using the recipe from fabulous foaming hand soap blog but I felt it was a little dry. I used it for about 8 months until I found this recipe and it was perfect. I just used a different essential oil but this one will be used for a very long time.
Fairly new to DIY projects. This one is pretty simple and I’m excited to try it! 🙂
I made 2 bottles using this Foaming Soap recipe using Kidsafe Germ Destroyer and love it! Thank you for the reminder to use a preservative if needed. I think I’ll make smaller batches to avoid the need of a preservative.
I received my PT foaming hand soap bottles and just made this recipe. Instead of using Germ Fighter, I used 10 drops Lemon EO, 10 drops Citrus Burst EO and 5 drops of Bergamot. The soap works and the foaming bottle works but there isn’t as much scent as I had hoped. If I use more EO, then the dilution rate will be off, right? Thanks.
Erin, if you are using the recommended amount of castile soap and carrier oil, you’ll have a little more than 4 ounces of a carrier. With your total drops right now (25), you are under a 1% dilution, so I think it would be okay if you increased your number of drops a bit. However, you have only citrus oils in this recipe and keep in mind that those are the oils whose aromas will evaporate the quickest, which may contribute to not being able to smell them very good 🙂
Can you use thicker oils like coffee, chocolate truffle and vanilla o.?
Christine, Vanilla Oleoresin does not blend into carrier oils, so you will have to first emulsify it in alcohol. Other oils should work just fine 🙂
How much alcohol would you need to emulsify vanilla oleoresin?
Christine, use as much alcohol as you would use carrier oil for a different oil. For instance, a 1% dilution would be a teaspoon of alcohol to a drop of Vanilla Oleoresin.
This was such a helpful blog post and video. We made a couple of them around the house. After a couple days of use, I realized that I like a touch more oil and soap. Also, it is good to know that every once In a while you need to shake the bottle but overall this is amazing. I am slowly weeding out soaps, cleaners and chemicals in my home and this made it super easy to get rid of my store bought soaps. I really love that this is better for our health and germ destroyer is really one of my favorite blends. Now I just need to look up more essential oil blends for my soaps!
I just recently ran out of foaming hand soap for my kitchen and will make a half recipe as it is a smaller bottle. Sounds great as my last bottle as a gift from a friend and I was not too sure of the ingredients- but I have all this and will be making it tomorrow Thanks!
My young son absolutely loves it! PT’s foaming bottle is very good quality too. Thank you big time PL!!!
If I am making a foaming hand wash with Dr Bronners baby unscented pure castile soap, is a preservative not needed since Dr Bronners already has a preservative in it, citric acid and tocopherol?
I also make colloidal silver, and plan to use that as my water.
So if using Dr Bronners and my colloidal silver, is an additional preservative really needed?
The preservatives included in the baby wash will work just fine!
But won’t the pH be affected by the other ingredients added, therefore requiring a preservative to be included?
Hi Trina, we do recommend using a preservative unless you’re using this recipe up quickly.
For a quick overview of preservative use, I would recommend checking out this blog post: https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/10/18/preservatives-and-essential-oil-diys-an-overview/
Thanks so much for asking!
I was a little confused by that article and some of the older blogs. If I’m using PT castille soap, water, germ fighter essential oil, PT coconut carrier oil… which preservative do you recommend for use so it is more counter-stable for longer? I would really appreciate that information! Thanks!
I may be wrong (I frequently am, lol!) but I believe that citric acid and tocopherol (vitamin E) are antioxidants, not preservatives. They help to prevent rancidity, but do not kill or prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi. Please let me know if this is correct or not. Thank you!
Would love to know this as well because I really want to make some soap
Can’t wait to try this. May make a smaller amount as it’s just my husband and I. does anyone find this to be drying? I have super dry skin and can’t use castille in my face wash at all due to the drying factor.
I have a problem with most natural soaps making my hands too dry so when I make this I usually add some extra oils like a squirt of Vitaman E and maybe some sweet almond pretty much whatever I have on hand and I haven’t had an issues with dry cracked hands this year!
I love making my own foaming soap. I’ve found that over time, using oil in the soap made our sink build up a film. So now I just use the castile soap, essential oil, and water. It doesn’t dry our hands out, it is easy to make and smells great! Love having simple, natural diy options.
I just ordered the soap pumps and can’t wait to try it! Safe, effective, and cheaper…WIN, WIN, WIN!
Can we use hemp oil rather than coconut?
Sure! Hemp Oil does have a pretty nutty aroma though, so keep that in mind it may change how the essential oils smell 🙂
I love this! It gets very foamy and is nice and thick!
I have never used a preservative in my hand soap before and have not noticed any issues. I’ve read all the different preservatives listed but don’t know which one or how much to use in my hand soap for the future. What works for everyone?
Love this recipe! Made this two weeks ago for our household. Toddler and husband approved. Not only does it smell great, but we’re so happy knowing we’re doing our best to keep away dirty germs. Cheers to another awesome recipe!
Being in the middle of yucky season I find myself reaching more for my respiratory support oils. I just made a batch up using Lucky. Great way to use some oils that aren’t getting as much love this time of year and my kids love the new hand wash. Win. Win.
Do the PT foaming soap bottles come apart to clean (the pump part)?
Robyn, contact our customer service team at [email protected] and I’m sure they can answer this question 🙂
As a carrier oil, can grape seed oil from the food isle work or do oils have to be labeled ‘Carrier’? Also, I have Castile soap FLAKES. Will this work for hand soap if I dilute it?
Andrea, you may want to reach out to our aromatherapists at [email protected]. We cannot really guarantee the quality of any products we do not sell, but talking one on one with an aromatherapist may help shed some light on these questions 🙂
For this recipe, can I use 1 tablespoon of carrier oil instead of one teaspoon of carrier oil?
Maggie, you can give it a try and let us know how it works out for you 🙂
This just made my day! I love PT!
Thank you! We love having you part of the Plant Therapy family.
Can I use Sweet Almond oil for fractionated coconut oil
How much/what measurement of emulsifier do I put in it?
Rachel, in this recipe the castile soap acts as an emulsifier so there is no need for anything additional 🙂
I cannot wait to make those! My order is coming today! I will make four of them- frankincense, black spruce and lemon in one pump- it smells nice! Especially on the diffuser. The other three- one will be lemony scent, second will be included with Germ Fighter for the kids, and third will be something floral- Honeybell. Exciting!
Oh my! I was not aware that it had to be used within a week no should probably throw out mine I made a few weeks ago and make another. Thank you Plant Therapy!
This is on my list of oily diys
If I am using the hand soap for more than 1 week, what preservative should I use and how much do I need to use in this recipe?
Lisa, I’m going to link our blog on using preservatives, which can hopefully help you out with this question! https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/10/18/preservatives-and-essential-oil-diys-an-overview/
I’ve seen mention of using a emulsifier and using a preservative. Apparently there’s a difference? I read the article on preservatives but now I’m even more confused and feel discouraged from trying to make any. Can you please tell me what is recommended out of an emulsifier or a preservative?
Rachel, it sounds like you would benefit the most from speaking directly to one of our aromatherapists! I agree that the subject of preservatives and emulsifiers can be confusing, but perhaps having a one-on-one would be a great way for you to get all of your questions and concerns answered. There is a big difference between emulsifiers and preservatives, and sometimes recipes do call for both. This particular recipe already has an emulsifier (the castile soap) and does not call for a preservative as long as it is used within a week. I don’t want you to feel discouraged about trying DIYs because you’re confused about emulsifiers and preservatives, so please please please contact [email protected] to get it all straightened out so you’re ready to confidently create some DIY masterpieces!
Why does it need to be used so fast? I have made a similar recipe and used in 1.5-2 weeks but no preservative. Is that bad? What makes it grow bacteria?
Amy, we recommend that for all water-based projects either a preservative should be used or it should be used within a week because it is susceptible to bacteria growth. It’s not bad that it took you 2 weeks to get through it though, just be aware that bacteria is a concern after about a week. Adding a preservative is a super easy way to make sure the hand soap stays good for a long time 🙂
Made this with the kid safe blend (since I have kids!). Smells great, and works like a charm.
To make this more moisturizing would it be ok to add vitamin e oil?
does it matter if the pump container is glass or plastic?
Trista, that’s up to you!
Can’t believe I waited so long to make my own! The kids are going to be so happy with their foam hand wash! Thanks for the recipe!
Is this dilluted enough to use either the germ destroyer or germ fighter with kids or should we stick with the kid friendly one?
Oh my I can’t wait to try this!
I loved this! It smells great and kills germs at the same time!
Thank you, Amy!
can’t wait to try this!!!!
I save my store bought foaming soap containers and refill them with this recipe (with whatever EOs I feel like using). I didn’t realize it was supposed to be used within a week, though! What’s the reasoning for that? If it’s a bacteria thing, wouldn’t the essential oils that fight germs work to prevent that?
Beka, any DIY using water will either need to be used within a week or include added preservatives to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungus. We have a great article on the reasons for preservatives here: https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/10/18/preservatives-and-essential-oil-diys-an-overview/, or you can contact our Certified Aromatherapists directly at [email protected]
I made this after running out of my current foaming hand wash I had. I dont know if the coconut oil is the magic ingredient but I have to say this hand soap has a much better texture (silkier and cleaner rinsing) than the store bought hand wash I had! I think I will never have to buy store bought hand wash again!!! Also, I used the Germ Destroyer oil and I LOVE it!!!! I cant wait for the next batch to make, Im going to go for a holiday smelling scent!!! Thanks PT!!!
I made this for a friend and she has already asked me to make her another batch! Great idea for winter and I love the idea of adding in some skin soother as well. Looks like I’ll be mixing up more soon – for her and for me!
Making my own foaming hand soaps was one of the primary reasons that I became interested in essential oils. I have spent way too much money on foaming hand soap from a famous supplier, and I wanted to be able to create my own blends. I had great success using a blend of 18 drops of Blues Buster, 2 drops of Tea Tree, and 3 drops of Orange Sweet. I blended this with 4 ounces of unscented soap, 3/4 tablespoon fractionated coconut oil, and 3/4 tablespoon pure vegetable glycerin. I mixed these together well, and then slowly filled the bottle with distilled water. Beautiful aroma and soft hands! My hubby loved it too. We have to shake it up if it has been sitting awhile, but that is no problem. I saved a lot of money, and we LOVE the results.
Candace, that sounds like a wonderful soap blend! Happy to hear how well that has worked for you and your husband. Thank you for sharing 🙂
When making hand soap with essential oils, do you need a preservative?
Any suggestions for a preservative?
We recommend doing your own research or contacting an expert in preservatives who can help you to determine the best fit for your projects and your family.
Easy to make
I will be trying this!
I recently made my first foaming soap and can’t wait to try more!
Should we be using the kids safe germ destroyer for this or is the regular one ok to use for soap?
Carrie, you would want to use Kidsafe Germ Destroyer if you have anyone under the age of 11 using it.
We do! 2, 5, 8 & 9 year olds! We go through a lot of soap! 😉 Thanks!!
I made this with immune aid, super yummy smelling, and moisturizing. Love the foaming soap dispensers, they are amazing. Cant wait to make a new batch with harvest Moon.
I make these too but I don’t use that many drops of EO. I only put aboya 10-15 drops. Is that not enough?
Tanya, this is a .5-1% dilution. It is totally fine to use a lesser amount if that works for you 🙂
If I don’t have purified water can I use distilled water instead?
Lisa, always check your diffusers instructions as different diffusers will have different recommendations. For our diffusers we do not recommend using distilled water as the particles in the water are too small for the diffuser to recognize them, and it won’t diffuse properly. We would recommend using tap water.
Looking forward to trying this. I’ll probably put it in empty Bed, Bath, & Beyond foaming bottles.
Ooooo this will save me *so much* money on foaming soap refills. Thanks!
I do this and I love it!!! I use different ingredients but want to try this one! I LOVE these pumps, I bought a package of them from y’all and absolutely they are the best I’ve used! Thanks for posting!
Shalin, you should give it a try and let us know what you think!
I add a few drops of skin soother to this recipe and it not only smells amazing, I feel like it makes my hands softer
Michele, that is a great choice! Thank you for sharing
Could you provide more information about what preservatives to use and where to purchase them?
We recommend doing your own research or contacting an expert in preservatives who can help you to determine the best fit for your projects and your family. After you have determined what kind you’d like to use, you can do a search online to see where that is sold.
I make this often!! I like adding a bit more lemon with the germ destroyer for in the kitchen and I’ve used lucky in the bathroom. Also immune boom with kumquat!
I love this! I’ve been reusing store bought foaming hand soaps for years by just adding liquid soap and water. This sounds even nicer. I could adapt your recipe to these smaller bottles
You’ll have to let us know how you like it 🙂
I read that adding a pinch of salt acts as a preservative. It preserves food!
I love being able to make cust
om hand soaps! I use the germ fighter in the kitchen and Lime in the bathroom
Can you use any carrier oil?
You can use a carrier oil of your choice 🙂
What preservative would you recommend and how much would you add to this recipe?
It would depend on the preservative. For Optiphen Plus, it’s 0.7-1.5% of the recipe
I’ve been mixing up my own castile foaming soap for years, but I never thought to put coconut oil in it. I’ll be giving that a try to help battle dry winter skin while washing. Great idea!
What can be added to prevent having to shake the bottle each time? Would optiphen work?
Kathy, optiphen is a preservative not an emulsifier. I would recommend you research further and pick an emulsifier that you feel is best for you
Can this be made with any essential oil?
Paula, you can pick an oil of your choice. I would just recommend diluting between .5-1%.
Definitely interested in this. Added it to my Pinterest board
Wish y’all had the printable recipe for this one!! I print them all!
I love this recipe, I find myself wanting to wash my hands, for no reason, just to use this. I made two bottles, one with germ fighter and one with germ destroyer (for the kiddos), and so far the kiddos and husband approve. So glad PT sells the bottles, it made it so much easier to get the materials for this diy.
This is now on my” to do” list
Is there a safe preservative I can use? we would not use the whole bottle in a week’s time
I would recommend researching the different preservatives and making a good choice for you and your family. 🙂
Why isn’t there a preservative in this recipe?
It’s a smaller batch meant to be used up in a week.
I can’t wait to try this out!
I was in a DIY mood, and I made this earlier! The smell is soooo clean and pretty. I love having these little mom hacks available to me to keep our household healthy. 🙂 Thank you, PT!
Umm, yes please! Gonna make this ASAP!
I just got Germ Destroyer! Totally going to make this!!
This is PERFECT for back to school.
I have a peppermint scented Castile soap. Would that work with this recipe? Sorry—new to EOs and all the things I can do with them! 🙂
I know what I need to make next. 🙂
This looks so simple! Its definitely a must try!
I love this DIY germ buster! Can’t wait to make it!
Can’t wait to try this!
Whoa, love this.