Why Does Liquid Soap Get Watery?

A nicely consistent thick soap is what most of us are used to. But from time to time, your liquid soap may turn out to be this gooey watery soap. Sometimes, however, the reason for this to happen is not as complicated as you may think. 

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A watery consistency in a liquid soap may result from several factors. But the two leading causes are the recipe formulation, such as the oils used in the recipe and the dilution rate. Too much water can also cause a watery result or the formulation not cooked enough to let the liquid evaporate.

The texture of homemade liquid soap is a significant characteristic that often determines the consumer’s perception of its effectiveness. 

No consumer will prefer buying soaps that are too liquidy or too thick. Customers expect the same texture from the homemade products that they find in commercial products. 

A honey-like consistency is considered best for liquid soaps. Here is how you can make soap with a perfect texture that will not get watery.

Why Does My Liquid Soap Get Watery?

Before we go on making one, we need to know why we sometimes get this watery result. 

An essential characteristic of homemade liquid soap is its consistency and texture. The surface of liquid soaps varies from very thin to very thick gel, depending on its intended use. 

However, the thickness does not represent the quality, effectiveness, or concentration of soap. There are no hard and fast rules applicable to the consistency of homemade liquid soap. It all depends on personal preference. 

But honestly, there can be many reasons why this happens, but luckily all of them can be identified. An example is that some fatty acids make the soap thicker and much better consistency, like coconut oil, which gives a good thick texture and fluffy foam to soap. 

If you do not have coconut oil, you may also want to try olive oil and castor oil. Just make sure they are not expired. Both of these oils also give good results in soap making. So using the right type of oils is essential.

If your soap is not cooked long enough and if the water added for dilution is not evaporated, this will result in a watery soap’s consistency.

Using too much water is another (obvious) reason that may cause your liquid soap to get very watery, and as you may have guessed, it will take much longer to get it evaporated when you have too much water. 

How Can You Fix Watery Liquid Soap?

If you accidentally put an extra bit of water in your homemade liquid soap and feel the soap is runnier than you have desired it to be, you can thicken your soap using a simple technique. Adding salt to a soap mixture makes it thick and dense. If you feel that your soap has a very runny consistency like water, salt is the easy solution.

Soap can be thickened by only using saltwater. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Add too much, and you’ll ruin your soap. With some caution, you can bring the soap to your desired consistency.

First of all, you will have to make a salt solution by adding 2 ounces of salt to 6 ounces of water. Stir continuously until the salt is entirely dissolved. Add this solution to the soap mixture in small amounts (or not more than one teaspoon), and stir thoroughly. 

Your soap should start thickening. You then continue adding a little bit more until your soap reaches the desired consistency. 

If you accidentally add too much salt solution, your soap mixture will turn into a thick mass with lumps. Not only will it make your soap very unpleasant in appearance, but it also loses its effectiveness. 

How Do You Prevent Watery Liquid Soap?

You can prevent liquid soap by carefully controlling the two factors. If you can control these two factors, you’ve won half of the battle. 

  • The rate of dilution
  • The oils used in soap making

Before starting, you have to decide your desired soap consistency. How much thickness is required? Should the soap be as thick as honey? Or do you need a little bit of runny consistency? 

Some of the thick soap bases require dilution. The recommended ratio for this dilution is 4:1 water to paste. To dilute a soap, boil distilled water in a large pot. Don’t use tap water as the minerals and microbes present in it may eventually destroy your soap. 

When the water starts boiling, add the paste and stir thoroughly. The mixing process can take up to 8 hours, depending on the size of your soap batch. When the soap dissolves completely, you can remove it from the flame and let it cool down. 


You can now add your desired color and fragrance oil to this paste.

Whether you are making liquid soap for the shower, hand washing, laundry, or dishwashing, your oil selection will give your soap the desired consistency. Including borax in the recipe also prevents soap from getting a watery consistency. Borax thickens the soap and acts as a buffer for neutralizing its pH. 

Crothix can also be used for thickening a homemade liquid soap. Some people use Xanthan gum to keep the soap consistency thick, but many soap makers find it difficult to dissolve. It often settles as sediments at the bottom of the pot.

Some types of fragrances and essential oils will thicken your liquid soap, which may seem watery at first. These essential oils and fragrances can make the liquid soap “accelerate” and grow thicker. Fragrance oils and essential oils also change the color and alter the clarity of your soap. 

It is therefore advised always to test the fragrance or essential oil on a small quantity of soap. 

Final note, do not add saltwater for thickening unless you have added your fragrance; otherwise, the soap may become too thick.


Watery liquid soaps may look like they are working as effectively as thick soaps, but they don’t. And with the methods shown above, you should be able to fix it and never have to deal with it again. Unless, of course, you, for some reason, like watery liquid soap.

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