Liquid bodywash made from bar soap.

Bodywash ready to go!

Bodywash ready to go!

I spent years wasting a ton of money on all kinds of expensive body wash.  I have to admit I’m still a sucker for Bath and Body Works, but even there I’m finally starting to get away from the actual shower gel.  More recently I’ve rediscovered the love of bar soap, it’s so much cheaper and it seems to clean better also.  However, there are those lazy days where I don’t want to be bothered with a washrag and the bar – so I started to look at how I could make my own liquid shower gel.  The easiest way is to start with a real bar of soap and melt it down – sort of along the lines of making liquid laundry detergent from Fels Naptha.  I tried it out last weekend with a bar of my favorite soap and so far am pleased with the results.


  • 1 8-ounce bar of soap (or multiple smaller ones adding up to that amount)
  • 2 tablespoons glycerin
  • 1 gallon distilled water


  • Grate the soap as finely as you can.
  • Dissolve it completely on the stove in a pot of hot distilled water.
  • Let it cool for at least 24 hours.
  • Give it a good stir/whisk and put into a dispenser of your choice.


  • My current favorite bar soap is apparently as hard as a rock.  I tried to cheat (as recommended on several sites that I saw) by “grating” the soap in the food processor.  It was like trying to shred pebbles.  Of course by then I had already cut the soap into pieces too small to grate by hand, so I had to just roll with it and dump them all into the pot.  The bottom line is – it WILL dissolve eventually, I just imagine that nicely shredded soft soap would have dissolved so much faster.
  • The glycerin is supposed to add a moisturizing touch.  I found it in the pharmacy area near the first aid type items (band-aids, etc.).
  • The distilled water will supposedly make your soap stay fresher longer.
  • When you first remove it from the heat, it will literally look like dirty laundry water.  My soap was a greenish color to begin with so it probably made it worse.  Don’t worry, it will thicken!
  • And, when I said it will thicken, I’m not kidding.  I had to use a big metal spoon to really break it up and give it a good stir after it was completely cooled.  But, once that was all said and done, it came out to have a nice creamy consistency, smells good, foams up….seems fine to me!  And I have a huge tub of liquid soap (imagine at least a gallon of it) for about $4 or $5.  If you get cheap soap you could do even better with the price.
  • While researching this I read repeatedly that Dove soap is not good for this project.  I can’t say if that is true or not, but thought I would pass it on.
  • My ultimate plan is to re-use some sort of dispensing bottle rather than fighting with a little tub of this in the shower, but I didn’t have anything handy at the moment.  I’m sure you could reuse any number of plastic bottles around the house.

One comment

  1. Victoria Miles · · Reply

    Great idea! Remember too that bar soap is more environmentally friendly. No plastic containers to throw away after you’re finished with it!

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