Homemade Body Wash

Make your own body wash with just three basic supplies!

A few years ago, we decided (and by we, I mean “I decided” and dragged my boys along!) to try and cut out as many chemicals from our regular routine as possible. You know, clean up the things we clean ourselves up with? Well, some of it was super easy to change out (hand soap and face toner), other stuff not so much (“no poo”).

One of the easier things in our routine to swap out with something more natural was body wash. We made the switch to Dr. Bronner’s early on and after figuring out that the peppermint variety was a bit too harsh on some of our neatherbits, we’ve been using the Almond Castile Soap ever since.

Now, before I get much further, I should say that this post is not, in any way, anti-Dr. Bronner’s. I absolutely love everything of theirs (including the crazy label!) but we were going through so much of their soap and it’s not cheap. I’m not pointing any fingers here but someone in our house is a bit heavy in the hand when applying the liquid soap. (Hi, Jim!) You add in the fact that we also use a diluted version of the soap for our diaper wipes…and well, we’re going through a lot of this stuff!

Something had to be done…

Use a bar of soap, water and glycerine to make your own body wash!

Thanks to a recipe I found on numerous websites (so many of you can’t be wrong!), I was able to make three quarts of body wash for $4.99. Awesome, right? Granted, I already had the glycerin so the next time I make a batch of body wash, it’ll cost a little bit more but glycerin is pretty inexpensive and can be found at most drug stores.

Homemade Body Wash

Materials:
pure Castile soap bar, grated (I like Dr. Bronner’s Almond)
– 12 cups water
2 tbsp glycerin

Instructions:

  1. Bring the water to a soft simmer, add the soap and stir until completely melted.
  2. Turn off heat and add glycerin.
  3. Cover and allow to set for 24 hours.

Homemade Body Wash: Spout top

After allowing to set, just transfer the soap to either an old body wash bottle or to mason jars. I added a silicon gasket to my lid for easy pouring. We’ll see if it helps with conservation efforts! (Hi Jim!)

Homemade Body Wash: Compare

So there you have it. Depending on what type of soap you buy, you could feasibly make three quarts of body wash for under five bucks! Which leaves you money to buy more of all the other awesome natural products (like Dr. Bronner’s) out there! :D

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Comments

  1. says

    That sounds amazing! We need to get a little better about using more natural products. Making them would certainly cut down on the cost…

  2. Sue says

    Have to try this one. Always looking for cheap alternatives to the stuff we use everyday. Thanks.

  3. Bridget says

    Love the post, I was wondering if you are using just one bar of grated soap? I love making anything I can by hand. I can’t wait to try it.
    Thanks for the info.

  4. Lucy Pumkinjack says

    I tried this and there seems to be a step missing. Mine did not make even one quart of body wash. was there supposed to be additional water added? If so, shouldn’t you say so in the instructions?

  5. Ruth says

    Definitely need to try this. How thick is this? I’ve seen other recipes that don’t dilute with as much water and was wondering if you like the thickness. Thanks a bunch!

    • says

      It’s pretty thin (which we’re use to after using Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap) but you can thicken it with just a little bit more glycerin. Don’t add too much, though, it’ll turn out like jelly! :D

      • Kristy says

        So mine is clear, not white like your picture, and water thin — even with a total of 10 Tbs of glycerin. Is there any hope of thickening???? Thanks for your help!

      • says

        Whoa, that’s a lot of glycerin! Try putting the whole thing in the fridge for a day and see if that helps the glycerin set. I should warn you, though, with that much glycerin, you might end up with a ball of soap jelly! Keep me updated, we’ll figure this out! :)

      • VE says

        Tried this last night and mine is also water thin and clear…pretty yuck. I’ll put it in the fridge. Are there different types of glycerin? The glycerin I you’d was clear, Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – Food grade. Can’t buy the one you linked to as they don’t ship to Australia.

      • Patricia says

        I’ll try Walgreens. I got it at our local health food store, and it was pretty expensive. I’ve never used it straight. Is it concentrated or can you use it straight out of the bottle?

  6. Melony says

    Could you create your own scents with the soaps by using 1/2 a bar of Almond and 1/2 a bar of Rose?

  7. says

    Looks easy enough. I tried a similar recipe a while back and it never got really smooth, stayed kinda lumpy so the soap dispenser would clog up. I was so diappointed! How does yours fare after it’s been sitting?

      • Grace says

        I haven’t had this clog a soap dispenser yet and I’ve been using it a few months for hand soap! For body soap I used an old, glass dressing bottle since it has a little spout… I found that worked really well to dispense it! :)

    • Kate says

      Did you use distilled water? I did. Mine was also still clear and the same consistency as water when I left for work this morning. I’ll check again when I get home but the water is the only thing I can think of that I accidentally did differently…

  8. Karmin says

    Hey I’ve just attempted this – was wondering if it’s suppose to be a yellowy-clear liquid before setting? Thanks heaps for sharing!

    • says

      Mine was more of a cloudy white but I’m beginning to think that everyone’s will be kinda different based on their water source. Try putting it in the fridge for a day or so if you have any problems with the glycerin not setting!

      • karmin says

        It worked amazingly i actually did put it in the fridge great minds think alike lol!! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. says

    Hello! I’m crazy for this kind of thing, but lately I’ve been having problems with separation. Have you run into this? Also, can you explain how the glycerin thickens the product, as this has not seemed to work in my soaps.

    Thanks!
    Gili

    • says

      Hmm, I didn’t have a problem with separation but you could always try blending it a bit and then popping it in the fridge to help the glycerin thicken. Hope that helps!

  10. Leslie says

    I love Dr. Bronner’s soaps! I’ve just purchased a bottle of the liquid baby mild to make some face wash. Can you think of a way that I could use the liquid soap in this recipe? I’d LOVE to try this out but I would also like to try and use what I have. Thanks!

    • says

      I’m not 100% sure but I think I read on someone’s blog that you can just dilute the liquid Dr. Bronner’s soap 1 part soap/3 parts water. Definitely test it before you waste a whole bottle though!

    • donna says

      add a little more water and use an electric beater or whisk to whip it up smooth. Only add a little at a time and make sure it’s hot water. You can always add more water til it gets the consistency you like.

  11. donna says

    I made this using Kirk’s Castile, water,glycerin, and sunflower oil. I now have plenty of body wash that moisturizes as well. It lathers nicely, and a little goes a long way. I have friends asking if they can have some, Yep. Very willing to share my 50 something ounces of body wash! The total cost: somewhere around $4.00.

  12. Kara says

    I tried this yesterday and I’m happy with results :). I put it in fridge overnight and it was a large gelatin mass this morning. I used my hand mixer to break it up and it slowly turned it a more “snotty” consistency. Tried it in shower this morning and it seems good :). I think the only thing I’d change is to add some essential oils, as there’s not much scent to it. FYI, I bought my glyclerin on Amazon, after having no success finding it at pharmacies. I used lavender castile soap bar. Thank you! This was fun!

  13. says

    Dr. Bronner’s is great, I mix just a little with olive oil and caster oil to make a wonderful face cleanser for my dry skin.

  14. says

    I was wondering if this could be made using any kind of bar soap?. I have Olive Oil bar soap and it’s organic/natural and I thought it might work…thoughts?

  15. Dani says

    I think this is a wonderful beginning! Adding my own scents (if desired, that is) helps me a lot since I have Leukemia and have to be very careful about what I put on my skin, since anything put on skin winds up in the blood stream. Thanks for the article. The only thing I would do different is to use a recycled plastic bottle in the actual shower, just in case it gets dropped. Refilling that from the mason jars is a good idea. If you vacuum seal the mason jars (just google “vac seal Mason jars” and you will find lots of videos on the subject) and you will lengthen the shelf life to about 9 months, if not more, depending on the additives or fragrances you added. The sealing draws most of the oxygen out, keeping bacteria at bay. Also, try looking up “Crock Pot Soap” and if you can be brave/industrious enough to do that, you will not have to buy any soap to make this with. Then apply this article’s method to make it into liquid body wash and you have further reduced the cost per oz. :) Thanks again for a great article! Now my daughter will be happy in the shower, as well since she prefers the liquid wash to the solid bars. :)

  16. Raluca says

    Hi,

    I’m from Europe, ROMANIA and we don’t really have castille soap here… Could you tell me what else shoudl I use? Can I add some essential oils?

    Thanks!

    • kd says

      can you order over the internet into Romania?…that would be a good way to get hold of it. But I imagine any castile soap would work. Shes just using dr bonners

  17. darlene maitland says

    question….why do you have to add soap. isn’t there a all natural. my skin and hair are so sensative, due to fibromyalsia. I wash my hair with baking soda, rinse, apple cider vinegar, rinse, homemake rosemary water. my hair is very long past my hips. It took a long time to get my hair virgin again but now I would never wash any other way again. I love my hair again! after I wash my body with baking soda. any ideas to add would be great. just a natural 54 yr. old hippy.

    • April says

      Castille soap is all natural. It is a vegetable oil soap. The sodium hydroxide that is used to make the bars solid is sourced from halophite plants.

  18. Rhonda says

    Does it matter what type of glycerin is used? I used now vegetable glycerine and mine is also watery and clearish.

  19. Chelsea says

    I just made this yesterday and it worked great. I used Dr. Brommer’s almond soap and vegetable glycerin that I bought at Natural Grocers. It makes A TON. I filled an old shampoo bottle plus another large tupperware. After making it, I let it sit overnight. When I checked it in the morning, it looked watery with a large white-ish mass of soap. I gave the bottle a good shake and the consistency is perfect. It didn’t lather up as much as a typical store bought brand, but it does the job and smells nice. Next time I think I’ll try a different scented soap or add an essential oil for added scent! thanks for the recipe and instructions =)

  20. Mary says

    I’m in Australia and have made this with velvet soap. It appears that you can use any soap that is pure soap. I used the glycerin just from the supermarket shelf. Glycerin only makes it smooth, the pure soap on it’s own gels quite nicely. If it is too runny then put it back on the stove and add more grated soap, if it’s too thick then add more hot water and stir/beat it in thoroughly.

  21. Kathleen says

    I tried making this soap yesterday. I followed the directions completely. It’s been sitting now for 24 hrs and I went to check on it and the soap has separated again. Any thoughts as to why this happened?

    • says

      Ooo, I’ve been wanting to try out homemade detergent but I’m worried it’ll be too harsh on our cloth diapers. Definitely will try once Max is potty trained!

      • Mamaofbabes says

        I use cloth nappies {down in NZ} and make my own washing powder using half baking soda/half dense soda ash {its a form of washing soda}. I have a big steel washing powder container so its about 10 cups of each, alternated, then a scoop in the wash. Never had any probs with buildup or anything on my nappies, probably bc theres no soap. Might be worth a try :)

        Thanks for this recipe. I make all our soap but my babes love body wash so this is perfect!

      • Judy says

        Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent: Dissolve into hot water, 3 Tbs. 20-Mule Team Borax and 3 Tbs. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Let it cool and add 2 Tbs. Dawn Dishwashing Detergent and enough water to make 1/2 gallon. Use about 1/2 cup per load of laundry.
        Works great for me…low suds. Also, adding vinegar (1/2 – 1 cup) to the rinse cycle is always a good thing to do for people with delicate skin.

  22. Samantha says

    I really want to make this but I am allergic to glycerin. I have to be really careful to buy products without it. Is there a substitute for it?

    • Gail says

      You do not have to use glycerin in it. You can use less water or add more soap to make it thicker. Also, I have read some recipes where they add 1 tsp of vitamin E oil. There are a few recipes online for body wash/ liquid soap. Some recipes add other oils.
      As far as I’ve read, Castille soap is just soap made with olive oil. However, you can make this recipe using other soaps.. Also, you can use all kinds of wonderful essential oil scents, even combining scents.
      I tried a similar recipe, unfortunately, mine is about as thin as water. After reading online about this, I’m wondering if the problem with the soap not thickening after 24 hours might be because of my soap choice, Kirk’s castile soap, or because of the glycerin that I found near the band aids at the pharmacy. I cannot blame the thin soap on the water I used in the recipe, because I only used 6 cups. Thank you for the tip about refrigerating this overnight to make thicker, I’ll have to try that.
      Thanks for all of the tips & ideas! :)

      • tami says

        I am about to try this. I have read up on the gylcerin, and the only it sounds like the stuff you can buy (in stores) is all the same except, whether it matters to you if it is all veg or if made from animals. I am wondering if some is turning out thin because of the size of the bar. I picked up a small bar that is half the size of Dr Bonner’s. So I will be reducing the amount of water. Online it says Dr Bonner’s is 5 oz. Well guess I will go give it a try

  23. Megan says

    I am new to the bodywash making and just had a few questions. Could I put this in the fridge before the 24 hr period to help it set or do I need to wait the full 24 hrs covered sitting out? After the 24 hr period if its still runny do I put more glycerin in it and then put it in the fridge or just sit it in the fridge without adding any?

    • says

      I would let it sit outside of the fridge for the full 24 hours and then if it’s still runny, put it in the fridge. If it’s STILL runny, heat it up again with a little more glycerin and repeat the process. Good luck!

  24. Paulette McHugh says

    Hi, I was wondering what your recipe is for the baby wipes? My grand daughter get a rash from those other wipes they sell. We rinse them before we use them to avoid all those chemicals. Any help would be appreciated, thanks in advance.

    Paulette

  25. says

    Hi Vanessa!

    Put your Bonner’s in those little drink drop containers (like Mio) and this will help with those who use too much. : ) I found this out when I broke my hand and couldn’t hold the big bottle. BTW if you transfer your Bonner’s into a smaller container, you can even buy the gallon size for about $60 and save yourself some $$$.

  26. Valerie says

    Hi. This was my first attempt at making homemade body soap. I followed the directions, using a 4 oz bar of soap. After 24 hours of sitting out, it was still very, very runny, so I put it into the fridge for 24 hours. After that 24 hours, it completely separated with the soap in this gelatinous mass on the bottom and water on the top. No amount of stirring could mix it back together. So my husband decided to heat it up just enough to get it not-separated. It’s been sitting out for 24 hours, and is back to its original runny, basically water consistency. I am at a loss for what to do next. Any suggestions?

  27. Erin says

    Do you use a special kettle just for this recipe? Not sure if the scent of the soap would transfer to the pot and then maybe it can’t be used for cooking anymore?

      • Erin says

        Thanks! Just wanted to let you know I made the body wash and it turned out exactly as you said! I followed your recipe exactly. After reading some of the other comments I was nervous because even after 12 hours of sitting covered, it was still very liquid and yellowish. But when I woke up this morning (right around the 24-hour mark), it was white and silky smooth. Awesome!

  28. Erin says

    Do you know if this body wash will stay good indefinitely? Just curious, because I think it will take us quite a while to get through all 3 quarts! :-)

    • says

      We’ve been going through our 3 qts for 6 months now without any problems. There’s some slight separation with the last quart that a little shaking took care of. I’m so glad to hear it worked out for you!

  29. Haydee says

    I very excitedly tried this and I love having a natural and frugal body wash…However it turned out jelly like even tough I did not use extra glycerin….maybe my soap had more than enough already? I have been using it this way in the shower but it keeps slipping off of my loofa because of the jelly like consistency. I don’t mind the small struggle but I feel its wasteful…is there a way to fix my jelly-like body wash…maybe by heating it up again and adding water? or should I leave it be and adjust for my next batch? Thank you

  30. says

    Hi

    I tried and loved this (though my husband isn’t super thrilled with the snot-like consistency) and just wanted to note that I didn’t leave mine out for 24 hours. I left mine for about 4-6 hours and couldn’t understand the reasoning behind leaving it out so bottled it then. It thickened up in the bottle within an hour. I’m assuming this had something to do with mixing it all up in the process of bottling. In any case, it worked for me!

    (though I may try the 24 hour thing with a hand blender next time as the slippery consistency is resulting in a lot of wastage)

    • says

      I’m sure that would be fine. The only issue I foresee would be if the soap doesn’t set and you have to add a little bit more glycerine. You’d have to pour out all the soap into a pot to re-heat it up.

  31. Jordan says

    Hi, i was wondering if the almond scent is still detectable after it’s been diluted? i just LOVE the smell of almond butter and was hoping to find a recipe that used the almond castile soap. Do you find this soap hydrates, and is it antibacterial in any sense? ( i once had a body wash the said on the label it contained no soap of any sort, how scary is that!?) hope to hear back soon so i can make a batch of this! :)

  32. Laura Moench says

    I was wondering why it needs to set for 24 hours and if I could just pour it into mason jars and let it set that way.

  33. Jordan says

    Update, I have made a batch of this and it is WONDERFUL! I did add 2 tsp of pure almond extract to bump up the smell. I was worried it wasn’t setting up so I let it sit for over 24 hrs. I also gave the pot a swirl(big mistake, it caused the soup to solidify in s ring, which looked strange. I whisked it all together and left it a bit longer, and it was fine)
    one issue I had was putting it into the jars. I had the bright idea to get the canning funnels and to pour it, and 1L worth wound up on the FLOOR! Won’t be doing that again! Lol!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am hoping my boyfriend likes it and starts using it also. :)

  34. Samantha S says

    I made this without the glycerin and it came out slimy like snot. Does the glycerin prevent this from happening?

  35. Michelle says

    I made this according to directions using “kirk’s” Castile soap. It does not suds up like I expected it would. I’m thinking about putting it back into the pan, re-heating, and then add about a tablespoon of castor oil to it. Castor oil works great for suds when I make my bar soap. What do y’all think?

  36. Dominique says

    Mine came out like snot as well..any tips anyone? I dont want it to go to waste, what can I add to make it better?

  37. Michelle white says

    Wait, I don’t mind the snotty texture. If you would address the original question I asked to begin with. I’m talking about the lack of suds. Would my recommendation to that problem work? Thank you.

  38. Lissa says

    OOoooh I love castor oil! Use it all the time. Let us know if it improves the suds Michelle. I make many homemade cleaning products with castille soap, and it’s true that it does not produce suds like store bought products. I read an explanation for this that stated that it’s not the suds that clean it’s the ingredients. I happen to agree after making and using many different soap recipes, but the lack of bubbles definitely takes some getting used to.

  39. Lissa says

    To clarify my sea salt post, salt will not thicken the mixture immediately may still take 24 hours to see complete results. I added 1 tbsp of sea salt to the body wash recipe as it was cooling to thicken it up a bit more. Salt removes water so end result is thicker but quantity is less.

  40. tami says

    well I made it. It’s only been an hour and it is starting to get a milky look to it. I hoping that that is a good sign. I didn’t have anything to scent it with,but I did have some Dr Bonner’s peppermint. I know that it can be a little stingy but I just put a squirt in the finished product,so hopefully that will be okay. Also I guess I didn’t totally catch the part about the 24 hrs. I just took it that it took that long to set up, so I poured it hot into jars.

  41. says

    I’ve searched high and low for the answer to this question, but why grated bar soap instead of liquid Dr. Bronner’s? I thought they were the same-ish, but what’s the difference? Thanks. =)

  42. Gennel says

    I’m crossing my fingers my body wash thickens up????
    I used 6 Dove bars , 6 cups of water and 1tbsp glycerin
    But I heated up the water, added the soap and glycerin at the same time…we shall see

  43. Andin says

    Let’s fix the snotty texture. Reduce the water into 7-8 cups only, then add 1 cup of any light oil. If you already had a gallon of snotty liquid soap in hand, don’t throw it away. Grate one more bar (around 4oz), reboil it, and add 2 cups of light oil. The end texture will be creamy and lathering, and lasts longer given the preservative contained in the soap isn’t dilluted into too much of water

  44. Dale says

    Good advice. Does the extra cup of light oil separate from the water? I grated a bar of my own homemade soap and cooked it, added some salt. It looked like cottage cheese so I blended and added more distilled water. I let it sit and the creamy soap is floating above the water. Do you think I added to much water? I superfat the bars so I do not think I would add anymore free oil. Thanks!

    • Andin says

      Ups, yes that’s too much water. Need to grate another bar. Water & soap don’t mix, nor water & oil. But when all of them are combined together, they blend in. This thing is like cooking, i honestly don’t use any measurement anymore. Just using my feeling. My suggestion is add another bar (small one), cook it again. Oh and, adding 1 tsp of sugar will also increase lather

  45. dusty says

    mine turned out well enough, except it doesn’t suds up well or stay sudsy long. is it normal to use a lot more of this soap than store bought soap?

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