DIY Liquid Soap Without Glycerin

1.6K Flares Made with Flare More Info'> 1.6K Flares ×

I’ve been wanting to make my own liquid soap for a long while now. I see posts about it all over Pinterest. And I know it can’t be hard, as I have successfully made my own laundry detergent in the past.

But there’s one thing that has stood in my way.


It seems to be an ingredient in most every liquid soap recipe. And I don’t know what the heck it is! Or where to find it! So those liquid soap pins just sit in my DIY board on Pinterest, mocking me.

But then, two weeks ago, we started to run out of soap. And my frugal self would not be satisfied by simply buying some more! Oh no, I was going to make my own soap, gosh darn it!

So I did a little internet sleuthing to figure out just how important this glycerin stuff really is.

I’ll save you some research, if you don’t mind. The long and short of it is that glycerin is a moisturizer. It’s a very good thing to have in your liquid soap, but it most definitely isn’t necessary.


So here’s how I made liquid soap without any glycerin:

First, gather your ingredients. I opted for Ivory soap (since it already contains moisturizers…good choice, right?). You also need a grater and something to hold your soap shards. I went with a pie plate.

After you have grated your soap, take a moment to let your kid play with the soap shards. They feel really neat and make for a good sensory activity. Make sure they don’t eat it, though! But again, this is Ivory, so if they do eat it, it will just taste gross, but isn’t going to cause major problems.

Add your soap flakes from one bar of soap to water on the stove. Based on other recipes I have seen, I used 10 cups of water for one bar of soap. Keep the heat on medium-low (no need to boil this! In fact, you’ll probably have a real mess on your hands if you do!).

Once all the flakes have dissolved, take the pot off the heat and let the mixture cool completely. I actually let mine sit for close to 24 hours. After sitting for about 6 hours, my mixture was really dense, which concerned me. But after several more hours sitting, the consistency improved. So give the mix PLENTY of time to rest. My end product had the consistency seen above.

I then used a funnel to get the mix into a hand soap pump. The one pictured was a gift but you a similar one is found here. Pouring straight from the pot might result in a bit of a mess, so if you go that route, take extra care, and maybe have someone else on hand to help.

While the final product is a bit runnier than traditional liquid soap, you can see from this picture that the lather is still pretty decent. One bar of soap made enough liquid soap to fill my soap dispenser probably 6 times. What a bargain!

So if glycerin is standing in between you and some homemade liquid soap, cast your cares aside and just go for it!

And by the way, I’ve since learned where you can find glycerin. Check the first aid section of whatever store you frequent. You will likely find it there!

This post may contain affiliate links. 

1.6K Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 30 Pin It Share 1.6K StumbleUpon 0 Google+ 0 Made with Flare More Info'> 1.6K Flares ×


  1. Annetta says

    I seem to have a reaction to any product that has glycerin in it. It may be a good thing for most people, but has a delayed reaction on me. It seems to moisturize, but then dries my skin out more than it was to begin with. Because of my job working with wood, my hands are very dry and I would need a glycerin free soap to prevent the delayed drying action. Thank you for the Ivory soap based recipe.

  2. cheryl says

    A long time ago. I was chauffeuring my great grandmother to her. She’d had some skin cancers removed. She was using Ivory soap because of it’s mildness. The Dr. told her that Ivory was the worst soap a person would use. He said that Dove was the best. He told her her to bathe in the tub and not clean it for a week. NNoticethe awful residue when you rub it? Clean the tub. Use Dove soap for a week. No soap residue. Same thing on your skin.

    • Karen says

      Good advice. I found this out when my kids were just babies. (25 years ago). Have used Dove ever since. Don’t even buy Ivory.

  3. Sonya Rowe says

    I’m new to soap making so I’m not sure about the bacteria growth in this, but that said, if I were to do this I’d probably buy a bar of soap that’s a bit more expensive and has the glycerin still in it, maybe a 90- 100% olive oil castile soap bar from a local artisan. It would cost a bit more than a regular bar of ivory but it would keep you from having to buy the glycerin separately since it would still be in the bar. Another option to consider would be to friend a soap maker at a craft fair or farmer’s market and see if they’d be willing to give you some of their scrap soap pieces to use once to see if you liked how their bar soap worked in your liquid soap recipe. You could mention that if it worked out nicely you’d buy their soap, blog with a link to their site, and/or just spread the word by word of mouth on how great it turned out. I’m sure if you were sincere in helping them with this “free” marketing, they’d be all for it.

  4. Chris Heuermann says

    I like the money saving idea…it’s just…well I am a little “old school” –I put a pretty soap dish out and just place the bar on it :)…children seem to wash their hands better and so do I when I have to rub the bar between my hands. Just a thought…

  5. Rio says

    I try to make my own liquid soap without glycerin following the recipe (except for the soap, i don’t know what kind of soap i use) but my liquid soap gets solid like a bar soap after the temperature down. So, this recipe works only for certain kind of soaps, isn’t it?

  6. Kathrine Wardell says

    I am just wondering, I have all the ingredients for laundry soap can I use the naptha soap and the washing soda mix? I just realized that adding Borax (a whitener) might not be a good idea but could i use the Naptha soap?

    • says

      Great question. I just did some research on Naptha, and folks seem to be saying that it is a skin irritant when used as a hand soap. So I wouldn’t use it if you are trying to make hand soap!

    • Misty says

      If you are trying to make laundry soap I use half cup grated fells naptha, half cup borax (this thickens the solution and 1/2 cup washing soda. bring about 4 cups water to boil add grated soap and stir with wire wisk till melted, put in sink add borax first (if you add washing soda first it really bubbles and will make a huge mess.) then add washing soda stir till all is dissolved. Add enough water to make a gallon. Let cool, once cool it will be pretty gelled and clumpy run it all through a blender and it will smooth it all out then pour into storage bottles. when you go to do laundry shake bottle (but will mix much easier then if you do not run it through the blender). If this is to thick for you add more water till consistancy you like. I have had no problems using any of the ingredients

  7. Norma says

    Glycerin can be found at Tractor Supply. It’s $20 a gallon. Considering the minute amount you need per batch, it’s going to last forever! :)

  8. Kristina says

    I haven’t used glycerin either because I just don’t have any lol but EWG says it’s safe.

    FYI fragrance is bad! it’s a mix of who knows what.
    EWG says: Ivory Bar Soap contains
    FRAGRANCE Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive) and TETRASODIUM EDTA: Enhanced skin absorption, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards
    have a look:

    I use Kiss My Face all natural olive oil bar soap. It has only 3 ingredients :)

    • Aleta says

      I would like to know the recipe for your Kiss my Face liquid soap. I have made liquid soap from homemade lye soap, but I put glycerin in it. It came out in a thick snot consistency and I use it all the time. It keeps forever in a gallon jug and it is cheap. I have some Kiss My Face and wondered if I could use it without glycerin.

  9. Bonnie says

    I have been playing around with the liquid soap, too. I am trying to find less expensive, all natural products for my family. Like you, I’ve enjoyed making dishwasher detergent and laundry soap. I still haven’t perfected my liquid soap, that’s why I checked out your site. But maybe this will help with the snot texture. Instead of mixing it with the mixer, I whipped it in small batches in the blender. It fluffed up and I loved the texture. But after a day or two, it settled. But it still wasn’t snotty like before. I’m going to try whipping it then letting it sit, as you suggested. I am experimenting with some Tom’s of Maine soap. The last two batches were Pure and Natural. I added essential oils to scent them, make them antibacterial, etc. It’s fun trying new ways to save money. Good luck.

    • says

      Yeah, the texture continues to bother me (I’m still using the soap I made back in July…it really lasts forever!). I like your idea to whip the soap…sounds like it helps a little bit! Thanks for the tip!

      • Misty says

        Like you I could not stand the texture of it. I found the idea to use the blender on another recipe for laundry soap. Now once laundry soap or liquid soap is cooled. I run it through the blender and mix it all together again just to make sure it is equally mixed. It does seperate but any of it that I have ran through the blender is easily shook back together.

  10. Fixitman says

    As any soapmaker will tell you, glycerine is a by-product of soap making. With home-made soaps, it is included in the final bar product. Commercial bar soaps typically filter it out, as it is more valuable for other products. You CAN buy liquid glycerine either in a food grade or in a medical grade product if you so prefer, however. Most drug stores stock it.
    It’s a preferred base for shampoos and other liquid products.
    A good article to read to understand Glycerin better is at

  11. says

    You’ll save even more money if you buy soap base instead of ivory soap and use that. You can get it at any Arts and Crafts store or you can just google it. It’s best to buy it in bulk. I’ve been making my own bar soap for awhile now and it is much less expensive to do it using soap base and then put it in molds than to purchase bar soap such as Ivory.

  12. renee says

    My suggestion for finding glycerin would have been Hobby Lobby, too :) Thanks for the how-to. I will certainly try this, as I’ve had good results making my own laundry detergent and powdered dishwasher detergent in the past.

  13. Justice Montgomery says

    I had a hard time finding glycerin too! I ended up finding it in the Wilton’s Baking section at our Hobby Lobby store! (I might have gotten the wrong kind now that I know you found yours in the first aid section!) I’m glad I can forget about having to use it again though, that’s great! I made mine with Ivory too. We stored it in an old milk jug until we had a couple dish soap containers we could put it into. Now whenever I have to refill the liquid soap dispensers, or the kids’ liquid shower soap, I just squeeze it in with the old dish soap container. The kids love it, and hate it at the same time. The swear it looks like snot. LOL They had fun helping though!!

Speak Your Mind