Homemade Antibacterial Hand Soap with #EssentialOils

Looks like we are well into flu season and there are several nasty stomach bugs and upper respiratory things going around as well. Aside from keeping my kids home from school one of the two available weeks of preschool/Mother’s Day Out in December (!) because I thought they might be getting the stomach thing (one random diarrhea and one vomited), no one ever got sick, and instead they ran around like crazy people not wanting to stay inside the house all day. Their immune systems are ridiculously strong, I guess? My husband, on the other hand, actually got pneumonia. The kids were never affected. I’ve had some ongoing coughing but I’ve been treating it with essentials oils and the usual immunity boosting supplements.

Anyway, regardless of how much Thieves oil you use or elderberry syrup (affiliate link) you chug (we do both!), hand washing is always key to preventing the spread of whatever-is-out-there.

There has been a lot of concern in the green and medical community in the past 10 years about the overuse of antibacterial hand soap, particularly because it most often contains a chemical called Triclosan. Triclosan has been found to cause hormone disruption in animals and is currently being reviewed by the FDA for safety. Even the FDA’s own site restates that antibacterial soaps may not provide significant benefit over plain soap and water.

Over here, we use plain ol’ castille soap with peppermint essential oil (affiliate link), which I dilute at a 1:2 ratio with water and put into foam dispensers.

However, I will admit that after the salmonella incident with the chickens, I felt that we might need a little additional disinfecting property to our soap. Thieves oil blend contains antibacterial properties but, unlike Triclosan, does not interfere with the body’s natural functions because it does not contain synthetic chemicals of any kind. You can order Thieves Oil hand soap from Young Living (I sell it, of course), but honestly I already had Thieves oil and soap, so…. I just made my own! Here’s what I used:

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castille Soap
2 drops Thieves blend essential oil
2-3 drops lemon essential oil
Foam hand soap dispenser (approx. 8-10 oz bottle – affiliate link)

Dispenser: Yes, you do need a foam soap dispenser if you want this to be a foam and not a very runny liquid. My foam hand soap dispensers are all from commercial soaps I’ve bought in the past and used up. I have one for each of our bathrooms now, and one for the kitchen sink. For what it’s worth, Clean Well is my favorite soap and dispenser (because the label comes off cleanly), but it’s SUPER expensive and my reused version is way cheaper! You can also check your local Freecycle or ask friends/neighbors for their old used foam soap bottles.

Fill the soap dispenser 1/3 of the way with castille soap (this is a Method hand soap bottle).

Then I fill it the rest of the way with filtered water.

After that, I add the 2 drops of Thieves and 2-3 drops lemon.


Important: you’ll notice a separation/settling of the content, so make sure you give the bottle a good shake now and then before using. I have also noticed that the mixture turns darker when exposed to sunlight — essentials oils do degrade in sunlight — so it is best to keep in shaded area out of direct sun and/or use a darker bottle.

Let me know if you try this recipe, and what you think!

NOTE: Of course, I sell the essential oils mentioned in this post. You can order oils online from my web site or contact me directly if you are local to the Dallas area and I can add anything you need to my next order.


  1. Nice recipe Jenny, thanks. You can also add a few drops of GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) to your recipes (in addition the ingredients you’ve mentioned) as a wonderful natural antibacterial.

  2. I’ve long been a believer in just washing your hands well and I always think I offend people when they offer me sanitizer and I decline saying I’d rather find a sink. I think sanitizer has its place, sure, but not when good old soap and water are available. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  3. I just made some! I happened to have all of these exact products on hand. I used a regular non foaming soap container is the only difference. I love it!! I actually added about 4 drops of thieves and lemon oils just because it’s that time of year. Beats using Triclosan, smells great and I know my hands are clean sans chemicals! I am so glad I saw this post, thank you!

  4. I have made this soap to be very mild and extra moisturizing, superfatted at 8%,which means that I have added extra 8% oils to the recipe to make it nourishing for the skin, and lots of Cocoa butter. You don’t have to worry, the soap will not make your skin feel greasy. It will just gently cleanse your skin and leave it moisturized.

  5. Homemade Antibacterial Hand Soap with #EssentialOils via @_conscientious http://t.co/NTH50HtsRN