This orange & clove hand wash is probably the most appropriate holiday gift for 2020. But who says necessities can’t be luxurious!


Phase 1
  • 15g Glycerine
  • 4g Xanthan Gum
Phase 2
  • 113g Water
  • 25g Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • 20g PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Phase 3
  • 75g Decyl Glucoside
  • 3g Orange & Clove Essential Oil Blend
    • 10 drops Orange Essential Oil
    • 5 drops Vanilla Essential Oil
    • 2 drops Clove Essential Oil
Cool Down
  • 0.5% Citric Acid
  • 3g Preservative Eco


  1. Measure out your Phase One ingredients: Xanthan Gum and Glycerine, and Phase Two ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil.
  2. Prepare the Xanthan gum first by mixing it with the Glycerine. Leave the Xanthan mixture to hydrate for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine the phase two ingredients in a heatproof bowl and gently melt over a low heat using a double boiler or bain-marie.
  4. Measure out the Phase Three ingredients: Decyl Glucoside and Essential Oil Blend. Create your fragrance blend by combining essential oils: Orange, Vanilla and Clove.
  5. Combine the essential oil blend with the Decyl Glucoside. Once thoroughly mixed, pour into the cooled Phase One ingredients.
  6. To thicken, pour the combined hand wash solution into the Xanthan gum mixture whilst whisking. Leave to set for 30 minutes before continuing the Cool Down Phase.
  7. Add the Cool Down ingredients: Essential Oil Blend and Preservative Eco and blend until thoroughly combined.
  8. Check the pH and adjust by adding citric acid. The formula should have a pH value between 5 - 7.
  9. Store your hand wash in a pump bottle, it will take an additional 24 hours to reach its final consistency and for any bubbles to subside.

This recipe makes 250g of hand wash. See the interactive luxury hand wash formula to customise this recipe and amount.

Natural surfactants & cleanser for hand wash

In order to make a hand wash that can effectively clean away dirt, oil and any harmful bacteria it needs to possess a cleansing agent.

This can come in many forms such as soap, detergents and liquid cleansers but they all fit under the category of surfactant. Surfactants are able to bind both oil and water molecules together, so they can effectively lock onto dirt, grime and bacteria and then attract water molecules to wash them away.

For this Orange & Clove Hand Wash recipe, I’ve used Decyl Glucoside that is derived from coconuts and sugar as the primary surfactant. This is then further boosted by a secondary surfactant, in this case, Cocamidopropyl Betaine. This ensures that the hand soap can work into a lasting lather that further helps to trap dirt whilst still feeling pleasant to use.

How to make a hand wash they’ll love

It’s all about the ingredients! Most hand washes do result in clean hands but several store-bought options can leave your skin feeling tight and dry. However, this Orange & Clove Hand Wash formula not only ensures that it doesn’t strip your hands of vital nutrients, it also leaves them feeling moisturised.

Adding emollients to hand washes helps seal in moisture and create a luxurious feel that keeps you coming back for more. To achieve this I’ve used PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil that soothes and softens skin, whilst also removing dirt and sealing in moisture.

As it is water-soluble we also don’t need to include an emulsifying agent like you would if you used traditional oils or butters. Whilst it does provide a silky and wonderfully rich texture, it is not an essential ingredient to make a hand wash so feel free to skip this step if you don’t have it.


This Orange & Clove Hand Wash recipe is the same outlined in my Luxurious Hand Wash, with an updated fragrance to better suit the holiday season. For more information regarding the ingredients along with substitutions, please see my original DIY Aesop Hand Wash article.

This hand wash creates a rich lather that effortlessly removes dirt, oil and debris without stripping your hands. It utilises the very mild non-ionic surfactant Decyl Glucoside that is gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin and minors, making this hand wash safe for the whole family to use.

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