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How To Make Quality Liquid Hand Soap For Your Home

How To Make Quality Liquid Hand Soap For Your Home

How To Make Quality Liquid Hand Soap For Your Home

Homemade liquid soap can feel like a real treat, whether it's for yourself or as a gift for someone else. It does require a little more patience than making homemade bar soap, but the result can be lovely, especially if you decant it into a pretty display bottle.

The difference between making bar and liquid soap

The main difference between bar and liquid soaps is the chemical reaction used to form the soap. In more detail, it is the alkali that is used in order to saponify the soap’s oils.

The difference between making bar and liquid soap

Every type of soap you make will start with a chemical reaction between an alkali and oils. Sodium hydroxide reacts with the oils in bar soaps, while potassium hydroxide is used in liquid versions.

What you need to make liquid soap


Mixing tools


Large slow cooker

Measuring cups


Potato masher

Stick blender


16 1/2 oz distilled water to make the lye mixture (alkaline and water mix)

16 1/2 oz sunflower oil

40 oz distilled water in order to dilute the soap’s paste

7 oz coconut oil

5 1/2 oz potassium hydroxide KOH

3 oz essential oil or fragrance of your choice

2 oz boric acid

Soap colorant, if desired

What to do

1. Measure your oils and place them in your slow cooker on the low setting. Try to keep the temperature of the mixture at around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also make liquid soap in the oven or in a double boiler, but slow cookers make the process much simpler.

2. As the oils heat, make your lye-water. There are detailed guides to doing this on the internet. It is important to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles and to work in a well-ventilated area. In general, you add your lye to your water and gradually stir with a stainless steel spoon. Keep stirring until the lye has dissolved. Don’t be alarmed by the groaning sound the potassium hydroxide makes as it dissolves.

3. Once the lye-water is clear, add it slowly into the oils and stir. Next, blend the mixture until it no longer wants to separate and it reaches what is known as trace. This is when it looks like a mixture of applesauce and pudding and has traces when you dribble soap on top of the surface. This may take as long as half an hour to achieve. You cannot over-stir it, so keep going until you are sure you have a solid trace.

4. Put the lid on your slow cooker and leave for around 20 minutes. If it has separated a little, give it a stir and put the lid back on. Keep checking the mixture every 20 minutes and give it a stir. This may be difficult during a "taffy" phase in the middle of the process, but do what you can and use a potato masher to break it up. The soap should cook for between three and four hours. The end result should look like translucent petroleum jelly.

5. To test if the paste is ready, put 2 oz of boiling water in a bowl and add an ounce of the paste. Stir until it dissolves and see how clear the mixture is. Slightly cloudy means that the soap is done. If it looks very cloudy or milky, cook the soap paste some more. If your test mix cools and stays clear, you can move on to diluting the paste.

6. Bring your 40 oz of water to a boil and add it to your soap paste. Use a spoon or your potato masher to stir. Put the lid back on, turn off the slow cooker and leave it for around an hour.

7. Stir again and then leave overnight to dissolve some more.

8. The next morning, turn your slow cooker on and bring the soap mixture to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit or so.

9. Make a 20 percent boric acid solution to neutralize your soap. Use 3 oz of borax to 6 oz of boiling water.

10. Make sure it stays hot, and add 2 oz of the neutralizer to your soap mixture a little at a time.

Dolce & Gabbana

11. While the mix is still hot, add your color and your chosen fragrance if you want to. It can be a great idea to choose a smell that complements other scents you wear, whether that is Dolce & Gabbana or a Burberry eau de toilette.


12. Let the soap rest for a week before decanting.