How to Make Soap?

Soap making is very simple or you can make it complicated. The benefit of making your own soap is that you can choose your own ingredients and the fragrances you like. If you want to learn how to make your own soap, then you are at right place. This article is about how to make soap. There are several methods to make soap at home.

Homemade soap can be very beneficial for you or it can be a special gift for friends and family. You can make soap with the help of lye or without lye. Lye is sodium hydroxide, which is a caustic alkali. It can eat holes in the skin and fabric and can cause reactions with other chemicals. For making soap you can use the crystal form of pure sodium hydroxide. Soap making begins with a glycerin soap base which can be customized using essential oils, fruits and herbs. Don’t use cooking equipment while making soap. Use stainless steel, enamel and tempered glass that are good choices. Don’t use aluminium or copper that will react with the lye. Also, don’t use plastics that may melt.

how to make soap

A.) Prepare a Recipe and Follow Safety Instructions

1.) Make Soap Bars from Scratch

This method is known as “cold compress” soap method which requires a little heat, but not to mention harmful chemical reactions. Before using it, this method needs an hour of constant stirring and about 8 weeks of curing.

  • Follow the melt and pour method as it is an easy, safe and less time-consuming process.
  • Don’t use this process when around kids.

2.) Follow Safety Instructions

You need to use lye while making soap from scratch. This is a natural product which is made from wood ash, but it is highly caustic and it can dissolve skin and melt kitchen utensils. If you use it improperly, then it can cause an explosion.

  • Always wear plastic, rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands.
  • Always wear long pants and long sleeves that cover your skin properly.
  • Always wear safety goggles that will protect your eyes from every side. Ordinary eyeglasses are not sufficient as lye can damage your eyes permanently.
  • Always work in a ventilated area. To increase ventilation, use a fan blowing out the window. You can also put all open containers with lye in a ventilated room.
  • Always use separate utensils and containers for soap making. Everyone in your house should know where your soap making implements are kept so that they don’t use them for food.
  • Never add water to lye. Always pour the lye into the water, but in small amounts at a time. Pouring the water into the lye will create a lye explosion.
  • Don’t use aluminium for soap making. Aluminium and lye will react dangerously and release fumes and will ruin your soap. Always use heat-safe glass or heat- safe plastic and stainless steel for stirring implements and containers which involved in soap making. A wooden stick or spoon will work for a while, but the lye will break it apart and put splinters into your soap.
  • Never put lye or freshly made soap somewhere a pet or kid can reach it.

3.) Treat Injuries Before They Arise

Read it before making soap and follow safety measures in case of an accident. If you do get lye on someone else or yourself then here you need to do:

  • If your eyes get in touch with lye, then take out your contact lenses if you are wearing them. Immediately wash your eyes with cold water for 15 minutes.
  • If you swallow freshly made soap or lye, then drink tap water. Don’t vomit.
  • If you get lye on yourself, then remove your clothes and wash the affected area with cold water for 15 minutes.

4.) Choose Vegetable Oils

You can use any type of vegetable oils to make soap, but the amount of ingredients varies depending on the type of soap. If you are making soap first time then make a small batch with 1 or 2 types of oil. Even you can use ordinary vegetable oil.

  • For a simple recipe, use palm oil or hemp seed oil or you can mix it with equal parts of olive oil.
  • For making a creamier soap with more lather, use 1 part palm oil, 1 part coconut oil and 1 part of olive oil. A little amount of sweet almond oil added to this mixture which creates a pleasant scent.
  • Whichever oils you choose, but the total amount of your first batch should be 450 grams or 16 Oz or less.

5.) Use a Lye Calculator to Measure Lye

If you are following a recipe book for the quantity and types of oils, then you can use the amount of lye mentioned in that recipe. Otherwise, you can use an online lye calculator and enter the quantity and type of oils that you are using.

  • Try MMS calculators or the pine meadows or you can use a search engine to find your own.
  • Set the correct calculator settings. Don’t enter amount in grams if your recipe needs ounces.
  • If there is a “superfatting” box, then set it to 5%, which is a good default consistency for soap making.

B.) Create the Soap Batter

1.) Add Water into a Safe Container

By using the lye calculator or using the amount in the recipe you can measure water and pour it into a heat safe plastic or glass container such as a Pyrex measuring cup. When you add the lye, metal will get hot and may corrode. If you halved a recipe to prepare a small beginner’s batch, then you should have every ingredient, not only the oil.

2.) Measure the Lye by Using a Kitchen Scale

Carefully measure the lye into a heat safe plastic or glass container. If you are using a small amount of lye, then you can measure it in a paper cup which is formed from half an envelope. You can buy lye from hardware stores or online.


3.) Pour the Lye into the Water

Add the lye to the water in a small amount at a time while mixing. By using stainless steel or heat safe plastic implement stir it continuously.  Allow the mixture grow warm and turn white before adding more lye. Continue until the lye is mixed into the water.

4.) Place a Thermometer into the Lye

Place a thermometer in the lye water and allow the mixture cool. It should be at least 50 degrees Celsius, but 43 degrees Celsius or less is ideal.

5.) Heat the Oils Together to Make Soap

Heat the oils together until they reach the desired temperature. The oils should be about 5.6 degrees Celsius cooler than the lye or less. If the mixture can handle the higher temperature, then you can get the oils to roughly 43 degrees Celsius or about 50 degree Celsius.

6.) Add the Hot Oil to the Lye

Now mix the hot oils in the lye and water mixture. Take a stainless steel or Pyrex container and then pour the oils slowly in the water and lye mixture.


7.) Stir the Mixture

Stir the mixture well until you get the thicker mixture. Stirring continuously will leave the light trace marks in the soap batter.

8.) Add Fragrances to Make Soap

If you have herbs, any essential oils or thickeners such as colloidal oatmeal, then you can add it into the batter. Make sure that essential oils should be safe for the skin.

9.) Stir the Mixture

Stir the mixture well until you get the thicker mixture. After stirring, if you get the lingering trace lines, then the result is called a trace. You can also test it by lifting the stirring implement up.

10.) Prepare the Soap for Use

  • You can use any clean, dry container for the liquid batter to set in. You can also use a silicone mold.
  • By using a rubber spatula, pour the soap batter into the mold.
  • Use a piece of cardboard and towels to cover the mold.
  • After 24 hours, you can cut it into the bars.
  • Allow it to dry for several weeks before using it.

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