Ran out of soap? Learn how to make soap at home instead!

Fun, easy, and useful: learn how to make soap at home with our step-by-step soap-making guide.

Updated

two bars of beige soap with lavender plants and a white towel

It’s one of those items that we use every day, but have you ever wondered how to make your own soap? Once you’ve learned how, it’s a fun process, and the end results are lovely, whether you’re going to use it in your own home or give it as a gift to loved ones. Intrigued? Here’s how to make soap from scratch. 

If you want to know how to make soap feel luxurious, coconut oil is a must. The properties contained within the oil will produce a lovely lather when the soap comes into contact with water. 

How to make homemade soap – equipment:

  • 1L console jar.
  • Protective clothing and accessories – gloves, apron, goggles etc.
  • Stainless steel or enamel mixing bowl.
  • Soap moulds.
  • Thermometer.
  • Towel.
  • Pint glass or jar.

How to make soap – ingredients:

  • Natural colourings of your choice – turmeric for yellow, beet powder for purple etc.
  • Herbs – pick your favourites for their scent, just make sure they are dried.
  • 3/4 cup of cool water.
  • 1/4 cup of lye – sodium hydroxide mixed with water. This is vital for homemade soap but it is caustic so you should always wear gloves and goggles, and read the instructions for use.
  • Coconut and olive oil – 2/3 cup of each.
  • 2/3 cup of another oil, like almond oil or sunflower oil.
  • 10 to 20 drops of essential oils – choose your favourite scents.
  • Anything else you would like to use to fragrance the soap.

How to make soap at home – instructions:

That’s equipment and ingredients sorted, now onto our step-by-step guide that shows you how to make soap. The following method should yield four or five regular-sized bars:

  1. Put on your protective wear and cover your work area with old rags or newspaper.
  2. Pour your water into the console jar.
  3. Add in your lye and stir gently – lye gives off strong fumes so stand back. Quick note: once lye reacts with the oils it will not be present in the final product.
  4. Add oils to the pint glass then add to a pan, warming to a temperature of around 37 to 54°C – a good rule of thumb is to heat until the mixture becomes clear.
  5. Pour the oils into your bowl and then slowly add the lye solution, stirring for at least five minutes. The mixture will go pale and start to thicken.
  6. Add in your herbs, essential oils and any other ingredients you’re using for colour and fragrance.
  7. Pour into moulds.
  8. Leave for at least 24 hours, or until the mixture has hardened.
  9. Turn the bars out once hardened and leave them to cure for around a month. Using a baking rack is ideal so that the air can get to all sides – if not, turn once a week.
  10. Once cured you can wrap in waxed paper to preserve. 

How to make liquid soap 

You can turn your soap bars into liquid soap by learning how to melt soap:

  • Grate your soap bar or bars into a bowl.
  • In terms of how to melt soap, all you have to do next is add boiling water and blend. Alternatively you can do it in a pan on the stove.
  • Add a teaspoon of glycerine to make the soap a little gentler.
  • Add in ingredients to create the desired fragrance, whisk with cool water, and then pour into jars when cooled.

Now that you know how to make liquid soap and bars, you can decide when to use your own creations and when to use antibacterial soap from the shops – read our article on antibacterial soap for more guidance on this.

That should give you plenty of inspiration and ideas for how to make bath soap, kitchen soap… any soap for your home! Give the above methods a try and enjoy the results.

Originally published