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DIY Foaming Hand Soap (Just 2 Ingredients)

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DIY foam soap

Save those empty foaming soap containers (or buy one HERE) and use them to easily make your own foaming soap by just combining soap and water – what a HUGE money saver!

Use whatever dish soap or liquid hand soap you have on hand; if you prefer to keep your foaming soap all natural, consider using pure-castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s. I also opted to add a few drops of tea tree essential oil as I love its natural antibacterial qualities.

DIY Foaming Hand Soap by


  • Soap – use liquid Dish Soap, liquid Hand Soap, or Castile Soap
  • Water – use Distilled water if the soap won’t be used in full within a couple of weeks
    *optional: few drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil


  1. Pour soap in an empty foaming soap container about 1/4 of the way full.
  2. Add water but be sure to leave a little room at the top – about an inch.
  3. Screw foaming spout back on, shake lightly to combine water and soap, and you’re all set.  That’s it! Easy, right?


diy household items

Want more DIY ideas? Check out our DIY Makeup Remover (Only 3 Ingredients), DIY Hair Detangler Spray (Only 2 Ingredients), and DIY Sugar Scrub.

 Lina ( loves cooking new recipes, thrift store shopping, and DIY home decor projects. 
Join The Discussion

Comments 66

  1. Chantel

    I’ve been using this recipe for a long time! My daughter’s hands crack to the point of bleeding with regular soap, since we have switched to homemade it had become much less of an issue. We use the peppermint bronners. It makes your hands feel tingly after washing.

  2. 4Ella

    I been doing it for years 🙂 When you posted the deal couple years ago, I ordered two mint bottles of Castile soap and I am still using it. You really need just a little bit 🙂 It is money saver and smells great!

    Thanks for everything you are doing for us. I have learned so much over the years 🙂

  3. Heather C

    This is EXACTLY what I do! Costco now carries Dr Bronners in a very large size & with a large family, it is super cheap to refill

    • Joy

      Heather…what is the cost of it at Costco? Am going their tomorrow..thnx Also.. anyone that will answer.. So I would put 1/4 of the Dr. Bronners in one of my empy Bath and Body Works foaming soap dispensers.. fill the rest of the bottle with distilled or filtered water and leave at least 1″ at top? If I want frangrance, I can add an essential oil.. correct? thnx

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Correct. I like the dr bronners because it already has that awesome lavender or peppermint smell!

      • ryankimm

        Costco by me is $9+change for something like a 44oz container of Dr. Bronner’s. We only have the peppermint flavor here but adding different essential oils to it makes it smell differently.

      • Heather C

        I’m in CA where everything is more expensive & it’s $10. I just use a “huge squirt,”….. No measuring in this house! Also it’s FANTASTIC as a face wash since it’s all natural. I have VERY problem skin and have tried expensive cleansers. This beats them all for pennies on the dollar.

    • coby

      I havent seen Dr Bronners in my costco..did they start carrying it recently? thanks

  4. viv

    I do this, it’s awesome and my son loves the foam, but sometimes I can’t quite get the right ratio of soap to water (I use old method soap bottles which are curved and have a wide base and narrow top so I can’t quite guesstimate how much 1/4 is.) so can anyone answer what it means when I pump and it squirts out too liquidy, does it mean too much soap or not enough soap? I’m thinking too little water won’t make it foam or too much water won’t make it foam… I have not clue, pls help!

    • Chantel

      I don’t use nearly a 1/4 cup in mine. I use an old softsoap bottle that’s also awkward shaped. I usually add water first so I don’t have excessive sudsing then top it off with a couple tablespoons of dr. Bronners. In my experience that means not enough soap. Good luck!

    • Misty

      Fill it up with water then pour into measuring cup, wa-lah, you know how much is 1/4 now!

    • Jessica W.

      To liquidy means not enough soap!! You need more soap if it’s to liquidy.

  5. Cheryl

    Anyone know how we can get the vanilla scented like at bed bath and beyond?

    • meg

      I have never tried it but I read that you add vanilla extract to it.

  6. Dianne

    Been doing this since they brought out the containers and they were free. They thought they would make money on using less soap but we are smarter, we figured out a way to do it all the time. YAY!!

  7. Jen

    I too love making this! I add Young Living’s Thieves essential oil to mine to kill the germs even more, and to get the oil in my body! Love it! Does anyone have a favorite stainless steel
    container they put theirs in? After too many uses, my I’m ready for a new container 🙂

  8. Natasha C

    I do the same but often use the bath and body works shower gel. Works great and smells wonderful. I have added tea tree oil as well.

    • Diane

      I read about using BBW shower gel back in Dec. It works great. So from now on I will buy a couple of shower gels in the same scents as my soaps.

      • Joy

        Oh.. so I could buy the shower gels of my favorite scents.. put 1/4 of it in my foaming bottle dispensers …add water the rest using either distilled or filtered water and wallah???

  9. Gretch

    Interesting! I want to try this out! I hope our Costco has this.

  10. Whitney

    I use hot water, helps to get the two to mix together easier.

  11. Krista

    We use 25 pumps from regular hand soap and then fill with water. Works grea, and the young kids love to work the pump and count!

  12. Laura

    I do this too but use about 1 inch of dish soap in the bottom and then fill rest up with regular tap water (we go thru soap super fast). After several uses the pump doesn’t work as well and won’t spring up on it’s own but by then I figure I could use a new bottle anyway and get a bottle at dollar tree and then next time it’s empty I refill it myself and use it til it doesn’t work as well. I’m guessing distilled water could prevent the pump from sticking? I just use what I have on hand and rarely have distilled water (last gallon I had leaked all inside my cabinets and I didn’t notice right away since I don’t use it often enough so not something I really want to keep on hand at this point lol)

    • Lori Love

      I add a few drops of olive oil to help keep the pump from sticking.

  13. Laurel

    This is a great idea and a money-saver. Thanks!

  14. Karen

    You are the first that I’ve seen to suggest using distilled water. I always wondered if one should. I suppose the tea tree oil would help disinfect, but still.

    I put a few clear glass marbles in the bottom of mine. It helps mix the ingredients with a quick shake and also acts as a weight to keep an almost empty bottles from flying off the counter if you hit the dispenser too fast or off center

    I also mix a foaming container at the kitchen sink for my wash by hand dish soap.

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      That’s a good idea on the glass marbles! If it’s in a spot not used very often, I’d consider it, but my family uses so much soap it’s not an issue 🙂

    • Donna Estrada

      I add little toys in mine-plastic star beads in different colors, legos work too, it makes it more fun for the kiddos

  15. Bobbie

    Great idea…question though, ‘hippers’ what’s the purpose of distilled water? Can you not use regular water and it be ok?

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      If it’s used within a couple weeks use regular water! Just consider it if it will be left for longer. Thanks!

      • Bobbie

        Thanks Lina!!

    • rebecca

      because if you have hard-quality city water with an abundance of minerals and deposits in it, you will eventually clog your container pump if you want to use it for a long time over and over again. it will get a build-up just like a coffeemaker or iron or dishwasher if it just sits in a guest bathroom for a long time. distilled water would prevent this.
      i don’t use distilled water, though my tap water is very hard. i use from my water filter (could also use bottled drinking water) and it works fine and stays clean and free of deposits. it is pure enough for this purpose.

      • Bobbie

        Thank you Becca!

    • shopper

      Distilled is cleaner water.
      I have very hard water and use a faucet filter from cooking, washing food to making my hair spray mixture. Also have a refrigerator pitcher. Nothing gets buildup or clogs.

  16. Karissa

    I do this in a B&BW foaming soap container and add several drops of lemon essential oil and a drop of yellow food coloring – it looks and smells like the lemons on the bottle 🙂

  17. Yoli

    Awesome!! Thanks!

  18. ryankimm

    I’ve been making homemade hand soaps like this, floor and surface cleaners, laundry detergent, lotions, and deodorants using very few ingredients and Young Living essential oils. I’ve saved so much money in doing so. The combination is amazing and it keeps my family safe from all those harmful cleaning solutions.

  19. Tarri

    I started doing this a while back, love it. Just having to replace my foam pump as it is wearing out.

  20. af

    I have doing this for long time all i use the body washes that get free or almost free with coupons and deals and water.

  21. FuzzyPeach73

    I’ve been wanting to use essential oils, but I’ve heard you have to be careful which brands. Any recommendations?

  22. rachel

    I should really do this with my facewash. When I get to the end of the bottle, I realize how little I actually need once it’s mixed with a little water.

    I’ve been using the homemade eye makeup remover and hair detangler ever since you posted then!

    If you need a pump, Dollar Tree has foaming soap containers (first refill included 🙂 )

  23. rachel

    FYI. Dr. Bronner’s is currently a couple bucks cheaper on Now do I get lavendar or peppermint?…

  24. Yolanda

    Speaking of DIY, I remember seeing this on H2S some time back! My almost new compact powder broke, pls post again how to fix this!! TIA

  25. Yolanda

    Thank you! That’s awesome:)

  26. April

    Yep we use Castile soap n it’s fab

  27. Pat

    I’ve been doing this for years – started when I used the last bottle of Dawn Foaming Dish liquid – they stopped selling it, so I just added blue Dawn + water and kept it going. That was YEARS ago. I still use the same dispenser.
    I just reuse the Dial foaming containers in the bathrooms.

  28. Heather C

    You can also run the bottom part of the dial foaming soap dispensers through the dishwasher on the top rack if your a clean freak like I am. (I also throw them away entirely every 5-6 refills because I worry that nasty teen germs might make their way into the top of the dispenser but I suppose I could sanitize with steamed water but I’m too lazy when I can get them at a rock bottom price!)

  29. Nancy

    I’ve been doing this for along time. I usually use BBW shower gel, but I also through in any bar soap we have when it gets down to a little sliver. I love the Kiss My Face Olive Oil one.

  30. Laura

    I like the idea of using bottled water instead of plain tap, to keep the foaming soap disinfected. I have been adding a few drops of bleach to the remaining contents of the foaming pump, before refilling it with more soap and water.

  31. Lori

    I have been doing this for years with Method Hand Soap. I mix it with the water in the Method foaming containers. Works great.

  32. Rebecca

    Not sure if this is a bad question but wouldn’t this just dilute the soap and have it lose it’s effectiveness to sanitize?

    • Julie L

      @rebecca–that might be true regarding antibacterial soap. The soap most people are talking about here is just soap, not antibacterial variety. It works by washing germs away, not by killing them.

    • rebecca

      the hands get clean two ways from soap: 1)it thins the water so the water can saturate the hands better and make sure to better get into all little nooks and crevices, and 2)the rubbing and friction of moving the hands together thoroughly gets off debris and loosens crud.
      so, with even a small amount of soap in the mixture, the water is thinned and can do its job of wetting everything better. AND pumping foam onto the hands causes the person to rub it all around and get them cleaner than if the person just rinsed and dried the hands.

      for my children especially, i find that if they use full-strength pump soap, it is very slimy and thick, and the kids often have soap residue on the hands even after they think they are clean & dried.
      or, when no soap is available, they just rinse their hands for a second and don’t rub them together at all, and the hands are still often gross & sticky, or look clean, but still germy from not being thorough.
      this fixes all of those problems – rinses away cleanly & easily, and prompts people to rub the foam around and it gets all between the fingers, etc.

      • Rebecca


  33. alison

    I have done this for a few years now…always use tap water..makes no difference

  34. Anntots

    Just for handwashing, I have been doing this water & handsoap mixture for a few years now on my kitchen and 2 restroom. This works for us really well. Each regular Dial handsoap refill 52oz bottle will last my household for about 6 months. I wash my hands 15-20 times a day (LOL), and still the 52oz lasts us for 6 months is not a bad thing (LOL).

    Here’s how I do it: #1: I use an empty huge bottle of the regular handsoap refill, not the foam refill (mine is the dial 52oz empty bottle); pour in 1/4-1/2 cup of the regular handsoap refill (I don’t measure mine). #2: Pour hot water slowly, about 1/4 of the bottle size, and shake slow/little to mix (do not shake hard or long to avoid the bubble). Then, continue filling-up the bottle with hot water slowly. #3: Use and fill-up the empty small handsoap foam bottle with the mixture (I use the dial handsoap foam small bottle).

    For my dishwashing liquid soap, I also mix it with water everytime I handwash our dishes. The sponge that I use, I put it on the dishwasher to prevent bacterial growth.

  35. coby

    my friend uses castile soap as body soap..she said to put a few drops on some water..but I want to put the mix on an empty neutrogena body wash dispenser to make it easier at bathtime for my kids..what measurement should i use? 1/4 soap and 3/4 water too?

  36. Whitney

    Using warm water helps out mix better.

  37. Crystal

    So which kind of soap do u use? It says liquid but why would u add liquid soap to water when u can just use that kind by itself. Maybe I’m not understanding

    • Laurel

      The reason to use the liquid soap with the water is that you are really diluting the liquid soap so it saves a lot of money, but because of the foam pump it still turns it into a really nice foam soap.

  38. Jim

    Just read another post where a diy’er explained that it is usually the spring that looses its… spring. So after a few bottles crap out, he opens them up and removes the spring from one. Cuts 10% off each end off the sacrificial spring and then winds it up inside the remaining spring so that it rests in the middle of the spring that you intend to keep. Reassemble and squirt away.
    Be careful when disassembling the bottles as there is a small ball bearing that sits at the bottom of the tube where the spring inserts. Lose that and it won’t work at all.
    I had forgotten Dr. Bronners. Will have to go get some 😉

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