Is Your Soap a Drug? Simple DIY Foaming Soap & Bubble Bath Without the Chemicals

You read food labels and know what you are eating,  read the packaging on over the counter the counter drugs for dosage and safety information.  

Do you know what is in your soaps and lotions? Cosmetics and personal care products are currently not listed as being regulated by the FDA.  The only exceptions are those products intended as skin protectants: lip balms, diaper creams, mouthwash, anti-perspirants and acne treatments. Some products are classified as cosmetics and drugs, in the FDA’s example of “toothpaste which is for cosmetic use (cleaning the teeth) but also contains a drug (flouride). What is in your soap?

While the original FDA regulation guidelines do not include products that “cleanse the body (these are covered under the Consumer Product Safety Commission that regulates cosmetics) the line seems to be blurring between cosmetics and drugs as more companies incorporate known “drug chemicals” into their products.  This includes many soaps and lotions, most often those claiming to kill bacteria.  The scary thing is even though a soap/drug is cleared by the FDA, it’s no guarantee that it is safe in the long run. As one example, in the 1970’s a baby soap was pulled from the market after an ingredient, hexachlorophene was found to cause brain damage. More recently, triclosan has been found to cause muscle weakness. It’s no wonder most consumers are confused about what is really safe or necessary for effective personal care products. What you put on your skin matters, chemicals are absorbed into your skin although it’s a complicated process that seems to be getting worse the more that chemicals are produced and filled into our personal care products. 

How can you find out why your soap is labeled as a drug? These are some simple guidelines to see why your soap may be labeled as a drug.  Keep reading on to find easy ways to replace these chemical filled products with true “soap” that gently cleans your body without the drugs.

1.  It contains ingredients commonly labeled in other over the counter drugs or other products the FDA regulates (Triclosan,

2. It is not really a “true soap”, but only a synthetic detergent that foams and produces suds due to a chemical reaction.

3. The product has enough chemical ingredients that it is considered a “drug”.

4. The FDA requires any product making a “claim” of anti-bacterial, anti-acne or anti-perspirant must list active ingredients on a drug label.

Even if your soap is not classified as a drug like ones that you’ll often find in public restrooms (many of the labels are not as clear as this one I found in a Chicago bathroom near Navy Pier)Chlorahexanol soap that doesn’t mean it is free of controversial ingredients. You may be vigilant about avoiding foods with artificial colors and flavorings, but many personal care products contain dyes and scents that can be harmful, and they are not regulated by the FDA in cosmetic products. It’s really simple to avoid all these yucky ingredients when you have a few easy recipes.  I scoured the internet and experimented with plenty to come up with this bubble bath. Some of the recipes were similar to this one like from Apartment Therapy  with wholesome ingredients, but you’d be surprised at how many suggest dish detergent, ew! If you are going to the effort to DIY, choose the purest ingredients. Most bubble baths contain chemicals to create large bubbles, the natural ones may not be as big and long lasting, but the kids big will enjoy them just as well.  I like this recipe because it only uses 2 ingredients that are good for your skin. I would not recommend dish soap which may contain chemicals you are trying to avoid in the first place. Simple castille soap is as basic a cleaner you can get and coconut oil is so nourishing to the skin. You can use this recipe for adults and kids. If you don’t use it right away,  just warm it in a pan of water and shake it up before using.

Simple DIY Bubble Bath (single use serving, double or triple and store in a glass jar and shake gently before using)

1 T coconut oil (if you use extra virgin it will smell like coconut, use an expeller pressed and it will have no fragrance)

4 T pure castille liquid soap (my favorite is Dr. Bronners Baby Mild liquid castille soap

Melt the coconut oil on the stove, in an oven proof dish or in the microwave (ok this is the only time I’d recommend the micro 🙂 ), slowly add the castille soap and gently stir. It will turn a pretty milky white.  Optionally, add 4-6 drops of essential oils of your choice:  lavender or chamomile for a calming bath, R.C eucalyptus blend for colds & flu, orange or tangerine for an energizing bath (do not use citrus oils on the skin 12 hours before sun exposure). Pour your soap mixture into the tub under running water and enjoy!

Now my favorite recipe. We go through so much soap in our home and I’ve been using Dr. Bronners for foaming hand soap for years. This foaming soap recipe is so easy to DIY you’ll never go back to traditional thick, gloppy soap that uses chemical thickeners. Hand soap is for cleaning your hands and this DIY foaming soap does just that for a fraction of the cost. If you want to go even cheaper, you can make your own castile soap from a bar. I’m just experimenting with this and the results seem promising.  DIY foaming soap uses a pump you re-use, so you save on costs for the pump and save garbage from the landfills. The magic, which is really no secret, is in the pump. You can get foaming soap pumps everywhere, from Crate and Barrel to the Dollar store. They range in price from a buck to over $20 for something fancy. I get mine from AbundantHealth4U and my foaming soap pumps have lasted for years. Here’s what you need for

Simple DIY Foaming Soap

Simple DIY Foaming Soap

Customize your soap blend to suit your mood or the season:

Citrus oils will brighten your mood and add a fresh aroma Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary and Melaleuca are purifying when you need some extra cleansing in the bathroom or kitchen Lavender, Chamomile and Ylang Ylang will calm you down at the end of the day.


  • 1 ounce Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild, unscented Castile soap
  • 3 ounces purified water
  • Therapeutic Essential Oils
  • Foaming soap container


  1. Pour castille soap into container
  2. Add 5-10 drops essential oils of your choice
  3. Fill remainder with pure water, making sure not to fill past the foamer unit
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Add Therapeutic Essential oils to fragrance and add purifying qualities

If you want to really make your DIY foaming soap creative, make your own labels. WorldLabel offers some fun DIY labels with AVERY label sheets. That’s it! Pretty easy to replace some toxic chemicals in your home when you make DIY bubble bath and DIY foaming soap. Enjoy!

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  1. Essential Defense for Colds and Flu | Pure Home and Body LLC - September 13, 2015

    […] most important steps include frequent hand washings ( DIY foaming hand soap), washing bed lines and towels (I add a drop of Cinnamon/clove essential oil blend or Purifying […]

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