Today we’re re-stocking my handwash inventory with a fresh, zippy Peppermint Foaming Hand Wash. It’s a fast, no-heat project, and I’ve provided two slightly different versions. One version uses peppermint hydrosol for our scent, while the other makes use of a solubilizer so we can incorporate peppermint essential oil for the scent instead. Both are simple and effective, so you can choose which one you want to make based on what you have on hand.

How to Make Peppermint Foaming Hand Wash

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The version I’m presenting on the blog is the solubilizer and essential oil version. Polysorbate 20 is our solubilizer, and peppermint is our essential oil (of course!). We’ll kick off the hand wash by whisking the two together, and when it’s done and everything has settled down it’ll give us a crystal clear hand wash.


Our surfactant blend is a gentle combination of anionic Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40) and amphoteric Cocamidopropyl Betaine; both are liquid, making them easy to incorporate into the hand wash. If you want to use a different anionic surfactant, give this a read(Pssst… did you know there’s an entire section of the FAQ dedicated to substitutions + the encyclopedia?)

The hand wash is finished off with some moisturizing vegetable glycerin, our preservative, and a bunch of water. And that’s it! It’s really fast and easy to make, which is a quality I really like in things I tend to run out of quickly. Happy minty sudsing!

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Peppermint Foaming Hand Wash

2.6g | 1% peppermint essential oil (USA / Canada)
13g | 5% polysorbate 20 (USA / Canada)

26g | 10% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
1.3g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)

20.8g | 8% Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (Bio-Terge® AS-40) (USA / Canada)
20.8g | 8% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)

175.5g | 67.5% distilled water

Weigh the lavender essential oil and polysorbate 20 into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or beaker and whisk to combine. Add the glycerine and liquid germall plus, whisk again. Next, add the surfactants, whisking to combine.

Gently pour the water into the mixture and slowly stir to combine. Once the mixture is uniform (you shouldn’t see any blobs of surfactant paste), you’re ready to package it up! I poured mine into a 250mL foamer bottle from YellowBee. Use it as you would use any hand wash!

When made as written the pH for both versions of this hand wash is in the 5–6 range; the hydrosol version is slightly lower than the solubilizer/essential oil version. If you make any big changes, make sure you’re testing and, if needed, adjusting the pH to that range.

Shelf Life & Storage

Because this hand wash contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.


As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.

  • As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 260g, which fills a 250mL bottle nicely.
  • To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
  • If you’d like to learn more about the surfactants used and compare them to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page.
  • You could use propanediol instead of vegetable glycerine.
  • You can use a different essential oil.
  • If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.
  • If you’d like to use a hydrosol instead of a solubilizer and essential oil, remove the polysorbate 20 and essential oil, reduce the distilled water to 43.5%, and add 30% hydrosol.

Gifting Disclosure

The 250mL foamer bottle was gifted by YellowBee.