Stretching Liquid Hand Soap

My family uses anti-bacterial soap at the kitchen and utility room sinks and with hands being washed constantly in my household, the cost adds up quickly! To make the soap last longer, I keep spare bottles and thin the soap down with water, usually 1 part soap to not quite 3 parts water. Sure saves the pennies. I have been doing this for over 20 years now.


By Vicki from Monroe, MI

September 29, 20090 found this helpful

I like adding mouthwash to mine to thin it - it gets an additional boost of germ killers!

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September 30, 20090 found this helpful

If it is less concentrated surly the family will use more at a time. The more concentrated it is the less they will use. In my opinion you are not saving, you are lowering the strength of the anti-bacterial by adding plain water to it.

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September 30, 20090 found this helpful

There's another technique that's been submitted. Another way to stretch the liquid soap. Wrap a rubber band several times around the neck of the plunger area, so the plunger doesn't go down as far. Adjust the band up or down, according to your preference. Your family may discover, a little dab'll do ya!

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

I also dilute liquid soaps and shampoos. It is not recommended to use anti-bacterial formulas as they contribute to the formation of superbacteria. Ordinary soaps kill germs and that's what should be used regularly.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

This is not a good idea. Manufacturers already use the least amount of active ingredients possible to achieve the desired effect of liquid soaps: cleansing, moisturizing and killing bacteria. There is no reason for them to use excess ingredients since it costs more. Diluting 3-to-1 is excessive, and none of the ingredients will work as intended.

Worst of all, it's dangerous if you're talking about antibacterial soap. The liquid soap contains the minimum amount of triclosan deemed effective for killing bacteria. When weakened, much of the bacteria survive. Most, of course, wash down the drain but some aren't. These can then breed into triclosan-resistant strains through the Darwinian process of Natural Selection. That's not good for you, your family or society. See CDC statement below.

Think about it this way: when you're given antibiotics, you have to take it for the full time prescribed. Stopping early risks changing the organisms into a resistant strain, which will reproduce and is bad for the patient and the rest of society. That's essentially what you're doing when you dilute the soap; you are using a weakened form of triclosan. As they say, "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger." And what doesn't kill the bacteria will make it stronger.

This is precisely the reason some health officials say that antibacterial soaps are actually harming society, by breeding resistant bacteria. By using diluted antibacterial soaps, you're making the problem even worse. If you must dilute the soap for financial reasons, use industrial or professional strength antibacterial soap. The soap in my lab, for example, has twice the amount of triclosan, and is made by Dial.

A simpler solution is to not use antibacterial soap, but you'd still have diluted ingredients. The best solution is to not dilute soap at all.

Here is the CDC's official statement.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

Several people recommended adding mouth wash to thin the liquid soap without lowering its antibacterial effect. Why bother? The active ingredient in most mouth washes is alcohol. Why not just use straight alcohol in the soap?

The best solution is to not dilute liquid soap. if you're on a budget just buy refill bottles by the gallon. I can get a 32 oz refill for about $2.99.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

By the way, here's a warning based on personal experience. First, please read my other post about the dangers of diluting antibacterial soap.

When you dilute the soap so much, it's no longer effective as soap, and is better described as soapy water. And that's not enough to fight off mold. Basically, it's like leaving an open cup of water to collect and feed mold. In a month or so, you'll see brown or black specks in the tube, which will eventually turn into a slimy coating. This is true for antibacterial and normal liquid soap.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

I agree how expensive liquid hand soap can be. we use quite a bit in our home. I have 3 boys and a husband so I'm sure you can imagine. Using water is a good tip. If I may suggest another tip to stretch the liquid soap as well? Use vinegar! Vinegar is great for stretching any liquid saop. In your hand soaps add a couple tablespoons and shake lightly to mix together. This not only helps to stretch the soap but makes the soap milder on your hands. Also add 3 tablespoons to your dishwashing liquid. this will help to stretch, make milder on hands, and will make dishes, countertops and cabinets shine. I personally like it in my dish soap and hand sopa I use in the kitchen because the vinegar also helps to rid the smell of garlic and onions on my hands when I use the soap containing the vinegar. You can also enhance your body wash by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar. This will help remove soap residue and leave your skin feeling silky and soft. Add vinegar to your shampoo to naturally remove buildup from hair products and to your conditioner. Vinegar is a natural hair conditioner and will also help to bring out red highlights. I have been using vinegar for a couple years now and I truly can say it is a miracle liquid. Also, you may think that you will smell the vinegar in your soaps but you will not!! These tips come from a handy little book VIM and Vinegar by Melodie Moore. I keep this book in the kitchen and look at it often. It offers hindreds of great uses for vinegar. And the best part about is so thrifty. A gallon for $1.50, you can't go wrong. I keep at least a gallon on hand at all times. Hope you find my tips useful as well.

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Liquid Hand Soap
Stretching Liquid Hand Soap
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