Making Your Own Homemade Liquid Castile Soap


I love Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, the only problem is that when you use as much castile soap as I do the price can add up. The price around here is about 5 dollars for one of the smaller bottles. I had heard of Kirk’s castle bar soap, so I bought it to use in the shower. I really loved it and it is super cheap too compared to other soaps. It is all natural and made with coconut oil, but it does not smell like coconut.  I found it in the regular soap aisle at Wal-Mart, less than $1.50 for 3 bars.

I had made liquid hand soap out of other bars of soap before, so I figured I could make this into liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s. I grated up a bar of Kirk’s, put it in a big container, covered it with 10 cups of hot water, stirred and let it sit 24 hours.

After 24 hours I had a nice liquid soap, but very thin. I was actually a little disappointed and thought that I had watered it down too much, until I used it. It was still very sudsy and effective! You could use less water if you wanted it thicker but for me this works just fine. Here are some of the ways that we use it around our house:

Face/body wash in the shower (add baking soda for a great exfoliating wash)

Hand soap (in a regular pump bottle or about 1/4 soap to 3/4 water in a foaming dispenser)

In place of Dr. Bronner’s in my homemade shampoo (I double the amount for this)

To clean fruits and veggies from the store (to remove germs and pesticide residue if you buy conventionally grown produce)

In place of Dr. Bronner’s for cleaning (Diluted with hot water for mopping the floor, cleaning the walls, cabinets, etc.)

Bathing pets

Pest control in the garden (Drop bugs into a bucket of hot soapy water)


I really love this stuff and you can’t beat the price. You get 10 cups per bar of soap so that is almost 2 gallons for less than 2 dollars :)  Little changes like this can make a big difference in your budget and eliminating toxic chemicals from your life. It takes hardly any time at all to make, it is cheap, all natural and works wonderfully. If you can think of any other uses for this please feel free to share in the comments. Enjoy!

<3 Ashley

Homemade Liquid Castile Soap:

1. Grate 1 bar of Kirk’s castile bar soap into large pot or container.

2. Add 10 cups hot water, stir and cover.

3. Let sit 24 hours, stir.

Update added on Feb. 6th 2013 – This liquid soap seems to thicken or gel up when cold, store in a warm area of your house and it should remain runny like it should be.

Update added on July 12, 2013 – At my store they have raised the price. It used to be less than $1.50 for 3 bars, it is now over $3.00! I am kinda bummed but it is still cheaper than buying Dr. Bronner’s.

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111 thoughts on “Making Your Own Homemade Liquid Castile Soap

  1. Thank you so much for this! I have also been wondering if there was a way to “replace” the Dr. Bonner’s Liquid Soap. I very much enjoy your blog and it has become another resource for me in my quest of living a more natural life. Thanks again.

    • You are very welcome Wendy! I am so glad you enjoy my blog and find the information useful :) The main reason I wanted to do this was to share everything I am learning. Comments like yours that let me know I am helping others make it all worth it, thanks :)

      • Ashley, Can you help me figure out why my foam pump from a Bath and Body store I won’t mention LOL worked at first with my soap but after about a week it seems to be clogged up. :( The soap didn’t harden in the container. Thanks for your help! :)

      • Joy I am not quite sure. Maybe the soap hardened a little in the pump? I would try running it under hot water for a few minutes. I hope that helps.

    • Thank you so much for giving us this option for replacing Dr. Bonners. I love his liquid soap (it lasts forever as a foamy hand soap), but as you have pointed out, it is very expensive if you use it often. I am new to living a more natural life, and really appreciate how thorough you are in your descriptions and instructions (you don’t assume that we know how to do something – which I probably don’t! LOL). Thanks again, and God bless.
      Sincerely, Wendy C.

  2. Pingback: Homemade Shampoo Part Two | Ashley's Homemade Adventures

  3. Thanks for this I am allergic to olive oil so all castle soaps are out, and Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soap is in a lot of recipes I want to try, I am going to try it with a coconut Glycerine soap and see how I go.
    Thanks

  4. It won’t let me Facebook “like”. What is you’re Facebook page called? I looked up the title of your blog and couldn’t find it.

  5. Hi Amy! My blog does not have a Facebook page at this time, the like button is just to like this page. It will let me do it, so I am not sure why it is giving you a hard time, so sorry. If you want to share this on Facebook you can copy the link and post it in your status update, thanks :)

  6. Hi Ashley, I was wondering… to end up with the nice scents of Bronners Castile soap, couldn’t you start with their bar soaps like you did with this recipe? And would microwaving the soap to melt it work instead of grating it? (I read someone microwaved their bar soap at another site) I am going to try this and hope my teenage daughter like it. She goes through so much shampoo and this would definitely be better for her hair. (and everyone elses)
    Thanks for this site. :-)

  7. Hi Denise! That is a good question… actually no the Dr. Bronner’s Bars do not have the same results as this. I have tried both ways and this one definitely works a lot better. To get the same scent as Dr. Bronner’s you could buy the essential oils, which is great because you can choose the strength of the scent. I would not recommend microwaving because I have never tried it so I am not sure what would happen lol. I hope your daughter likes it! I have been using this to wash my face and using my green tea toner afterwards and my skin has never looked so good. I wish I had this as a teenager lol. Please come back and let me know how it worked out :)

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  9. Have you used/experimented with this recipe in a foaming pump? Normally, the foaming solution soap is quite dilute, even watery.

    • I have been having nothing but trouble with the foaming pump. The pump gets clogged with this recipe after a day or two.

      I’m afraid I can’t use the Kirk’s – or any bar – for the foamers.

      • Aileen I am not sure why it would not be working, I use an old Dial pump and an old Bath and Body Works pump and I have never had a problem. I have been using them for months. Sorry it is not working for you :( Have you tried a different one? Are you adding water too and not just the liquid soap? Those are the only things I can think of that might cause a problem. Hope you get it figured out.

      • BTW I just noticed in your comment above you said normally those solutions are watery. This recipe should turn out very thin and watery too. I thought I had added too much water the first time I made it.

  10. I have had two bars of Kirk’s Castile Soap in my laundry room for months… in hopes of finding a recipe like this!!!! Soap is in the pot!!! Can hardly wait until tomorrow!

    • I bought brand new foamers from a bottle wholesaler for this. I have a used foamer and am testing with a new foamer as well. (Two testing bottles, both of them clog.) I thought it was just my overworking the foaming pump.

      I know the soap in a foamer has to be very watery. I have some farm-made castile that I’ve been using for a year. I’ve rinsed shampoo bottles and emptied that into a different foamer bottle. (Boy howdy does that get foamy!!)

      Back to the Kirk’s….
      First recipe was plain. Seemed ok for a day or two.
      Second batch I tried glycerin and coconut oil. Gunk city – had to strain it. Still doesn’t work.
      Third batch more issues. I’m not in front of my project right now, so don’t recall which bad result it was….Oh, maybe this was the olive oil test, thinking a more liquid oil to moisturize would be nice. I didn’t use more than a teaspoon for a half bar of Kirk’s. (Half bar batches were how I was testing.)

      Fourth batch I bought some clear glycerin-based soap bars (looks like Pear’s). Again with the problems…. that time I used the handmixer, too.

      I went and bought a bottle of Whole Foods 365 Shower Gel, thinking it might be the solid bar giving me a problem. This stuff diluted doesn’t foam. I tried it less diluted to no avail.

      Tomorrow I am getting some 365 Shampoo to see if that works better.

      Wish me SCADS of good luck.

      Thanks for talking this through with me. As these are presents, all my friends I’d normally talk with about it I can’t because they’re the targets of the gifts!

      • Ok I can see why you are having problems. This recipe works great for Kirk’s castile soap but not necessarily other kinds. Each soap if different so you will get different results. I have made liquid soap out of other soaps that needed A LOT more water or else they will turn gunky like you said. Also some will foam less than others. I have had the best results by far with the Kirk’s brand. If you were having problems with the Kirk’s brand I honestly don’t know what to say because I have never had a problem, sorry. The whole point of this was to be a replacement for Dr. Bronner’s but if you can find it (I know Target sells it) that works really well in the foam pumps too.

  11. I used other soaps because the Kirk’s did not work. I expected it to work, and when it didn’t, I tried others….

    But I thank you for your conversation about it.

    • Hi Aileen, is your house cool in the winter? We heat with a wood stove so our temperature varies. I noticed when I tried to make liquid from a Kirks bar, it foamed really good at first, then after a couple hour when it cooled off it turned harder, and clogged the foaming bottle. I am not sure if it was because it was too cold for it or what.

      • Dawn I am thinking that must be the case. We have a wood stove too and the liquid kirks in the kitchen where it is colder seems to be getting thicker. I never did have this problem in the summer (when I posted this) :/

  12. Ashley, I stumbled on your blog from another one (I’ve already passed it on to my mother, too) and am trying the shampoo recipe, after I make this liquid soap. I have a question on using it in the shampoo recipe, though. You mention that you “double the amount for this.” What exactly are you refering to? Double the soap bars in this recipe (to two bars), double the amount of liquid castile soap called for in the shampoo recipe (using 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup)…?? Thanks for the clarification and your generous work to share with others!!

  13. Thank you Belinda! Sorry for the confusion. I double the amount of the liquid castile soap that I use in the shampoo recipe. I am not really sure if it is needed, that is just how I do it lol. I hope you like it :)

    • I personally think it is way better than the dog shampoo they sell at the stores, loaded with chemicals, perfumes, and dyes. Dogs can be very sensitive to that stuff too!

  14. Have you ever had a batch turn to “snot”? I grated the soap (Kirk’s), added it to about 8 cups hot water and it dissolved nicely. I let it sit overnight and the next morning it was a firm gel. I thought the gel would break up when I stirred it, like the homemade liquid laundry soap I’ve made, but instead it was exactly like soapy snot. (I should have checked here first — maybe it’s because I didn’t let it sit for the full 24 hours?) I tried adding more water and breaking it up with a hand mixer but that just made slimy foam. LOL! Sooooo then I warmed it again and tried stirring it while it cooled but nope, snotty slime again. Is this happening because I’m not letting it sit undisturbed for the full 24 hours?

    • Hi there. I always use 10 cups of hot water so I am not sure how big of a difference 2 cups of water would make. I have experimented with a few kinds of soap and most do seem to turn into a snotty consistency but I have never had that problem with the Kirks. I have noticed recently that the liquid Kirk’s I keep under the kitchen sink seems to be thickening up on the bottom… Not sure if it is because it has been under there for a while or because it is cold in the kitchen. I also keep some under the bathroom sink upstairs where it is warmer and do not have that problem. The only thing I can think of is maybe you need to add more water during the first time you dissolve it? I don’t know what else it could be since I have not had that problem, sorry.

      • Okay! Next time I will do exactly what you do and hopefully it will work better! I might trying redoing this batch and letting it sit for the full 24 hours. Thanks!

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    • Hi Carmen! I am not sure how long it takes to go bad, I use it all up before that happens. We use it for so many things lol. It does seem to thicken on the bottom the longer it sits though. I would not recommend letting it sit longer than say a month.

  16. Ashley, do you have hard water in your area? I have used the kirk’s castille soap in my laundry soap for a bit, but I believe it was leaving excess oils in our clothes due to the hard water, and thus making them smell – yuck ;)… so just wondering what all to use this on in my area. Thanks for all the different ideas

    • Hi Tabitha, I am pretty sure we do have hard water. I have not tried Kirk’s in laundry soap so I don’t have any results to compare sorry. I use Fels Naptha in my detergent and it does a great job :)

  17. I’ve read about Castile soap and stumbled upon some today at Walmart in the bar soap aisle. I plan on making the liquid soap and am interested in knowing the recipe for the shampoo. Wha is the recipe for the shampoo? Thanks! :)

  18. My first attempt at liquid soap making is not going too well. I used one bar of Kirk’s and 1 gallon of water. It’s has sat for 24 hours, I’ve beat it up 3 times and it is still only soapy looking on the top and the rest is like water. Shall I just use it as is, or maybe heat it up a bit and beat some more?

    • Hi Joyce,

      I am not sure how well it would work with a gallon of water. I use 10 cups. It still looks water even with only 10 cups, but still works great. I hope that helps!

  19. I only use 10 cups of water and it is already very thin and watery, but still works great. I am not sure how well it will work using 16 cups of water. Maybe heat it back up and add another half of a bar? Not sure how well it would work though. You will get different results with different amounts of water and different types of soap. Hope that helps!

  20. I am going to try this recipe and add a little vinegar to se if it improves shelf life..it worked in my old shampoo recipe, though the recipe itself did not work well for me…and there was oil in it so..it works for pickles, right? so I am going to try it out…

    • Oh I hope you haven’t yet! Castile soap and vinegar don’t mix well. It makes it clumpy and basically ruins it.

  21. Hi Ashley, Thanks for all your work and sharing with the rest of us. Have you tried to use your liquid castile soap in a recipe for the dishwasher? :)

  22. I’d also love to know about using this with dishes! I’d imagine if it’s safe to wash off veggies with it’d be safe with dishes. :)

  23. I have not made my own liquid castile yet but I do make my own laundry detergent – both powder and liquid – and making the liquid is virtually the same process so for all of those experiencing “goo” or separation of ingredients, I have found the best way to solve that is to use an immersion blender to thoroughly mix everything. It works great for my 5-gallon buckets of detergent so I’m sure it would work for this too. Good luck!

  24. Hi Ashley, I just found your blog and thank you thank you for your recipes. Especially the dish soap. I can’t wait to get the ingredients. I just made laundry soap, so look forward to other homemade items.
    Thank you again.

  25. Ashley, I wished I would have read this earlier. I just bought a 32oz bottle of Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap for $17 at Target – oh my goodness. I should have just put the bottle down and walked away. So, thanks for this recipe! Just a note, I told Momma about trying the stuff and she is curious to see the results. She remember’s her mother washing clothes growing up with castile soap.

    Do you know what department in Walmart I could find Kirk’s?

    • I would still probably use Dr. Bronner’s in the winter and this is the summer since it does seem to gel up in the cold for some reason. Kirk’s is in the regular soap aisle :)

  26. I’m curious if anyone has tried adding a small amount of natural oil for moisturizer (I’m thinking coconut oil) with good results? I would think if essential oils mix into it just fine that other oils would as well..?
    Heather, I found a 3-pack of Kirk’s bars in the normal bar soap aisle.

    • Hi Rayni,

      I am not sure I would use coconut oil because it solidifies under a certain temperature. If I were going to try it I would try grapeseed or olive oil. I think mixing it with a regular or hand blender would be the best way. If you try it please let us know how it comes out :)

  27. Thank you for this. For those asking about laundry, National Geographic has a high efficiency laundry soap substitute recipe (just Google it) that uses liquid castile soap. I might try the Kirk’s after my big expensive bottle runs out! :-)

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  29. Hello!! I am new to your site…and am really impressed!!! I was looking for a way to replace Dr. Bronner’s..this is amazing! Thank You!!

  30. I’m thinking the reason everyone is having problems…some have watery results, some snotty results :) and some have a gel or solid on their hands, must be do to the temperature they keep the soap at. Since Kirk’s is made with coconut oil only, we all know that coconut oil is very temperature sensitive. I tried this myself and it started out as a runny liquid, but over time it started to solidify. Eventually is was a rather solid mass. I kept it in the mudroom which was cool in Winter. We use a wood stove also. Now that Summer is here it’s still a ‘solid’ mass, but that’s o k. I just open it up, grab a dollop and add a little more water to it. I’ve been using Dr Bonner’s on my hair and it left it really greasy. I shampooed with Kirk’s this morning and it’s back to normal again. I’m switching!

  31. I just made this soap and it turned out just like you said it would. I was just wondering do you dilute just like you do with dr bronners soap?

    • Hi Sandy! I think it depends on what you are using it for. You could always dilute it the same you would as Dr. Bronner’s and add more if you need to. I don’t think it is quite as strong, but still way cheaper so I don’t mind using more :)

  32. I don’t know if someone asked this, but did yours turn out clear like Dr. Bronner’s, or did it turn sort of milky? As soon as I added the water it turned milky looking.

  33. After reading many of the comments I thought I would give my results with the kirks soap. My soap is milky or cloudy too but I didn’t think much of it and haven’t had any problems using it. I wonder if it could be in the mixing? I don’t know.
    I put some of the soap in a jar on my shelf that stays at regular room temp most of the time. The rest of the soap I put in a larger jar near the back door where it gets colder. The soap near the back door has gotten to be pretty solid but it still seems to work ok. I just used it to make more shampoo and it seemed to mix together just fine and I didn’t even add more water. I did have to scoop it out instead of pour it but again not a problem.
    I too like the shampoo with just water and not tea. I first made it with tea but with the next batch didn’t feel like making the tea and I just kind of like it better.
    I would also like to say that not all Walmarts will carry the same things. Without going out of my way I checked in 5 local Walmart stores and didn’t find any castile soap what so ever or the kirks bar soap. I ended up finding the kirks bar soap package of 3 at Fred Meyers for 3.49. I still thought this was worth it comparing the costs.
    Our dog does great with this shampoo too.
    Loving the recipes!

    • Glad you like the recipes :) The soap does seem to thicken when colder but still works just fine. Wow 5 Walmarts didn’t have it? I don’t even know where 5 Walmarts are around here LOL. If anyone can’t find it in the store you can order it from sites like Amazon or Vitacost :)

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  35. Hi;
    I’m looking at this because I need to make some dish soap and the recipes I am using all call for liquid castile soap, plus some water and lemon juice or vinegar. Is this safe to use on dishes just plain and without crafting the actual dish soap with the lemon and such? Thanks for any help you can offer. BTW – - I found 2 bars of Kirk’s I have been carrying about for some ten years now. I kept duplicate-buying it, so I always had at least one bar handy.

    LOVE your site! Thanks for all your hard work. Do you have an email newsletter? If So, please add me to your list.

    • Sorry I just now saw this comment. I am not sure how I missed it before. I personally would not try to combine vinegar with castile soap, I have read that when you do that it leaves a residue. If you want to use just this on the dishes I would suggest not using as much water, but since I have never tried it I can’t tell you for sure how well it would work. If you do try it, please let us all know how it works out :)

      Thank you for the compliment! If you “follow” my blog it will automatically update you when I post something new :)

    • Hi Amber! I buy all of mine from GNC because it is the only place around me that sells them. You could also order them online. I have heard great things about Mountain Rose Herbs and Doterra but I have never tried them myself. The NOW brand from GNC has been just fine for me and they have pretty good prices. I think they also sell them at Whole Foods if you have one of those stores near you, but I am not sure what brands they have. Good luck!

  36. Hi Ashley, I just tried my hand at making my first batch. I really love it but would like to have it just a *tad* thicker. I used about 9.5-10 cups of water and 1 bar of soap. Would it be thicker if I used less water next time? Is there something I can do to the current batch? I’m also looking in to natural things to add a color/tint to it. Thanks for the recipe!

    • You can certainly try making it with less water. If you would like to thicken this batch a bit maybe you could add some glycerin? I am not sure how it will turn out but that is what I would try first if I were you. Hope that helps :) I am not sure about the coloring. I think I have seen natural food dyes for sale but I am not sure what is in them. Good luck!

  37. Hello,
    I have read all the comments and see that others have had different results etc. Here is what I have experienced.
    My first time making this recipe it turned out perfectly. No issues and I put my finished product in 5 different 16 oz Dr Bronner bottles that I had saved. I made this back in February when it was still very cold. I have tried 3 more times since and this has been in June, July and now August, when ithas been very warm and I have gotten a very snotty consistency. My husband and son refuse to use it now and the first time they lived it. And now it is solidifying after a couple hours if making it. I have done everything exactly the same as the first time. I am very frustrated.

    • Hi Lana,

      Sorry you are having issues. Do you keep your house cold with the a/c? That is the only thing I can think of… because it thickens when it gets cold thanks to the coconut oil. Are you using the full amount of water? Less water could make it thicker as well. I have never had it solidify on me (only get a little bit of a snotty consistency on the bottom, but the rest was fine) so I am not sure what to tell you :/

  38. Here’s a tip for you, store your unused soap on top of your hot water heater. :) Doesn’t get so hot that it’ll hurt your soap, but it stays warm enough to keep it from thickening too much.

  39. I’ve been making liquid soap for over a year now. I’ve tried everything from my homemade bars to a variety of store bought bars, and I just love it! I boil a gallon of water, take it off the heat, and disolve 8 oz. of grated bar soap. I let it set up in the pot for 8 hours. It will thicken into a gel-like mass. Then I wisk it to break it up and bottle it. I don’t have good luck in the foamers with any bar soap I use. You really need a clear liquid soap for the foamers. They work for a while, then they clog up. If anyone really wants to try the soap in foamer, I would advise them to boil the water then add the homemade soap and dissolve well. Cool and bottle.

    It is best to use distilled water when making soap, or boil it for a good 5 minutes. Water contains all kinds of bacteria!

  40. Hi, can I put this liquid soap into a regular soap dispenser instead of a foaming dispenser or is it too watery for that? Thank you, I’ve been looking for a natural DIY hand soap, saw your comment on mymerrymesslife’s article Dr. Bronner’s foaming hand soap. Thank you

  41. Has anyone used this in a carpet cleaning machine? Looking for an all natural carpet cleaning solution for my Bissell. Thanks !!

  42. I decided to make some liquid soap before I came accross your blog. What I made is very close however I am wondering if there is a way to make it moisturizing. It seems to dry out my hand. Before I give it as gifts I want to be sure I like it for my skin. I did add some eo’s and a couple Tbls of coconut oil. Any suggestions? With the winter cold and wind I need to add something if possible. Thank you

    • I would probably not use coconut oil as it starts to solidify when it gets cold. I would probably try olive or almond oil but I am not sure how well the oil would mix with the soap. I would also probably try adding some of my favorite lotion. I hope that helps, good luck!

      • I’m curious if you have tried to make your own Castile soap from scratch. I would love to try your shampoo recipe but don’t want to buy anything “premade”…let me know if you have any suggestions! I do make my own sustainable, animal product free, cruelty free soap. I wonder if shaving this bar down would work for the soap in your shampoo recipe. http://csequenziatitus.wix.com/scratch#!soaps/c11cq

    • Add a tablespoon of glycerin to your soap. I use vegetable glycerin and you can buy it at any drug store or even Walmart’s.

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  44. I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it. I am going grocery shopping on Friday and will be making this on Sat. It sure is a lot cheaper than the bottle of liquid mentioned above. I need to make me some body wash and this will be the exact recipe I use.
    I just found out that the J&J baby wash has a lot of bad chemicals in it and I won’t be buying any more of that brand.
    Thanks again. Love this page!!!

  45. I just started making my own detergants and cleaners. I am excited to make this hand soap recipe! Can you subsitute Fels Naptha for the Kirks?

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