Over-cleansing and over-sanitizing can take a serious toll on your skin—particularly your hands! I wash my hands a lot during the day, and I feel like it zaps the moisture from my skin. It’s incredibly easy (and inexpensive) to make your own antimicrobial foaming hand soap that will do a great job at keeping you germ-free without destroying your protective skin barrier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), soap is more effective at removing certain types of germs than alcohol-based hand sanitizers [source]. You see, soap has two layers—one that’s attracted to water and one that’s attracted to fat. Meanwhile, viruses have an outer layer of protein and fat surrounding them. When viruses come in contact with soap, their fat coating gets ripped off, destroying them in the process.
Soap has also been shown to eliminate bacteria from the hands more effectively than rinsing with water alone [source]. And it doesn’t matter what kind of soap you use. As long as it has suds, both homemade soap and store-bought work well against microbes without the need to add any additional antimicrobial agents like alcohol. Even the US Food and Drug Administration recommends leaving out the chemicals and just using soap and water [source].
- Castile soap — I love making my own bath and body products, so I use Castile soap for practically everything!
- Fractionated coconut oil — It keeps my hands soft and locks in moisture. But unlike regular coconut oil, it doesn’t solidify in cooler weather, so it never causes issues with my soap.
- A blend of germ-fighting essential oils adds an extra layer of antimicrobial protection without drying out hands
- Water simply dilutes your foaming hand soap, so it makes plenty of suds, and you get more bang for your buck.
Combine the ingredients in an empty soap dispenser, then slowly fill the dispenser the rest of the way with water. Screw on the pump and swirl to combine.
Dispense a couple of pumps of soap onto your hands and wash as normal. Rinse thoroughly.
Hint: Slowly adding the water will help avoid creating a bunch of bubbles. Also, gently swirl to mix the ingredients together instead of shaking the bottle for the same reason.
This homemade soap doesn’t contain any of the harsh surfactants that strip your skin of moisture, so it actually nourishes the skin and helps prevent the splitting and cracking that can increase your chances of getting an infection.
Aside from the Castile soap, the ingredients are pretty interchangeable.
- Fractionated coconut oil - Adding an oil helps moisturize my hands every time I wash them, so you can substitute jojoba, rosehip, sweet almond, or any other carrier oil that stays liquid at room temperature.
You can use whichever oils you like and have at home—they don’t necessarily need to be known as antibacterial (the soap does most of the heavy lifting in this recipe). But since I don’t always wash my hands as thoroughly as I should, I love the peace of mind essential oils bring.
Note: If you have sensitive skin, use less essential oil, as some of them can be irritating. The coconut oil acts as a carrier to dilute the essential oils, but use caution as some oils can sensitize the skin over time.
In this case, no, not really. Regular coconut oil tends to harden at room temperature, which can result in clumpy soap and clog the nozzle of your bottle. Fractionated coconut oil stays liquid at all temperatures, so you never have to worry about clumping.
Yes! While coconut oil does have some antibacterial properties of its own [source], the soap is the main germ-fighter in this recipe. So you can feel free to swap any liquid carrier oil you like in place of the coconut oil.
You should never store undiluted essential oils in plastic as they are strong enough to break it down and affect the quality of the oil. But the essential oils in this recipe are so diluted that you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Naturally Antimicrobial Coconut Oil Hand Soap
- 16-ounce foaming soap dispenser
- Combine the ingredients in an empty soap dispenser, then slowly fill the dispenser the rest of the way with water.
- Screw on the pump and shake well to combine.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.