How to make soap

For those of you who are interested in making your own soap, here is a simple guide.

You will need:

For yourself:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Mask and Goggles or Face shield
  • Old Clothes to work in

For the soap:

  • 1 1 cup pyrex measuring cup
  • 1 4 cup pyrex measuring cup (I use this large size because I pour 5# of soap at a pop. You can use a 2 cup pyrex for the water if you are pouring 1-2 pounds)
  • quick read thermometer
  • 6 quart stainless steel stock pot ---- does not need to be thick bottom like good cookware --- again, I use this large size pot but you can use a smaller vessel.
  • Immersion blender
  • 2 silicone spatulas
  • Digital Kitchen Weight Scale
  • Small glass bowl
  • Something to pour your liquid soap into. You can use silicone molds or wooden molds or even a shoe box. Use Reynold's Freezer Paper to make a liner if using wood or shoebox. The liner is only used once but your mold can be reused. Silicone molds just get washed once the soap is released. 


  • Combination of oils you choose
  • Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
  • Distilled Water
  • Any additions you choose. (Botanicals, clays, exfoliants, oatmeal, etc.)


  1. The Greatest Website to help you formulate your soap is You can enter your desired oils and it will calculate the exact amount of lye and water you need to turn them into soap. Click "Recipe Calculator" at top. Chose NaOH -- which is Sodium Hydroxide. This is what we use for cold process soap. Go with the easy... they start you at 38% water to oil ratio and a 5% Superfat. If you feel like adjusting this later you can. This ratio will give you a nice moisturizing soap. You can develop you style of soap by clicking in the different oils you prefer and then click "calculate recipe". Open this new tab and you can see what range you are in for moisturizing, bubbly, hardness etc. This will totally make sense when you see it. Once you've finalized your formula, you are ready to make soap!! I will provide my basic body soap recipe at the end of this page. 
  2. Now. It is VERY important to be carful when working with Lye. Please cover your hands, nose, and eyes with protection. If you do not have a place to pour RIGHT NEXT TO an exhaust fan, consider pouring the Lye into the water outside. Once the Lye goes into the water it will heat up and outgas. So first thing is to establish your work zone. The pot, pyrex, spatulas, thermometer, small glass bowl, and Immersion blender should not be used for food once you use them for soap. So if you're in your kitchen please keep your soap supplies in a separate place. 
  3. I always work in grams. They are a much more precise weight measurement. The soap calculator provides a gram display. Measure out your distilled Water in the Large Pyrex. Measure out the Lye in the Small Pyrex. Carefully pour the lye into the water and stir with first spatula to keep any lye from sticking to the bottom. Be sure your exhaust fan is already on and you are covered!. Once stirred, place your thermometer in the water. See how hot that got !! It will sit there and cool down for a while. (when I pour my regular batch -5 lbs.- it takes about 2 hours to come down to 100-120 degrees where I like to pour.) Place the small pyrex and the first spatula in the sink to be washed.
  4. Prepare your mold. If you are using a wooden mold or a shoe box cut and fold the freezer paper to fit the space. (there are some you-tubes that show this) You should probably start with a 1 pound pour of soap to see how it fits into the molds you have decided to use,
  5. In the stainless steel pot, measure out your solid oils. Warm your solid oils or butters. (in my recipe I warm the Cocoa Butter and the Coconut Oil) until melted. Place the pot back on the scale and add the liquid oils ( mine are Olive and Sunflower.)
  6. Measure out your Essential/ Fragrance oil into the small glass bowl if you are using any. Measure out your additions. I generally scoop my teaspoons of clay/charcoal/apricot kernels, oatmeal, etc right into the fragrance oil. They incorporate into the soap easier this way.
  7. When your Lye has cooled enough, cover your self again with gloves, and face covering. Pour the lye-water solution into the oil mix. Use your immersion blender to mix well. Pause occasionally to stir with the second spatula, scraping the sides and bottom to incorporate all the ingredients. There will come a point in the mixing that you reach "trace". This is when the mixture is thick enough that a dribble from the spatula will leave a discernable line on top or the mixture. This is the point at which you add the fragrance and additions. Use that spatula to get everything out of your small bowl. Mix again with the immersion blender to get everything evenly incorporated. Pour this into your mold.
  8. I cover my wooden mold with another piece of wood. Then I cover that with 2 old towels. The soap will warm up as the chemical reaction continues. The towel allows it to cool off slower. When I am using silicone molds I just keep it away from any drafts and hope for the best. I cut my soap after a few days have passed. Peel off and discard the freezer paper and cut to desired size. Unmold from the silicone about a week after the pour. Soap finishes it's chemical reaction in 24-48 hours but it must spend quite a bit of time drying. This slowly reduces the water content in the bar creating a harder and more long lasting soap. So find a place out of the way and let it sit 4-6 weeks. Turn it over at some point.
  9. Do the dishes. Keep your gloves on for this!! You do not want to feel raw burns. Clean with a unscented high quality dish soap ( like seventh gen free and clear).  

My basic recipe for the body bars I make is

  • 56% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10% Organic High oleic Sunflower Oil
  • 30% Organic Extra virgin Coconut Oil 76deg
  • 4% Organic Cocoa Butter (I use deodorized for the soap so I can scent it. You can use natural scent if you prefer.)

Add your ingredients to the soap calculator and click "view or print recipe". This will open a new tab that shows the ounces and grams of each of the ingredients. 

Good Luck..... and have lots of FUN!