DIY – Making a gallon of liquid soap for $4

Things I love:

Saving money
Yummy smelling things
EASY projects

This DIY project was perfect for me! I took 2 bars of soap and made them turn into more than a gallon of liquid soap! So awesome. The two bars of soap were $2.99 together and the glycerin was $1.19.

What you need:

A grater
2 bars of soap (I used pomogranite rose… so good!)
2 tablespoons glycerin (get it in the medical aisle. weird, I know! here’s some online)
1 gallon water
A big ole pot


What to do:

1. Grate all the soap
2. Put all “ingredients” in the pot. (2 bars grated soap, 2 tablespoons glycerin, 1 gallon water)
3. Put stove on medium until all the soap is dissolved
4. Turn off stove and let it be for 10-12 hours. After a couple of hours it will harden a bit and turn cloudy
5. Pour it into an empty milk carton, an old “refill” soap container, reusable soap dispensers, a beer growler (WHO would do that?! Oh right, we did.)

All soaps are made differently – if yours is too runny, remelt with more grated soap. If it’s too hard, add more water.

And you’re done! Super fast and now you’ll have soap forever. Enjoy your soap!

2018-06-20T12:52:30+00:00 November 22nd, 2011|DIY Projects & Life Hacks|44 Comments


  1. Louisa Johnson March 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    All of these look so awesome and I should do them. I will as soon as we getback from our vacation thank you so much

  2. Pamela Womack March 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Is this any kind of bar soap?

  3. SesaFe March 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I can’t wait to try this one! If I ever find liquid soap in a scent that doesn’t make me want vomit, it costs a million dollars. Here’s my solution! :)

  4. Jennifer March 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I just did this yesterday- TIP- Dove soap does not work. Trust me I know. It smells amazing but is watery probably due to the intense moisturizer. We will use it up though and continue to make our own body wash forever. Philosophy products truly do cost a million dollars but are heaven- the cleanest smell ever- well, you can buy Philosophy in BAR soap and melt away- I plan on making ‘manly’ body wash for my son and his new apartment- so experiment girls- just don’t use Dove.

  5. Lesa March 16, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Just wondering if you have ever thought about or plan on putting any post to buttons on your site ? As in Facebook or Pinterest etc ? Because I would so like to be able to share your wonderful recipes and hints with others too…. Thanks !

  6. Karel March 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    when i make this soap should i use a hard soap?, to start with. i have tried Ivory and im thinking it is to soft. Do you have homemade recipe for Dish soap?

  7. Traci March 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    It sounds like you can use the softer soaps such as dove or ivory you just need to use more soap or less water.

  8. vassilica April 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I made this liquid soap a while ago but it ended up with mildew in the containers. How can i prevent that from happening?

  9. Cindy April 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I’ve had great results using Dove. The ratio is one bar to two cups water. (I made a batch of 3 bars and 6 cups water). I did NOT use glycerin in my recipe.

  10. Cindy April 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I should add that it’s nice and thick like body wash!

  11. Danita April 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    What’s glycerin? Is that by chance what would make it antibacterial? Is there any way to make antibacterial?

  12. Betty May 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Irish Spring soap works well (1 bar soap to 4 C water)….a stick blender is WONDERFUL to mix everything after it has all softened.

  13. Lynnette May 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    You can make it antibacterial by adding Theives essential oil from (I’m not in any way associated with them). I would probably add about 10 drops in a gallon. It would also scent the soap (cloves/cinnamon) too so may want to use an unscented soap.

  14. Bobbie May 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I am going to try this, I love thieves!!

  15. Shagbark May 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Used a 12oz. Bar of Asquith and Somerset French lavender given to me as a gift. Followed your directions although I didn’t measure the water -just guessed at it Omitted the glycerin. After mixture cooled, I used hand blender and water to get the consistency I wanted and it smoothed out nicely. Added red and blue food coloring to make the mixture a pretty purple. added lavender essential oil to punch up the scent. Ended up with a little more than 3 quarts when all said and done. Easy process and I’ll continue to do this when hand soap supply runs slow. Thanks for the tute!

  16. [email protected] May 27, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Can I use scented Glycerin Soap?
    If so what adjustments do I need to make?

    Will I Still have to use the spoons of Glycerin in the recipe?

  17. lidico May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Soap is antibacterial by definition, so there is really no need to add anything to it to make it antibacterial.

    “There is no need for an antibacterial agent – regular soap works just fine. Antibacterial soaps are thought to lead to antibiotic resistance”.

  18. Lauie June 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I have made the soap and it turned out very slimming rather gross. Does the glycerin to that? Or maybe the kind of soap I used? It was some French soap.

  19. claudia July 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Do you know if you can use a homemade goat soap?

  20. Michelle July 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    The glycerin…can it be vegetable glycerin? Is that same thing?

  21. diplocase July 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    you can add 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil per cup of soap for a natural antibacterial effect. Buy it at health food stores or the homeopathic section of the drugstore.

  22. […] to find an unscented soap so it is easier on our allergies.  The “recipe” I used came from The Burlap Bag, and, of course, was posted on […]

  23. Daisy October 13, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Recipe that’s great:
    1/2 bar of pure soap, grated (about 1 cup)
    must use real soap, nothing with moisturizer already added, try Ivory
    5 cups hot water
    no need for it to be boiling, just warm enough so it will melt soap shavings
    1 T glycerin
    easy to find at the drugstore in the pharmacy section
    1/2 T oil
    you can use coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, the choice is yours
    1/2 T dish soap
    this helps to create some lather
    Drops of essential oil (tea tree for antibacterial properties)

    Grate 1/2 bar of soap and put shavings into a large heat-proof bowl.
    Add hot water to bowl and gently whisk until soap has dissolved.
    Pour in glycerin, oil, and dish soap.
    Whisk gently to incorporate.
    Let your soap cool – this will take at least TWO HOURS.
    Whisk again and you should notice things have thickened up to a “snot” consistency.
    Use a funnel to pour liquid soap into an existing dispenser.
    Store leftovers for another day.

    Tip: shake the dispenser every so often, it seems to help with lather and keeps things incorporated, and if things get too thick, add a touch of water. Optional: you can add a few drops of essential oil to the mix if you’d like a customized scent.

  24. Daisy October 13, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Ps. Got recipe from Steven & Chris

  25. Alex November 30, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Made it. loved it. slimey texture ‘n all :) now i make it for everyone ^_^

  26. Ashley December 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Great gift idea! Thanks!

  27. kari December 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Dove soap will only work if you lower the water content… I use 2 cups water for one bar of the dove moisture bar (olay moisture bar works the same). it may not make a gallon of body wash but it does make a good amount of creamy body wash (not slimy at all) :D

  28. LadyDamonayde January 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I made this a month ago with distilled water and a homemade castile soap. Now there’s these little “Beads” in it. It looks almost like the soap is trying to solidify. Is this normal or has the batch spoiled? I use it as a base for several things so I don’t want to be washing with spoiled soap.

  29. MollyMalone January 27, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I actually make my own soap from olive oil and do this. If you can find handmade/homemade soap it will work just fine, plus you avoid all the petrochemicals in regular soap bars. I just rough chop my soap and put it into a bottle and add water to cover it. Shake every so often, when you think of it, to dissolve. If you forget to shake it, don’t worry, it dissolves just the same. If it’s too thick, add more water. This takes me about 3 days, I just keep the jar or bottle under the kitchen sink. If it separates don’t worry, shake it all up and it will go back together. Some batches have to be shaken several times.

    To prevent mold/mildew in your container you need to add a preservative. Anytime there is water, there is the possibility of mold growth. I use peppermint essential oil from http://www.mountainroseherbs. Essential oils are antibacterial etc. and peppermint is a strong one, plus it smells nice. Lavender or sweet orange is nice too. I’ve been making soap for over 10 years and I’ve never had a problem with mold, and I’ve stored soap for more than a year.

  30. Rachelle February 1, 2013 at 1:17 am

    MollyMalone, I’ve done that with bar soap too…I use old bar soap to make liquid soap for basic cleaning. I’m curious how you make your olive oil soap though…will you share that? :)

  31. Greta March 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm


  32. Kelly Vandivier May 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    lovely tutorial, definitely going to have to try!

  33. lucia June 24, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I have made this twice and it has comes out witht his goopy texture and it does not really foam when you use it. Any ideas how to make is smoother and more foamy

  34. barb June 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Is this recipe for hand soap or body wash? Or, both? I noticed one person’s recipe said to use dish soap – I can’t imagine using dish soap on my body. Just wondering. I’m interested in alternatives and want to learn. Thanks!

  35. marian fisher July 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Can u use this in your l.g washing machine (front loader)

  36. […] found this recipe  on pinterest to make a gallon of liquid soap out of your favorite bar soap. This will save you a […]

  37. Whitney October 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    This is AMAZING! So excited to try this!

  38. Top 10 Best DIY Liquid Soaps - Top Inspired October 14, 2013 at 9:35 am

    […] DIY project and photo credit to […]

  39. […] Fun gift to make for everyone. Find the instructions at The Burlap Bag […]

  40. Valerie November 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Added this to a blog post I wrote and cited you: Thank you for blogging some great crafts!

  41. Carol December 11, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I use the same recipe basically, but I always boil my water first to remove bacteria and other nasties in tap water. The soap disolves more quicky too. I have used the off brand at K Mart for the Dove unscented, and it came out fantastic! Now I can add EO to individual bottles, and have total control over scent and ingredients. I have also had good luck using Kirk’s Castile, but it took 2 days to thinken up! Worth the wait tho! Thanks for posting this!

  42. Amanda April 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Do I cover the pot while it is “sitting”?

  43. Summer March 29, 2015 at 8:33 am

    CINDY!!! Guys, Cindy is a genius. My family and guests complained about my watery, stringy, homemade liquid soap, but Cindy’s idea about a bar of Dove and 2 cups of water is PERFECT. I got a lot of Dove bar soap on sale once, and now I can make hand soap everyone loves for only 5c per ounce. This is much more expensive than the glycerin recipe, but for something homemade to work in my house, it actually has to function as a good replacement for its store-bought counterpart. You don’t even need to let it sit for hours before pouring the luxurious creamy soap into soap dispensers. Bravo, Cindy, for a savings experiment my whole family will thank me for!

Comments are closed.