Making Foaming Soap at Home

Instead of buying foaming soap refills, try this: Buy one container of foaming hand soap. When it's empty, refill with 2 Tbsp. liquid hand soap for every 1 cup water. So simple, so easy, and cheaper.


I haven't tried this yet, but I'm thinking the same recipe should work for foaming dish soap. I'll try it when my refill soap runs out.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful
Top Comment

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 so much 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 12, 20120 found this helpful
Top Comment

When my foaming hand soap dispenser is gone I just use our dish soap to make more. The ratio is 3 parts water & 1 part soap. It works just like foaming hand soap.

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December 15, 20080 found this helpful

I also do this for regular hand soap dispensers. What I do is buy Dr.Bronners Liquid Lavender Castille Soap, add 2 Tbsp of it in the soap dispenser and fill the rest with water. Makes a nice cheap "green" hand cleaner and smells good! Dr. Bronners comes in a few aromatherapy scents too!

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By Carol from Texas (Guest Post)
December 18, 20080 found this helpful

I do this with dishwashing liquid in a recycled pump bottle. Fill halfway with dish soap and fill the rest of the way with water.


Works just as well as full strength and makes my dish liquid last twice as long.

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December 22, 20080 found this helpful

I'm glad I found this! I was about to throw away my foaming dispenser since the refills are so expensive. Little did I know the refills were mostly water! I bought a very large container of fruity handsoap (on sale too!) and I'm curious as to how long it will last now. Thanks! :)

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January 2, 20090 found this helpful

We've been doing this for the past few years and we just love the savings! I just wish I could find a soap dispenser that foamed up that wasn't meant to be disposable because they only seem to be able to be refilled so many times.


They you've got to go out and pay full price for another dispenser. *sigh*

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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 9, 20100 found this helpful

Yes, it will work with the foaming dish soap too. I have a Dawn one I got with a coupon and have refilled it several times. I have been refilling my foaming soap dispensers for years.


I don't buy hand soap, I usually just use a squirt of dish washing liquid in it, or I have even used the last of a bottle of shampoo.

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March 7, 20110 found this helpful

I am prone to eczema and dilute all my liquid soaps with distilled water. I usually go 1/3 soap and fill the rest of the container with distilled water. It has worked well for me with both hand and dish soaps and with the distilled water I have never had a mold problem but I do save money and most brands are okay for my skin once they are diluted.

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February 4, 20130 found this helpful

We got a foaming soap dispenser last year, and refill it with about a tablespoon of dawn dish liquid and then a cup of water. Works just as good or better. Buy scented dawn if you want the whole bathroom to smell good when you wash up! You can also use Avon's Bubble Bath. I buy their Christmas scents up every year, and refill my soap dispensers with that. It cleans squeaky clean, smells wonderful, and is not harsh on your skin.

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May 31, 20180 found this helpful

Great idea. I have been doing this for a couple years now. It has saved us a lot of money as I am always washing my hands.

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