How to Make Liquid Soap at Home, Step by Step

Have you ever wondered how to make liquid soap at home, step by step? There’s something quite magical and exciting about making your very own homemade liquid soap, if you ask us – it’s something we absolutely love, and we’re pretty confident you’ll have just as great an experience. However, when making liquid soap, it’s important to start with the ideal recipe and method to make the most of the ingredients you’ve used. Luckily, though, we’ve outlined some of the key things you need to know about making homemade liquid soap; hopefully, this might also help your decision. 

After all, it’s great fun, affordable, and could even help you save money on your shopping while also enjoying the most delightful scents. So, why not try homemade soap for your goals, too? 

What is Homemade Liquid Soap? 

Before we go any further, we should first give a brief overview of homemade liquid soap. Liquid soap is, at its simplest, a liquified version of traditional soap bars. This feature can make it a valuable option to consider if you have trouble lathering up enough soap with a cold or hard-pressed soap recipe. 

By using a runnier liquid that doesn’t set, liquid soap is easier to apply and lather up on your hands, giving good coverage. It may also help prevent cross-contamination through surfaces, although you will need to ensure you have a bottle for the liquid soap before making it. If you can get hold of one, we would highly recommend a push-pump bottle to deliver a single squirt of soap each time.

How to Make Liquid Soap at Home – Step by Step

We’ve briefly outlined what liquid soap is and how it differs slightly from traditional cold or hard-pressed soaps. But is it even possible to make your very own liquid soaps?

It can often seem like liquid soaps must rely on numerous complex chemicals, so making them at home should be impossible. We’re pleased to announce that this is a (very common) misconception. In fact, liquid soap uses roughly the same ingredients as cold and hard-pressed soap bars. The main difference is the proportion of these ingredients.

As such, it’s perfectly possible to make your own delicious homemade liquid soaps. However, we would recommend taking care with this to ensure you get the right recipe and balance of ingredients – and we’ve summarised a few key things you’ll need to make your liquid soap as follows.

What You’ll Need for Homemade Liquid Soap 

First of all – what do you need to make your own homemade liquid soap? Well, this varies slightly depending on the recipe you choose, but the basics you will need to make homemade liquid soap include the following.

First, you’ll need a choice of oil to help with your decision. This will often depend heavily on your preferences, but we recommend premium-quality sunflower and coconut oil for a smooth and luxurious finish. In addition, you’ll need some potassium hydroxide, distilled water (make sure it’s distilled, not just tap water, for the best results here!), boric acid, and finally, your choice of fragrances.

Of course, the choice of fragrance is entirely up to you – however, we would strongly recommend trying some essential oils for your scents, as they can be incredibly effective and deliver truly relaxing fragrances. If you wanted to push the boat out, you could also add a small amount of exfoliating materials or even some soap colorant, but these are completely optional.

We also recommend carefully considering the type of bottle you use, as this can have a big impact on your liquid soap. A foaming bottle, for example, will help your liquid soap come out in a gentle and luxurious format, which is well worth considering if you ask us! Fortunately, many of us have old soap bottles lying around, but if this is something you’ve always thrown out before, we’d definitely recommend investing in a good bottle after you’ve made your homemade liquid soap. Remember – you can reuse it even after you’ve run out for your next batches of liquid soap, too!

#1 Creating a Lye-Water Solution

The first step to making premium homemade liquid soap is making a lye-water solution. A lye-water solution is simply made by mixing five and a half ounces of potassium hydroxide flakes with 16 and a half ounces of distilled water. You should notice that this mixture begins to bubble quite violently while adding the mixture, so you should always add the potassium hydroxide flakes slowly to prevent a mess!

#2 Mixing Oils

Now that you’ve prepared your lye-water solution, you can begin looking at the body of the soap itself: the oils. Mix around 16 ounces of sunflower oil (or equivalent) with 7 ounces of coconut oil, and begin to heat gently. Eventually, you’ll want to get the oils up to around 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

#3 Add Lye to the Oil Mixture

Once you have finished heating the oils and the lye mixture is prepared, slowly add these together, stirring gently. This new mixture may appear determined to separate, but it needs a little patience, so keep going! Once you have begun incorporating the ingredients, you could consider using an electric blender to speed things up a little.

#4 Wait for the Trace

At this point, you’ll simply need to continue blending your mixture – we should note here that it’s not really possible to over-blend soap mixtures, so don’t be alarmed. You will want to continue mixing your soap mixture until it’s fully incorporated and begins to trace. This means that the liquid should “settle” on the surface when drizzled, like with making meringues. Once you notice this, the mixture is ready – in some cases, depending on the power of your mixer, it could take around half an hour.

#5 Heating the Mixture

Making liquid soap relies typically on a hot process, so at this point, you will now need to cook the soap paste. Its consistency should transform from thick applesauce to an almost translucent, petroleum jelly-type material; you’ll want to heat this gently and stir it every twenty minutes to prevent it from fully splitting. This will often take around three to four hours; once it’s done, all you need to do is dissolve the paste in a further 40 ounces of distilled water, bring it to the boil and leave for an hour to incorporate.

#6 Neutralizing the Soap Mixture

Bottling your soap should only be done after it’s fully dissolved, so we recommend leaving it to dissolve and incorporate it overnight after the last step. Then, simply heat the mixture to 180 degrees Fahrenheit before adding in a 20% Boric Acid, 80% water solution. You’ll want to add around 2 ounces of neutralizing solution to your mix (assuming a paste of around 2.8 pounds), then just add and fragrances or colors et voila – your new liquid soap is ready for bottling! 

Bonus: How To Make Liquid Soap from a Soap Bar

If you have a cold-pressed or hard-pressed bar of soap but want to give it a new lease of life, you could instead consider making it into liquid soap. This is an incredibly simple process since liquid soap and bar soap use roughly the same ingredients – although it’s a little bit time-consuming.

First, you’ll need to fill your pan with around three cups of water and bring this to the boil. Then, chop up your soap bar and add it to the pan of boiling water once it’s ready, stirring with a wooden spoon until the soap bar has fully dissolved. Then, simply stir in around one to one and a half teaspoons of glycerin and allow to cool before bottling.

Final Thoughts

If you have been looking for ways to make your own homemade soap, you’re in luck. Indeed, making liquid soap at home doesn’t actually have to be hard, and while this can seem somewhat challenging, there’s a lot to love about the process. It’s a fun crafts project and one that you’ll genuinely benefit from after – so we’d recommend learning how to make liquid soap at home and giving this recipe and method a try. Who knows – it might just change your buying habits for the better!

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