Learn to Make: Liquid Hand Soap From A Base - Wholesale Supplies Plus
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Learn to Make: Liquid Hand Soap From A Base

Liquid soap can be tricky to make from scratch, but from a base it's easy! There are two basic types of liquid hand soap: foaming hand soap and regular hand soap. Use a foamer bottle and top set for foaming hand wash and a plastic bottle and pump top for regular hand wash.

Liquid Hand Soap Bases

Crafter's Choice™ Creamy Hand & Body Wash for Foamer Bottles - This base produces thick foam with LOTS of bubbles! The formula contains extra skin softening properties from the aloe, vitamin E and citric acid additives. The dimethicone provides an extra silky feel that your customers want after the wash is completed.

Crafter's Choice™ Shower Gel - Crystal Clear - The best “all purpose” liquid wash. Upon use, it produces many slippery and creamy bubbles. It contains cocamidopropyl betaine which is thought to aid in antiseptic properties.

Crafter's Choice™ Liquid Suspension Soap Base - The best suspension liquid wash. It is formulated with a combination of ingredients that suspend items that typically float and/or sink in liquid soap.

If you’re not sure which base to get, buy a sampler kit to test them all. Click Here to view the sampler kit.

Additives for Liquid Hand Soap

Liquid Color - Liquid colors, such as liquid dye mix easily with shower gel base. Start with 1 mL per 16 oz. of liquid hand soap and go up from there.

Exfoliants - Exfoliants can be added to liquid soap base to make an exfoliating liquid soap. Exfoliants range from jojoba beads to apricot seed powder. When using exfoliants in soap dispersed with pumps, be sure to test to make sure the exfoliant doesn’t clog the pump. Exfoliants can be added at 1/4 teaspoon per 16 oz. of base. More or less can be added based on your desired outcome.

Fragrance Oils - Fragrance oils are synthetic man-made aromatic ingredients that are used to scent soap and other products. Some fragrance oils also contain natural essential oils. The typical usage rate is about 2% of the liquid hand soap base.

Essential Oils  - Essential oils are considered a natural way to fragrance soap and are concentrated hydrophobic liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are extracted from plant materials (flowers, bark, seeds, peel, roots, leaves, etc.) by expression, steam distillation or solvent extraction. The typical usage rate is about 2% of the liquid hand soap base.

Sometimes fragrance oils and essentials oils do not mix easily into liquid soap. To help, you can use a fragrance oil modifier. There are two options:
  • Crafter's Choice™ FO & EO Modifier - Fragrance Oil & Essential Oil Modifier is a proprietary emulsifying agent that allows oil to dissolve with water. When used correctly, your end product will remain 100% clear. Thoroughly mix 4 parts FO Modifier to 1 part oil based FO. You have now created a new fragrance oil that will easily incorporate into water based products. Add 1% modified fragrance to water based products.
  • Crafter's Choice™ Polysorbate 20 - This allows fragrance and essential oils to bind with water-based products. Depending on your formula, your end product may be cloudy. Thoroughly mix 1 part polysorbate 20 with 1 part fragrance oil (equal parts) and add to the liquid hand soap base.

What NOT to add to bases:

Water - It is not recommended to add additional water to bases as contamination can occur resulting in mold, bacteria or yeast growth. 

Perishable Liquids - It is not recommended to add liquid goat’s milk, fresh milk, beer, wine, fruit juice, vegetable juice or other perishable liquids as they will spoil the base.

Too Much Additives - Adding over 5% of additives can render the preservative inactive resulting in mold, bacteria or yeast growth.

How to Formulate a Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

Formulate your own liquid hand soap recipe by using the percentages below as a guide.

For the base use:
100% Liquid Hand Soap Base 

Once your base is prepared, incorporate additives at the percentages below:
Fragrance - 2%
Liquid Dye - 1 mL. per 16 oz. base

Basic Liquid Hand Soap Recipe
Yield: (4) 8 oz. bottles
Crystal Clear Shower Gel - 32 oz. 
Fragrance - 0.6 oz. 
Liquid Dye - 1 mL 

Exfoliant Liquid Hand Soap Recipe
Yield: (4) 8 oz. bottles
Liquid Suspension Soap Base - 32 oz. 
Fragrance - 0.6 oz. 
Liquid Dye - 1 mL 
Jojoba Beads - 1 teaspoon

Some Considerations When Making

Equipment Required
  • A heat-safe container
  • Scale to weigh ingredients
  • Spatula or spoon
  • Funnel for bottling
  • Hair net and gloves

Liquid Hand Soap Packaging
Liquid hand soap is best packaged into bottles with pumps or foamers. Most bottles and tops are sold separately. This allows you to mix and match bottles with different tops to create a unique and specialized product. Note that different sized bottles also have different sized tops. Be sure to order the correct sized top. For example, a plastic bottle with "24/410" listed at the end of the product name will fit "24/410" tops.

Foaming Bottle Packaging Plastic Bottles with Pump Tops
  • Plastic Bottles - There are numerous plastic bottles with different sizes, styles and colors that you can choose from to package liquid hand soap. Pair these bottles with a saddle pump.
  • Saddle Pumps - These tops allow customers to easily dispense liquid hand soap and work nicely with plastic bottles.

An Example of the Process

Heat the Base
Liquid soap bases accept additives such as fragrances and colors better if heated. It helps to emulsify them into the mix. Heat your base to 120°F. Heating to higher temperatures or heating for long periods of time will inactivate the preservative.

To heat your base you can use two methods:
  1. Microwave - Weigh your base into Pyrex or other heat-safe container. Heat your base using 30-minute increments until the temperature reaches 120°F. Be sure to stir often while heating to get rid of any hot spots. Overheating in the microwave can easily occur, so monitor closely.  
  2. Double Boiler - The better method is to use a double boiler setup. Weigh your base into a double boiler on low heat. Heat until the temperature reaches 120°F. Be sure to stir often and check the temperature as you heat. 
You can use an infrared thermometer to monitor temperaturess closely when heating. When taking the temperature, be sure to mix the base prior to checking the temperature as the infrared gun only takes surface temperatures.

Incorporate Additives
Incorporate your additives, such as fragrance and color, to the heated soap and mix well to blend.

Once your additives are fully incorporated, you can now bottle your liquid hand soap. We recommend pouring slowly from a couple inches above the mouth of the bottle. If pouring a foaming hand wash, fill just to the shoulder. Overfilling can cause foaming hand wash to flood the chamber preventing the pump to properly inject air into the soap.Do not cap your containers until the liquid hand soap has completely cooled as this may create condensation in the bottle.

Once completely cooled down, cap your containers.

Label your product and include the following information:
  • Product name
  • Net weight size
  • Directions for use
  • Ingredients in descending order of predominance  
  • Company name
  • Contact information

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