how to make liquid soap

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make Liquid Soap

Making liquid hand soap from scratch is a cost-effective and customizable option. This recipe uses a combination of olive oil, coconut oil, potassium hydroxide (KOH), distilled water, and vegetable glycerine to create a high-quality liquid soap. The process involves prolonged heat and a different type of lye compared to bar soap making. By following this step-by-step guide, you can make over two quarts of natural liquid soap for various uses.

SEO relevant keywords: how to make liquid soap, homemade liquid soap, liquid soap recipe

Key Takeaways:

  • Making liquid hand soap at home allows for customization and cost savings.
  • The ingredients for liquid soap include olive oil, coconut oil, KOH, distilled water, and vegetable glycerine.
  • KOH is used instead of NaOH in liquid soap making.
  • Equipment needed includes a slow cooker, digital scale, immersion blender, and stainless steel potato masher.
  • The soap making process involves cooking, testing, dilution, and packaging.

Ingredients for Making Liquid Hand Soap

When it comes to making your own liquid hand soap, it’s essential to have the right ingredients. By understanding the role of each ingredient, you can create a high-quality liquid soap that is both moisturizing and cleansing. Here are the main ingredients you will need:

Extra virgin olive oilServes as the base oil, providing moisturizing properties
Refined coconut oilAdds lather and bubbles to the soap
Distilled waterUsed to dilute the soap paste
Potassium hydroxide (KOH)Acts as the alkali for saponification
Vegetable glycerineHelps retain moisture and glide

Additionally, you have the option to customize your liquid soap by adding essential oils for fragrance or disinfectant properties. These oils can provide a pleasant scent and enhance the therapeutic benefits of your homemade soap.

“Making your own liquid hand soap allows you to have full control over the ingredients you use. You can customize the formula to suit your preferences and ensure that it meets your specific needs.”

It’s important to note that the quality of the ingredients will directly impact the quality of your final product. Therefore, choose high-quality oils, pure potassium hydroxide, and distilled water for the best results. With these ingredients on hand, you’re ready to embark on the liquid soap making process.

Understanding Lye: KOH vs NaOH

In the process of making liquid soap, it’s important to understand the difference between potassium hydroxide (KOH) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH), as they play different roles in soap making. While NaOH is commonly used in bar soap making, KOH is specifically used for liquid soap production.

KOH is an essential ingredient that acts as the alkali in liquid soap making. Unlike NaOH, which creates solid soap, KOH results in a paste that can be diluted into liquid soap. It’s crucial to ensure the purity of the KOH used, as most options available for home soap makers are only 90% pure. Testing the purity and adjusting the recipe accordingly using a lye calculator is highly recommended.

Understanding the distinction between KOH and NaOH is key to successfully create liquid soap. By using the appropriate alkali, you can achieve the desired consistency and properties of your homemade liquid soap.

Lye Comparison

LyePurposeType of Soap
Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)Creates liquid soap pasteLiquid soap
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)Creates solid soap barsBar soap

The table above provides a clear comparison between KOH and NaOH, highlighting their respective purposes and the type of soap they produce.


“KOH is an essential ingredient in liquid soap making, creating a paste that can be diluted into high-quality liquid soap.”

Understanding the role of lye, whether KOH or NaOH, is fundamental to the liquid soap making process. By selecting the appropriate alkali and ensuring its purity, you can create customized liquid soap for various uses.

Liquid Soap Making Equipment: Essential Tools for Homemade Liquid Soap

When it comes to making liquid hand soap at home, having the right equipment is crucial for successful results. Here is a list of essential tools that you’ll need:

1. Slow Cooker (Crockpot)

The slow cooker is the heart of the liquid soap-making process. It provides a consistent low heat that is necessary for cooking the soap ingredients. Look for a slow cooker with a capacity of at least 4 quarts to accommodate larger batches.

2. Digital Scale

Precise measurements are essential in soap making. A digital scale ensures accurate weighing of ingredients, enabling you to follow recipes and achieve consistent results. Look for a scale with a capacity of at least 5 kilograms and a precision of 1 gram.

3. Immersion Blender

An immersion blender, also known as a stick blender, is used to blend the oils and lye together. It helps to emulsify the mixture and create a smooth texture. Choose a blender with a powerful motor and stainless steel blades for durability.

4. Stainless Steel Potato Masher

A stainless steel potato masher is essential for breaking up the soap paste during the cooking process. It helps to ensure that all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and cooked evenly.

5. Silicone Stirring Spoons

Silicone stirring spoons are heat-resistant and ideal for stirring the soap mixture. They are easy to clean, durable, and won’t react with the soap ingredients.

In addition to these primary tools, you may also find other soap-making equipment, such as a quart jar for measuring liquids, helpful in your liquid soap-making journey. Remember to always wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, when handling lye and working with soap-making equipment.

Making Liquid Hand Soap: Cooking and Testing Phases

The process of making liquid hand soap involves three crucial phases: cooking the ingredients, testing for clarity and completed saponification, and liquifying the soap paste into liquid soap. Each phase plays a vital role in achieving a high-quality, safe, and effective liquid soap.

Cooking the Ingredients

During the cooking phase, the soap ingredients are heated together to initiate saponification, the chemical reaction that transforms oils and lye into soap. This phase requires patience and regular stirring to ensure the ingredients blend properly and prevent separation.

Using a slow cooker (crockpot) is ideal for this process as it provides the necessary heat and helps achieve even results. The combination of heat and constant stirring allows the oils and lye to react and form a soap paste. This paste will eventually be diluted to create liquid soap.

Testing for Clarity and Completed Saponification

Once the soap paste has cooked for the recommended duration, it needs to be tested for clarity and completed saponification. Testing for clarity involves dissolving a small amount of the soap paste in hot water and observing if there are any signs of oiliness or cloudiness. A clear solution indicates that the soap has been properly cooked and is ready for the next phase.

Additionally, testing the soap’s pH levels is crucial to ensure it is safe to use. The soap should have a pH of 9 to 10.2. If the pH is too high or too low, adjustments can be made using neutralizing solutions like boric acid or borax to bring it to the desired range.

Liquifying the Soap Paste into Liquid Soap

After the soap paste has been cooked and tested, it is time to liquify it into liquid soap. This is done by adding hot distilled water to the soap paste and thoroughly mixing until it dissolves completely. The mixture should then be left to settle overnight, allowing any remaining impurities to settle at the bottom.

It is important to note that adding liquid water to the soap introduces a potential breeding ground for microbes. To ensure the liquid soap remains safe and free from microbial growth, it is advisable to either dilute only the amount needed for immediate use or use a broad-spectrum preservative like Optiphen ND.

Cooking and Testing PhasesDetails
Cooking the IngredientsHeating the soap ingredients in a slow cooker to initiate saponification.
Testing for Clarity and Completed SaponificationChecking the soap paste for clarity and pH levels to ensure proper cooking.
Liquifying the Soap Paste into Liquid SoapDissolving the soap paste in hot water to create liquid soap.

Liquid Soap Dilution and Preservatives

Once the soap paste has been cooked and tested, it needs to be diluted to create the final liquid soap. Dilution involves adding hot distilled water, liquid vegetable glycerine, and any desired fragrance or colorants. It is important to dissolve the soap paste completely in the water and allow the mixture to settle overnight.

However, it’s important to note that adding liquid water to the soap introduces a potential breeding ground for microbes. To prevent microbial growth and extend the shelf-life of the liquid soap, it is advisable to either dilute only the amount needed for immediate use or use a broad-spectrum preservative.

One effective preservative option for liquid soap is Optiphen ND. This preservative helps prevent microbial contamination and extends the shelf-life of the soap. When using a preservative, it’s crucial to follow the recommended dosage and thoroughly mix it into the diluted soap to ensure its effectiveness.

By diluting the soap paste properly and using a preservative, you can maintain the quality and safety of your homemade liquid soap for an extended period of time.

Dilution IngredientsRecommended Proportions
Soap Paste60-70%
Distilled Water30-40%
Liquid Vegetable Glycerine1-2%
Fragrance or ColorantsAs desired
Preservative (e.g., Optiphen ND)As recommended by the manufacturer

Liquid Soap Testing and Adjustment

Once you have cooked and tested your liquid soap, it is important to ensure that it meets the desired quality standards. Testing the soap for excess lye and proper pH levels is essential to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

Testing for Clarity

The clarity test is an important step in determining the quality of your liquid soap. To perform this test, dissolve a small amount of soap paste in hot water and observe for any oiliness or cloudiness. If the soap appears cloudy or oily, it may require further cooking or adjustment.

Adjusting the Soap

If your liquid soap does not meet the desired clarity or pH levels, adjustments can be made to improve its quality. Further cooking can help eliminate cloudiness and improve the overall appearance of the soap. Additionally, neutralizing solutions like boric acid or borax can be used to adjust the pH levels of the soap.

“Testing and adjusting the soap during the process is crucial for achieving the desired clarity and pH levels.”

It is important to keep detailed notes of each batch’s measurements and adjustments. This will help you maintain consistency in future batches and improve the overall quality of your liquid soap.

Table: Liquid Soap Testing and Adjustment

TestProcedureDesired ResultAdjustment
Clarity TestDissolve a small amount of soap paste in hot waterNo oiliness or cloudinessIf cloudy or oily, further cooking may be required
pH TestingUse pH testing strips or a pH meter to measure the soap’s pHpH of 9 to 10.2If pH is too high or too low, use neutralizing solutions like boric acid or borax to adjust

Packaging and Using Liquid Soap

Once you have successfully made your homemade liquid soap, it’s time to package it and put it to good use. Proper packaging not only helps maintain the quality of the soap but also enhances its visual appeal. Here are some tips on packaging and utilizing your liquid soap:

Bottles and Jars

Choose suitable bottles or jars to store your liquid soap. Look for containers made of plastic or glass that are specifically designed for holding liquids. Ensure that the containers have tight-fitting lids or pumps to prevent leakage and maintain hygiene. Transparent or translucent packaging allows you to showcase the color and consistency of the liquid soap. You can also consider labeling the bottles or jars with the name of the soap and its ingredients for a more professional touch.

Versatile Uses

Homemade liquid soap offers a wide range of uses beyond handwashing. You can use it as a gentle body wash for daily showers, ensuring a nourishing and cleansing experience for your skin. Additionally, the liquid soap can be used as a shampoo, leaving your hair clean and conditioned. Don’t forget to dilute the soap accordingly, adjusting the ratio based on your hair type. Another creative way to utilize your liquid soap is by making it into a dog shampoo. Simply dilute the soap and add pet-friendly fragrances, ensuring a pleasant bath time for your furry friend.

Creative Customization

One of the perks of making your own liquid soap is the ability to customize it according to your preferences. You can experiment with different fragrances, such as essential oils, to create delightful scents that suit your mood or the season. Add colorants to make your liquid soap visually appealing and personalize it further. Consider using natural colorants like beetroot powder or spirulina for an eco-friendly touch. Remember to record the proportions and ingredients used for future reference and to ensure consistency in your batches.

With proper packaging, your homemade liquid soap can last for an extended period. It’s important to store the soap in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its quality. Enjoy the satisfaction of using your own handcrafted liquid soap, knowing that it is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and personalized alternative to commercial options.


Making liquid soap at home offers a cost-effective and customizable option for those seeking a DIY approach. By following this step-by-step guide and using the right ingredients and equipment, you can create high-quality liquid soap with moisturizing and cleansing properties. Testing and adjusting the soap throughout the process is vital to achieve the desired clarity and pH levels.

With proper packaging and storage, homemade liquid soap can last for an extended period, providing a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to commercial options. Whether it’s for hand soap, body wash, shampoo, or even dog shampoo with appropriate adjustments, the versatility of homemade liquid soap allows you to customize it to your preferences.

So, why not give it a try? Making liquid soap at home not only saves you money but also gives you the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands. So go ahead and start your journey to homemade liquid soap today!


Is making liquid soap at home cost-effective?

Yes, making liquid soap from scratch is a cost-effective option compared to buying commercial options.

What ingredients do I need to make liquid hand soap?

The main ingredients include olive oil, coconut oil, potassium hydroxide (KOH), distilled water, and vegetable glycerine.

What is the difference between KOH and NaOH in soap making?

KOH is used for making liquid soap, while NaOH is used for making bar soap.

What equipment do I need for making liquid hand soap?

You will need a slow cooker, a digital scale, an immersion blender, a stainless steel potato masher, and silicone stirring spoons.

What are the cooking and testing phases in liquid soap making?

The cooking phase involves heating the ingredients, while the testing phase ensures the soap is properly cooked and safe to use.

How do I dilute the soap paste into liquid soap?

You can dilute the soap paste by adding hot distilled water, liquid vegetable glycerine, and any desired fragrance or colorants.

How do I test the liquid soap for excess lye and proper pH levels?

The clarity test involves dissolving a small amount of soap paste in hot water and observing for oiliness or cloudiness.

How should I package and store the liquid soap?

Pour the soap into bottles or jars, avoiding disturbances to the settled solids. Proper packaging and storage will ensure its longevity.

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.