Homemade Citrus Body Wash

Trying to get the toxins out of your personal care products and save money? This Refreshing Citrus Body Wash is easy to make, inexpensive, and smells great! Time to ditch the toxins!

For years I’ve been trying to get toxins out of our home by either buying natural personal care and home care products, or making my own homemade versions of them.  I’ve made my own homemade hair spray, nourishing hair rinse, and eye makeup remover, but one of the things that eluded for for along time was a body wash.

I have always been more of a “bar of soap” kind of gal but recently I have really been enjoying using a body wash in the shower.

Today I have a body wash recipe to share with you that I am really pleased with.

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Like I said, I’ve always used bars of soap, or my Homemade Foaming Soap, but now I think I am sold on body wash.

I’ve never really liked showering.  I think I held the record for the fastest shower taker when I lived with a household of 10 gals in college.

Something about the heat and dampness made me want to be done and out of the shower.

But since I’ve been trying to make my bathroom routine a little more “special”, I’ve been enjoying showering more.

Maybe I’m a little more clean as a result, hmmmm?

Maybe I should call this post “Why I Like Being In the Shower Now”.

Anyway, a reader shared her recipe for body wash with me.  I needed to monkey with it a bit, but now you get to make this wonderfully-smelling, luxurious body wash for yourself.

Move over, body shop stores.

Why make your own personal care products?

1.  Avoid harmful chemicals – use only natural ingredients and fragrances.
2.  Reuse containers and reduce waste
3.  Save money (one of my favorite reasons :-))!

{Please note that there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}



1.  I used guar gum, but my reader used xanthan gum and said 1 tsp worked for her.  1 tsp guar gum made the mixture overly thick.  I saw recipes online calling for 1/2 tsp xanthan gum, but I just didn’t have xanthan gum in the house so I didn’t try it.

2.  You can buy most of these ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs, and if they are still listed, I have Essential Oils at cost on my Natural Store Page.

3.  I think other essential oil blends would be great as well.  As I find ones I like I hope to share them.

I love the smell and texture of this wash and I hope you do as well.

My son said, after smelling it, “Boy, Mom.  You make some really good smelling stuff!  And some really good tasting stuff too!”

What a sweetheart!

More Natural DIY Personal Care Products:

Jojoba Face Wash
Rose Water Spray
“The Best” Eye Makeup Remover
Easiest Deodorant Ever
Simple Nourishing Hand and Body Lotion
Nourishing Sugar Scrub
Nourishing Lip Scrub

Do you use natural hair care products?


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Jami Balmet says:

    I love this!! My sisters would love this body wash. I’m thinking ill have to make this for their birthday :) Thanks for sharing this!!

  2. I love this, it look delicious! I wish you were my roommate in college! I cracked up at your shower theory. It is a good place to hide from the kiddos sometimes!! When they were tiny they would climb into the bath with me = no alone time!!

    • So your roommate took long showers? Guess so? Not me. In and out. Alone time is hard to find. I think as they grow older I realize I will miss that as well, though. Hope you like the body wash!

  3. Perfect timing! I was just going to search for a body wash recipe and I saw this. Can’t wait to try it out!

  4. I really love this idea for body soap, however I just wanted to point out that while this may be a decent choice for winter (since we are usually covered up), I would be wary of using it in the summer. Most citrus oils are photosensitive and can really do damage to your skin when exposed to sunlight. That being said I’m sure it’s a lot safer since you are washing it off, but when it comes to lotions or anything you will leave on your skin you definitely don’t want citrus. I bet it would make some amazing natural hair highlights!!

    • Hi Suzanne,

      I did check with the owner of Native American Nutritionals about this and he said that photosensitivity would not happen in this diluted amount, especially if it was being washed off. I asked before I wrote the post :). He said that even Bergamot that hasn’t had the furocoumarin removed (which is much more photosensitive than citrus oils) wouldn’t be an issue in this amount. So….make the wash and enjoy it, I say :). Thanks, though…good things to talk about!

    • christi says:

      If you use a ‘folded’ oil, like orange 5fold or 10fold then the sun factor has been removed. :)

      • I think the tiny amount of the citrus oil in here is a non issue regarding the sun – but I think I addressed that earlier in the comments – do you not think so?

  5. Awesome 😀 Glad you mentioned the Bergamot too. I love citrus and use them in my deodorant…

  6. This looks wonderful.
    Debi and Charly

  7. Can I make this fragrance-free? I have sensitive skin that causes me to break out.

  8. Hey,since Xanthan Gum is used as a thickening agent, I wonder if you could use arrowroot poweder or cornstarch???? I don’t have Xanthan or Guar Gum and that stuff is $15 at Harris Teeter in my small town!

    • Those won’t have as much thickening power. You could just leave it out, or do what you can w/ the starches. They aren’t necessary, but they make the product more like store-bought versions. Did you check the links in my post? Amazon has the gums a lot cheaper.

  9. I’m going to try this! I recently made a body wash that I just don’t love. It doesn’t lather at all, and while I know that suds don’t mean clean, I still want a luxurious lather when I’m showering. It just feels good.
    Thanks for posting… I’ll bookmark it for later.

  10. This looks fabulous! I am always in search of ways educate my health coaching clients on how to ditch the store bought beauty products for something natural and this fits the bill. Thanks!

  11. I wonder if you could add Avon’s Skin So Soft oil for winter moisturizing? Love the fragrance and always spritz down after the shower for moisturizing in the winter.

  12. What is the “Shelf” life? This would be great at my craft shows. I have been trying to do shampoo’s but can’t get any shelf life above 2-3 weeks and that just won’t work for the show circuit

    • Sorry – I can’t make claims about that but I would think it would be longer than that since the shelf life of the components is longer than that. Maybe look up the shelf life of the components and base it off that?

  13. How fun!! I can’t wait to give this a try. We’d love for you to link up to our party! http://www.housewivesofriverton.com/2013/02/riverton-housewives-round-up-54.html

  14. I have two questions:

    1. I was looking on Vitacost for Aloe Vera Gel. Some of the specify the part of the plant it’s made out of. Do I want the inner fillet or the whole leaf?
    2. Do you happen to know how long the shelf life for Aloe Vera Gel is? The best price is this one but it’s huge!! Aloe Vera

    • Good questions! I’ve read that the outer leaf is toxic so I am guessing you don’t want whole leaf.

      Also I’ve heard 1 year for shelf life but better to use w/in 6 months. It looks like you have a juice there, though, and not a gel. They are different.

  15. The recipe did not indicate when to put in the essential oils. Is it after you’ve mixed in the soap base or at the same time. Thanks for your recipes as always.

  16. Beth S. says:

    I just tried making this w/ the xanthan gum option. It noticeably thickened the shea butter/aloe mixture but my end product still seems runny. Will it thicken as it cools? I was hoping for more of a gel like texture.

  17. Can you replace the Shea butter with cocoa butter?

  18. Hi. Has anyone had issues with the liquid castille soap? I have used it as a shampoo and body wash before, but it leaves a residue on my skin. Am I using the wrong ratio of soap to water or is my water too hard? Any suggestions?

  19. Jennifer says:

    I am new to making products and wanted to know what kind of Shea butter to use? I went Amazon to do some pricing. I am assuming that it’s the unrefined raw type?

  20. So i just tried this recipe and somewhere, not sure where, something went wrong! Bummer! I tried doubling the recipe, which is PROBABLY where I jacked it up! But I ended up with an extremely thick and gummy result. Any deals how to fix? Also, is it ok to add some water? Thanks in advance! :)

    • I would add everything but the gum and mix it. I am thinking I will try this again with about 2/3 or 1/2 the gum myself. Most of the recipe is great but as I’ve used it it’s a little thicker. Hope it works!

    • You probably could add a little more water to thin it out

  21. Danielle says:

    I tried this recipe, I used lemongrass essential oil instead of citrus, which I find is more gentle on my skin. The other thing I did was use coconut oil and shea butter….

    But, my body wash separated! Maybe it’s the warmer temperature this time of year or the added oil. However it works great and smells yummy! I find it lathers a ton… Maybe next time I should add more xantham gum?? Thoughts?

    Thank you!

    • I personally think that there is already a little too much gum so I don’t think that’s it. Maybe try again and heat on low heat and blend well? I am not sure. Sorry.

      • I made this last night and mine separated too. I used the wash this morning, love how it lathered and felt on my skin, but it didn’t look nice before I shook it up. Do you keep it on low heat all the way through adding the soap base? I used 3/4 tsp xanthan gum, the mixture still came out more runny than I’d like.

  22. I figured that’s what it was….I ended up adding some water to it cuz it was the quickest way I could think of to liquefy it a bit more at least to get into the bottle I had for this concoction. I used it this morning and I’m actually pleased with it. It smells great and hubby agrees! Thank you!

  23. Chrissie says:

    Hi, I made this body wash and I absolutely love it.
    I didn’t use a lot of essential oils, so it doesn’t have a smell but I will just use more next time. Could you tell me how long this body was would last in my bathroom?
    Thank you for sharing this recipe :-)

    • I can’t make claims about shelf life but I have been using my smallish bottle since I wrote the post and it doesn’t smell “off” at all. :)

  24. Can you substitute coconut oil for shea butter? If so, do I use the same amount? Thank you!

  25. Do you ‘cook’ it in your ‘regular’ pots? Would there be a problem doing that? Or do I need a separate pot that I don’t put food in?


  26. Hi Adrienne,

    I made this last nite. I used 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum. the wash is very liquidy. I then added another tsp, still not thick. Followed everything, I used a hand whisk while adding the xanthan. I added it 1/2 before the castille soap. When it cooled, and still liquidy, I added 1/2 tsp. Then another 1tsp.

  27. How long does it need to be heated after the soap is added?

  28. Thank you for the recipe! I just made this shower gel and used orange oil instead, because I already had it at home… Once I added the xantham gum, the mixture became very thick quickly despite me whisking it immediately and the final product has “lumps” on the bottom. I will use the electric whisker next time and more xantham gum.

  29. This was my first experience with making a body wash or soap of any kind. My family and I are just switching DIY and orangic foods. So I thought this would be a good start. Replacing my st. ives shea butter body wash with this. I didn’t add the essential oils. I found it to leave my skin tacky feeling and too runny. Did I do something wrong when I made it? It probably just needs a minor adjustment for me.

    • I’m sorry that happened. I love it and haven’t heard that from anyone…..did you follow the ingredients perfectly? Good for you on making the change!

  30. Heather Dow says:

    What EO would you recommend for a man? My husband likes body wash. I’d love to make this for him.

  31. love this body wash, in the summer you could use different essential oils. I thought it had great latherlather, this will always be my go to recipe!!

  32. Where do you get the bottles you use for this?

  33. I just want to say thank you for sharing this recipe! I made some a while ago and have been loving it. It feels so soft and silky on my skin, lathers very nicely, and does not seem to diminish in sudsiness or consistency over time, as some other recipes I’ve tried did. I even shave with the suds still on my skin sometimes, and it works as well as any shaving cream I’ve ever used! Planning to make some as gifts for family this Christmas, too. :)

  34. Nice idea but the posts says “use only natural ingredients” but xanthan gum is typically genetically modified. That’s not a natural ingredient.

    • Hey there. I didn’t know xanthan was typically gmo so thanks for enlightening me. I assume you could get a non gmo one or use the guar or even gelatin or agar. Thanks!

  35. Do you have to use the gum? I have everything else for this recipe and would like to make it without having to buy another ingredient.

  36. would like to try this recipe for body wash. I read one that required vegetable glycerine. How would I use the veg glycerine in your recipe?

  37. Vida Pacheco says:

    I was wondering, do you think I could use coconut oil instead of the shea butter?

  38. I tried making this body wash today (in Rosemary Mint, smells wonderful!) and followed your recipe with the 3/4 tsp guar gum and subbed in extra shea butter for the cocoa butter. I used my blender to mix, and waited all day for the foaminess to settle – but it never did. Any ideas on what I did wrong? I guess I can still use it as an “already foamed” body wash, but I had meant to give it as a gift and it’s a little strange that it’s already foamy. Thanks!

  39. Love this! We just recently started using homemade products over store bought, so cannot wait to try this and add it to my collection of recipes!

  40. I must try this one and compare it to the other recipe I found. I found a recipe somewhere on the net for body wash which uses jojoba oil, water, Castile soap, vegetable glycerine and essential oil. The only problem I had is the small amount of shea and cocoa butter I put in (melted) solidified on the mix cooling. Any one got any ideas on how to minimise this? I have also done a batch up where I replaced the Castile Soap (because I ran out) with Soap nut liquid it actually foamed up nicely.

  41. I’ve made this about 3 times and every time I do, it comes out clumpy. It still works good but I’d rather it not be like that. Am I doing something wrong?

  42. I love the sound of your homemade body wash and I was wondering if you use anything to bind the ingredients together. Or is that the purpose of the Guar Gum?
    I made a body wash the other day and used a tiny amount of water with xantham gum and it turned out lovely, however, after a few days it became very runny and wonder what could have gone wrong.
    I used liquid castille soap, ricebran oil, a little bit of water, vitamin e and some essential oils. I’m sure I got the percentages right as it was great on the day I made it.
    Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance.
    Warmest regards,

  43. Emulsifying wax will combine the oil and water as to not seperate if using anything water based with oil..but add a little amount..also for thickness kelp powder again add a small amount.. vegetable glycerin is the secret to suds.. but again only add a small amount..like half a tsp..

  44. Rosemarie says:

    Have you ever used cocoa butter instead, and if so how did it turn out and how did you do it?

  45. Hi Adrienne, I was wondering about the shelf life of your product and read that you were not too sure about it. I had an idea : I put a little amount of the product in a closed mason jar, and also in an opaque jar. My plan is to check them every month or every couple of weeks. I could share the results with you if you want. The other thing to do if you want to extend the shelf life, is to keep it in a dispenser instead of container that you need to open every time.
    The other thing you maybe interested in, is that I tried xanthan and guar gums in the same amount : the result was a thicker product for the one with guar gum ( but not too thick, just perferct thick), and a bit too liquid for the xanthan one. Maybe you should adjust the amount of xanthan gum in the recipe itself instead of the notes. Just a suggestion for the impatient readers like me who read the notes afterwards. :)

  46. Hi
    I am looking for a home business idea. I love shower gels, soaps and aromatherapy oils. How long can we store these? Is it safe to sell them? If so how long does it last?

  47. Brittney L says:

    I’ve tried homemade body was recipes in the past and they’ve left a reside on my skin that feels sticky. I’ve read that it may be because the water in my house is ‘hard’ but not all soaps have this effect. Does this wash leave your skin feeling smooth and clean?

    • I really like it. I would think it would be more likely that softened water would do it but I don’t know for sure. I know hard water makes my hair more wavy. Hope you enjoy it if you try it!

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