How to Make DIY Body Wash from Bar Soap

Homemade body wash recipe

Frugal DIY Body Wash Recipe

As you know, I am all about saving money. The other day I was at the store and I saw that a bottle of body wash was $9! Like are you kidding, $9??

I knew there had to be another way to get awesome, nourishing body wash for a fraction of the price, so I started searching. Then, I came across this perfect 2-ingredient DIY body wash recipe.

I decided to try this recipe because I really had nothing to lose! I already had all the ingredients at home to make it, so I just went for it!

Often times when I see DIYs I think that the work is not worth the result, but this one was completely different. I was skeptical at how this would turn out, but I am completely pleased with my results.

DIY body wash ingredients

Homemade Body Wash Ingredients:

How to Make the DIY Body Wash

There are only 4 easy steps to make this homemade body wash! It should only take you about 5-7 minutes in prep time, then all you have to do is wait for the mixture to cool and you are ready to go!

Step 1. Grate

Your first step is to grate your soap. If you have a bar that is soft enough to cut chunks off of, do that instead. Grating can get tedious.

My dove bar was pretty soft and it grated very easily. I spent maybe 2-3 minutes grating and then I was all done. I only grated half of my bar because I only wanted enough body wash to fill a small container.

Grating soap for homemade body wash recipe

Step 2. Heat it Up

Once you’re done grating (or chopping up) your soap, add the flakes to your pot. Then, place your pot on the stove, add the water, and heat it up!

Now, since I didn’t want a ton of body wash, I only added 2 cups of water. If you want to fill a larger container, add 4 cups of water. (Even with 2 cups of water I had a little too much for my small container!)

Pouring water onto grated soap bar

Place your pot over your stove and turn it on to medium heat. I got mine up to about 190*.

Stir your mixture until your soap flakes disappear. It only took me about 5 minutes and it was ready to go. Be sure to watch it carefully because you don’t want the mixture to burn.

It’s going to look milky, just like this…

Stirring the DIY body wash

(Optional Step) Add Additional Ingredients

My skin has been a bit dry lately so I added a cup of coconut milk for added moisture. You don’t need to do this to make your body wash, it’s just a modification I made to this batch. (Also, once it cools you can add your favorite essential oil to give it some more zest!

I suggest maybe putting some Epsom salts in the batch that you poured your favorite oil on! That will help the oils absorb well in the mixture! Since we know that oil and water don’t mix too well.)

Step 3. Let It Cool

After your soap flakes or chunks have dissolved, turn off your stove and let your mixture cool for several hours. A film will develop over the top after about two hours of cooling. At this point, use your spoon to see if your body wash is thick enough for you.

Since some of the water reduces while heating, you may need to add a bit of water to get your body wash to the consistency that’s right for you, so go ahead and add water if the mixture is too thick. If you add water, heat it up and stir again.

Step 4. Enjoy

If you find your mixture is the right consistency and it’s nice and cool, add it to your container!

Homemade body wash from a bar of soap

That’s all there is to it!

I LOVE making this DIY body wash recipe! There’s nothing like using a $1.00 bar of soap like Dove and turning it into a luxurious body wash that I’d otherwise pay $6 or more for!

Plus, I haven’t noticed any difference on my skin when I compare it to the $6 bottle of body wash that I was using before.

You may only save $5 by making your own body wash, but if you go through a bottle a month, that is $60 a year you would be saving JUST IN BODY WASH. Think of all you could do with that extra money?

Be sure to comment below and let me know how it went!

More DIY Remedies:

Finished DIY body wash recipe

How to Make DIY Body Wash from Bar Soap

Ingredients

  • Bar of Soap (any kind)
  • 1-4 cups of water (depending on what you'll be storing it in)

Instructions

  1. Grate your soap (If you have a bar that is soft enough to cut chunks off of, do that instead).
  2. 1 bar of soap to 4 cups of water (adjust as needed, depending on your container size)
  3. Add the flakes to your pot.
  4. Cook over medium heat
  5. Stir until your soap flakes disappear (about 5 minutes)
  6. Once soap is completely dissolved, turn off stove and let mixture cool several hours.
  7. A film will develop over the top after about two hours of cooling. At this point, use your spoon to see if your body wash is thick enough for you.
  8. Since some of the water reduces while heating, you may need to add a bit of water to get your body wash to the consistency that's right for you, so go ahead and add water if the mixture is too thick.  If you add water, heat it up and stir again. Let it sit to cool.
Types: Remedies, Adult, Teen
Categories: Beauty, Frugal, Gift, Inside The House, Mothers Day

Comments

  • Diana

    Do you need to reduce the water to 1 cup if you use 1 cup coconut milk ?

    • SCOTT W

      There always has to be one person who can not read instructions…

      It literally says in the wording it is not necessary and that she added it for her recently dryer skin…

      OY VEY….

    • Introvert

      @Diana:

      “Now, since I didn’t want a ton of body wash, I only added 2 cups of water.”

      “(Optional Step) Add Additional Ingredients
      My skin has been a bit dry lately so I added a cup of coconut milk for added moisture.”

      Looks like the author used 2 cups of water and 1 cup of coconut milk, which altogether makes 3 cups. Note that the coconut milk is optional.

      Also consider that the author only grated half of a 3.17 oz. bar of soap, meaning they only used about 1.59 oz. of bar soap to 2 cups of water ratio.

      “I only grated half of my bar because I only wanted enough body wash to fill a small container.”

      It can be inferred that the “1-4 cups of water” stated in the recipe suggests that 4 cups of water is recommended for 3.17 oz. of bar soap. If you have more or less bar soap than this, you may want to adjust how much water you use.
      Example: If your bar soap is 6 oz., you may want to start with 8 cups of water. If your bar soap is 8 oz., you may want to start with 10 cups of water. Etcetera, etcetera.
      The recipe also states that if the soap is too thick after cooling, you can add water. This means you’ll have to reheat the batch to adequately combine it, which also means you’ll have to wait several more hours for it to cool and see if it’s the right consistency.

      In other words, measure how much bar soap you’ll be using FIRST so that you have an idea of how much water to use, otherwise this could become a very long process for you.

  • neliavinuya@yahoo.com.ph

    Is it necessary to put coco milk or its just optional and what it is for? Thanks so much reply appreciated much 🙂

    • Chrstina

      Coconut milk is totally optional. As a matter of fact, I learned that ou ave to refrigerate it if you add it. Mine went rancid after a few days of being out. If you do decide to add it, I would reduce the water by a cup. 🙂

      • Ami

        You could probably add coconut OIL instead of milk. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer and won’t go bad in a few days. 🙂

      • Mandi

        If you have already added the coconut milk, is there anything you could add to make it last longer, so it doesn’t spoil so quick?

        • Becky

          Putting it in the fridge will help, but coconut milk will spoil quickly if left out.

        • Introvert

          @Mandi:
          I haven’t been able to find any confirmation on the internet about this, but you could possibly try using powdered coconut milk. As far as refrigerating it goes, I don’t know if you need to or not, but every resource I’ve found states that natural homemade beauty products should be stored in the fridge.
          You might be able to use 100% aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, or a carrier oil (such as jojoba, vitamin E, sweet almond, etc.) as an alternative since they don’t need to be refrigerated. It’s definitely not a 1:1 conversion ratio, though. :-\ Since aloe vera gel is water-based (like the coconut milk), you may be able to do a 1:1 conversion, but I haven’t found any info confirming or denying this. For carrier oils and vegetable glycerin, recipes on the internet suggest anywhere from 1 to 5 tablespoons depending in the recipe. For the amount the author made (2 cups of water & 1 cup of coconut milk), 2-4 tablespoons is probably okay. If it’s too oily for you though, maybe use less next time.
          Since I’m not an expert, I suggest searching “diy aloe vera gel liquid body wash” or “diy [carrier oil or vegetable glycerin] liquid body wash,” and comparing a few recipes to determine about how much is typically used. Of course, just like with food recipes, that also depends on the total amount that the recipe makes.

  • Alicia

    This is a great idea! but sometimes when I use bar soap I feel like my skin is left with a filmy residue. Do you think that would happen if I tried this?

    • christina

      Do you normally do better with body washes? I would think it might be more gentile on your skin since its already in liquid form (easier to wash off). I’m no expert but it doesn’t hurt to try! Let us know how it goes!

    • Amber Erickson

      It depends on the soap your using more than anything. Quality bar soap won’t have that effect. switching to a glycerin based bar soap is very moisturizing, and you may have better results…again depending on the brand and other ingredients. But I would not make this recipe, as no preservative was added and it will grow mold, mildew and bacteria!!! Yuck! No bargain there =)

  • Taneesha

    What about maybe adding coconut oil instead of coconut milk? Just a thought.

    • christina

      Taneesha, that’s a great idea!!! You could melt down a tablespoon or two right along with the soap! I’m sure that would be much better than the coconut milk! I’m going to try that on my next batch!!

    • Karlee

      Coconut oil can make your skin feel very greasy if you put too much, so if you were to put coconut oil in it, make it a very small amount 🙂

  • Katherine Gilmer

    ok mine is taking alot more water than your recipe has called for – it keeps turning into a complete gel – Is that supposed to happen?

    • christina

      What kind of soap are you using? Maybe there’s some sort of ingredient that’s making that happen (aloe maybe). I didn’t have that issue at all. :/ The water measurement can be changed. Only you know what consistency of body wash you want. Keep adding a little water at a time until you get it the way you want it. Let me know if you ever get it to change! You may end up with a gel wash!

      • Peter Smith

        I am making gallons of body wash to sell at my small business. I used a bunch of different soaps, but the one that has the best consistency is Ivory soap. For whatever reason it is very thick when it is gelled, and makes a wash that is not watery. I have this problem with other brands. I mix other soaps in, like Dove, Caress for moisture and/or smell. I use coconut oil and Vitamin E to make it creamy and give it more moisture. You can’t ruin homemade body wash. It either needs more soap if too thin, more water if too thick. You have to play with it and play with it, but you can make some interesting creations.

    • Cindy Black

      Katherine, did you ever get your body wash to become more liquidy? I’m having the same problem. I’ve remelted the soap/water mixture 3 times, now having 7 cups of water added, and mine still hardens up. I can barely squeeze it out of the body wash container. I love this idea, and it will save a lot of money, but I’m not having any luck.

    • Heidi

      Katherine and Cindy-I have been making liquid soap like this for quite awhile and love the cost savings. Mine always turns solid but the way I resolve it is to put it in a large bowl and use my electric hand mixer and beat the heck out of hit, it’s strange how once you start using your mixer on it it turns into liquid. You may have to add more water but I would try this FIRST! 🙂 Hope that helps!

  • Lela

    For some reason mine doesn’t turn milky after the it dissolves. I am trying jergens soap. Could it be the soap?

    • Christina

      Do you mean it’s not turning white? Or do you mean it’s not liquefying? If its not turning white it could be because there is (or isn’t) a dye in it. If its not liquefying, add more water. If its too runny, add more soap. 🙂

  • Heather

    Just tried this! I had to whisk it do get the clumps of soap to dissolve, but they finally did. Mine came out very think, so thick that once it cooled it became solid again! I’m going to have to melt it back down and add more water. If this works it’s going to save me a ton of money!

  • Lisa

    Your a genius!!!

  • Joanna

    It doesn’t lather…

    • Christina

      Joanna, the part of the soap that makes us think we’re clean (the lather) is nothing but detergent. It’s actually pretty harsh on our skin. The reason it’s not lathering like it normally would is because we’ve “watered down” the detergents. You’re still getting the same clean! You’re just not getting the lather. :/ If you really like that part, you can always add a bit of liquid glycerine. You can find it at any health store.

      • Carly Brooks

        Try putting it into a foaming pump, i make homemade soap with essential oils n Dr. Bronners castile soap and family complained it didnt foam lol problem solved😉☺ i use the pumps for dish soap, bath soap, shampoos and hand soap.

      • Sue

        Hi, what about needing preservatives in this since there’s water? Do we need to add that

  • Christina

    I love that I have the same grater and measuring cups…from Dollar Tree, of course! 🙂

    • Jaclyn

      ME TOO!!! I was looking at the pics like “heeeeeeyyyyy, I got those too!!!” lol Thanks for the tip!! I make my own laundry detergent, and this makes TOTAL sense!! It’ been hard to get away from the “bubbles don’t = cleaner”!! But I think I am cured of it now. 🙂 Jacl

      • Amber Erickson

        They kinda do… it’s all about surfactants. The bubbles encase the dirt and oils after they’ve been lifted from your skin and allow them to be rinsed away. Conditioners don’t bubble because they don’t clean. This also has no preservative and a water base, so it’ll grow mold, mildew and bacteria in a short time. NOT EVERY CHEAP IDEA IS A GOOD ONE GUYS! =)

        • Rachel

          I add distilled water to my Trader Joe’s hair conditioner to thin it out because it’s too thick to come out of the bottle easily. I’ve kept it in the shower stall for over 6 months and have had no issues with mold or spoilage. If they boil the water first or use distilled, it should be fine.

  • Cindy

    I tried this using dove for men and it never thickened up. Today I put it back on the stove and added another bar a soap and it really looks the same….not thick. Has anyone else had this problem. Do you think it is the kind of soap I used?

  • Amy

    I had the same problem, it never thickened up, I used a whole bar and 4 cups of water….any suggestions??

  • Anna

    have you tried adding tea tree oil? (i know it’s expensive) but that will probably help with the dry skin… and considering that each bar of soap with tea tree oil is around $3-4.

  • christina

    I know we don’t want to add anything extra because it would raise our price but if you REALLY wanted to thicken up your soap or make sure that it lathers, you can add a bit of liquid glycerine OR Castile soap (bar or liquid). Both can be found at natural food stores and I’ve found them in a lot of Walgreen’s stores too. I hope this helps resolve some of the issues!

  • Kimberley

    How much vitamin E did you use?

  • Rachel

    Great idea! Thanku for sharing! Gonna try it!

  • luann

    made this with half a bar of dove and 2 cups water. did really good. was a little worried because it didn’t get real thick, but used it today, and it lathered right up!! my mother-in-law said this was crazy, but i have fun making it, and it worked just fine. thank you for the great idea. now my son and i can make some more.

  • kari

    I’ve used dial doing this and it turns out great. It does go back to a solid after letting it cool for about 8 hours so I just added two more cups of water turned on my electric beater and even added a tablespoon of vitamin E oil. turns out perfect…. it can get a little snotty after a while and it growsed out my husband so I put them in foaming dispensers 😀 Love it.

  • Janice Bastian

    DIAL is very harse on your skin and tends 2 dry it…dove and ivory r the best…and r doc. reccomended 4 softer skin!

  • demi

    I read on a similar blog post that if the bar soap has a moisturizer already in it it will be MUCH thicker, so if you did 1 bar of soap you would need like 8 cups of water (or just use a few tbls. of soap) to keep it in a liquid-pourable form versus 1 or 2 cups. That might be why so many people were having problems if you wanted to note that in the instructions. (:

  • Kay

    Hi
    I made some body wash from a bar of soap.

    Just got a jar put the bar of soap, added water and just use to give it a shake.if it get to thick just add more water

    It turns out really creamy. I think it would take longer to do.
    If you broke the bar up, it would be ready sooner

  • Art

    I make my own soap out of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. I added the following fragrance oils: lemongrass, tea tree, cedar, fern, citronella, and lavendar. I also added vitamin E. They are formed into 3 ounce bars. I am going to use your method to make body wash out of it. Thanks!

  • Angelia Sims

    I use Irish Spring when I am showering for work alot so I tried it. I used 2 bars and it was so thin… I poured it up anyway and got up this morning and it was solid! a minute or so in the microwave helped me get the soap back into my pot!

    I’m going to add some more water and was thinking of adding shea butter or cocoa butter to it. If I get it too think I might just add a tablespoon or so of beeswax to it

    If you want scented soap and use something with no smell a few drops of essential oil would be great in this!

    • Becky

      Those are great tips!! I love adding Wild Orange, a Fir, or even Elevation, Cheer, or Motivation to mine (I share with my hubby, so no floral scents for me!)

  • Ogen Labs Test Booster And Nitro Blast

    Precisely what I was looking for, regards for putting up.

  • Rebecca Tibble

    I am trying this as well. I have tried dial (it was cheap) and Irish spring. I tried the dial soap first and got pretty good results, although a bit slimy. The Irish spring is still a work in progress. I added to much water and had to cook some if it off. I love the idea of this and hope can figure this out. I don’t have the patience to grate by hand, so I use the shredding blade that came with my food processor. Works great and saves my knuckles.

  • Crystal Friend

    I know this is an old post but I’m hoping someone can help with this. Every time I’ve tried this the texture is rather…. snotty? Sorry, but not sure how else to describe it. Anyone else have this problem? If so how did u fix it?

    • Cathy

      Have you tried adding more water? If you have, make sure you heat it up after!

      • Evelyn Bundrage

        When I make ivory soap, it cools to a gel, even after adding water, up to a gallon of water. I only use 1 bar. Any suggestions?

        • Cathy

          I would suggest less water. You want it to be thicker so the less water the better! Just experiment with different amounts and eventually you will find the right consistency for you! Sorry that you had an issue making it!

          • Evelyn Bundrage

            My apology. I should have stated that the body wash is very thick after it cools, no matter how much water is added.

            • Cathy

              Which kind of soap are you using?

            • Evelyn Bundrage

              Regular Ivory soap. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

            • Cathy

              That is so strange! I just used dove soap and followed the directions exactly and everything turned out for me. Maybe retry it with Dove and see what happens! That is so strange because many followers have used ivory soap and it turns out just fine.

            • Evelyn Bundrage

              Dove soap works great for turning into body wash. Last night I added 1 bar of ivory soap and 1 bar of dove white with 2 cups of water. Heated until all the soap was melted, and let it sit overnight. Perfect consistency for me. I just cannot waste anymore ivory soap.

            • Cathy

              Oh awesome! Thanks for that feedback!

        • Ashley simard

          I make used to handmake and all kinds of personal and cleaning soaps and detergents… from soap to shampoo, to dish washer detergent, to floor cleaner to laundry soap. I of course had made a business out of it. Took a few years off but am coming back, rebrand.

          For those of you having issues with your melted soap solution cooling too thick, too gooey and gel-ish, or even fully turning back into a complete solid, try taking solution off the burner and immediately adding 1 cup of ice cold water(amount varies depending on amount of liquid soap in pot. You can reheat/remelt soap about ever 1 hour and repeat adding cold water until you are satisfied with final) as well as 1 tbsp of salt. For some reason, adding the ice cold water and salt to the hot soap seems to help the soap cool and stay in a smoother liquidy final product.

  • Luz E Morales Lazzaro

    i’m trying mine with coconut oil would 1/4 cup would do the trick let me know

  • Sheeza

    Turned out awesome! Cleans very well and makes skin soft after using it ,in love with it ❤

  • Sharon

    I NEVER use any Dove products. They are a big Palm Oil user grrrrr

  • Charity Conaway

    What alterations would you suggest for a glycerin based bar soap, i currently don’t have it in front of me so I don’t know the brand but I know it is like a green tea type of smelk and I really think I’d like it in a shower cream or gel and I was wondering if you had some suggestions on how to do that.

    • Cathy

      Chartity I would attempt to see if it would work the same way we show in the tutorial. I do not see why it wouldn’t! Try it out and let us know how it goes! We have never experimented with glycerin based!

  • Holly

    Did this today, I made them for gifts! Used caress silkening beauty bar (already scented) and added jojoba oil to one, Arnica oil to another, vitamin E to another, and lastly, argon oil to the last. Everyone loved them! Packaged them in glass mason jars with a pump through the lid and paired it with a loofah in a cellophane bag. Looks glamorous, but I bought the jars from dollar tree, the pumps at a local beauty supply store for $.60 each, the oils I added I purchased in small amounts at a health store (all cost under $4 total) and the beauty bars I bought in a 4 pack for a $1.50! I grow loofah at home….tada! Love this post, it was great, thank you!

  • Tina

    I read all comments and have a question I like play body wash has anyone used play bar soap to make bodywash and if so how did it turn out?

  • Gina

    You mentioned Epsom salt and oils hown much and will the Epsom salt devolve or be coarse on the body…????

    • Cathy Yoder

      I’d do 10-15 drops of Essential Oil. BUT make sure that it is a PURE oil and safe for your skin. A lot of the ones sold in Walmart, Target and so on are NOT safe for your skin. If you need a recommendation, let me know!

      And Epsom salts dissolve VERY nicely actually! I think you’ll love it!

  • Sue Cummings

    I used one bar of generic Dove (Kirkland) and two cups of water. It never thickened, stayed a watery liquid

  • Erica

    I tried this and used. 4 cups of water first and then the 2nd try I only used 2 cups. Both times when heating up the flakes, they looked completely melted after maybe 10 minutes of mixing…but then once cooled after several hours, i see chunks in it and it is still watery…why is that? And you said cups of water so i used ny pyrex meaduring cups meant for liquids but, in your photo it looks like a meaduring cup meant for dry ingrediants. Is that what I’m suppose to use?

    • Cathy Yoder

      The water can be adjusted so you can make the body wash as thick or as thin as you want. What kind of soap are you using? That might be the issue.

      • Erica

        I also used Dove. It just looked like in the phone a dry measuring cup was used for dry ingrediabts for measuring the water, rather than the liquid measuring cup such as Pyrex. I just don’t want to use too much or too little water

        • Cathy Yoder

          Right… and the water is subjective… you can add more or less to get the thickness you want. I don’t think the different type of measuring will affect your results enough to be specific for liquid/dry measuring cup.

  • Dorcas

    Great ideal am going to try and get back to you.

  • Barbara J

    Could I use Castille bar soap in the mentioned ‘recipe’, how much would it need to be changed?

    • Cathy Yoder

      From my research on Castile soap, you would use 1 part castile soap to 10 parts water. Hope that helps! Let us know how it turns out!

  • Caroline

    Not only frugal but, perhaps more importantly, PLANET FRIENDLY! Think how many plastic shower bottles you can stop adding to the ever increasing plastic mountain – just keep refilling you existing bottles. Thank you, nice easy recipe 😊

  • Hannah

    I found mine still comes out runny. Any ideas on how to thicken it?

  • Lois

    More than the cost savings, I love the idea of being able to reuse a plastic container and not buy more. I am trying diligently to reduce my use of plastics, but I don’t like bar soap. Thank you so much for this idea!

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