Make Handmade Vegetable Soap
Edited by abdoul sow, Robbi, Lynn, Eng and 10 others
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How to Make your own All Natural Vegetable Soap at Home
Vegetable soap can easily be made at home, and is a great way to care for sensitive skin.
Making soap is one of the oldest traditions of the modern world. It dates back thousands of years to civilizations from ancient China, Egypt, and Rome. Because it’s so easy to make, many health conscious families make their own vegetable soap at home.
For people with skin allergies, or who are sensitive to the detergents, perfumes and other chemicals commonly found in commercial soaps, making organic soap at home can also be a great and inexpensive way to stay healthy and care for your skin.
Additionally, it’s one of the most basic chemistry projects that can be done at home. It’s a great way to teach children about chemistry, whether they are enrolled in a traditional school, or home schooled. With the right ingredients, you can even make antibacterial soaps.
This guide will list all of the ingredients you’ll need to make basic soap, and thoroughly explain the process. Once you understand how to make your own soap, you can then try experimenting with some of the great soap recipes we’ve listed later in this article.
Note that if you're just starting out, or don't feel comfortable with some of the steps listed later in this guide, such as mixing the lye, you can make your own glycerine soap instead, which is ready to use as soon as it cools off. The recipe below will give you the steps to make all natural vegetable glycerine soap.
Recipe for Organic Homemade Vegetable Glycerine Soap
Traditional soaps are more difficult to make, but glycerine soaps are quick and easy.
For your first soap making project, glycerine soap is quick and easy to make. It takes about ten minutes. Everything can be done in a microwave, and the ingredients take no time to mix. For this example, we'll give you the steps to make it in the microwave, as that's the quickest and easiest way to get started. Later, if you decide to make more vegetable glycerin soaps, you can use a double-boiler instead of a microwave if you prefer to use the stovetop.
You'll need a big bowl with a lid, although you can use a plastic wrap like Saran Wrap to cover it. You'll also need some essential oils to mix in, and food coloring if you want to color your soap. To put bubbles in it, you'll use a pinch or two of mica. You will also need soap molds, but you can just use small Tupperware containers or empty plastic yogurt containers if you don't have any molds. That's all you need. Just follow the steps below to get started.
- 1Take 16 ounces of vegetable glycerine, and put it in a large microwave-safe bowl.2Cover the bowl with the lid or the plastic wrap of your choice.3Microwave on high for one minute, or until it melts.4Add in your food coloring.Remember that a few drops goes a long way. It's best to start with one drop at a time.5Add in 1/4 ounce of essential oils, or other scented oil if desired.6Add in any other ingredients you'd like to experiment with.This can be dried flower petals, or any other decorations or ingredients you want in the soap. Have fun and experiment.7Stir in between 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons of mica.8Pour the mix into your soap molds or cups.9If there are mica bubbles on the top, just spray a little rubbing alcohol on it to get rid of them.10Wait about three hours for your soap to cool and gel.11
Ingredients for Making Traditional Natural Vegetable Soap
Vegetable fats are healthy, and gentle on your skin. They're also animal friendly.
Making traditional organic soaps is a little different, and more complex than making glycerine soaps. There are three basic ingredients that go into making it that are standard across all soap recipes. They are lye, oil, and water. Everything else is optional, and used to scent, color, or otherwise enhance the soaps you'll be making. The mixture of Lye and Oil triggers a process called saponification. In simple terms, this process allows the acid and oil to combine into a form that can be washed off with water. This allows you to use it to clean yourself. The actual science behind it is much more complicated. What's important is that once the process of saponification is complete, there will be no lye in your finished soap bar.
Obviously you'll want to add more ingredients to your soap, such as essential oils, bits of lavender, and maybe even crushed almond shells for an exfoliating soap. However, it's important to keep in mind that you'll need to start off small before making exotic soaps. Much like you would start out baking cookies before graduating to homemade cakes and souffles.
- 1Lye:This is the mix of acid and water that will determine which kind of soap you end up with. Sodium Hydroxide makes solid soaps, and Potassium Hydroxide makes liquid soap. If you want to make a cream soap, then you mix the two, but that's not something novices should start off with, as it's much more complicated than hard soaps.2Oil:You'll be using a blend of all natural vegetable oils. These will include coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, and soy oil. This is because different oils produce soaps of different hardness and lather quality. Any of these oils produce a nice, solid bar of soap that lathers well.3Water:The main thing with water, is that there needs to be enough to allow the oil and lye to mix and start the process of saponification, but not so much that the bar of soap becomes too soft. Impurities in the water can slightly affect the soap, so if you're really serious, you may want to use a distilled or filtered water, however tap water should be quite acceptable for most mixing.
Special Recipes for Homemade Natural Organic Bath Soaps
Almost any natural oil or scent you like can be added to the soaps you make at home.
There is no limit to the creativity and personal preference you can put into making your own homemade organic soaps. Most of them will easily store for a year or more if they are kept in a cool, dry place. When mixing your soaps, they should be the consistency of the image on the right, which is a beeswax soap mix, or lighter, if you're using coconut milk, as an example.
We've got a selection of special recipes below that you can try at home. All of these recipes have ingredients that can be purchased at any hobby store, or in most local or organic whole foods markets. When compared to the cost of traditional designer soaps, if you're making your own, you can save a lot of money in a year.
These homemade soaps are also great starter ideas for school projects, or as a way to teach a teen the basics of starting and managing the costs of a home business. Of course, they also make great gifts for friends and relatives, or on special occasions, like Mother’s Day. If you don't have sensitive skin, you can also add some of your favorite perfume oils to the mix.
For gift giving ideas, you can also add in themed items with your soaps, such as some honey, given with a batch of beeswax facial soap, or a bottle of scented rose oil to match some rose-scented soaps you've made. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can do, so be creative, and don't be afraid to experiment.
Recipe for Beeswax and Jojoba Bath Soap with Coconut Oil
Beeswax – 1 Ounce
Cocoa Butter – 2 Ounces
Jojoba Oil – 3 Ounces
Olive Oil – 9 Ounces
Shea Butter – 2 Ounces
Castor Oil – 5 Ounces
Coconut Oil – 9 Ounces
Water – 4 Ounces
Lye – 4 Ounces
Coconut Milk – 6 Ounces
You can get creative with this recipe, and add in an ounce of Lavender and Lemon, Lime, or Rosemary to mix scents and enhance the aromatherapy aspects of this all natural organic soap recipe. Just use an ounce less olive or coconut oil in the main ingredients.
Recipe for Homemade Pure Coconut Oil Bath Soap
Few things are as invigorating or as refreshing as relaxing in a tropical paradise. One of the most well known scents from these places is coconut, and scenting your soap with coconut oil is the perfect way to turn a relaxing bath into an aromatic paradise.
Lye - 4.83 ounces
Coconut Oil – 33 ounces
Essential Oil – 1 ounce
Water - 12.54 ounces
Laundry Soap – 1% super fat
Recipe for Organic Homemade Goat Milk and Lemon Soap
Castor Oil - 2.65 oz
Coconut Oil - 5.3 oz
Lemon Essential Oil - 28 Grams
Goat's Milk - 20 oz
Lye - 7.185 oz
Olive Oil - 26.5 Ounces
Palm Kernel Oil = 5.3 oz
Palm Oil - 2.65 oz
Rice Bran Oil = 5.3 oz
Shea Butter - 5.3 oz
Spearmint Essential Oil - 52 Grams
Note: Goat's milk replaces 100% of the water.
To make your Organic Goat Milk and Lemon Soap have more of a lemon scent, just reduce the amount of Coconut Oil, and you'll have a more fresh scent. Also, keep in mind that this mixture really needs to be kept closer to 80F after it's cooled down and you start mixing it. If it's too hot, you'll get an unpleasant smell, and your soap will take on a brownish color.
Recipe for Organic Homemade Goat Milk and Oatmeal Soap
Avocado Oil – 5 oz
Castor Oil – 4 oz
Coconut Oil – 20 oz
Fresh Goat’s Milk – 9 oz
Honey – 4 tablespoons
Oatmeal – 4 tablespoons
Olive Oil – 20 oz
Rice Bran Oil – 5 oz
Shea Butter – 5 oz
Sweet Almond Oil – 5 oz
Sodium Hydroxide – 9 oz
Water – 9.5 oz
Note: Goat's Milk is separate
The reason you'll be adding Fresh Goat's Milk to this mix, is because of the oats. They'll soak up the liquid as you make the mix, while the water and acid are mixed separately to make Lye. So, make sure you are only mixing water and acid for your Lye, and everything else with the Goat's Milk.
A Basic Recipe for Your First Bar of Handmade Soap
It's really much easier to make soaps than most people realize, as you'll see.
For your first recipe, we've chosen a simple and basic soap.
This is a 100% organic, all natural soap, that is gentle on the skin, and will leave you feeling fresh and clean after using it.
The only catch is that you'll need to wait four weeks before you can use it. Read on to learn why this is.
Coconut Oil - 30 g
Olive Oil - 70 g
Water - 35 ml
Sodium Hydroxide (Base) - 14.06 g
How to Make your First Bar of All Natural Handmade Soap
Being careful, you'll have no problems making and personalizing your own soaps.
The process of making soap involves a chemical reaction of acid and water. You should never mix acid and water in an uncontrolled environment, or handle acid without the use of safety goggles and safety gloves. If you're making soap with your teen children, make sure you are fully aware of the dangers, and that you have performed this process yourself first. Once you've completed the process, and understand how it works, you'll have a much better idea of how to do it, and can safely teach your teens how to make soap.
To make any of the other listed recipes for traditional all natural vegetable soaps, just follow the instructions below. Use the ingredients from any of our recipes, or experiment with your own.
- 1Make sure you are in a well ventilated area.2Prepare all of the equipment that you will use.3Measure your oils, and set them aside.4Measure your water, keeping it in a heat resistant Pyrex container.5Put your safety gloves and goggles on.6Carefully measure the acid in a separate container.7Make sure you are wearing your gloves and goggles, because this part is dangerous.8Carefully pour the acid into the water.It will temporarily give off toxic fumes, so do this in a well ventilated area, and do not breathe the fumes in. It will also quickly heat up to a temperature of more than 180F. You can be burnt by this, and hurt if you breathe the fumes. Be careful. The greater the amounts of acid and water you are mixing, the more fumes there will be.9Carefully, but briskly stir the mixture, which is called lye.Be very careful. Lye is caustic, and you can burn or irritate your skin if you are not careful.10You want the acid and water mixture (lye) to be just over 80F before you put in the oils.While your lye is cooling off, proceed to the next step.11Heat the oils you measured out earlier to a temperature between 80-90F.If you're using solid ingredients for more advanced recipes, such as beeswax, heat it to the same temperature of 80-90F12Pour your heated oils into your soap making pot, making sure they remain just over 80F.13When your lye is at 80F, wearing your gloves and goggles, slowly pour it into the oils in your soap making pan.Stir the oils briskly as you pour the lye in.14Keep stirring briskly once you've completed pouring all of the lye into your oils.Use a circular motion, and also move across the middle of the pan, to make sure you stir it all together completely.15When you can leave a pattern of soap drizzled from your stirring spatula on the top of your soap mix, it is ready to pour into molds.16For more advanced recipes, this is the stage where you will add essential oils, and other ingredients you may be using to enhance or personalize your soap.17Using your ladle, carefully pour the soap mixture into the molds.Keep in mind that at this stage, the soap is still caustic, as the process of saponification has not yet completed. If you are concerned with how your soap will look, don't scrape the sides of your soap pan when you're pouring the soap mix into the molds, as this will add the less well mixed ingredients from the side of the pan to the more well mixed parts.18Cover the molds with a heavy object, such as a board, or thick piece of cardboard, and wrap them in some towels or an old blanket to insulate them while the process of saponification completes.More advanced molds can be purchased that are in the shape of flowers, leaves, sea shells, or other designs you'd like to use for making your soaps.19Do not disturb your molds for 24 hours while the saponification process completes.20After 24 hours, remove your newly made soap bars, and set them on a paper bag, or cardboard, so that all sides have access to air.21If you do not like the white soda ash that will develop on the edges of your soap, you can use a knife to remove it.Just be sure to wear your gloves and goggles. You don't want to accidentally get uncured soap in your eye. If you're using special molds, you can use a damp terry cloth to gently rub this soda ash off.22Put the uncured bars of soap in a safe place, where children can't get them.23Leave your soap bars to cure for about four weeks.Keep in mind that they're still caustic during this process, and should not be used for washing.24
Safety Gear and Soap Making Equipment You'll Need
There are safety precautions and equipment you’ll need before making your own soap.
Because it's chemistry, we'll start with safety gear first, and then the other equipment and tools you'll need to make your own handmade all natural vegetable soap. Keep in mind that this is the 'full' list of ingredients.
Most novice soap makers can start off with some more basic items, but it is important to consider quality, as if you decide to keep making your own soaps, for holiday gifts, or even as a small business, you'll be glad to have quality materials.
- 1Safety Goggles:It is an absolute must that you have a pair of safety goggles. Raw soap can be caustic, and you definitely do not want to accidentally splash the lye you'll be working with in your eyes.2Rubber Gloves:This is another must have, as lye is an acid, and raw soap is a skin irritant. Make sure you invest in a quality pair of rubber gloves.3A Measuring Scale:You will need an accurate measuring scale that can at least measure to amounts of 1/10th or an ounce. You will use this scale for measuring every ingredient you use. Keep in mind that accurate measurements of ingredients is key to successfully making your own soap.4A Good Thermometer:You'll need to have an accurate thermometer, that can quickly read the temperatures of the melted oils and lye you will be working with. Digital thermometers are best for this.5Paper Towels:You will want a large stock of paper towels on hand, as spills are inevitable. Sooner or later, you will make a mess that you won't want to clean up with regular towels.6Two Pyrex Pitchers:You'll need one big Pyrex pitcher, which you'll use to mix your ingredients in. If you plan to make more than three pounds of soap at a time, you will instead want a 12-quart or larger steel pot. The other one is for measuring your oils before you add them to the soap pot. These pitchers should hold about three quarts.7One Clear Plastic Pitcher:This pitcher must be heat resistant. It should hold two to three quarts, and have a lid. Clearly label this one as containing lye. 'Danger - Lye' works well. You'll only use this for your lye.8One Lye Spoon:you'll only use this spoon to stir your lye, so make sure it's a good spoon.9One Blending Stick:This will only be used to stir in the oils to your lye mixture, which will start the process of saponification (more on this later).10Steel Spoons:You'll want a set of nice stainless steel spoons to be used for adding any colorings, essential oils, or other additives.11Measuring Cups or Beakers:You will also want several measuring cups, which you'll use to hold your measured ingredients, like coconut oil, or lavender, as an example.12A Large Soup Ladle:You will use your soup ladle to scoop out the finished soap, and pour it into another pot to blend in colors and oils, or to pour into your soap molds.13Rubber Spatulas:These will be used to scrape out any left over soaps from your pot. This way you won't waste any of your efforts by throwing away good soap, or leaving any more mess than you need to.14Soap Molds:You can use any plastic container for this that is leak proof. Anything from a tupperware container to an old yogurt cup will work fine. Plastic is easiest to work with, though you can use other molds. Wood is not recommended, as over time it can leave splinters in the soap. No one wants that.15Some Newspaper:It's always a good idea to cover your workspace in several layers of newspaper. This makes cleanup much easier, and lets you recycle used paper, using less new paper towels. It's another eco-friendly step you can take, which will also make you feel better about the all natural soaps you make.
Safety Precautions to Follow When Making Soap
Following some basic safety precautions will keep you safe.
Making soap can be a very rewarding and fun hobby. Some people even make it into a business, and earn a living from it. Being safe, however, is an important part of the process, and should not be overlooked.
- 1Always wear safety goggles and gloves when handling acid.2Always work in a well ventilated area, and avoid breathing any fumes.3If you're making several batches of soaps, make sure to keep them separate.Soap needs three to four weeks to cure properly. Four weeks is the ideal time.4Verify the pH of your solution using a pH meter.Any soap which has a pH greater than ten can irritate your skin. Anything with a pH greater than 11 is not safe for use on skin.
Extra Ingredients You can Add to Your Natural Soaps
You can be as creative as you like with your soaps, adding your own blend of ingredients.
There is no limit to what you can do with your own soaps. Below are some ingredients you can add to make your own special blend of soaps, but don't let this list limit you. You can make soaps however you like. In fact, if you're making soaps for kids, you can even put toys or little surprises in the soap, encouraging them to take baths and discover the treasures hidden in your soap. If you're trying to impress your wife, or mother, you can even put some types of jewelry in a soap - just make sure it won't go down the drain by mistake.
Colors from Natural Ingredients for Vegetable Soaps
- 1Alkanet Root - Purple2Calendula Petals - Orange3Clays - Various Colors - Plus they can help to detox the skin and exfoliate4Madder Root - Pink5Olive Oil - Yellow or Cream6Spinach Leaves - Green
Dried Fruits and Spices for Homemade Vegetable Soaps
- 1Cinnamon Sticks2Lemon Slices3Orange Slices4Peppercorns
Exfoliants for Organic Homemade Vegetable Soaps
- 1Ground Almonds2Ground Pumice Stone3Rolled Oats
Herbs and Flowers for Homemade Vegetable Soaps
- 1Dried Daisies2Dried Marigolds3Dried Rose Petals
Natural Antioxidants for Homemade Vegetable Soaps
- 1Grapefruit Seed Extract.This is a thick, clear extract from the pulp and seeds of grapefruit. It won't add a scent, but helps to keep other types of organic oils from going bad.2Rosemary Oleoresin Extract.This is an extract of Rosemary leaves. It is thick, and has a strong smell.
Oils for Homemade Organic Vegetable Soaps
- 1Borage Seed Oil2Coconut Oil3Laurel Oil4Neem Oil5Rose-hip Oil6Olive Oil7Palm Oil
Scents for Soaps from Organic and Natural Ingredients
- 1Arrowroot2Balsams3Benzoin4Cedarwood5Cornstarch6May Chang7Orris Root8
Tips and Suggestions for Making Homemade Natural Soaps
- For decorative soaps, you can add small shells, or little beads and plastic or gems.
- Some hobbyists use a crock pot to heat the oils they use to make their soaps. This is an easy way to maintain a constant temperature of your oils. Just make sure it's a high quality ceramic pot, and not cracked or chipped in any way.
- Stainless steel and Pyrex are the preferred choices for soap making tools. Wooden spoons are also good to have, but plastic can also be used.
- Ceramic or stainless steel pots with lids are also a must have. Make sure to purchase quality ingredients, as they'll last longer and be easier to clean.
- Periodically replace gloves or goggles if they show signs of wear, or are damaged.
Questions and Answers on Making Your Own Soap
I'm interested in making vegetable glycerin soap, but is it complicated?
Can I really make my own soaps at home, or is it too complicated for someone new?
Making vegetable glycerine soap at home is easy, and doesn't require any acids or mixing of lye. In fact, it's the easiest soap to make at home. We've added a recipe to the list above that will show you how to make your own vegetable glycerine soap at home. It's quick and easy, and they're ready to use as soon as the soap cools off.
How do you produce a healthy handmade soap for your skin?
I want to make healthy, and all natural organic soaps. How can I do this?
This wiki is great because it shows you how to create soap yourself. Like a great food recipe, don't consider the soap recipes here as fixed, but rather use it as starting point to jump off into your own homemade soap recipes. If you are interested in making soap that is good for your skin, consider adding some of your favorite hand cream. Or you could research what natural ingredients are good for your skin and try making soap with those ingredients. Experiment and have fun.
Herbs Soap line, I want to establish a new soap line?
I want to establish a new soap line plant
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My question is, how to make a liquid soap?
The problems are concerning liquid soap and detergent, first, I want to know the difference between these two
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