HOW TO: Turn Bar Soap into Liquid Soap

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.

I hate bar soap. Everything about it. It gets slimy while sitting in the soap dish, it gets covered with dirt, hair, etc., and it feels like it just harbours all kinds of germs. I may be a little overboard, but that’s just the way I feel about bar soap.

On the other hand, I love liquid soap – for my hands, my body, my face…but liquid hand soap and body wash can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re using a natural brand. So you can imagine my excitement when I happened upon this article I found on Pinterest about DIY Body Wash. Apparently, I’m not alone in my hatred for bar soap :)

All you need is 8 oz bar soap, some glycerin, and water – super easy! You can use any bar soap, as long as it’s 8 oz (which may be 1 or 2 bars, so check the label!). We were actually in a bind and needed body wash right away. So instead of going to the store, I found a couple of Dove soap bars lying around and just used those. (I have no idea where the bars came from LOL, but I figured I’d use them to test out this recipe). Next time, I’ll try it with some Dr. Bronner’s castile soap bars! I may even try adding some essential oils for added fragrance and aromatherapy :)

The glycerin is very easy to find at your drug store. It should be near the band-aids, alcohol, peroxide, etc. EDIT: The glycerin is mostly for moisturizing purposes and can be omitted if you want. I’ve made the soap without it and it was totally fine.

What You Need:

  • 8 oz. bar of soap (could be 1, 2, or even 3 bars, depending on the kind)
  • 2 T. glycerin
  • 1 gallon (16 cups) water
  • Large pot
  • Container(s) to hold the soap

What To Do:

  1. Put water in a large pot.
  2. Grate the soap bar(s) and add to the water. (If you don’t have a grater, just chunk it up very small)

    Grated soap
  3. Add the glycerin.

    Water, Soap, and Glycerin
  4. Heat the soap mixture on medium heat until all the soap is dissolved, about 15 minutes. (Longer if your soap is chunked, instead of grated)
  5. Once dissolved, take off the heat and let it rest for 12-24 hours.

    Soapy water
  6. Beat with a hand mixer, adding more water to achieve desired consistency. (Mine was pretty runny as is, so I just skipped adding the water). This is also where you’d add any essential oils if you want.

    Kinda runny, but still soapy and frothy
  7. Once you’ve mixed it well, just pour it into your container(s) using a funnel.

    I used an old body wash bottle

That’s it! I turned 2 bars of Dove soap ($3) into 1 gallon of body wash/hand soap.

1 gallon of liquid soap!

And just for sake of providing some actual feedback on the soap, here’s a text conversation I had with the hubby, since he was the first to use it:

The hubby approves :)


Since I want to try this with Dr. Bronner’s castile soap next time, let’s break down the cost using Bronner’s as an example:

1 gallon of Bronner’s ~ $35 on Amazon
(For body wash, I would dilute it with equal parts water, so the gallon now costs ~ $17)

1 bar of Bronner’s ~ $2 on Amazon
(For this recipe, I would use a little less than 2 bars, so let’s just say ~ $4)

That’s more than 4 times the price for a gallon of diluted Bronner’s vs. a gallon of homemade liquid Bronner’s! Sounds like an easy decision to make :)

So, what do you think? Would you try this? Have you tried this? What are your thoughts? Would love to hear about your experience!

The following two tabs change content below.
Sarah UmmYusuf is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mama with a passion for all things simple, natural, and homemade. She loves the natural world, and believes the solutions to many of the world’s ailments lie in nature. Her blog, , began as a way to document her family’s journey to a greener home, but has since become a thriving community and resource for those wishing to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly, natural and sustainable lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Latest posts by Sarah (see all)


    • Sarah says

      You’re very welcome! I also just found another recipe for a no-grate version, which I’ll have to wait and try after this batch runs out :) like my hubby said, it is lacking just a little bit in the lather department, but I just use a little more on my loofa and it’s fine. I can’t wait to try this with Dr. Bronner’s soaps!

        • Sarah says

          Haha, yes no-grate would indeed be great 😉 I grate for my laundry detergent too (both liquid and powder) so I could use a break as well. It’s funny, I was grating a block of cheese this morning to freeze it and I thought, “wow, it’s nice to use this grater for what it was actually made for!” lol

          And pin away my friend!

          • Nelda says

            For laundry soap, I place the FelsNaptha in the microwave for a bit until it starts to expand. Break it apart, repeat if needed. It should break apart easily and I was able to incorporate it easier into the homemade laundry detergent. I purchases a small cheap food processor ( about$7 at Aldis) that I have dedicated to laundry soap making. I no longer dread the task now! I just do several batches and dump into a container. Mix with borax and washing soda, tada! All done!

  1. says

    I did this with ivory and never got it to thicken. I read after that ivory isn’t a fat made soap and wouldn’t work well. Oh well. I’ll use a different soap next time. Even runny, 2 squirts cleans hands just fine but I think it’s too runny for a lufa

    • Sarah says

      Hi Kristiina, thanks for sharing! Now I know for future attempts :) Yeah, mine was pretty runny too but like you say, it’s still usable. And I do use it on my loofa, I just have to kind of squirt it all over the loofa, instead of just in one spot – and it actually has a pretty decent lather, so I can’t complain :) But thanks for the tip about the fat based soaps – will have to look into this more!

  2. alexandra says

    I have been doing this for ahile but I use Tom’s of Maine and I have been very pleased, however, my husband will not even attempt to use it because it has no smell (which is what I like about it).

    • Sarah says

      Thanks for sharing, Alexandra! I still want to try it with Dr. Bronner’s next time, but it’s good to know that Tom’s works too!

  3. monay says


    Where can i find glycerin ? and what kind i have to buy the glycerin ?
    I like it to be natural.
    Thank you!

    • Sarah says

      You can find it either at your drug store or natural health foods stores. If not, you can always get it online at :)

    • Nissa says

      You can also find glycerin in the soap making section of a craft store like Hobby Lobby or in the pharmacy of your grocery store.

  4. JoAnn says

    I used 2 bars of Softsoap and only 10 cups of water. Soap thickened up nicely….however when I used it to shower it left my skin feeling very dry and kinda sticky. Hubby used it as well and said the same thing. So for me its a no go. I’ll go back to buying body wash at the Dollar Tree.

  5. says

    Meyers soap works great for liquid body soap etc. Gylcerine can be found at Walgreens, grocery store “Kroger”, Walmart. I went to 4 drugs stores today looking for it. It’s in the pharmacy area but in different areas at every store. I have learned to ask or call first. Krogers and Walgreens offered to order it for me. I bought mine at Walmart, and they had a lot of bottles. It’s in the natural remedy section in the pharmacy area. Happy soap making!!! :)

  6. ErikaO. says

    I halved the recipe except for glycerin. (4.4 oz bar soap, 8 cups water, 2 T glycerin). It’s been cooling for 6 hours already lol. Will this still be safe for skin still? Not used to working with glycerin.

  7. Irene Sommerfeld says

    Can this recipe be used as a shampoo as well, or should I just stick with the liquid castile soap for that?

  8. Lane says

    BTW, for all you graters out there, I use my kitchenaid food processor with the grater attachment put in. OMG, the difference that made to my knuckles, and to the time it takes to grate. For harder soaps, like fels naptha, it’s great. I haven’t tried softer soaps (I cut up some kirk’s castille to soak into liquid for other cleaning products), but I bet it’d be fine. Cleanup was quick because, you know, its soap. I wouldn’t mix the water with the food processor, because you may get soap clumps.

  9. Jennifer says

    Why do you add glycerin? Can it be made with just water and soap…or does the glycerin help with preserving the soap or just helps moisturize.

  10. Pam says

    I used a oil and glycerin based soap, added some aloe vera but I have mostly foam. will the foam settle, or did I add something wrong? Did I not blend it long enough or too long? I used a stick blender that I use for smoothies. I didn’t think about using my kitchenaid grater! I’ll try that next time. I am new at “home made”.

      • Pam says

        The foam did settle and the soap is really watery. Is there a way to thicken it up? Should I have added less water? I did use it last night and it worked just fine, I just had to use more. Is the glycerin what gives it a sticky feel? The sticky goes away and my skin is soft and not nearly as dry as it was.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *