Transform Unwanted Shampoo/Shower Gel into Foamy Hand Soap!

foamysoap Recently, as I purged my bathroom of all sorts of old shower gels and shampoos, I realized I had quite a little collection of almost-but-not-quite-used-up bath products. Most of them were a bit old to continue using for their original purpose, but, being the borderline hoarder that I am, I didn’t like to see wads of money going in the trash can if I could repurpose the leftover products for any other household use.

I was quite at a loss, till I discovered that there was a way to make your own foaming soap using some of these unwanted products. Yes, you read that right–your own foamy soap, without having to go out and buy it! With this process, I’ve been able to both use up leftover products AND save money on hand soap…a definite win-win!

The Process

(There are many blog articles about this out there on the Internet, but the tutorial I followed was this one over at I have added my own tips and advice to this, gained through trial and error.)

  1. First, only use shower gels/shampoos that are see-through for this project. If it’s not a see-through product, it will not foam well at all, AND will gunk up your foamy soap dispenser to boot. (Learn from my fail.)
  2. Make sure your foamy soap dispenser is rinsed out completely.
  3. Measure out 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen product and pour it into your dispenser bottle.
  4. Run a very thin stream of warm water into the dispenser bottle until the bottle is filled up almost all the way to the top, leaving room for the foamy dispenser top to fit in.
  5. Screw the top of the bottle on firmly, and then begin to turn the bottle over and over in your hands slowly to combine the soap and water. (This is important–if you shake the bottle too hard, all the foam will be “stuck” in the bottle and won’t come out the top. Learn from my fail.)
    • I find that turning the bottle over to the rhythm of “thousand-1, thousand-2, thousand-1, thousand-2” works well.
    • Turning the bottle end-over-end ensures that the product distributes throughout all the water in the bottle.
  6. After a few minutes of this slow-churned process, try out your foamy soap by pumping the top a couple of times. (If it doesn’t foam right at first, try a few more pumps, or shake the bottle up a teensy bit faster–some shampoos and shower gels distribute at different rates in water.)
  7. YAY! You have your own foamy soap, made from a repurposed product!

One Final Note: Obtaining a “Foamy Soap” Bottle

The real trick to making anything into “foamy soap” is the bottle, or more accurately, the top of the bottle, which adds air into the soap/water mix as you pump it out of the bottle. There are some fillable foaming soap pumps out there, but most of them have really bad reviews, either for being leaky or for the foamy dispenser part clogging up really easily.

At our house, we had several empty Bath & Body Works foaming soap bottles and pumps lying around; I just rinsed one out and repurposed it for my “homemade” foamy soap. This has worked out really well! So, if you can’t find a foamy soap pump you like, you may want to ask friends if they have any empty storebought soap pumps they’d be willing to let go. One less item of clutter/trash for them, one very cheap way to stretch soap for you!

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