Homemade All-Natural Foaming Hand Soap with Free Printable Label

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap non-stop since my first gallon arrived from Amazon six months ago (buy it here). If you’ve been following my blog since then, you know how much I LOVE this amazing soap (I wrote a whole post on it). I use it in cleaning products, in the shower, and in my homemade laundry detergent and love how it comes from a company with a conscience (fair trade and community-minded), whose products are organic and eco-friendly. (You’d think I was PAID to write all that, but I’m not! I promise! I just really love it!)

Homemade All-Natural Foaming Hand Soap with Free Printable

This soap is green, non-toxic, chemical-free, organic, gentle AND antibacterial!

So, I’ve been using it as a hand soap for about six months but have kept it in a regular ole’ soap pump bottle, until now. I had never been totally happy with it because of the watery consistency – it squirts all over the countertop and sink and makes a mess. Drives me crazy, especially because in the old house, we had granite countertops in the bathroom and it would leave awful wet spots. I love it as a hand and body soap, though, because it is so much more gentle than soaps with sodium lauryl sulfate in it, which is so harsh on the skin and hair (not to mention other nasty things I dislike about that chemical). Castile Soap is made from olive oil, so it’s very gentle, but still cleans very well. I noticed a huge difference in the amount of dry skin, eczema and irritation on my hands when I switched to Dr. Bronner’s and now have it next to every sink in the house, or I pay the price!

I finally got smart and bought a cheap foaming soap bottle from Target. I brought it home, dumped out the soap (full of sodium lauryl sulfate, even though it is the Method line!), and filled it with my castile soap recipe. It pumps out so perfectly foamy and is no longer watery! No more soap mess to clean up all over the sink. It took me this long to figure out that soap is made foamy by the pump, not the chemicals in the soap! {Anyone else knew that already? If you did, now you can feel smart (smile)}.

Here is the easy recipe and the free printable label so you’ll never have to look this up again! (Make sure to stick it on with packing tape and completely cover it so it doesn’t get wet).

  • Fill a foaming soap pump (like this one) 1/3 full with Castile Soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s in Peppermint, Almond and Lavender for hand soaps)
  • Depending on the size of the bottle (and your smeller), drop 10-30 drops of Thieves, Purification or Tea Tree Essential Oils (they are all powerful antibacterials).
  • Fill the rest with filtered, distilled or regular tap water
About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. hi! I love these recipes, but I have a question. I’m in Italy and i don’t think we have Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap. is it like a Marsiglia soap? or natural laundry soap? i’d like to see if there’s an alternative out there I can start looking for! thanks in advance!

    • Hi Roanna! You’re the Roanna from my link party, right? 🙂 I love Italy. Anyway, back to the subject. All I know to buy would be another brand of a castile soap so that it’s gentle soap, sulfate free, and made from olive oil. Can you buy things off Amazon? There are quite a few other castile soap brands there. Otherwise, I just have no idea how to go about looking for it, since I assume I’d need to be looking on an Italian retailer’s site.

    • yes, I’m the one! I believe for us it’s Marsiglia soap… it’s gentle soap based on vegetable oils. I’ve seen it in bar form, but I’m sure that even at the supermarket I might be able to find it in liquid. If not at the regular supermarket, maybe at our Natura Sì ecological one! thanks for the info!

    • Ok, great! That sounds promising. You’ll want to check the ingredients to make sure it is truly made of vegetable oils and no sulfates. I just looked it up and it’s the Savon de Marseille, but hardly anyone makes it the traditional way anymore. So, like everything else that’s green, we have to do fun research! :oP

  2. Thanks for the recipe. I’m definitely going to try this!

  3. I do this as well, but I use Dr. Bronner’s tea tree oil soap, with some of the peppermint one as well 🙂

  4. I I am new to green cleaning/body products and have been using the foaming soap for a short time. I noticed its leaving a soap scum film on my sink, counter top and faucet. I had to use CLR on them to get the scum off. I tried vinegar but it didn’t work. I want to keep up the the green, but am frustrated at these results. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Vanessa! Great to hear you’ve joined the “green train!” So, soap scum. I use baking soda in the shower and bathtub to remove soap scum and it works like a charm because it is pretty abrasive. I suggest trying that – just sprinkle a tad (don’t need much at all). I’m surprised you’re getting the scum because I’ve not had that problem. It could be that you have either hard or soft water and it reacts with the soap.

      • I was wondering about that. Our water here is bad. We have a softener so maybe its the minerals in the water.

        • So you think it’s hard? The water where we lived before was super hard and it made scum and guck out of everything, so that probably is it! But baking soda is abrasive and might clean it right up with a small bit of elbow grease. Let me know if that doesn’t work for ya!

          • I have been using your recipes for a while now and although we are fine tuning, I love them! I also get a lot of scum in my sinks and shower. I spray my water/vinegar regular cleaner on it, then sprinkle baking soda (I save the Parmesan Cheese shakers to fill and keep on in each bath and the kitchen for this) and scrub it off with that! Works great, except on the faucets. I have brushed nickle so I also follow up with some rubbing alcohol on them which shines them up nicely.
            We weren’t aware until last week but we do have hard water (from our town), and with a TON of extra stuff that shouldn’t be in water. Ugh. So we had a water softener and whole house filtration system installed on Thursday. I hadn’t thought of it until reading this post, but hopefully it will clear up a lot of those little pesky problems. If not, some extra soap scum is a small price to pay for a healthier lifestyle and keeping my family safe from toxic chemicals.

            • Hi Jessica! Yep, I do the same thing with the parmesan cheese shaker and even have a post dedicated to that! Works great, doesn’t it? Yes, I imagine a lot of your scum is coming from the hard water and silt in your water. The filtration system and softener will do a great job fixing that. You’ll still have some, as Dr. Bronner’s is an oiler soap, but I don’t have bad buildup and we have softer water and it’s filtered.

      • I have been doing the same with the Dr. Bronner’s for a couple years now! I love it! To get the scum off, I have recently become a fan of the “magic eraser”! (I buy the store brand or dollar store version) But it works a lot better than I ever thought!

    • We *don’t* have hard water (we live in town) and we have been accumulating the soap scum on our glass shower stall and sinks and tubs, and we *only* use the Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. I am very discouraged…We have started using the vinegar spray on the shower stall and it is taking some of it off, but there is a lot left. Would the baking soda be too abrasive for cleaning the glass?

      • Hmm, I don’t think it would be, Marcus, but I’d do a spot test if I were you just in case so it doesn’t destroy your glass. Actually, it may be the Dr. Bronner’s causing the problem because it does leave an oily film behind sometimes, since it is made of olive oil. It might take several tries of the vinegar, and then try the baking soda. Also, you might consider buying a filter for your showerhead to prevent the problem. I bought one from Wal-Mart for $35, a Culligan. The filter only costs $11 and has to be replaced every 6 months, so it’s affordable!

    • Hi, I also had this problem, and the best way I have found to deal with it is just plain ‘ol elbow grease. The sink and counter at my house (Because my three kids, and one big kid aka Hubby) just need a good scrubbing once a week. I have used soft scrub in the past. But in an effort to go more green I have just started using Norwex Enviro Cloth with their Cleaning Paste. Works like a charm. I think there is a link on this b log for homemade soft scrub too. I’m betting that would work.

  5. I do the same thing. I started with Dr. Bronners, which I do love a lot but I am also trying to save money. So now I use Kirk’s Castile Soap made with coconut oil (a pack of 3 is less than $1.50 at my store) I can get 10 cups of liquid castile soap from 1 bar. 10 cups for less than 50 cents, way cheaper than 5 dollars for a tiny bottle of Dr. Bronners and it works just as well. There are also many other essential oils you can use to kill germs, lavender, clove, lemon, etc.

    • Thanks for sharing your tips and advice, Ashley!

    • Which store do you get the Kirk’s at? And are their instructions on turning it into liquid? I’m very interested in this as I already have the oils and the soap pumps, but I agree, that liquid is WAY to pricey for me!

      • Hi Jane! You can buy Kirk’s at health food stores or online at Amazon. You will have to grate it and then melt it on the stove to turn it into liquid form. There is another brand of castile soap called Dr. Woods that is a little bit cheaper than Dr. Bronner’s – here’s a link to it.

        • Thanks! That reply was very quick 🙂 Do you add anything to it when you melt it? Ashley said she was able to get 10 cups of liquid from a single bar…

          • Hi Jane! I honestly don’t know because I’ve never melted soap before. I do think many people add water, but I’d have to Google it to find out. That’s why I just use liquid soap because I’m too lazy to fool with it!

      • Cathy W says:

        Jane, you can find Kirks in the bath soap section at Krogers or Fred Meyers. It comes in a three-pack and usually parked on the bottom of the shelf! Shelving clerks don’t know what to do with something they are unfamiliar with, so down it goes to the neither regions! Probably stores elsewhere in the same place!

      • Hi there I just happened to see that Kirk’s soap at Walmart the other day! Can’t remember the price though. I also saw a recipe on Pinterest recently where the gal just grates the soap and puts it in the blender with olive oil and essential oil (to make shampoo) and blends away and doesn’t bother heating and melting…. interesting.

  6. Thanks for the great info…just a thought though, if your using Pure Grade Essential Oils (I use Young Living) they use all organic products and the distillation process they use is superb, you might want to be careful of using Tea Tree Oil as it is deadly to cats. I find that in the winter months when people are more prone to get sick I use Thieves Essential Oil in my soap. People love it, its anti-microbial, anti-fungal, essentially a super protectant against all germs…this formula is essentially what cured the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century.

    • Cool, I’ve never tried Thieves essential oil. I have two cats and have never had a problem with Tea Tree Oil, but it’s not like they get anywhere near it, either. I love Tea Tree Oil too much to stop using it at this point!

  7. I made this yesterday and I am loving it. I did not add Tea tree oil because I have Two young boys and am concern about it leading to gynecomastia. I did buy Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap and added extra Organic Peppermint oil but I would like to know is there and oil I can add to make it a moisturizing soap? I am finding my hands very dry.

    Also made the laundry soap Loving that too but I cannot seem to get a fragrance from the fabric softner one….Anyhow love the recipes you are helping my house become Greener 🙂

    • Yes, you can add any carrier oil you like to make it moisturizing – olive, castile, jojoba, sunflower, grapeseed, etc. And you haven’t gotten any fragrance on your clothes by sprinkling the lavender onto cloths or dryer balls? If so, then you just need more drops.

  8. I have tried 2 bottles left over from bath and body works (just like your picture) but for some reason the pump stop working and leaking. Do you know where to get the pump only? Thank you.

  9. Hi Sara,
    I’m loving your blog but I’ve got a problem. When I make up my diluted soap (1/3 Dr. Bronner, 2/3 water with EO as fragrance (Usually peppermint and/or orange), it leaves a dreadful, chemical smell behind. Any ideas why this is or what I can do to counteract it?? (It’s not my EO as it happened even without putting any EO in!)

    • Hi Naomi,

      I have never ever had the soap leave an awful chemical smell behind, and I’ve made a bunch of it. I honestly have no idea what it is, unless the Dr. Bronner’s is reacting with the plastic in your soap dispenser you’re using or the soap dispenser itself has some nasty chemicals in it? I would switch soap dispensers and see if it gets better.

  10. Cindy Laidlaw says:

    Another great place to get the Tea tree oil, or other essential oils is from Essante.

  11. Can you make a shampoo out of this for color treated hair? I have a formula using coconut milk and Aloe Vera, but it doesn’t lather at all and doesn’t make my hair feel clean. Any ideas on how to dress up this formula or have another? Thanks!

  12. Just want to thank you for all your great info. SOOOO helpful. I Love all your stuff 🙂

  13. Just made my first batch. Perfect!! THANKS for sharing! Going to pin this…and share it on my Facebook. 🙂

  14. Hi

    Can I use any hand soap container or does it have to be one that has already had foaming soap in it? Not sure if a regular one would make it foam?


    • It is the container that makes it foam. It’s specially designed to force air into the soap as it is squirted out, which makes it foam. So, I buy cheap foaming soap at the store, use the soap in that bottle, then refill with this recipe.

  15. Hi: A couple of things….according to Snopes, the report saying that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers contain formaldehyde is false. Possible arising from one of the ingredients containing the word formaldehyde in the same way that sodium chloride (table salt) contains sodium, which is unstable and toxic as an element. 😉 http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/eraser.asp

    Regarding the question about foaming soap pumps vs regular….Bronner’s say no to the regular pump b/c the castile soap will clog them (even diluted) at some point resulting in soap being squirted out in unexpected directions and has resulted in several lawsuits against Bronners. See Lisa Bronner’s blog. http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=105 Info. is in the comments section. 😉

  16. Tea tree is an estrogen enhancer, this is not necessarily a good thing, reserch it and see… Sliver water is a better alternative germ killer in the hand soap

    • Hi Jen! Yes, I have read that – but there is only one study I’ve ever found to back that up. Usually it takes many more studies with the same results before conclusions like this are made, so I feel comfortable using Tea Tree Oil and Lavender in my products for now. They are just so powerful. However, I do also use Eucalyptus, Clove, Lemon and Cinnamon for their anti-bacterial powers, so for those who are concerned, those are great alternatives!

  17. Hello. I’ve been using this hand soap for about a month now and I like it well enough but I have a couple issues.
    1. When using it in the kitchen, my entire stainless steel sink becomes greasy, oily and spotty. I have to scrub the greasy film off with a sponge. Is this normal? It seems counterproductive to wash your hands with something that requires so much work to remove from the sink, is there another alternative to Dr. Bronner’s?
    2. My hands are incredibly and ridiculously dry at this point. My husband and I both noticed our hands our inconsolably dry…no amount of lotion or oil is helping at this point and our knuckles are so chapped and cracked they are bleeding. I made this with peppermint Dr. Bronner’s soap and tea tree oil, is there a different combination I should try that will not completely dehydrate our skin?

    • Hi Jodi! I’m sorry you’re having trouble. I would remove the tea tree oil all together. Recent research is showing that plain ole fashioned hand washing gets rid of germs effectively. That might also help with the dryness. Castile soap is mostly just saponified olive oil, so the film you’re seeing is the oil and the tea tree oil. I have not had trouble with a film in my sink, so maybe removing the tea tree oil will help with that as well. I have not had trouble with dryness, in fact, just the opposite for me. Everyone is different, though, so maybe it’s better for you to use goat’s milk soap or something of that nature.

      • What do you recommend for Goat’s milk? I’m a little spoiled by the Amazon links all over your website 🙂 Also, I noticed one recipe for hand soap says 1/3 Dr. Bronners to 2/3 water and another says 1/8 Dr. Bronners and 7/8 water – could that be the difference, am I accidentally using to much castile soap?

  18. Hi Sara,
    I’ve tried several recipes for homemade foaming soap and EVERY time it seems to clog the dispenser. With your recipe I measured perfectly but it still happened. I had to empty some mixture out and add more water and try to clean the dispenser head with clear water but it’s still not pumping right. I’m using Deep Steep dispensers which worked perfectly with their soap–but it is pricey. HELP!

    • Debbie, I’ve had no trouble with the dispensers I bought at Target. They had Method soap in them and I used it all up and kept the containers. It pumps out just fine, so I think it’s your pump!

      • Hi Sara,
        Well, after reading several reviews where I purchase it online about Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap —saying that it was too thin and runny—I figured out the problem was my SOAP, not the pump. After emptying the container and pumping plain water through to clear out the old mixture I used your recipe and VOILA, absolutely perfect foaming soap. Even my husband commented on how nice it lathered and how easy it pumped. THANKS so much for sharing your recipe.

  19. FYI: you can purchase foaming soap dispensers on Amazon. Doesn’t really seem Eco-friendly to buy “nasty chemical” soap to dump down the drain.

  20. Adrienne says:

    Which essential oil do you use in your soap? I have rose scented Castile soap andI’m afraid my tea tree oil will be over powering

  21. Margot W Bradford says:

    I am a newbie to your website, very fun and informative, and a newbie to Dr Bonner’s Castile Soap .. I am excited to reduce the use of chemicals in my life … I have a question about the beautiful label for foaming hand soap you offer … it prints out filling a whole page … can you tell me how to reduce the size? Grandma Margot

    • Hi Grandma Margot! Hmmm, I’m not sure – you’ll have to check the settings for your printer and make it be “actual size” and not “fill to paper.” Hope that helps you!

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