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I get a lot of compliments on my hand soap, so I thought it was high time that I share my recipe with you folks. This liquid hand soap recipes works great, has lots of customization options and is very simple to make. Not only will you feel confident that you are using pure and natural ingredients on your family, you will also save some money too. If you’ve been a reader for a while you will know that I love my sustainable and natural ways… but I also like to be as frugal as possible. This liquid hand soap covers both of those categories quite nicely.

When I started looking for hand soap recipes I found most of them quite heavy on the castile soap side. Being frugal (have I mentioned that I’m frugal?) I was curious if I could make an effective product with less Dr. Bronners. So if you are comparing my recipe to others you will notice that I use about half the amount of castile soap than others do. I’ve been making this soap for almost five years now and it works great! So my conclusion is that you don’t need to overdo it with the castile soap to still have an effective product.


DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support myself and my herbal clinic, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any product or services from this blog. I truly appreciate all the support you have shown my blog and my business and I will only ever recommend products that I use myself, truly love or covet. Many thanks. 


Distilled Water

Distilled water is simply water that has had all of it’s impurities removed through a distillation process. You will find that most hand soap recipes (including mine) call for distilled water. You can find distilled water at most grocery stores or you can also make it yourself (which I personally haven’t tried). But if you want a moment of truth… I tend to use the water from my Berkey. Eek I know right? But I’ve been using regular old filtered water for almost two years now and I haven’t had any problems with this recipe at all.  My thoughts are that distilled water is likely more important when you are making homemade bar soaps.



How to Customize This Recipe 

There are two basic ways to customize this recipe and here they are:

  • Using a hydrosol instead of water
  • Adding/using essential oils

Hydrosols are a byproduct of the essential oil distillation process; they are often referred to as floral or flower waters. My favourite hydrosol to use when making hand soap is lavender, but rose, tea tree or helichrysum are also very nice. Simply substitute the hydrosol for all or some of the distilled water in the recipe.

Another great way to customize is by using essential oils. As apart of this post I will include my recipe for a “thieves” blend of essential oils which is one of my favourite blends to use (find it near the bottom of this post). You can choose to add some essential oils or keep them out entirely. The choice is yours.


A Note About Septic Systems

As a rural country dweller I, like many people, have a septic system instead of city water. When we lived in they city I LOVED my thieves blend of essential oils in my hand soap, but I started to wonder if the anti-bacterial properties of these essential oils would cause issues for my septic system.

Alas, after much research the answer I came up with was “I dunno”. Not helpful at all eh? Most of my research did turn up that many septic users tend to use more natural products and this included essential oils. But other than anecdotal evidence, I didn’t come up with anything concrete saying “yes” they are safe or “no” they are not, except this one article from a septic company in the states. They state that essential oil containing products are a safe and great alternative to the harsher chemicals found in store bought cleaners.

In general anti-bacterial products and septic systems should NOT be friends. Your septic system needs bacteria to help break down waste products. So all of those fancy anti-bacterial hand soaps, laundry detergents, dish soaps and other products don’t do your septic system (or your body) any favours. However when you opt to make a natural product using essential oils, they are nowhere near as harsh as most chemical products available.

So I continue to use some essential oils in my homemade products, but I do dilute them quite a bit and use them sparingly. I like to play it safe… especially since septic systems are extremely expensive to replace!



Herbal Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

Homemade hand soap recipes are liquidy and there is not way around that; they will not be thick and creamy like store bought soaps. So I prefer to apply the soap to dry hands, wash hands thoroughly with the soap and then rinse under water.

I absolutely love my mason jar soap dispenser! Although it’s not necessary to have one of these, they are super cute aren’t they? This is where I got the lid dispenser from. If you don’t want to go the mason jar route, any old jar with the pump lid will do, including reusing an old bottle from your previous hand soap.

This recipe will make 500ml of herbal liquid hand soap.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of distilled (see note above) water
    • Optional: use your water to make a herbal tea and use this tea in your soap (see above)
  • 6 tbsp of organic Liquid Castile Soap
  • 2 tbsp of organic vegetable glycerine
    • This is to add moisturizing properties to your hand soap. Many folks add almond or coconut oil as an alternative to the glycerine, but again I have a septic system and oils are not an option for me. But if you live on city water this might be a nice option for you.
  • 25 drops of essential oils (total)
    • tea tree, lavender, rosemary, lemon, grapefruit, eucalyptus or a thieves blend (see below) are the most common ones I use


Thieves Blend of Essential Oils 

The story of how the four thieves vinegar blend came into being is quite a fascinating one and I highly recommend you take the time to read about it one day. For now I will simply show you how to make your own thieves blend using five common essential oils. The amounts below are what I use when making 500ml of hand soap.

  • 8 drops of clove essential oil
  • 7 drops of cinnamon leaf or bark essential oil
  • 4 drops of lemon, orange or grapefruit essential oil
  • 3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops of rosemary essential oil


The amount of essential oils I use is very low – far less than a 1% dilution (which would be 100 drops for 500 ml of liquid). I do this because essential oils are powerful and should be used sparingly, because I’m on septic and because a little goes a long way. You can choose to add more to this recipe if you’d like, but I would suggest not going above a 1% dilution.


Happy hand washing,

P.S. Please pin for future reference and to share in the herbal hand soap love 😉