Category: soap making

Thickening Liquid Soap

We’ve been making liquid soap for years but it was just the other day that I ran across this thickening tip – plain table salt.

The directions I read said to use 0.5 ounce table salt in 1.5 ounces of water per pound of diluted liquid soap. Being the rebel that I am, I didn’t weigh the salt and measured it by teaspoons. The first round didn’t thicken so I decided to look up how much a teaspoon of salt weighs. It turns out that a teaspoon of salt was a little under that halfway mark for the amount needed. So, for the first attempt I added (in total for the batch) about 1/3 of what I actually needed so I decided to add more.

The batch I made was 5 lbs of paste diluted in 7 lbs, 8 ounces of water. Since the recipe was very high in coconut (75%) the liquid soap was very thin – no where near as thick as I wanted it to be.

So, in the end, I added 2 teaspoons plain table salt per pound of DILUTED liquid soap. Since my total diluted soap weight was around 12 pounds, I ended up mixing 24 teaspoons salt in about a half a cup of warm water. (maybe next time I’ll try HOT water because it takes salt much long to dilute than you would imagine)

What I ended up with was a total surprise. Not only did the soap thicken into a gel (not super thick, but much thicker none-the-less) but the liquid soap itself felt SO MUCH MORE emollient, making it the best feeling liquid soap recipe I’ve ever made.

True, the salt DID turn the clear soap into a cloudy soap but I am more interested in quality than clarity. Besides, our liquid soap is bottled into amber colored bottles so it being clear isn’t a major issue. Also, my addition of the usual borax/water solution may have helped it along as well as the addition of 1/4 cup glycerin.

Note: When I added the salt concoction, it made white strings of clumps throughout the batch and I thought, “Yikes, what have I done?” But, after warming the liquid soap up just a bit a stirring every few minutes for about 20 minutes, all the white clumps incorporated into the batch.

Not only am I happy to find a thickener for liquid soap, but I’m so pleased with the way it made the soap FEEL – none of that “grab” sometimes associated with liquid soap making.


Soap Curing – Why Does Soap Need to Cure?

Soap Curing - Why Does Soap Need to Cure?Cold processed soaps need time to cure and age before they can be labeled and sold. The Hot Process method of making soap does make for a bar that can be sold right away however, their look and feel is not the same as cold process. Cold process soaps are usually smooth and hard bars of soap.
The explanation for why the bars need time to cure is easy to understand. We mentioned hot process above. This is when the soap maker continues to cook each batch of soap over a heat source, speeding up the process of the saponification process (the lye) and continues to evaporate the wax. With cold process soaps nature takes care of the curing process by allowing the soaps sit out in the open.

When the soap is made, the fatty ingredients (coconut, olive, shea, soybean) and blended with sodium hydroxide (lye) along with essential oils and color and spices or herbs. When the lye (diluted in water) mixes with the molecules of the fatty oils – what you end up with is soap. However, the soaping process, known as saponification, continues over the next couple of weeks. As the bars of soap are allowed to sit out in the air, the lye works its way out of the batch and the water continues to evaporate.

A bar of soap CAN be used after only two weeks of curing. It won’t harm you. But, softer soaps melt away faster in the shower or tub. When your bars of soap are allowed to cure a full four to six weeks, the end result is a very hard bar of soap. The basic rule is – the longer it sits, the harder it gets and the longer it lasts.

When you cut your soaps into bars, spread the bars out a bit. A slight space between each one is enough to allow air to reach all sides of the bar. But when the bars are crammed against each other it makes it harder for the water in the bars of soap to evaporate. Room temperature is best. Some customers with little space have even told me that they place the bars on trays and slide the trays under the bed with a small fan running in the room when they are at home. Shelves in the laundry room work well as a curing space for you soaps too. No other options? Clean off a shelf in your closet. True, there won’t be as much air circulating in there but the soaps will still cure and your clothes will smell amazing.

Another reason why some soaps need a longer cure time has to do with their ingredients. Soaps that contain honey usually feel more ‘oily’ in the beginning. If you label your honey soaps too soon it will leave an oily stain on the label.

If you follow the simple rules of how to cure your soap, it will make all the difference in the feedback you receive from customers. Their bars will last longer and they will come back for more. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy cheese that hadn’t been aged properly. Curing soap is similar.

For even more information on making & curing soap, check out Making Soap from Scratch: How to Make Handmade Soap – A Beginners Guide and Beyond by Gregory Lee White on our site here or on

Cutting Soap into Bars – How to Slice Soap

Cutting Soap into Bars - How to Slice SoapThe number one question we receive on our bulk soap loaf site is, how do I cut the loaf of soap into bars?  What do I use?

For years, we have used a wooden mitre box and a pastry scraper to cut the soap.  If you choose to use a knife to cut with, make sure it is large enough to slice all the way through the loaf of soap — but, too large of a blade or too thick of a blade can cut away more soap than is needed.soap cutter

If possible, invest in one of the better pastry scrapers, the kind with the firm or wooden handle attached.  They also come as one piece of metal with a curve on the end for the handle, but this type tends to warp over time.  They are, however, more affordable – usually only about $6.95.  The better scrapers should run around $15 and up.

The reason we choose a wooden mitre box as a guide for cutting a soap is simple — it can be altered.  Most mitre boxes do not have grooves that go all the way down to the floor of the mitre box.  With a wooden model, you can insert a saw into the straight cut (you do not want to cut your soap on an angle for regular bars) and finish sawing the groove down to the floor of the mitre box.  This insures that your bars of soap will be cut all the way through.

Now is the time to decide how wide you want your bars to be. Most people choose to cut their soaps into a one inch thickness. At Green Pergola, we cut our soap bars 1.25 inches thick, which gives us 12 bars from a loaf of soap. When you decide your thickness, measure over from the straight cut and make a mark on top of the mitre box to the right of the guide.

So, slide the soap loaf into the mitre box from the left and bring the edge of the soap over to the mark you’ve made on the top of the mitre box. Now, take your pastry scraper and start from the back side and begin sliding the blade into the soap loaf in a rocking down motion until the blade falls into the straight groove closest to you. You have now cut your first bar of soap off of your soap loaf. Repeat until finished. Any left over soap pieces, save for yourself or use as soap samples.

For even more information on making & curing soap, check out Making Soap from Scratch: How to Make Handmade Soap – A Beginners Guide and Beyond by Gregory Lee White on our site here or on

How Does Soap Work?

How does oil & dirt get washed away with soap?
by Dr. George Grant. July 12, 2005
We use soap each day in our lives in the form of detergents, shampoo, shower crème, or bar soap. We are so used to using soap that we rarely stop and wonder how this wonderful compound manages to help us clean ourselves day after day. Have you ever thought about what would happen if there were no soap? How else can we rid the dirt off our bodies or our clothes?

Most of the time, dirt comes in the form of grease or oil which sticks itself onto surfaces and will not come off if only water is just used. This is because oil and grease are non-polar, which means that the oil molecules are not charged and therefore are not attracted to polar substances such as water. Because of this, oil tends to stick with its own molecules or other non-polar substances.

On the other hand, water is a polar substance which is made up of one positive and one negative charge, and therefore is a fragmented substance. With this, water dissolves salt easily because salt is made up of charged ions in which the positive charge will be attracted to the negative ions in water.

Due to the fact of the nature of oil and water, you will see that oil will not dissolve in water but remain clustered on the surface. Also, oil and grease will stick onto plates and cutlery during cleaning, and no amount of water can completely remove it. That’s when soap comes in. All it takes is just one layer of soap with water and the oil will be removed. How does this happen?

Well, soap is a unique substance of potassium fatty acid salts, produced through a chemical reaction called saponification. Its molecules are made up of a hydrocarbon chain, which is non-polar, as well as a carboxylate molecule which is polar. Therefore, the non-polar part of the soap – the hydrocarbon chain, is not attracted to water but to oil (lipophilic). On the other hand, the carboxylate molecules which are negatively charged, are attracted to the positively charged water molecules (hydrophilic).

In this case, when soap is applied to oil and grease, the lipophilic parts of soap will attach itself to the non polar molecules of oil. However, the other component of soap, the hydrophilic component, will be left on the surface. When water is applied onto this surface with a sponge, the hydrophilic component will be attracted to the water molecules and is lifted from the surface, together with the oil. This way, both oil and soap is removed with the wipe of the sponge. At the same time, because soap molecules have been combined with oil, other soap molecules will also be attracted to it. This is why you can see clusters of oil that are surrounded by soap within the water that has been used for washing. Of course, once soap has been used up to attract the oil, more soap would need to be added to work on the access oil.

In conclusion, our lives have been made cleaner and easier through the wonders of a simple substance called soap. Without it, we would be having a difficult time removing dirt, oil and grease in our everyday cleaning. Visit for knowledge on chemical elements,chemistry directoryPsychology Articles,chemistry tools and much more.

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Dr. George Grant is an experienced researcher in Bio-chemistry. He has done extensive researches and experiments in the field. He is a visiting faculty for some of the most reputed Science colleges.
To shop Aromagregory’s extensive collection of homemade soap, click here.

Similarities of Candle and Soap Making Supplies

There are a number of similarities in making soap and candles. Both require pouring the raw materials into molds to give them shape.  Candles and soap need scents and color as well.

Candle and soap-making supply stores are found nationwide and on the Internet. It is easy to find materials for very reasonable prices.

Making soap is similar to making candles. The early steps are alike, in that they both involve melting the materials in order to pour them into a mold to give them shape. While wax or gel is used to make candles, a glycerin compound is usually used for soap. This is normally a mixture of natural vegetable oils, pure water, glycerin, and a soothing moisturizer. Once the raw materials are melted, they are poured into a mold that gives them shape. There are an endless variety of molds available for both soap and candles. Candles and soaps can be molded into a number of designs and shapes. Another difference, besides the materials used, is that soap molds are usually smaller than candle molds.

Also, candles often stay in containers or votives, while soap is always taken out of its mold.

Candles and soaps both benefit from the addition of colors and aromas. There are a number of dyes to give color to soap and candles. It is important to use the correct kind of dye for the soap. Candle dyes could be toxic and create skin rashes or discoloration if used in soap.  There are scents that can make candles and soaps more pleasing, tiny bottles of concentrated liquid that give soap or candles an aroma.

Candle and soap-making supply stores have all of the ingredients needed to make either product. It is important to use the materials for their intended uses rather than mixing and matching. The processes of making soap and candles are similarHealth Fitness Articles, but they are not identical.


by Thomas Morva | August 28, 2005

Source: Free Articles from

Candle Making Supplies provides detailed information on wholesale, discount, soy, gel, and bee wax candle making supply, and more. For more information go to

To shop Aromagregory’s wide collection of scented candles, and magical candles, click here.

Soap Making Can be Fun and Profitable – Ralph Ruckman

If you have ever made soap from scratch or are thinking about it, you should probably know that it can be one of the most frustrating things you will ever do. After learning the process though, a lot of people find it to be one of the best hobbies or crafts they have ever done. Soap making can be a hobby for people, but it can also turn out to be a very profitable business. Before you go rushing into thinking that you are going to just create this beautiful and profitable soap making business, you had better look at some the important features regarding this business.

The most important feature of a soap making business is going to be the legal disclaimers. You had better know what you are doing when you create your handmade soap. People can not just go out and buy the necessary materials, whip out a batch of soap, and then proceed to marketing or selling it. You have a lot of disclaimers and in some states, laws that you have to abide be. Each state, region, and country is different, so it is up to you to do your proper research on the matter and to complete all the paperwork necessary for you to proceed with your soap making business.

After you have cleared all of the legal necessities out of the way, it is all systems go for your business. Now you will have to think about your time planning. Time planning will be crucial to your business, as everyone that has made soap knows that it is a tedious process. Set yourself a schedule up and follow it. If you have soap curing, take the time to start mixing yourself another batch. By having a continuing process, you will be able to produce more soap and not fall behind, which will only lead to confusion and frustration.

Now that you have gotten all the legal stuff out of the way, and you have a good amount of soap made, it is time for you to sell your soap. People who sell soap are only limited by their imagination. Craft fairs are huge for soap sellers. Travel to a craft show and set up a booth to present and sell your soap. Not only can you make good money from this, but you can also get tons of ideas for more soap. People stopping by your booth will critique your soap. They will tell you what they do or do not like about it. Always accept the compliments, even if they seem rude. This is “critique” and it can either “make” or break” you.

Bath and Body work shops are a huge fan of soaps. Some of these store will allow a person to present their soaps inside their stores. This is where the legal disclaimers come in. You will not even get a blink from the manager if you do not have your legal paperwork. Also, this may cost you a fee to present your soaps in the bath shops. Always research and think the deal over before making your decision. If you do present your soaps in these shops, this can be huge. Try to provide some type of business card, or a website address about your soaps. Word of mouth is an enormous tool, and in bath shops it can be a viral one. You may not be able to sell your soaps in the store, but a nice presentation can yield results overnight that you never would have thought of.

Online advertising for your soap business is not vital, but it could be if you are not quite cutting it in the “real world”. Just think of the possible number of people you could reach with your soaps. The numbers are endless. Have a nice little website set up showing all of your soaps. A first impression of your site is the critical part of advertising online. This will decide if a single person will ever return. It is good to have a description along with your soap pictures. You could explain what ingredients are in the soap, what fragrances are in them, etc…

These are only a few things you could do for a soap making business. This is assuming that either you know how to make soap or that you take the necessary steps to successful soap making. Once you have reached that point of success it will be time for you to think about broadening your horizons. A soap making business can be a very lucrative field for anyone to get into. Types of soap to make are endless, and the amount of money to earn is only limited to your willingness to make the soap and put it in front of the eyes of people.

Author Bio
Ralph Ruckman is the author of “Soap Making” a weblog dedicated for providing information on all aspects of soap making. Feel Free to visit the blog at: soap– Article is available for reprint as long as the author bio/resource text is left intact with the article.

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Melt and Pour Soap Base

All melt and pour bases are not created equal. If you are wanting to get into melt and pour soap either just for yourself or to sell in your business, you need to start with a high quality base first.

While we have been using our cold processed handmade soap for years, there are times when I turn to a melt and pour soap for my personal use, mainly when I want to scent a soap with a really expensive essential oil such as sandalwood or jasmine absolute. Unlike cold process soaps, melt and pour soap bases can take very small amounts of fragrance or essential oils. I’m not saying that soaps you make from scratch needs enormous amounts of scent – but why try to make an entire loaf of jasmine soap and use a full two ounces of essential oil that would cost you over $300, when you can just add a few drops to a single bar of melt and pour?

So, what type of melt and pour base should you use and where should you get it?  That depends on the look and feel you are trying to achieve.  The white bases have more of a handmade look, while the clear bases allow you room to get creative with color and soap inserts such as toys or even photographs.

One of the most used suppliers for melt and pour soap base is Brambleberry.  They have a large selection of bases including: white, clear, aloe vera, goats milk, hemp, honey and olive oil.  They even stock a few specialty melt and pour soap bases like: organic, shaving, shea butter and a low-sweat version.  The prices are good and comparible with many suppliers. Most are priced around $37.50 for 25 lbs (at the time of this writing) but they also have 1 lb quantities and even a melt and pour soap sampler kit that you can order with 1 lb each of seven different types.  But even better, the quality is one of the better choices out there for melt and pour. You can go directly to their melt and pour page here.

Another high quality supplier is SFIC Corporation.  However, be prepared to order high minimums.  Unless you are a professional mud wrestler, or, have already been in the business of selling melt and pour soap for a while and know your market, you won’t need this much soap at one time.  There minium ordering amount for their soap bases is five, 43 pound tubs OR seven, 35 pound boxes of one-pound wrapped soaps OR five, 50 pound cases cut up into logs.

However, if your heart is set on wanting to try the SFIC bases but you don’t want to order in large quantities, carries SFIC melt and pour bases in small quantities, as little as 2 pounds.  Currently, they carry the shaving and the shea butter melt and pour.

Another choice is, also known as Columbus foods.  I’ve ordered a twenty-five block of the clear base before and while it did perform well in the melting process, the soap didn’t feel as nice as the bases that come from Brambleberry or SFIC.

Another option when you are first wanting to experiment with melt and pour soap is to try your local craft store.

No matter where you decide to buy your melt and pour soap base, keep in mind the one thing I say all the way through this website – quality is king when it comes to building your business.

Beeswax Oats Soap Recipe

Beeswax Soap

This makes for a nice, hard bar of soap.  The warm and nutty-like smells of beeswax and oats is like bathing with comfort food.  Because of the beeswax in this recipe, it is better to use lower temperatures such as below 130 degrees F.  Works especially well when using the pre-cooled master batch method.

16 ounces vegetable shortening
14 ounces coconut oil
14 ounces olive oil
4 ounces cocoa butter
2 ounces castor oil
2.5 ounces beeswax
7 ounces lye
16.5 ounces distilled water
1/2 cup powdered oats
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 ounce palmarosa essential oil
1/2 ounce orange essential oil
1/2 ounce lavender essential oil

Follow soap making directions found at the top of every page.

Mosquito soap recipe


bug repellent soapThere are many essential oils that fight off mosquitoes and ticks. Citronella is the most widely known and the most recognizable when it comes to the scent. Mixing citronella with other oils that have similar properties create an effective bug-fighting soap with a more appealing fragrance.

24 ounces soybean shortening
10 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
1 ounces citronella essential oil
1 ounce lemon eucalyptus essential oil
1/2 ounces lemongrass essential oil
1/2 ounces cedarwood essential oil
¼ teaspoon yellow oxide colorant

A few years ago, the CDC put out a report stating that lemon eucalyptus oil was a safe and effective alternative to Deet for fighting off mosquitoes. When you have the CDC on your site, that is a great testimonial for your product.

I came up with this particular mixture of essential oils somewhere around 2002 or so. A friend mentioned that her son enjoyed camping but would come home covered in mosquito bites and occasionally, with ticks. She asked if there was anything I could come up with that would help. After doing some research, this blend of essential oils is what I presented to her, blended with a little alcohol and water in a spray bottle. He used it the next time he went camping and came home without a single mosquito bite.

So, it made me wonder. Would this blend work the same way in a soap. I mixed up a batch and after it was cured, gave her a few bars of it. Around that same time, I went on a camping retreat of my own – four days on a mountain top at a nature commune. I took the soap with me, even using it to wash my hair. While I could see mosquitoes hovering around the tent, not a single one ever landed on me. Another friend reported that while her daughter was in the yard, after using the soap, she saw a tick crawl into her daughter’s sock. Right away, the tick crawled back out and jumped off of her. In other words, our customers say it works on them and I know it works on me when it comes to mosquito and tick season.

see HOW TO MAKE SOAP link at top of page for basic soap making directions.

Oatmeal Honey soap recipe


Our version really doesn’t have a fragrance but it feels wonderful on the skin. Personally, I think it smells like pound cake — everyone else says, “I don’t smell anything”. Many of our customers with eczema swear by this soap. For a more interesting and textured look, sprinkle whole oats onto the top of the soap right after pouring into the mold.

10 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces soybean shortening
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
3 ounces cow’s milk
4 teaspoons powdered oatmeal
2 teaspoons powdered or regular honey

The benefits of oats have been used throughout history for more than four thousand years. The primary reason why oats do such a good job of soothing the skin is a component found inside the oat called polysaccharides, which become gelatin-like when introduced to water. This creates a protective coating on the surface of the skin.

When using oats to sooth problems such as bee stings, it is much better to grind the oats in a coffee grinder first, as the powdered version works more quickly.

All three soothing ingredients from nature: oatmeal, milk and honey create a super soothing bar of soap.

For our basic soap making directions, see the top of every page on our site for the tab that reads HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Lavender Patchouli soap recipe


These two essential oils work wonderfully together. The patchouli makes the scent of lavender stronger while adding an earthy undertone at the same time. Since our company makes so many types of Lavender soap, I like to color this one pale brown to remind people about the addition of the patchouli. Usually, frequent customers go hunting for it by looking for the familiar color.

10 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces soybean shortening
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
2 ounces lavender essential oil
1 ounces patchouli essential oil
1/16 teaspoon brown oxide colorant
2 teaspoons lavender buds

follow soap making instructions. See tab on top of every page that says HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Tangerine honey soap recipe


This recipe smells really wonderful in the shower but you can’t let it sit too long before cutting it into bars. Something about all the citrus in the recipe makes the loaf become really hard after twenty-four hours. If you find that you would like to anchor the tangerine scent a little more, try replacing half of the sweet orange essential oil with patchouli.

24 ounces soybean shortening
10 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
2 ounces tangerine orange essential oil
1 ounce sweet orange essential oil
¼ teaspoon yellow oxide
¼ teaspoon red oxide
1 teaspoon powdered or regular honey

follow soap making instructions. See tab on top of every page that says HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Lavender soap recipe


lavenderLavender soap is one of the first things that come to mind when people think about handmade soap. Few people realize how strong essential oils actually are. It takes an acre of lavender plants to get approximately twelve pounds of lavender essential oil. Best known for its relaxation qualities, lavender essential oil is the first thing we reach for in our household when it comes to burns and bug bites.

10 ounces coconut oil
10 ounces olive oil
24 ounces soybean shortening
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
3 ounces lavender essential oil
2 teaspoons lavender buds

follow soap making instructions. See tab on top of every page that says HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Grapefruit Orange soap recipe


This bar is great for anyone that loves citrus scents. This particular soap takes a little longer to trace and the addition of calendula petals make pretty yellow flecks throughout the soap. Soaps with all citrus oils have a tendency to “lock in” the fragrance when cured. Meaning, the bar doesn’t seem to smell very strong but does when you get the soap wet in the bath or shower. If you’d like to anchor the scent a little more, replace ½ ounce of the sweet orange essential oil with patchouli essential oil.

10 ounces coconut oil
10 ounces olive oil
24 ounces soybean shortening
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
1 ounce pink grapefruit essential oil
1 ounce sweet orange essential oil
1 ounce 5-fold orange essential oil
3 tablespoons calendula petals
1/16 teaspoon yellow oxide colorant

follow soap making instructions. See tab on top of every page that says HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Holiday Spice soap recipe


During Victorian times, it was popular to make po-manders to scent the room, especially at Christmas time. Normally, one would take an orange, puncture it with holes and fill the holes with whole cloves. Sometimes, it was then rolled in cinnamon and placed on a dish to scent the room. When dried, some used pomanders as ornaments for the holiday tree. Like the spice tea soap, some of the ingredients speed up trace. Feel free to use a bit more water if you run into problems. The best solution is to work quickly and get your traced batch into your mold.

24 ounces soybean shortening
10 ounces coconut oil
10 ounces olive oil
15 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye
1 ounce patchouli essential oil
2 ounces sweet orange essential oil
12 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil
½ teaspoon brown oxide colorant
1 teaspoon powdered clove
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

follow soap making instructions. See tab on top of every page that says HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Tea Tree Ice Soap recipe

Tea Tree Ice Soap

The reason we call this tea tree ice is because of the half ounce of peppermint used in the recipe. It is just enough to make a nice, cooling and tingly feeling on the skin. The tea tree works as a natural antifungal and antibacterial, great for problems like athletes foot. But this doesn’t have to be just a medicinal recipe. The inclusion of the lavender essential oil makes this blend a pleasing, refreshing scent.

Base oils for soap recipe
2 ounces castor oil
11 ounces coconut oil
25 ounces olive oil
5 ounces palm oil
1 ounce shea butter
1 teaspoon white oxide (optional)
6.2 ounces sodium hydroxide (lye)
14 ounces water

2 ounces tea tree essential oil
1/2 ounce peppermint essential oil
1/2 ounce lavender essential oil

If this is your first time making soap, be sure to read our SOAP MAKING INSTRUCTIONS, top of every page on our site HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Castile Soap Recipe

As a professional soap maker, the topic of castile soap is one of my personal pet peeves. It simply doesn’t mean what it used to. Originally produced in Spain, it was made from pure olive oil only. Today, companies use the term to describe a soap that is made using just one type of oil. I’ve seen others have a variety of oils in the ingredient list and put the word “castile” on the label. Oh well, enough ranting. Here’s a recipe for pure olive oil soap.

44 oz. olive oil
13.2 oz. water
5.6 oz. lye
(optional) 3 oz. of your favorite essential oil

(Keep in the mind that certain essential oils like clove and cinnamon can seize a batch of soap, especially when using 3 full ounces in a 44 ounces of oil base.)

follow standard soap making instructions found on our HOW TO MAKE SOAP page.

I was surfing the web today and found another site with a pure Castile recipe. I’m glad to find someone else out there that knows and appreciates what real castile soap is. Also, her recipe includes beeswax. In 11 years of soapmaking, I’ve never incorporated beeswax into a batch of my soap. But her recipe has me intrigued. Now I want to try it. Hey, after a decade of making soap, you have to try new things to keep the craft fresh. Her recipe is found on her blog here:

Sandalwood Patchouli Soap recipe


Sandalwood is my absolute favorite oil. But it is super, super pricey! A one ounce bottle may cost you as much as $85 plus shipping, sometimes more. But, you can always substitute fragrance oil for the real thing — or, use part sandalwood fragrance oil and part sandalwood essential oil. Another replacement is an essential oil called Amyris, also known as “poor man’s sandalwood”. Whatever your wallet decides, the recipe below is based on the assumption that you’re ready to make the real thing! By the way, the patchouli seems to make the sandalwood scent a bit stronger.

13 oz. coconut oil
20 oz. olive oil
2 oz. castor oil
2 oz. palm oil
3 oz. shea butter
4 oz. sunflower oil
13.2 oz. water
6.2 oz. lye
1 oz. sandalwood essential oil
2 oz. patchouli essential oil
follow standard soap making instructions….

Coffee Soap Recipe

COFFEE SOAP – chef’s coffee soap recipe

Coffee soap is used primarily in the kitchen. It creates a chemical
reaction that removes that smell of onion and garlic from your hands
when washing with it. Just as we made tea for our calendula soap, now
it’s time to brew a pot of coffee. Brew a strong batch of coffee – at least
as much as you’ll need for your batch (13.2 ounces). Allow to completely
cool and use as your lye water. Due to the addition of a full cup of
coffee grounds to your oil batch, this recipe will make more than your
mold can handle. Be prepared with an extra, single bar mold or throw
the remainder of the batch away (never down the sink).

28 oz. olive oil
10 oz. vegetable shortening
6 oz. coconut oil
13.2 oz. water
5.8 oz. lye
2 oz. coffee fragrance oil
1 cup dark roasted coffee grounds
5 tablespoons powdered cocoa

follow standard soap making instructions…. OUR STANDARD SOAP MAKING INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOUND ON THIS PAGE

The deep, dark, rich color of this soap is reminiscent of espresso. Using a small amount of whole coffee beans on top of the soap enhances the scent, provides texture and looks pretty nice, too when giving coffee soap as a gift. When using the soap, be sure to take off the whole beans from the top of the soap to avoid clogging the bath drain. Makes a wonderful kitchen soap, but give coffee soap a whirl in the shower (is reported to help temporarily shrink cellulite). Soaps made with Coffee have become quite the rage among coffee fanatics. People who just want to experience the rich aroma of coffee even while cleansing and washing!

For more information on soapmaking, purchase my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from here.

Rose Clay Spa Soap recipe


This soap is a rather indulgent bar. The beauty of the rose clay and the blend of essential oils remind you of a day at the spa. This bar has a stable lather, but not a fluffy one. However, the moisturizing properties are high and it leaves your skin feeling silky smooth. After all, look at those luxury oils in the recipe – you may want to keep this one all to yourself.

17 oz. olive oil
9 oz. palm oil
7 oz. coconut oil
8 oz. shea butter (refined or unrefined)
2 oz. avocado oil
1 oz. evening primrose oil
13.2 oz. water
5.9 oz. lye
2 oz. lavender essential oil
½ oz. carrot seed essential oil
½ oz. geranium essential oil
4 teaspoons rose clay
follow standard soap making instructions….

For more information on soapmaking, purchase my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from here.

Calculating Soap Mold Volume


There are so many things that can be used for soap molds – cat litter boxes (new, of course), shoeboxes, and cigar boxes – okay, you get the point, boxes are great for soap molds. Once you decide on the exact size of mold you prefer, a wooden box makes an excellent mold as it is sturdy and durable.

Thoroughly lining your mold of choice with a thick trash bag will prevent leaks and allows the finished soap to slip out easily. My first experience with wooden soap molds was of the hinged variety – where the sides would drop down for easy removal of the soap. However, I found that when the mold is well oiled and lined with a trash bag it is unnecessary to have hinged or removable sides. The soap slips easily out of a solid wooden box when it is lined properly.

So, how to figure out how much soap base you need for a box or mold you already have? The calculations are simple.

Mold length x mold width x depth x .38 = ounces of soap making oils that will fix in your mold.

Some people fill their molds all the way to the top. I prefer to leave a little room as far as the depth goes. For example, if I want my soap bars to be 3 inches high, I would favor a soap mold that is at least 3 ½ inches deep. It is a personal preference.

Lets try an example with an imaginary box you’ve found in the attic. The box is 10 inches long, 3 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Let us presume you only want to fill the box 3 inches deep, instead of all the way full. This calculation for soap volume would be –

10 x 3 x 3 = 90

90 x .38 = 34.2

So, now we know that you soap mold will hold 34.2 ounces of soap making oils. This calculation for volume includes the amount of water and fragrance or essential oils that are normally used when making a batch of soap.

This math calculation will allow you to determine much soap formula you will need for any square or rectangle container you are considering using as a soap mold.

For more information on soapmaking, purchase my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from here.

Master Batch Soap Making


First of all, I want to say that anything you could ever think of, someone else, somewhere else, has already been doing for a very long time. I don’t claim to have invented these methods. I’ve taken bits of information that I’ve learned from others, combined them with my own experiences (sometimes mishaps that became blessings) and devised a method that worked best for me.

I made soap the same way for the first few years – melting each batch and waiting for it to cool, patiently waiting for the lye water to reach the same temperature as the cooling oils. When you have several soaps to be made, this process can take hours, even days to complete. One morning, I ran across an article in a small publication about a soap maker who had been making soap for several decades. He found the “temperature thing” totally unnecessary and a waste of time. Soon, I discovered other soap makers were discussing this method called RTCP: Room Temperature Cold Process.

To put it simply, RTCP is the act of premixing your oils and allowing them to cool to room temperature. Separately, the lye water is premixed, allowed to reach room temperature then simply mix the two batches together when its time for making soap.

The thought of having lye water lurking around unattended did not appeal to me. So, I decided to experiment with taking this method to another level. On the first day, I made what I now refer to as a “Master Batch”.

The Master Batch recipe will give you enough base to make five full loaves of soap; each loaf creating twelve, four ounce bars when fully cured.

Additional equipment for the Master Batch Recipe –

Empty, clean five gallon bucket
Large canning pot for melting (23 quarts or more)

Master Batch Recipe:

7 lbs. 8 ounces Vegetable Shortening*
3 lbs. 2 ounces Coconut Oil
3 lbs. 2 ounces Olive Oil

*Vegetable shortening varies in different parts of the United States. Some regions have a partial cottonseed blend which shouldn’t affect your soap at all. Crisco-type shortening is a good alternative. Just be sure to read the labels carefully when doing your shopping — many shortenings contain beef fat or partial beef fat. This master batch recipe calls for all-vegetable shortening.

Measure Olive Oil into your empty five-gallon bucket and set aside. Now measure your vegetable shortening and coconut oil into your large canning pot and melt on the stovetop on medium-low. When fully melted, carefully pour the contents into your waiting bucket of olive oil. (It’s best to place the bucket of olive oil on the floor to avoid any mishaps). Now, stir with your stick blender until fully mixed. I use an electric drill with a paint stirring attachment for blending the master batch. As the batch cools, repeat the stirring process whenever you get the chance and allow to cool overnight. The next day, give it a final, vigorous blending until the mixture looks fully incorporated. The final master batch will have a runny, pudding-like quality to it. You now have five full batches of soaping oils ready to be measured out individually and turned into soap.

Master Soap Recipe:

2 lbs. 12 ounces master batch
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye

Here is where the time-saving tips come into play — when making soap, I don’t wait for anything to cool, wait for a certain time to color my batch or try to figure out when to scent the batch. Using the same safety guidelines listed in the Standard Soap Making Instructions (goggles, gloves, respect for the lye, etc.) here is the way I normally make soap.

1. Measure 2 lbs. 12 ounces of master batch into a 3 gallon bucket.
2. Weigh 13.5 ounces of water into my lye pitcher then slowly add the 6.2 ounces and lye and stir until dissolved.
3. Add colorant (usually oxides) into master batch and stir with stick blender until fully colored.
4. Add any botanicals / additives the recipe calls for.
5. Weigh and measure essential oils and add to the master batch, stirring again.
6. Slowly pour the hot lye water into the 3 gallon bucket of colored and scented master batch and begin mixing with stick blender. Trace usually takes approximately five minutes before it’s ready to pour into the molds.

Basically, what I have done is streamlined every step that was time-consuming, turning the operation into a smooth day of batch-after-batch soap making. Pretty easy, huh?

DO NOT skip over anything that is a safety precaution! Wear your goggles and gloves, remember that lye is corrosive and don’t forget to hold your face away from the pan while mixing. Remember to keep your stick blender immersed in the soap you are blending and don’t splash around. Don’t forget — you add lye to water, you do NOT add water to lye. (The snow falls on the lake, remember?) Your eyesight and the safety of your children and your pets are more important than any batch of soap. If you remain aware of what you are doing and do it with thought, you’ll be fine. Simply pay attention to what you’re doing and it will be as easy as baking a cake.

You are ready to tackle a variety of recipes using the same “base” of oils that we have called the “Master Batch”. Later on, we’ll try some recipes that require the use of different oils and luxury additives. In the meantime, the recipes that follow are some really great soaps! Each of these recipes was poured into molds with inside measurements that were 15 ½ inches long, 2 inches deep and 3.75 inches wide. This is based on the molds the I used in this process. You can use molds that are slightly larger, but keep in mind that the soap bars will be thinner. Any smaller and you’ll have leftover soap to pour.

For determining how much oil to use for the soap mold YOU have, see our article on CALCULATING SOAP BATCH AND MOLD SIZE.

The two master batch recipes below are examples. You can create a wide variety of soap by simply switching essential oils, or replacing with fragrance oils or experimenting with a variety of colors and spices.


This bar is great for anyone that loves citrus scents. This particular soap takes a little longer to trace and the addition of calendula petals make pretty yellow flecks throughout the soap. Soaps with all citrus oils have a tendency to “lock in” the fragrance when cured. Meaning, the bar doesn’t seem to smell very strong but does when you get the soap wet in the bath or shower. If you’d like to anchor the scent a little more, replace ½ ounce of the sweet orange essential oil with patchouli essential oil.

2 lbs. 12 oz. master batch
13.5 oz. water
6.2 oz. lye
1 oz. pink grapefruit essential oil
1 oz. sweet orange essential oil
1 oz. 5-fold orange essential oil
3 tablespoons calendula petals
1/16 teaspoon yellow oxide colorant
follow soap making instructions….


The reason I call this bar “sunshine” is the fact that it is a great scent to wake up with. The peppermint helps to wake you up in the morning while the citrus oils bring about a cheerful mood to start the day with.

2 lbs. 12 oz. master batch
13.5 oz. water
6.2 oz. lye
1 oz. pink grapefruit essential oil
1 ½ oz. sweet orange essential oil
½ oz. peppermint essential oil
1 teaspoon peppermint leaves
1/16 teaspoon fluorescent yellow pigment
follow soap making instructions….

For more information on soapmaking, purchase my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from here.

Soap: A History and Definition


You’ll be surprised to learn that many of the ingredients that go into soap making are already in your kitchen. Soap is the end-result of mixing oils, lye and water. Whether you pull it off the supermarket shelf, buy the melt-and-pour soap from your local craft store or make it yourself from scratch, all soap begins with this process which is know as saponification.

During the excavation process of ancient Babylon, clay cylinders were found with a soap-like substance inside. This shows evidence that the process of soap making was around as early as 2800 B.C. The cylinders had inscriptions describing the process of boiling fats with ashes (a primitive form of soap making).

Records reveal that the ancient Egyptians bathed on a regular basis. The Ebers Papyrus, a medical document dated around 1500 B.C., describes combining alkaline salts with animal and vegetable oils to form a soap-like substance to be used for washing.

The story that sticks out in my mind most is the Roman legend of Mount Sapo (which, by the way, gave soap its name). Women noticed that washing their clothing was easier when done in the Tiber River which was directly below Mount Sapo, where ritual animal sacrifices took place. After a rainfall, a mixture of animal fats and ashes made its way down the mountain, turning into a crude form of soap along the way.

Later, early soap makers used potash, which was leached from wood ashes as their alkali base for soap making. Its results were often-times unpredictable, sometimes unpleasant in smell, and created soap that was more utilitarian than luxurious.

In the 1700’s, A French chemist named Nicholas Leblanc, invented a process for making an alkali using common salt.

During the 1800’s, a Belgian chemist named Ernest Solvay, discovered a process in which ammonia helped to extract the soda ash from salt efficiently. It soon became more readily available and its superiority, in turn, increased the quality of soap making.

In the 1940’s chemists discovered how to change the molecular structure of some naturally occurring substances. What they discovered was called “detergent” (to differentiate it from soap). The big advantage to detergents is that they work well in hard or cold water and can be formulated to clean specific types of dirt and stains. Modern detergents (known as syn-dets, or synthetic detergents) have become quite sophisticated and are seen in many, many forms. In fact, the majority of the cleaning products on the market are actually detergents of some type or another. Even commercial bar soaps commonly contain all or part detergents. As a result, there is a new, common definition of soap. The common definition of soap now refers to any product that bubbles and cleans, particularly if it is in a bar form.

This seems to have created the confusion regarding what real soap actually is. Hardeners, whiteners, lather boosters, chemical fragrances (sometimes with as many as 500 separate chemical components to create their unique scent) are often found in “over the counter” store-bought, “soap” or detergent bars.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “oh, but I can’t use lye soap on my sensitive skin.” Let me reiterate something one more time: ALL soap begins with lye (or something just like it) and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently. The chemical name for lye is sodium hydroxide. When you read the label on a bar of soap, this is appears to be a bit disguised. Sodium Tallowate is the main ingredient found in most commercial soaps. What they are actually saying is that sodium hydroxide (lye) has been mixed with tallow (rendered from beef fat) and, in mixing these ingredients together, they have created a brand new word for you, the consumer — sodium tallowate. How clever.

So, what is the difference between making your own soap at home and the lye soap that our great-grandmothers made? There is a big difference. Most people I have encountered usually mention this is conversation, saying, “My grandmother used to make lye soap and it would rip your hide off.” That may be true but granny didn’t have a digital scale, back then, did she? Today’s modern soap maker has greater access to a wide range of quality ingredients. Granny did not have help from modern technology to let her know exactly, down to the gram, how much lye she was supposed to use in her combination of oils. Furthermore, dear Granny’s oils may have consisted of anything from beef fat to a whole season’s worth of saved-up bacon grease drippings.

In my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, this is what I cover – how to make all-vegetable, cold-processed soaps that are gentle to the skin without the addition of unnecessary chemical fillers. Wondering if you will be able to make good soap? This is what I tell people all the time, “If you can cook, you can make soap.” Gregory.

Purchase MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from here.

Chamomile Face Soap Recipe


The high olive oil content creates a wonderful face bar.
Palmarosa is a grass from Central America with a scent that reminds you
of a lemony version of rose geranium. It is reported to help with
wrinkles as well as being a cellular stimulant. The chamomile tea is a less
expensive way of imparting its skin healing properties. If your budget
allows for some chamomile essential oil (it’s rather expensive), feel free
to add 15 or 20 drops to this batch of soap.

28 oz. olive oil
10 oz. vegetable shortening
6 oz. coconut oil
13.2 oz. water
5.9 oz. lye
3 oz. palmarosa essential oil
½ oz. patchouli essential oil
Contents of one chamomile tea bag

follow standard soap making instructions, see the tab at the top of the website called HOW TO MAKE SOAP.

Dried chamomile flower is an age-old medicinal drug known in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Chamomile’s popularity grew throughout the Middle Ages, when people turned to it as a remedy for numerous medical complaints including asthma, colic, fevers, inflammations, nausea, nervous complaints, children’s ailments, skin diseases and cancer. As a popular remedy, it may be thought of as the European counterpart of ginseng.

Recent and on-going research has identified chamomile’s specific anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic and sedative properties, validating its long-held reputation. This attention appears to have increased the popularity of the herb and nowadays Chamomile is included as a drug in the pharmacopoeia of 26 countries.

Chamomile has been used for centuries in teas as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as an anti-inflammatory, to name only a few therapeutic uses. Extensive scientific research over the past 20 years has confirmed many of the traditional uses for the plant and established pharmacological mechanisms for the plant’s therapeutic activity, including antipeptic, antispasmodic, antipyretic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiallergenic activity.

In hair care, chamomile has often been used as a hair rinse for blonde hair. Some soaps that were designed for the hair include chamomile as well as bottled liquid soaps (shampoo). The main purpose for including chamomile in your soap recipe is its reputation for being soothing to the skin.

For more information on soapmaking, purchase my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from here.

Hippy Girl Patchouli Soap Recipe

Hippy Girl Patchouli Soap Recipe

This patchouli soap recipe truly brings out the inner hippy. A rich blend of luxury oils, this makes for a nice, hard bar of patchouli soap.

5 ounces castor oil
5 ounces sweet almond oil
15 ounces cocoa butter
10 ounces coconut oil
20 ounces olive oil
10 ounces liquid soybean oil
10 ounces sunflower oil
1/8 teaspoon powdered clove (optional)
26 ounces water
10.2 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
2 ounces patchouli essential oil
½ ounce lavender essential oil
(if you prefer, leave out the lavender essential oil and use 2.5 ounces of patchouli oil)

Go by standard soap making instructions. Link found at top of website under soap making. After proper cure time, get out your tie-dyed shirt. The patchouli soap has arrived.

About Patchouli Soap
Patchouli is an herb, a fragrant herb with egg-shaped leaves and square stems. When the scent is added to a soap, Patchouli Soaps are often described as sweet, spicy, and woodsy all at the same time. Others describe Patchouli soap as pungent, mossy, and musty. Patchouli is often used as a low note in perfumes and aromatherapy blends, anchoring the other scents, and mixing or blending to enhance the scents with which it is combined in soap. Patchouli and natural patchouli soap has also been positively linked to improvement of several skin disorders, from reducing chapped, cracked skin and scar tissue to reducing irritation caused by eczema. It has been used to treat athlete’s foot and jock itch, and skin allergies.

Patchouli Soap is an excellent choice for men although women love it as well.

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