How To Make Your Own Foaming Dish Soap and Hand Soap

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If you like the foaming dish soaps and hand soaps, you’ll be happy to know it’s easy to Make Your Own. What’s the secret?

The dispenser . . . . it’s all about the dispenser.

Once you have a foaming dispenser, all you do is dilute some liquid soap with water. If you’ve already bought some foaming soap, take a look and you’ll see that the soap inside the bottle is not a thick consistency – it’s quite watery.

make your own foaming dish soap

When making your own foaming soap you can either buy a foaming soap dispenser or you can save an empty one from a foaming soap you’ve purchased. I saved my empty foaming dish soap container (The Dawn Direct Foam bottle pictured here).

After reading lots of tips and comments by other people using this method, I came to the conclusion that most folks found that careful measuring isn’t necessary. The basic method is just to put a little bit of soap in the bottom of the dispenser and then fill it up the rest of the way with water. Some suggestions were a 30/70 mix, a 40/60 mix, or 1 part soap to 5 parts water. BUT, many also said they just eyeballed it so that was good enough for me. I find that filling my bottle about 1/4 full of soap (as pictured below) and then filling it up the rest of the way with water works well.

make your own foaming dish soap

You can also use a wide variety of soap products including shampoo, body wash, liquid hand soaps or liquid dish soaps. Stay away from the creamy soaps, however, as they have moisturizers than can clog the foaming dispensers.

Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Foaming Dish Soap or Hand Soap

You will need:

Foaming Soap Dispenser (either new or repurposed)
Liquid Soap (you can use shampoo, body wash, dish soap, hand soap)
Water

#1 – Rinse out your foaming soap container if using one from a prior purchase.

#2 – Put a little bit of liquid soap in the bottom of the container.  (I used Joy Dish Soap)

#3 – Fill the rest of the container up slowly with water.

$4 – Screw the top back on the container and slowly tip back and forth to mix. Do not shake or it will get too bubbly.

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28 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! Your recipe is such a gift! I have been going to my Wal-Mart searching in vain for many weeks now for their inexpensive foaming soap refill. Tried a super Wal-Mart which was also out. I have empty foaming dispensers sitting around the house while my son was asking, “Where did you put the soap?” I was at the point of trying to order some flakes to make my own when I stumbled upon your blog. I get the big Dawn Platinum when it’s on coupon at Costco; and I happened to have one with just a little in the bottom–perfect amount to add to water in one of my empty foaming soap dispensers. In went the cold water, in went some Dawn, with about an inch of air space at the top. I tipped it back and forth a few times, tried it, and the most beautiful soft foam came out!!! I am thanking God we have soap again without spending a fortune! Thank you!!!

  2. Put COLD water in FIRST. Then add soap. Mix gently using a diagonal tilting motion. NO vigorous Uo & Down shaking unless you plan on letting your mix sit & rest to allow any bubbles or foaming to go away. A nurse explained to me this ‘diaganol’ method that medical world uses in shaking filled vials.
    (It’s also used to mix huge amounts of dry mix flavors for flavoring instant oats. I worked at Quaker Oats for 18yrs and cleaned the room with the massive metal tumblers that mixed the dry ingredients. “Ohhh, so that’s how that’s done…” I observed. I’m always eager to Note & Learn.)
    Why? Its science- you dont get foaming.when using cold water.. Molecules are moving very slowly.
    I eyeball my soap & water. Little soap in the bottom, add cool/cold water, add essential oils of your choice. ( I add a citrus blend and Theives), Do NOT top off bottle with water.
    Leave about 1/2 – 1 inch air space under the pump’s pumping mechanism. Air is needed to push product out of bottle. Pull pump into ‘up’ position and screw into place. Works for me. VOILA! Took a few tries to figure out the science & mechanics.
    Dawn may be used to get oil off water fowl wings but it is STILL TESTED ON ANIMALS. (I called the company)
    It is a powerful degreaser no doubt. Each person must use their own concious as a guide.

    1. I’ve always used the Dawn foaming soap that says “Platinum” on it. However sometimes the manufacturers change things and you can’t always find these same descriptions on the label. Just look for the strongest foaming version of Dawn you see on the shelf.

    2. Re: slightly off from your topic. soap – water mixture ratios… I started mixing after pandemic /zombie shoppers blew up the hh cleaning supply chain. Saved a lot of money since late January! Unfortunately, after a few refills, the Dawn foam pumper begins to hang and becomes stuck in the down position. After a bit more research, I stumbled across adding 2 tsp of vegetable glycerin (amazon) into the soap/ H2O mix. This acts as a natural lubricant for the plastic-plastic friction points inside the pump. I personally felt confident since many OTC soaps contain glycerin.
      The pump is lasting much longer, however, not as long as retail refill. I’m improving the mix, by adding a little extra glycerin at a time after evaluating the previous batch. I’m up to 2.5 tsps so far. ~CM

  3. Hi Bev. I enjoy all your tips. I mostly like the foaming soap one. I make it with Blue Dawn and have given it to my family. I really like this one.

    1. This is a recipe I use all the time too Maureen. It’s definitely one of my favorites that I’ve found very useful too!

  4. Been buying dawn direct and foaming hand soap for YEARS! Not any more! I’ll be making my own! I love Palmolive though! I’ll be using that!

  5. No where in here does it tell you what the mixture ratio is. I find that 1 part liquid soap, preferably dawn or joy work really well to 3 to 4 parts of water makes really good hand soap. For dish washing soap, use about 2 parts of liquid soap to 3 or 4 parts of water.

  6. I’ve been making my own foam soap for some time now and love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have since then started making every house hold cleaners as well as laundry soap and my fabric softener and sheets. I will never purchase another item from the store I don’t even purchase them if I need the containers. If that is the case I ask friends and family members to save me their container when they are done with it. Works Like A Charm!

  7. There’s a Pintrest project that spray paints the old Dawn foaming dispenser & then adds a monogram, or other graphic, to the front. Super cute & much classier than the original look ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I've been doing this since the foaming dish dispensers came out! Just started with the hand-soap one. Save so much $$$ since, for some reason, they charge more for the watered-down versions! I just buy dollar store dish soap and hand soap to refill.Glad to see it shared!!!

  9. I've been doing this since the foaming dish dispensers came out! Just started with the hand-soap one. Save so much $$$ since, for some reason, they charge more for the watered-down versions! I just buy dollar store dish soap and hand soap to refill.
    Glad to see it shared!!!

  10. So true! The stuff in the foaming bottles is a water thin consistency. If you use too thick of a soap you probably won't get the best performance from a foaming dispenser.

  11. So true! The stuff in the foaming bottles is a water thin consistency. If you use too thick of a soap you probably won't get the best performance from a foaming dispenser.

  12. I made my own homemade liquid soap, the real stuff, and sold it in pump bottles and foamer bottles. Didn't know that it should be thinned way down. Later looked at some in the store and realized it was almost water thin. ๐Ÿ™‚ So my customers got lots of soap for the money in a bottle that didn't work well at all. Live and learn!!.

  13. I made my own homemade liquid soap, the real stuff, and sold it in pump bottles and foamer bottles. Didn't know that it should be thinned way down. Later looked at some in the store and realized it was almost water thin. ๐Ÿ™‚ So my customers got lots of soap for the money in a bottle that didn't work well at all. Live and learn!!.

  14. One tip I maight add would be to pour the water in first and then add the soap. This is so that the soap doesn't bubble up and spill over. Otherwise, I do the exact same thing for all of our soaps. I'm actually thinking about making liquid hand soap and then diluting it down for our bathroom pumps. Thanks for all your tips!!

  15. I'm finding out too that for dishes, you need a little heavier mix. That way you can wash two or three plates, pans, or whatever, before you need another squirt on your scrubbie.

  16. I find that when you make hand soap, you don't need nearly as much soap as when making dish soap. For foaming hand soap, I just use 2 tbsp. of regular hand soap to 1 cup of warm water. Put it in a foaming dispenser of course!