Make Your Own Body Wash

If I knew how easy it was to make my own body wash I would have done it long ago. I'm cheap- "thrifty" if you think cheap's a dirty word. Plus my husband has eczema so simple is best. I started making my own laundry powder and dish detergent long ago so body wash was the next logical evolution. I'll go through the base recipe and also give the "fancy" version that I make for my use. My husband loves Ivory's plain body wash so that's what he got.
When I say "easy" I'm not kidding. I made this in very little time with an 18 month old "helping" me. And we all know how "helpful" toddlers can be. 

Body Wash
Total Cost $4.36 per batch, makes 8 12 oz containers @ .55/each
(Made roughly 48 oz of each type- 96 oz total)

1 gallon distilled water .89
3 bars of Ivory soap (You want roughly 4 cups of grated soap- it'll be a little over with the 3 bars) (I buy a 10 pk at a time since I also use it in laundry powder, I buy when it's on sale & it's $5 or less, 10 bars = .50/bar) $1.50
4 TBSP vegetable glycerin (I got 16 oz on Amazon for $9- .56/oz, 1 TBS=.5 oz, 4 TBS=2 oz) $1.12
15 drops of essential oil if using (.5 oz container is $5, I only used a little bit) .75
1/4 tsp ground rosemary
1/2 cup oatmeal (I buy in bulk, it's .20/cup) .10
6 16 oz jars or 8 12 oz jars (It's a good idea to have an extra jar or two available. Because this recipe involves melting soap and boiling water the yield can be slightly different each time.)
a funnel
a ladle 

1. Split the 1 gallon of distilled water between two pots. Bring to a boil. I do this because I make half the batch plain and half the batch scented. If you're making just one type and have a big enough pot feel free to do it all together.

2. Grate the 3 bars of Ivory Soap. I have a dedicated box grater that I use for grating body wash & laundry soap. I definitely recommend a box grater or your wrist will be hurting by the third bar! It took me less than 10 minutes to grate them all. I have a designated tupperware container that I use to shred into that is also my laundry powder mixing container. My "helper" took the paper off of all the soap. 

I use a plastic cup to measure. It's 9 oz so just a touch over 1 cup.

3. Turn the stovetop down to low. Add two cups of soap and two tablespoons of vegetable glycerin to each pot. 

Stir occasionally. It will take about 15 minutes for all the soap to melt properly. It'll go through three stages.

Shiny and coating the top until it really starts melting.

Then the water will turn cloudy and the pieces that are still melting will clump together. 

Last, a bubbly surface will form. All the soap is melted at this point.
Make sure you keep your helper happy during this process.

4. Get your extra add-ins ready if you're making my "spa-version" in addition to the plain body wash. You'll need to add 1/4 tsp of ground rosemary (or spice of your choice), 15 drops of essential oil & the pulverized oatmeal into one of the pots and stir it well. 

I used lavender, which I love!
Let the mixture simmer for about 3 more minutes and stir often to prevent the oatmeal from sinking and clumping. I pulverize the oatmeal so I can put the wash in a squeeze bottle and it will still come out easily.

5. Turn the heat off. Let everything cool off for roughly 10 minutes. Next, use the ladle and the funnel to transfer the mixtures to their jars to fully cool. Make sure to stir the spa version with the ladle as needed to prevent the oatmeal from settling. I use random jars from condiments for this since they're just holding the wash until you fill up the dispenser of your choice in the shower. 

It's going to look super liquid-y. You'll be shaking your head and thinking I steered you wrong. Don't worry! Just walk away. I leave them for a few hours and go about my day. They thicken as they cool. 

Still liquid-y.
But 8 hours later I went back and ......

It will thicken up, you may even be alarmed by how thick it is. Again, don't worry it's still fine.
6. Time to decant your wash into your dispenser of choice. I put my husband's plain wash into his old Ivory bottle and I put my fancy wash into a squeeze bottle. Just shake the jar over the funnel. The wash will be a little jiggly and gelatinous. It is best kept in a bottle you can shake before using. I use a chopstick to "help" the wash through the funnel and into the squeeze bottle.
Now go take a luxurious spa-like shower and enjoy!


  1. This is something I've been thinking about doing - glad to see it really is easy (even with a "helper" under foot!).

  2. Ooh--I think I could almost do this (me, the non diy person). Looks amazing!

    1. I swear it's easy :) You and Teresa should try it! One of the great benefits of using a homemade body wash is it has less sudsing additives than a traditional wash. If you have a septic system this extends the life of the system.

  3. I've never thought of doing this, but it's very tempting. My son has sensitive skin and this would be amazing for him.

    PS - I've loved reading your blog and getting to know you better

  4. Anonymous18:41

    Mine is very thin. I used my own goats milk soap. I want this to work so badly. Think not using store bought soap will make a difference?

  5. This sounds lovely. We did the melt-a-bar-in-h2o to make dish soap.
    I'm wondering if this is going to be too thick that it won't go up through a pump bottle. I have so many of those Ulta Smoothie bottles, and would like to re-purpose them for a new body wash. The current recipe we use is castille/honey/oils, which is so watery and I think my husband blows through it so fast because it's not as thick as the synthetic laden washes.

  6. Get bodywash, bubble bath and shower gel (3 in 1) Citrus Shampoo

  7. Has a great information about bodywashes but you may also try to write on how to use body wash to men and women.

  8. It should be in liquid yeah? When you use grated soap bar I thought the final product will be in bar as well. It is a great recipe. Thank you.