I love using essential oils for making hand soap! This Thieves Foaming Hand Soap is the easiest DIY antibacterial hand soap you’ll ever make. Uses Thieves essential oil, Castile soap, aloe vera (or Vitamin E oil) and distilled water. That’s it! It’s also frugal and leaves your hands oh-so-soft!
This tutorial for how to make Thieves foaming hand soap is the easiest tutorial you’ll find for homemade antibacterial soap.
Since I’m frugal, you know that means saving money by making my own Thieves foaming hand soap when I’ve run out of the original. That’s how we’re able to afford essential oils on a budget – the homemade refills cost just pennies, and it’s so easy to make!
Not only is it super easy, but making your own DIY Thieves foaming hand soap is awesome because it’s:
- Free of the chemicals found in store-bought soaps…
- Leaves your hands soft
- And it smells wonderful!
What You Need
- Foaming hand soap bottle (ones like these will do the job or this one here)
- 2-4 Tbsp castile soap (here’s the brand I used)
- 10-15 drops Thieves essential oil (available through Young Living, become a member HERE)
- 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp aloe vera gel (I like this brand) OR vitamin E oil (I like this kind)
- Distilled water to fill the container, OR water that has been boiled and cooled
Notes on Supplies
Thieves Essential Oil
Obviously if we’re making THIEVES foaming hand soap, you need THIEVES essential oil.
- Please note that not all oils are created equal. As I’ve researched companies and their farming and growing methods, I’ve learned that many companies who sell their oils on Amazon or at Whole Foods or other drug stores aren’t selling 100% pure oils – they’re selling diluted oils (where a less expensive oil like fractionated coconut oil is added) OR they’re selling oils that have chemicals added to make them smell better.
- Note to self: peppermint should NOT smell like a candy cane and lavender should NOT smell like a bouquet of flowers. If yours do, I wouldn’t use them! Also, not all “Thieves like blends” work like the real deal. Don’t waste your money on the knock offs!
- I personally use Young Living essential oils because of their Seed to Seal promise. They control EVERY aspect of the oil from when the plant is first planted, to weed management (no pesticides are used!), to harvest to distilling to testing to bottling – everything is done by Young Living’s standards (which far exceed the organic industry standards, BTW).
- If you want to join Young Living, you can do that right HERE.
- The reason I chose Thieves essential oil is because it’s an incredible blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils. If it’s powerful enough to clean dishes, it will work for our hand soap!
- If you feel like Young Living is out of your reach, I’ve heard great things about Plant Therapy on Amazon. You can find their Germ Fighter blend here. It’s very similar to Thieves!
- Castile soap is the major cleaning agent in this foaming hand soap. There are a couple major brands out there, but it doesn’t matter which one you choose. By default, the list of ingredients on castile soap should be fairly clean, but ALWAYS read the list of ingredients, just in case. (I’ve used this brand before.)
- It won’t matter too much what scent you choose, but you do want to make sure the scent of the soap compliments the essential oil.
- Since I’m using Thieves essential oil, Castile soap in peppermint, citrus and unscented (obviously!) would be my first choices. I’ve seen lavender and tea tree castile soap as well, but I personally would use a different essential oil if you go that route.
- A note on castile soap in general… Castile soap can be very drying on the skin so base how much you use on how sensitive your skin is. Studies have shown that it’s not necessarily the soap itself that washes hands, but the agitation. So even if you use just a little bit of soap, you’ll still get a cleaning if you scrub.
Aloe Vera Gel OR Vitamin E Oil
- You don’t need both of these, but you will need either aloe vera gel OR vitamin E oil because as I mentioned, castile soap is drying on the skin.
- I usually use aloe vera gel because I keep it on hand for my after sun spray and DIY homemade hand gel. Vitamin E oil tends to be pricey too, so use whatever you have and whatever is in your budget.
- If you need brand recommendations, I really like this aloe vera gel and this vitamin E oil.
- We want to use distilled water in this DIY because it doesn’t have the impurities that regular tap water has, but distilled water is expensive…
- Instead of buying distilled water, make your own by boiling water on the stove and letting it cool slightly to room temperature. BOOM – instant clean water.
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1. In a small measuring glass (like this one), measure the castile soap, essential oil, and aloe vera gel. Mix together well using a whisk.
Step 2. Pour this mixture into your foaming hand soap container and slowly add distilled water to the halfway mark, swirling the bottle as you add the water. When the water and soap mixture is combined well, add distilled water almost to the top, again swirling as you go.
Step 3. You want to leave just a little bit of headspace at the top of the bottle because the pump itself will displace some of the soap and you don’t want to make a mess!
Step 4. Assemble the pump top to the bottle and wash your hands like you normally do!
This tutorial has the easiest step-by-step method for making your own Thieves foaming hand soap. Also, here is the video tutorial for DIY Thieves foaming hand soap that I made live on Facebook!
Thieves contains plant-derived ingredients that have demonstrated some antimicrobial properties in studies. The foaming quality helps to effectively clean and moisturize the hands.
It depends. This recipe contains 2-4 Tbsp of castile soap (depending on your preference) mixed with essential oil and aloe vera (or vitamin E oil). Just fill the rest of the foaming hand soap bottle (leaving a little head room) with distilled water.
Lorraine St Louis
Can you please tell me how long this foaming soap will last if not used right away?
Would anyone have a recipe for making cold process soap bars using the Young Living Thieves Blend essential oils?
I’ve made this thieves foaming hand soap (and love it!!) and I wondered if anyone has seen it stain clothes. My daughter’s cotton t-shirts have this mysterious splattering of grey-ish marks all over. I’ve seen this happen after bubble blowing solution gets on her clothes and since she’s not been doing that lately these marks are weird. Do you know if this is possible and if so how do I get them out? They are persistent!!
I really, really, really love the bar of Castille soap. I will try turning it into a liquid. Have found quite a few recipes on-line and will let you know how it works. I can get 4 8 oz bars for about $4.00 and all of the recipes call for 4 oz. of grated soap PLUS 8 cups of water. That looks like a lot of lilquid soap to me.
I find it odd that you are saying that Castille soap is drying. This is what my pediatrician recommended to use on both of my infants. That said, is there a difference between the bar of Castille and the liquid Castille? Of course one is a solid and one is a liquid and one is moderately priced (the bars) and one s expensive (the liquid. Is there any way that you can use the grated bar soap instead of the liquid? I am pretty sure if I liquify it, it will return to a solid state. Any suggestions?
I’ve never tried the bar version Charlotte, and the drying issue may just be me (although I’ve used in both GA and CA with the same results, and my essential oil community has similar experiences). There is a way to turn a bar of soap into liquid, but I haven’t done it myself to know for sure. While the liquid is more up front, you don’t really need much at a time. My sister-in-law bought a gallon 3 years ago and she still have some left!
I am a home maker and do not have a science degree, my understanding is that true Castile is made from Olive oil. However some makers say that any combination of vegetable oils equal ‘Castile’. Likely it is the lye that makes a difference between bar and liquid soap. Sodium Hydroxide is the most common lye used to make bar soaps. One cannot make true soap without lye. The other lye usually used to make liquid soap is Potassium Hydroxide, and that is very expensive. I have never used it for that reason, and in small country towns it is hard to come by. However some better restaurants use it to clean off the fat and grease build-up in their kitchens easily – once you finally find out the truth about its purpose.
Another confusion is that most ‘soaps’ that you buy in supermarkets is probably and actually detergent bars, not true ‘soaps’. It is up to the person to find out which of any of these their skin may be sensitive to. The doctor who ordered Castile has done that mother a favour as Castile is generally recognised as being very mild for soft skins.
FYI, Distilled water is not boiled water. Boiled water is literally no different then the water out of your tap (all the minerals and impurities are still present) the boiling just kills pathogens/germs. Distilling evaporates the water leaving all minerals and impurities behind while collecting the “pure” water.
I don’t think you need distilled water unless your water is REALLY hard. I can’t tell the difference myself between the two in liquid hand washing soap.
Thanks for sharing your insights.
I’m wondering if using a foaming container is critical to keeping the ingredients mixed properly or if a regular pump dispenser is ok, simply because I prefer the look of a modern glass dispenser.
You could use a regular dispenser, but the soap would be very thin. I’m not sure I’d recommend that. You can use a modern glass dispenser with a foaming top though! There are lots of options on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2BSi8Fc
I make this recipe but with equal parts Castile soap and liquid coconut oil and 10-15 drops of oil and then almost fill the bottle with distilled water.
This is the way I make mine. Makes nice gifts.
Cindy D May
On the dish soap, I don’t know if you’re concerned about toxic ingredients? But the aloe vera has quite a few toxic ingredients.In fact, all toxic except for the A.V. Since Aloe Vera grows like a weed most anywhere, there’s that option. But it does take time to harvest the inner fillet. I finally found a company who harvests the aloe and then freezes it. I’m going to make a switch I believe. I don’t know pricing yet.
Could you tell me where you get the Thieves Laundry Soap and the Dishwasher Detergent. Or a link to the recipe you use? 🙂
I’ve thought for a loooooong time that we’ve been duped by the “Cleaning” industry. We must have a soap for every different cleaning need or else we’re just not clean. Hmmmm.. Or it is that Mr. Proctor and Mrs.Gamble think they can dupe us and make a killing in the process. I vote for the latter. (My solution to that in next paraagraph.)
We use 100% toxic free shampoo, every ingredient one that I know, can pronounce, one I cook with, and it suds up and doesn’t leave my hair greasy the next day like every commerical product. When I switched to this shampoo, Tate’s family shampoo, I found I could go a week or two without my hair getting oily. WOW! Depending on the shampoo you use, (salon or grocery store) it’s more along the salon budget. Not in my budget either. But, considering you’re only washing your hair once a week instead of once daily–well that’s a huge savings there. I use the same soap for my dish soap and hand soap. The truth is—soap is soap is soap. Why would soap that cleans my dishes not also clean my hands???! I use the foaming soap dispensers and use the Tate’s shampoo as the soap in there as well. That saves huge since you only need a little soap and a lot of free water. For body soap, I use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, bc it is so much cheaper.
However, now that I’ve read this post, I may well make your foaming hand soap and use that for the shower, and for the bathroom sinks and kitchen sink. (There’s my soap is soap is soap theory in action!)
Toothpaste–I just use coconut oil and a drop of thieves and oil pull. Oil pulling alone will heal the receding gumlines. Brushing teeth with 1 drop of thieves a day does the same thing. (I had a friend do that, and in 6 months, her gums were perfect!.) While I’m on the subject of teeth, does everyone know to NEVER get a root canal? 100% of them get infected. And a tooth infection affects your entire body. In really bad ways. Crazy but true. If you have a root canal, find a biological dentist and have it reversed asap. A regular dentist can botch the job so badly, that your health can be impacted for a long time.
Toothpaste/earthpaste recipe seems like more ingredients than I need. I do like and use bentonite clay (read The Clay Cure if you haven’t yet. Small, but so worth it. Read in one afternoon.and save as a resource.) , but I don’t think it’s necessary given the other 2 ingredients detox the mouth, whiten teeth in 30 to 40 days, freshen breath, heal gumlines and cavities (as long as not too deep). Just my thoughts. No time for oil pulling? Do it in the shower, bathroom, catching up on a few emails. Still a no-go? You can brush your teeth with just coconut oil. True.
As far as castille soap–if it is olive oil only, why do they call it castille? (and not just olive oil). There must be a difference I’m missing. I know Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap is a variety of 3 or 4 different oils. (I don’t use that ever for shampoo as my hair is just instantly OILY!) Grace, what is caustic soda or where do you get it? How does Bronner’s get away with calling it Castille if it’s really not?
I just checked the ingredients in my own aloe vera gel and they seem fine. Obviously pure aloe vera would be ideal, but given the circumstances, the brand I have (and the brand I’ve recommended) are good.
I buy both Thieves Laundry Soap and Thieves Dishwasher Powder from Young Living. As a wholesale member, I save 24% every time I order. Let me know if you want to learn more!
I appreciate your insight into soap and teeth and everything above as well. We think along similar lines! As for castile vs. olive oil, my best guess is b/c it’s gone through the saponification process. I could be wrong though!!
Hello. I also have a question about the Fruit of the Earth aloe vera gel. I have been using it based on your recommendation and a 3 rating from EWG. However, today I saw that Think Dirty gives the gel an 8 so now I am a bit confused. Can you explain why these numbers are so different? Thanks.
To Cindy May
Sodium Hydroxide is often in hardware stores or that section in Supermarkets. it is a strong alkali and can burn skin if you touch it, or make your eyes water and make you cough if you breath in it fumes. Treat with caution and put away from young (or old) fingers). Always leave in original containers as you bought it. it is used to for example clean out clogged sinks in kitchens, and bathrooms and as a paint stripper. Wikipedia states it is also called lye or caustic soda and has many uses as ‘Sodium hydroxide in many industries: in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps and detergents, and as a drain cleaner;… millions of tonnes is manufactured every year’.
However read the labels carefully do not buy ‘drain cleaner’ and try to make soap.
The reason it is called Castile is named after a town in Spain in an olive-oil growing district.
Cindy – I am just curious if you still use and like Tates? I found this review online and I’m wondering about their ingredients and truthfulness
Cindy D May
I’ve never written a reply on this blog, but something about this one made me want to 🙂 It was the Christmas traditions I was going to comment on (and will), but will also comment on some of the other comments.
My husband and I don’t have children, so these are the plans I’ve had for my own family–and we will probably be adopting older (teenager) foster children, so hopefully I’ll get a chance then! I love traditions too for special things 🙂 I’l just write my top few things, otherwise you might be reading a small book!
Christmas breakfast–monkey bread. OK, not in any way healthy, but Christmas is ONLY once a year. So…. 🙂 Monkey bread can be made with a thousand variations. This recipe is closest to the one I am used to. And it’s 4.5 stars on Allstar reicipes. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/7110/quick-and-easy-monkey-bread/
Spiritual–Christmas Eve read the Christmas story, with candles and Christmas tree lit. Next morning (Or New Years Day) have prepared a quart jar (decorated if you wish), one for each child. This one takes a little preparation, but in my evaluation is the most worthwhile and fruitful and fun tradition. Choose 50 verses for each child. Type them or copy/paste, and then cut into strips of heavy-duty paper. Each week, each child will randomly draw a verse from their jar, and then either memorize or it or read it each morning.
Every day of the week, ask God to help them find a way to implement that verse. Use notecards throughout the year to jot down the 6 or 7 ways they put the verse into action. Throw the strip of paper out of the jar, and replace it with the notecard—and Scripture reference By the end of the year, they will have 50 weeks of having implemented God’s word into their life and heart. Would be fun to read through some or all of them as a tradition each Christmas–maybe over the 12 days of advent, or any plan that suits the family. Celebrate how good God is, how fun He is, and how fun it is to do the things in his word. That will help them really develop relationship with Him, and get his word deep in their hearts. (If desired, you or someone could choose 200 verses and make them available for download on the site. Maybe more families would do!)
Thank you Cindy! ♥
I am surprised you find castile soap drying on your skin. True Castile is made with Olive Oil only. I make mine when I can afford to buy pure olive oil. However pomace as a cheaper version I have found to be quite satisfactory. The three ingredients I use are water, caustic soda, and olive oil, the soap is made with the cold process method. I personally do not use colourants or fragrances. The soap is meant for cleaning only in my estimation. I do not have a problem with dry skin with my soap at all, and I do have sensitive skin. With any laundry use, I only use it for fine underwear if at all because I make my own soap with cheaper fats (actually recycled from restaurants) for general use. This includes dishwashing, bathroom use and hair wash (always with a vinegar rinse afterward) and grated for laundry. I am not concerned too much about the very gradual laundry soap discouring clothes over time as you describe. But for a good garment such as a shirt I might brighten it up with a very occasional bleach now and then.
Hi Tiffany, I love your blog! You mentioned that you still buy dish soap and I see that you use Thieves Diswasher Powder in the dishwasher. Can I ask what liquid dish soap you use? I’ve been looking for the perfect natural dish soap…
Hi Priscilla! I’m currently using the Thieves Dish Soap! I’m thinking about making my own, but I want to test it out before I can offer a solid recipe. 🙂
Cindy D May
Do you have hand soap at your kitchen sink for washing your hands? That is what I also use for washing dishes. (And I use homemade for my hands). It seems to wash dishes just as well. 😉 That’s actually just how we did things in the home I grew up in. I never have understood the purpose of having two different soaps there. Anyone?
I have two soaps at the sink – one for hands, one for dishes. One could be used for the other, but castile soap is very drying, so this milder version is better for our skin.
Love Young Living!! I have been making this soap for years with the same ingredients (except the aloe… now I’ll add that 🙂 However, my question is about the actual pump bottles. It seems that over time they all get stiff and the pump handle doesn’t pop back up. Do you have this issue? If not, I’m going to replace mine with the ones you linked.
I had this issue with one type of bottle, but not another. The ones I linked to are most like the bottle I did NOT have an issue with. I’m wondering though, if cleaning the bottles out (maybe a run in the dishwasher?) would help with the pump…
I’ve made this with success but part of the mixture separates in the bottle. Do I need to shake it before each use or can I just pump out as is?
I just pump it out as is and haven’t had any issues! 😉
Mine separates too. You’re not alone. Any suggestions on solving this pronlem?
Can you tell me what you use in the dishwasher?
Sure! I use Thieves Dishwashing Powder.
Hi Tiffany! This is a little off topic but in this post you said your homemade laundry detergent wasn’t actually cleaning your clothes!!??
I’ve been using your recipe with the goats milk soap for over a year now. Are my clothes not clean?
Hi Meghan! You are correct. I didn’t notice it until I washed them with something else (Thieves Laundry Soap). The gradual deposit of dirt, and lack of cleansing, was hardly noticeable from week to week, but when I washed with something else, it was definitely apparent!!
Hi there, am I missing the measurements for the ingredients somewhere? Thank you in advance for your time.
Hi Lacey – it’s in the section titled “DIY THIEVES FOAMING HAND SOAP: SUPPLIES”
I use a teaspoon of olive oil as my moisturizing component and it works really well!
Hi Tiffany, could you please write a recipe with the quantity of water?. I use to see all these kind of similar recipes that tell the same… fill the container, without explanation of any amount. So it is difficult for me no to have an exact recipe, sometimes the soap get too liquid, somethimes too dense. Anyway, I hope you know what I mean. On the other hand, in my country I can not find the Castile soap, so could you suggest another recipe with any kind of soap?. Thank you so much!
Hi Edith! The bottles Tiffany recommends (and most of the ones I’m seeing on Amazon) are 8.5 oz. I believe that means this recipe is for just under 8 oz of water. I don’t know any substitutes for Castle soap but I have seen some tutorials on how to make it. You might be able to source the materials if you can’t find castile soap.
If you’re using the full 4 TB of soap that’s 2 oz right there so it’s definitely not 8 oz of water.
Thank you Helen, good point.
Thank you Heather
Hey Tiffany, I’m wondering what should peppermint and lavender essential oils smell like? I’ve used oils from many different companies and I’ve settled on Plant Therapy brand. Their peppermint, (to me), smells like pure peppermint extract and the lavender smells like the actual flowers. I’m a bit confused. Yikes have I been getting this wrong for the last six years? Happy Wednesday, Tiffany and thanks for the recipe.
Hi Joann! Peppermint should smell like a peppermint PLANT – earthy with the strong mint, not the candy cane sweet. Lavender should be similar – earthy with floral, but not straight up sweet perfume. Peppermint EO comes from the distillation of the entire plant (leaves and stems) to get the most benefit, where extract is merely the leaves soaked in alcohol. If your EO smells minty like extract, that would actually be a warning sign to me that it’s not pure EO. They’re not the same, therefore they shouldn’t smell the same. Does that make sense?
it does, and thank you for helping, Tiffany.
You’re very welcome! I forgot to mention lavender – it’s often adulterated with lavandin (a hybrid lavender plant), synthetic linalol and linalyl acetate, or synthetic fragrance chemicals like ethyl vanillin – these modifications are what causes the super floral scent.