A serious warning is needed here about making soap completely from scratch you cannot make bars of soap without Lye (caustic soda) which, as horrifying as this may sound to someone who hasn’t made soap before, is generally used as a drain cleaner, yes I was a little shocked too when I started my research thinking how natural and chemical free my soap would be but I searched and searched to find a recipe without lye now there are ways to make soap without you having to handle the chemical yourself but these are using ready to pour or the melt methods which also have lye just simply someone else has done the dangerous part for you. So please adhere to safety warnings on your lye packet, wear safety gloves and glasses when handling your lye and make sure there are no small children or pets in the room when making your soap. Also remember when the lye has gone through the soap process the harshness of the chemical is gone and your lovely homemade soap is perfectly safe for use on yours and your family’s skin.
My first step was to make sure I had a clear work space, as I’m making the soap in my kitchen this means clearing all benches and sink spaces up to make sure nothing was in my way or any edibles were near me when handling the lye. Also make sure your area is well ventilated, preferably with an exhaust fan over your stove top, or near an open window.
Stainless steel pot
Long sleeve top
Long elbow length gloves
Bread tin or similar
Stainless or wooden spoon
Stick mixer (emulsion blender)
2.8oz of vegetable oil
13oz of lard
2oz of dried rosemary & lavender
12 drops of lavender essential oil
6.2oz of lye
12oz of water
-THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: put on your glasses, long sleeved top & elbow length gloves, move to a safe well ventilated area. Measure your lye in a small container on your scales. Now measure your water in a large bowl, slowly pour the lye into the water *note that the water will heat up, I like to do this on my kitchen sink. Now leave the lye mixture to cool whilst you measure out your other ingredients.
-Use you mortar & pestle to grind the dried herbs into a powder (note that I like to keep some rosemary and lavender ungrinded to place on top of the soap, I think it makes the soap look nice)
-Line your soap tray with the freezer paper
-Measure your vegetable oil and lard and then place into a large pot on the stove top on a low heat to melt. Once melted you can very slowly pour your lye mixture into the stove pot.
-Now add your essential oil and half of the dried herbs. Use your stick mixer to mix the ingredients. You will notice the mixture will start to thicken. I decided mine was ready when it started to look a bit like custard.
-Pour the soap mixture into the tray you prepared earlier, I now place more dried herbs on top of the soap cake (you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to).
-Now you leave your soap alone to set, mine was ready in about an hour.
Once certain your soap is set you can cut into blocks and store ready for use, I store mine in a large glass jar from the dollar shop.
You can use any essential oil or herbs in your soap to change up the smell, this is my favourite but I also love coffee soap! instead of dried herbs use ground coffee beans and to add a little extra you could put a few drops of espresso instead of essential oil, this one is great for a body scrub soap, the coffee grinds work magic on dry skin!
Thanks for taking the time to read my soap recipe, I hope you find it useful, let me know what your favourite combinations are in your homemade soap via the comments below.