I Make Foaming Hand Soap at Home and It Saves Me Hundreds Per Year. Here’s How

Everyone has preferences for, well, everything. Be it a preferred brand of clothing, appliances, music, movies and more. I’m no different, and one of my quirky preferences is hand soap — not necessarily a specific brand, but more so the type of soap. For me, it’s foaming hand soap all the way.

Before I go much further, I don’t have problems with other soaps and I’ll use what’s available. But when I get a choice, I like the foaming soaps. Bar soap gets the job done, but can make sinks and countertops messy as it dries. If you use a soap tray, then it gets gunky with soap. Standard liquid soap is second best for me, but it seems like it takes longer to rinse off, and my kids always use way too much.

Unfortunately, with two kids and two adults in my rural Kansas home, we go through a fair amount of hand soap. This leads to a lot of extra costs and waste when buying new soap bottles and soap refills. So, I took matters into my own sudsy hands to solve this issue for my family.

A discovery that has saved my family hundreds of dollars

Bubble on a hand soap dispenser

I’ve always preferred the way foaming soap rinses off over bar or liquid soaps.

Chris Wedel/CNET

Due to my unwillingness to use nonfoaming hand soap to at home, I had to either deal with the cost of buying new soap and the refills for them or figure out something else. I’m a bit of a DIYer, so I figured with many others out there like me, there had to be a way to make my own refills — and there was.

Unfortunately, it’s been at least five years since I dove into the depths of the internet to find a recipe to make foaming hand soap on my own, and I don’t recall where I found it. But I’ve been using the same formula since I found it, and it’s been fantastic.

The ingredients needed for the other recipe are simple: water, olive oil, liquid hand soap, and a foaming soap dispenser. Because I already had the dispensers from purchasing Dial Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash, all I needed were the other parts. If you don’t have a soap bottle already and want to start fresh with your own soap refill, there are plenty of options to purchase on Amazon.

What I’ve purchased and used for the past five or more years instead of the official Dial Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash Refill is the Amazon Basics Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap Refill. Upfront, the cost for each of the soap refills is about the same, with Dial’s offering around $6 and Amazon’s just under $5. The olive oil I don’t really figure into the cost since I always have some on hand for cooking and the amount used is very small.

Breaking down the savings

Water, soap, and olive oil in a soap dispenser before mixing. Water, soap, and olive oil in a soap dispenser before mixing.

Mixing my own foaming hand soap has added up to be a significant amount of money over time.

Chris Wedel/CNET

Depending on your household’s soap usage, you may not save quite as much as I have. But a buck is a buck, and making our own refills also reduces plastic waste. During my five-plus-year run of making my own foaming hand soap refills for the three soap bottles in my home, it was well worth it, and it was a bit surprising when I actually crunched the numbers.

My family will typically empty a bottle of soap in about two weeks. So, I would go through about two bottles a month when using the branded refills mentioned above. Over five years, that comes out to around $720. Taking the DIY approach, I’ve managed to cut my soap cost by 90%, spending about $72 and thus resulting in a net saving of around $650 over that time.

How to make your own foaming hand soap refill

The process is very simple and doesn’t require any special tools or knowledge of soap to make. Simply follow the steps below and you’ll have clean hands and more money in your pocket.

  1. Start with a clean and empty soap bottle.
  2. Add about a quarter teaspoon of olive oil to the bottle.
  3. Put approximately a quarter of your soap dispenser’s capacity of liquid hand soap into the bottle.
  4. Slowly add water to the bottle, leaving about two inches of space in the top to add the pump back on.
  5. With the pump screwed onto the bottle, turn it upside down and give it a good shake to mix it all up.

Amounts needed to get the correct ratio of soap to water to oil may vary depending on your soap bottle. Add a bit more soap if your soap is coming out too runny and not foaming up enough. However, if it is too thick and not foaming, you’ll want to add more water to the mix.

To add some variety to your soap, or if you like scented soap, you can always add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil like you would in an oil diffuser.

I have put some lines on some of the bottles to make it easier for my kids to help refill the soap. This way, they know the amounts needed for our particular bottles. So, before buying the premade refills or a new soap bottle altogether, consider making your own refills to save money and reduce waste.

This post was originally published on Cnet

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