Homemade Baby Shampoo

Bath time is stressful!

Once upon a time, when Logan was a tiny baby, bath time was a dream! His little blue bathtub fit perfectly on a towel on his dresser and he would sit quietly and stare at the wall hanging his Great-Granny made for him.  Sure there was the occasional “shower” but who worries about a little baby pee, especially from a breastfed baby. It was nice while it lasted.

Bath Baby

2 1/2-month-old Logan in the bath.

Bathtime now consists of me trying to hold back a jumping, naked toddler who is screaming with excitement and trying to get into the bath before the temperature is right.  Once he’s in the bath with his toys, all is well for about 20 seconds until he remembers how fun it is to splash. The warm water is pretty relaxing, so I’d better be watching closely for the signs of disaster (the look of concentration paired with soft grunting.) If I’m lucky, I get him onto the toilet in time. If I’m not, he gets out of the tub so I can clean him up, clean the bathtub, refill the water and finish his bath. If I’m lucky, this only happens once per bath. Yep, my kid’s a bath pooper. This happens frequently enough that baths have become a special treat, usually when I am planning on mopping the bathroom floor anyway, because it’s soon covered in a quarter inch of water. Most days he just takes a shower with Daddy.

I am pretty particular about what I put on my baby’s skin. Many of the commercial baby products, while claiming to be gentle, are still packing chemicals that I wouldn’t give him to drink, so why would I want them absorbed through his skin?  We finally ran out of all the baby shampoo we got as shower gifts. My favorite brand was California Baby, but oh man I cannot justify spending over $10 for a 8.5oz bottle of soap. So a Google search and a trip to the store later here’s how I made a gentle, soothing baby wash.

Most recipes I found for homemade baby shampoo called for liquid castile soap, essential oils, and water, but having made liquid hand soap out of bar soap before, I decided to give it a shot this time around. Our family has long been fans of Dr. Bronner’s soaps, and I recently started using their coconut oil as a moisturizer. Dr. Bronner’s products are organic, fair trade and vegan. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website puts all their products on the “low risk” spectrum. With this in mind, I went out and bought a bar of their unscented bar soap and a gallon of distilled water. You want distilled water because even filtered water still contains minerals.

How to make homemade baby wash:

1. Bring 2.5 cups of distilled water to a boil and add the herbs you would like to infuse, I used chamomile and lavender, but you could also use orange peel, rosemary, cinnamon, clove, calendula flowers, eucalyptus, or just a nice smelling herbal tea.


2. While your infusion is steeping, grate an ounce of bar soap. It should be just around half a cup.


3. Strain any loose herbs out of the infusion and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave. Add the soap shavings and stir with a fork until all the soap is melted.


4. That’s it! Store in a jar or other container (I reused an old agave nectar bottle.) It lathers really nicely and leaves behind a nice mild scent and best of all, for under $10 you have enough soap and distilled water to make ten times the amount of shampoo as one bottle of store bought!

11 thoughts on “Homemade Baby Shampoo”

  1. I am loving your site, Eowyn! Beautiful! …and lots of good info for people who are wanting to learn how to raise their children in a healthful way that cares for the environment that our children will be living in beyond our years. I can’t wait to learn more and more!

  2. So happy to find your website and this recipe! Ive been wanting to get away from commercial chemical filled baby products. Im curious if you still use this for your baby and did you notice if the herbs caused any irritation?

    1. We still use the same recipe. My son never had any reaction, though a friend’s daughter did. We aren’t sure what caused her reaction and she has quite a few allergies so it could have been something in the bar soap, too. If your child has sensitive skin, I wwould do a test on her arm to be sure.

  3. Hello again, I just tried making this recipe and all was going good until i added the grated soap to the mixture. I used an organic chamomile lavender tea I found and it smelled really yummy while steeping but once i mixed the shavings in it turned from a pretty amber color to muddy looking water and oh boy it stinks.. What did I do wrong?

    1. It will get a little muddy looking and thicker as the soap cools. As for the smell, I’m not sure. Did you use unscented castile soap? Distilled water? Did you mix it in an aluminum dish that could have reacted to one of the soap ingredients? I’ve never had that happen, so I can only guess.

    1. Most “tear-free” formulas are made with chemicals added to anesthetize the eye so that the sting of the shampoo ingredients is not felt. These alkyl ingredients actually can temporarily numb the eye and worse. They are used in pesticide products to anesthetize insects and they can penetrate the skin and cause organ toxicity in people. This shampoo is not tear free, but it is diluted enough with water that the sting is not really felt. I put some in my eye as a test when I first made it and it was irritating, but no more so than getting water in my eye. As long as you use a high quality, ph balanced soap as your base, it shouldn’t cause much eye irritation.

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