Several Ideas for Making Your Own Travel Soaps

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DIY Travel Soap

The temperature recently reached the 80s here in North Carolina, and it had me thinking about summer. With warmer weather I love to just take off and go, often camping or staying at a friend’s for the night. I like to bring my own soap so I don’t use their supply. While lugging a full bar of soap around can be cumbersome, it gets worse when I can’t make up my mind and want to take 5-6 of my homemade bars. That takes up a lot of space!

Make Any Soap a DIY Travel Soap

There are a few ways you can take many bars of soap on a trip without taking up too much space. These are a few of my favorites:

Soap Petals

Take any bar of homemade soap that is still a bit soft. This won’t work with hard bars. Use a vegetable peeler and peel off a few slices. They should form easily and can be cut smaller if you wish. Store these in a small jar with a tight fitting lid.

Soap Sticks

Again, use bars that are somewhat soft. Use a sharp knife and cut off a slice about ¼-inch thick. Then cut these into ¼-inch slices, somewhat like a carrot stick. Store in a tightly sealed jar.

Mold into Small Bars

If you have glycerin soap, you can melt it in a double boiler and pour it into a smaller mold, like those used to make chocolates or ice cubes. I like to find really small molds that make a one-time use soap bar. When they cool completely, pop them out and store them in a sealed container.

Make a Soap Paste

Grate any soap with a kitchen box grater. Place the shavings into a small jar and add just enough water to get wet. There should be no standing water. Cover and let it sit for an hour or so. Stir and add a bit more water if necessary. This will form a thick paste that you can dip into for the perfect amount for each use.

Make Soap Paper

To make paper soap you will need dissolving paper. (Find it here or at fabric stores.) It is sold as a stabilizer for fabrics that is meant to dissolve when the fabric is run through a washer.

Begin by turning your soap into a thick liquid using the method above for paste, but adding a bit more liquid. As your soap is setting up, take a sheet of dissolving paper and “paint” it with the soap liquid. Allow it to dry, then cut it into small pieces. Place these pieces in a small tin (these are perfect for soap papers).

Benefits of Making DIY Travel Soap Sizes

While space has already been mentioned, there are other reasons you may want to make your own travel size soap.


Make the scents you want, not just what is available in the store. Often in the travel section there is one small bar of soap… two kinds if you’re lucky.

You can use soaps that have special properties, like acne fighting, moisturizing, or shampoo bar. You’ll almost never find these at a store.

Controlling what’s in the soap. I make my own soap, so I know if I use mine, there are no artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives that I don’t want.

You can control the size. Do you want tiny bars that last for just one washing, or do you want something a bit bigger for a weekend trip?


There is not as much packaging, sometimes none. If I use my own soap, there is no packaging waste and I can reuse the jar or container that was holding my soap.

Homemade soaps are often completely biodegradable, whereas some commercial soaps are not.


You can use the type of container you prefer. I take mine in a small jar, but you can also use a small tin, a plastic bowl with lid, or a zip-top plastic bag. Be sure that whatever you use is waterproof. Soap, when wet from use, can get other things wet. And handmade soap retains its natural glycerin, which is a humectant, pulling moisture out of the air. A muslin bag may seem practical at first, but any bit of humidity can get in, making your soap sweat and get soggy.

Kids often drop soap that is too big for them. Hand them a tiny bar or a soap petal, and it’ll be easier for them to handle.


You can use the small bars as a laundry pre-treatment. It never fails, when I go hiking I get dirty. With the smaller bars of soap, you can drop a few drops of water onto a grass stain (or any other stain) and leave it until you get home. A small amount won’t get onto your skin and will help to get the stain out when you wash the clothes.

Money Savings

We all like saving money, and making your own travel bars will help with that. I’ve priced out travel bars of soap at many locations. The cheapest ones run around $1.00 and are more detergent than soap. They can run upwards of $4.00 for a smaller size version of what you would normally buy, sometimes exceeding the cost of a bigger bar. No, you don’t have to pay a fortune for convenience.

Have you made your own travel bars of soap? If so, what method did you use?


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Bettybabs says

    Hi. I’ve been following your posts for months now and really its been of great help to me. Thank you so much for the DIY tips.. Please I’d like to know how to make my own home made soap. Can you please send the recipe for both bar and liquid soap. Thanks.

    • Debra Maslowski says

      Thanks Bettybabs! You can find all of my soap recipes, both bar soap and liquid soap, as well as others, like soap for cleaning, here at Go to the search bar in the upper right corner and put in your request, like liquid soap, and all of the related articles will come up. Hope this helps!

  2. Barbara says

    I make my own soap using coconut oil, olive oil and potassium hydroxide flakes. It make a nice liquid soap that I use for pretty much everything from bathing, to dish washing, to laundry, to shampooing my carpet. If I let some sit out and dry up a bit it makes a pretty good soft bar.