Lia Griffith - handcraft your life on Facebook

Make Your Own Organic Castile Hand Soap + Printable Labels

DIY Organic Hand Soap The older I get, the more conscious I am about making my home chemical-free. One of the ways I do this is by choosing soaps, shampoos and cleaners that use all natural ingredients. I love almost everything that Seventh Generation makes as well as Dr. Bronner and am very excited to try Jessica Alba’s new products from The Honest Company. (I am not being paid to say this). These great brands are a bit more expensive than the chemical nasty versions, so one way I like to save is to make my own organic hand and liquid shower soap from Dr. Bronner’s organic, fragrance-free, pure-castile liquid soap. One of the wonderful things about castile soap is that it is made from 100% plant oils, no animal fat and no chemicals. It’s a true soap, not a chemical detergent, making castile soap completely biodegradable and very earth-friendly. This means it is also friendly to your skin and to your inner being. Another brilliant thing about this soap is that you can use it as a base for so many other natural cleaners, so of course I buy it in bulk. Today I refilled three of my soap dispenser bottles. I made lavender for the bathroom sink and shower and grapefruit for the kitchen. Not only does the kitchen soap work great on hands, but is makes a wonderful chemical-free wash for fruits and veggies. The castile soap is not thick and viscous like chemical soaps so adding water will make it even more of a liquid. I may look into how to add a natural thickener to this recipe only because it helps keep it in place longer to lather. For the bath soap my ratio was 1 cup of water to 2 ounces of castile soap for an extra strength soap. I added fragrance to my soaps with good quality essential oils. I love how the oils add just a touch of color to the soaps. They look so pretty in these glass bottles. Below you will find my tutorial and “recipe” and at the end of the post you can download and print these labels for the lavender and pink grapefruit fragrances. You can either print there on weatherproof labels or have the one side laminated in a matte finish. This will help preserve the lables. Enjoy! ~ Lia

Castile Hand Soap DIY Castile Lavender Soap Castile Grapefruit Soap HandSoapTutorial soaplabelbutton

  1. Hi! Can you tell me where you purchased your soap bottles from? I’ve looked online & haven’t been able to find them. They’re so pretty… I just love them.

    Thank You!

  2. Hi Lia! I want to know where I can fined the brown paper background you used on your lables.


  3. Going to try. I saw a comment about Young Living oils. I LOvE them. 100% pure EO. Here is my site if you want more information: young or FB @ medusa:solved and a wealth of oils. I’m ready to change up my chemical life

  4. The new soap bottles are beautiful and look very fancy! I love the idea, I’m just curious if its okay. So you are just adding oils and rebottling someone elses soap? Maybe to give away as gifts, but is it legal to sell?

  5. Lia,
    I LOVE this, been making it over a year! I now add that tsp. almond oil~perfection.
    This is a link to the original bottles you had it in, I have them and with your labels and my friends all go ‘oooooh.’ Gorgeousness.


  6. I made this soap but it is very drying on my hands. Any recommendations on what I could use to solve that, other than putting lotion on afterwards?

  7. Hi Lia,

    I hope all is well – wanted to ask you: why did you select the liquid form instead of the bar?

  8. Love this blog! You have a beautiful website! Thanks a lot for taking hours and hours of my time with your blogs and DIY projects! Haha This is my new favorite blog for sure!! So glad I found it!

  9. Can you then sell these products as your own even if using Dr. Bronner’s products as your base?

  10. Can you get the labels laminated at any store that does lamination?

  11. Do you know where I can get the labels laminated on one side in a matte finish? Love this tutorial, by the way.

    • Thanks! I would print the labels then go have them laminated on one side before you pull the sticky off. You may want to trim them first though since the punch may not print through the plastic.

  12. Hi Lia! How did you make your labels? I love them and would love to make some of my own!

    • I am a graphic designer so I design them in Adobe illustrator and print them onto label paper. You can use my templates that I share here in the article following this post.

  13. Hi Lia!
    Is this recipe a foaming hand soup? Where did you get these beautiful glass pump?

  14. Ohh lovely…. Thanks for sharing Lia.. I use print on regular paper to tape around bare bars of soap. Defiantly going to try this one… I am going to pin those beautiful images..

  15. So has there been any resolution to the thickening question? Did you get the glass foaming pump from BBB? Did that work? Thanks for the help!

  16. Can I use something other than distilled water? I have everything else on hand so I thought I’d check before going to the store. Thanks. :)

  17. I was wondering if you offer blank labels in event we try a different scent of essential oils. Thanks and can’t wait to try this for bridal shower favors!

  18. Lisa,
    My 9 year old granddaughter is coming for a weekend and she and I are going to make your hand-soap.can you tell me where to buy the glass bottles and essential oils please?.
    Thank you,
    Paula Gilbert

    • These bottles came from Ikea but I don’t think they have them anymore. I just bought foaming pumps that fit on mason jars to test and I got those on Etsy. That solves the too runny problem. As far as the essential oils, I get mine from a local garden shop that carries them in bulk, but you can find them in a health food store or even on Amazon.

  19. When using xanthan gum to thicken your soap you must use a hand mixer and mix the gum with the water for your soap for 5 minutes. Then add it immediately to your soap and essential oil mixture. I used 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum to 1 cup of distilled water and I got a great result! I only did this today so I’m unsure of how it will keep but so far so good!!!

    • Give me an update when you can! This sounds like it could be good. I use xanthan gum for my gluten free baking all the time.

      • Here is my update!

        It has been a week and a half, and the soap has held it’s consistency with the xanthan gum. The only negative thing I notice is that there is a smell to it. I used jasmine essential oil to scent the soap and the smell is almost as if the jasmine has “gone off”. I’m not sure why this has happened! It smelled great for the first week.

        I do intend on making it again, probably today, but this time I’m going to use lavender. I have seen other ideas where grating a bar of soap is recommended and the results are apparently quite nice! I expect I will be trying that in the near future as well.

        Love your blog!

  20. Sorry for my English, but I am Dutch. I will try it. I made the liquid handsoap. At first it was good. But after a few ours the soap was slimy. What can I do, or what did I wrong?

    • Hum. I think soap is a little slimy by nature. I would suggest using a foaming pump so that you do not feel that texture at all.

      • I uses a foaming pump. I made the liquid handsoap by myself.

        1 gallon of water
        100 gram ( I don’t know the size in English) soap and 1 soupspoon of glycerin.

        Last week i’ve try it again, without glycerin. It’s better now, but it’s still a little slimy. I don’t know why it is.

        • The glycerin will make is slimy for sure. I tried that too and ended up tossing that batch. Now I use the recipe I originally posted with a foaming pump and it is perfect.

          • It’s not so slimy now, but I have bubbles in the liquid soap. When I fill the dispenser, after a few days the dispenser is just half filled. What do I wrong??

            Sorry, I hope you can read my English..

          • Oh good! Glad that helped. It sounds like you may be mixing it in a way that adds air bubbles into your soap. Maybe carefully pour the ingredients together and mix slowly with a large spoon. That may help.

  21. My Sister Need this can you help me which one is the Best for my sis !!

    Majestic Mountain Sage

  22. If you use a spraybottle instead of a soapdispenser, then the very liquid consistens insn’t a problem

  23. I buy foaming hand soap at the dollar stores and empty them and then use my home made liquid soaps in them and it works well. Also use my more liquid body wash in them too. Should work and the bottles are only $1.00.

  24. I still believe that it is better to buy already liquid soap than to turn into it from a bar of soap. It is even more expensive than to buy really good liquid soap. For example I always buy mine, here- skysti muilai , just because it is ecologic, relatively cheap and high quality. Try :)

  25. Thanks for the recipe! I just made some and I added a little vitamine E oil for extra softness….the lavender smells great for the bathroom 😉

  26. Is it really liquid and splashes out if you push the pump too hard? or is thick enough, like a gel? :)

  27. Is there a way to use these same ingredients in a body wash?

  28. I just bought Dr. Bonner’s pure castile soap and was looking for a soap making recipe and found yours. Thanks so much.

    I’m going to add my Young Living essential oils – lavender for bath and lemon for kitchen.

    Great website Lia! :)

  29. Can you tell me where you bought your labels? Also where do you get distilled water or do you just boil water?

  30. I’m very new to all of the DIY product making. I’m all for getting rid of bad chemicals, but I need some help with being convinced that this formula of oils is really going to kill germs and keep my family healthy. Dr Bronners is all just oils as well. It just seems too easy. Please help! I’m all ears!

    • Well, I am not a chemist so maybe that is something the folks at Dr Bronners are better at answering. I know for myself I would rather not have the nasty chemicals and prefer the old fashioned way. I do know that many essential oils are a natural anti-bacterial as well as coconut oil. I use coconut oil for everything.

      • Thank you for your response. I am all for no nasty chemicals, but when I think of washing my hands after handling raw meat or changing in game dirty diaper, I want to know I’m truly disinfecting everything. I love this recipe and want to make my own batch. The bottles are adorable too! I enjoy your website :)

      • I too am no expert, but as a sous chef safe food handling is essential to my trade.

        Obviously, antibacterial soap contains chemicals that claim to kill 99% of the bacteria on your hands at that moment, so you are unlikely to transfer it to the next thing you touch, like the refrigerator door handle. But once you touch that handle you will pick up other germs. The antibacterial soap has no lasting effects.

        The best way to avoid the chemicals and make sure your hands are clean is to wash them with a mild soap properly and often. And since all that handwashing uses a lot of soap, making your own makes a lot of sense.

    • Why do you feel you need to KILL germs? That’s the brainwashing kicking in! All you need to do is get them off your hands and that simply requires water and friction. A little soap is nice, too, but there is no need for germ killing. Antibacterial soaps do more harm than good!

  31. I use cream of tartar for a natural thickener.

  32. Great website. Love your design work and fantastic tutorials. Can you please tell me where you you can find these cute glass pump bottles. I haven’t found anything like them.

    Thank you!

  33. I love Dr. Bronner’s Pure ~ I buy mine here:
    It’s $54.99 a gallon ~free shipping if you’ve got Amazon Prime.

  34. I have been making foaming soap for a few years now with Dr. Bronners castile soap, aloe vera gel, and essential oils. Lately the best price I have found for Dr. Bronners castile soap is through Vitacost. Their prices are cheaper than health food stores and even amazon. If you sign up you also get $10 off $30 coupon and free shipping above $25 on selected brands including Dr. Bronners.

  35. I say a lady on YouTube ” Aromahead Institute “making foaming liquid soap. She added Aloe Vera to the mix and some essential oils. Shuck it up and made a foaming soap. I am going to make it.

  36. Hi! I’m new to “soap making” and Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soaps. I’ve learned that I’m allergic to basically any product containing sulfates, as evidence can be seen on my fingers. I’ve been slowly trying to phase out products containing sulfates. I have made a mix of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender castile soap (liquid) with water and drops of tea tree oil (for anti-bacterial properties), but find that it’s a bit harsh and drying. I have the soap and want to use it, so I’m wondering if there is anything you would recommend adding to make it a “moisturizing” soap. Maybe coconut, jojoba, or grapeseed oil? I’m not sure and I don’t want to ruin the mix, so just wondering if anyone with more soap additive knowledge would know what and how much I could add to make it more beneficial to me. It’s also way too liquidy for my liking, so I’m hoping adding the moisturizing properties will help thicken it up :)


    • I have yet to try adding an oil but I am a HUGE fan of coconut oil. It also has an antibacterial property. I think the tea tree adds to the drying effect, though I love that one too. Maybe try a small batch adding in the coconut? It may not make it thicker unless it is cooler though. Coconut has a low melt point.

    • Try adding grapeseed oil and/or raw honey. I use castile soap,honey, grapeseed oil, and essential oils. Tea tree can be drying to some people’s skin. If nothing else, try just adding in more soap and water to lower the ratio of the tea tree oil.

    • You can add 1 tsp of any carrier oil – almond, jojoba, and avocado are a few of my favorites and are very nourishing! (Olive oil tends to be very drying for some skin types). Just make sure the carrier oils are unrefined and organic (to avoid chemicals and possible GMOs).


    • I added Glycerin to mine in order to initally make it thicker I hoped. It actually had the effect that it seems to make it less drying and have the more sticky effect that soap normally gives you. It did not make it thicker though, unfortunately. I tried salt which also didn’t seem to work. I also tried a batch w/ Guar Gum which actually seemed to work but thickened only a small portion of the soap at the bottom and it was then too thickened. I am still experimenting. It seems like the foaming dispensers are the way to go since my homemade ends up the same consistency as the foaming commercially made products look. I like the Dr. Bronner’s over chopping up a bar soap and mixing with water in a blender.

  37. I just found your website and love it! I also love the idea of being able to make my own hand soap. I’m hoping you will find a way to thicken the soap…. I will be following you now!

    I wish I could find those bottles you used. The IKEA links offered in the comments just take you to a main page. I searched but was unable to find them. I did find this bottle which is similar (but I like yours better):

    A really good source of quality pure essential oils at really reasonable prices is Sparks Naturals. You should have a look:

    I follow two really great websites (you definitely should check them out!) that both offer 10% off to their customers at Spark Naturals. The codes are “Jillee” and “CampWander”.

    • I will let you all know when I find a good solution. I know it is out there! I have a a sad feeling that Ikea no longer sells that pump. Maybe they will bring it back at some point because it is one of the best out there.

      Thanks for all of the FAB links Karen! I LOVE Jillee’s blog too and always look for more good ones. I will check out Spark.

  38. Hi Lia. This is my first time to your site and I love it! I’m wondering if adding almond oil would help with moisturizing. Also, have you had any luck thickening, yet? Have you tried the salt? Although I think that suggestion was just for sudsing…thank you anyway for putting this out there. Plenty of recipes for foaming soap, but not many for a natural hand soap.

    • Thanks! It might help. I don’t find it so drying. I have tried a few of the suggestions and it seems to go back to a thin liquid eventually, but I have yet to try the salt. I will put that on top of the trial list. :-)

  39. Hello,

    What is the link to your etsy shop? I need labels for different things.

    Also for the essential oils, have you heard about doTTERA? They are a great company and have high quality oils. Here is their website to check them out. If you need a consultant please let me know and I know an expert in their oils that can contact you and give you more info.

    thank you

  40. Recently when i travelled with my husband and 4 kids, instead of taking loofas, body wash, face wash etc, I decided to just use the Made from Earth bars of soap for our trip. It was a good option and I thought it would last and work for all of us.
    It lasted us well but I was quiet happy that it did not leave my skin so dry. In fact it felt quiet smooth and nice. It almost looks natural and clean to me. I felt very nice at making the choice of picking this up for our trip.

  41. Adding a pinch of sea salt will cause more suds, and I’ve seen natural soaps use xanthan gum before. Which is a natural thickening agent. You only need a tiny amount though. I don’t know if it would work well with your soap. Worth a try.

  42. Last post today I promise, I just keep remembering things. This company is supposed to be excellent for Castile soap also

    • I love supporting smaller companies. This looks like a good one.

    • Gina Marie- I love Vermont Soap Company! I’ve been ordering from them and they have always been extremely wonderful with high quality products. I prefer their Castile soap to Dr Broners. And it’s a small, locally owned company.

  43. Thought you might be interested in this, but hopefully her label can come off with some goo gone

  44. Thank you so much Lia. I am new to this site. We have tried your laundry detergent and like it. I am a homeschooling mom of 5 and trying to be a good steward of God’s blessings while keeping things natural! I plan to return the liquid soap I just bought from Target and invest the $$$ into this project! I am so excited! You are a blessing! Keep up the good work and experimenting. Thank you.

  45. Lovely recipe (and amazing site!) Question: Did you find a good natural thickener? I’ve been reading about salt as well as borax. Borax sounds too intense. Salt sounds OK but I haven’t figured out the ratios at all yet. Your advice would be delightful!

    • I have not found one. I did try glycerine but is seems to thin out again. I am looking for the perfect foaming pump as another option. I still love the soap thin, but just have to make sure it says in place long enough for me to later. I will look into the salt option too. Keep me posted if you find any other ideas. :-)

    • try baking soda or washing soda. just a little bit will do

  46. Hi I just want to know how long will the soap stay fresh. I mean if the soap is not used up quick enough will it go off since it doesn’t have any chemicals?

  47. Thank you so much for this! I just did a google search for “make your own liquid hand soap” and found this wonderful site! I have very dry skin so for myself prefer handmade bar soaps but for my daycare children I am required to use liquid hand soap. It gets expensive even buying the cheap stuff and that horrible stuff dries out their poor little hands. This will be perfect for them! My sincere gratitude!

    • Yes! Try this with a foaming pump for the kids too. I have been looking for a non-plasic version for my home, but for the kids I think it is perfect.

  48. I thought you had to use a foaming pump dispenser when making hand soap with Dr. Bronner’s soaps, or else they will clog the pump and spoil? In fact, I remember reading that on Lisa Bronner ‘s website. Have you ever had that problem?

  49. Where can I buy the bottles for this hand soap

  50. I wonder if a sprig of lavendar or a couple of curls of grapefruit peel would hold up in the bottles to add some visual interest.

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  51. I was wondering if adding a bit of glycerin might help it suds

  52. It is possible to take any non-detergent bar soap with some water and glycerine to make liquid soap. A cheaper alternative to Dr. Bronner’s would be Kirk’s Castile which is made with 100% coconut oils and produces TONS of lather. Bring 1 cup of water to boil* on the stove. Add 1 cup of soap shreds reducing the heat to low. Keep stirring until the soap is completely dissolved. Once cool mix in 1 teaspoon of glycerine and 10-20 drops of essential oil. Pour into the soap dispenser. *The microwave can be used, heat in 30 second increments as needed to melt the soap shreds.

  53. Those would make such a great gift, Thanks for sharing!

  54. Great idea!
    Which kind of paper did you use for the labels (waterproof?) and how do you apply them? Thanks for your answer!

    • Hi Marta, I just updated the post to tell you that I have the labels laminated on the front side to keep the water from damaging them. A laser printer will give you a more permanent finish than an ink jet but I wanted to keep mine looking fresh. I then just trimmed the shapes with scissors and applied the label surface to the bottles.

  55. Is this for foaming or regular hand soap? I’m looking to make regular hand soap
    ….also, I’ve heard castile soap can be drying…is this true? How can I make it more moisturizing?

    • I use it as regular hand soap though it is quite liquid and would also work for foaming soap. I am looking for a natural thickening agent to add to this recipe. I have very dry skin and don’t have trouble with this soap drying so much. I guess I would rather use natural soap and follow up with a moisture cream (or coconut oil in my case) than put chemicals on my skin.

  56. Can I ask what size bottles these are?
    They look super beautiful.

  57. These are gorgeous and I would love to do these for Christmas gifts. Would you be willing to make the label editable? I am partial to lemon …. :)

  58. These are very pretty….

  59. This is fabulous…what awesome gift ideas!

  60. Thanks for amazing ideas, Lia! I love waking up in the mornings to your posts – they’re inspiring, truly. Looking forward to your next amazing post.

  61. Love them!!!

    Here’s another link for similar glass dispensers that are reasonably priced.

  62. Okay, you know I’m not going to be the only person to ask this…where did you get the beautiful bottles?

    • Yes, and I am very sad to not have a better answer. I bought them at Ikea and I am not seeing that they carry them any longer. I really hope they bring them back because after a long search for great pump bottles, these are by far the best I have found.

  63. Organic soap is such a great idea, and your containers look so spa! :) Do you know of any websites with good quality essential oils that aren’t too expensive?

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