Amazing Lather? Check! Simple ingredients? Yep, only three. When it comes to soap, this is probably the easiest recipe you’ll ever make. And if you’re willing to break a few rules it can one of the most versatile, too. Here’s what I mean:
Traditionally, soaps are made from 5-7 oils blended to balance cleansing/moisturizing/and lathering properties. One of the well known “rules” is that a soap should be made of more than 30% coconut oil because it’s so effective at breaking up oil/grease that it can be drying.
Fortunately, there’s a way to simplify things without skimping on the end product – it’s called “superfatting.” Basically, you add the equivalent of “one quarter moisturizing cream” like big brands do, only you leave out the toxic slew of chemicals that usually go with it. By adding 20% more coconut oil than the lye can convert to soap, you end up with a luxurious body bar. Of course, this doesn’t work with most vegetable oils which go rancid easily – coconut oil’s high shelf stability is what makes it a good choice here.
The best part? Not only can you superfat and get the best of both worlds for your skin, you can break another rule and get your laundry clean, too!
How To Adapt This Recipe To Make Laundry Soap
Normally it is not advised to make soap with under 4% superfat due to the fact that it can be excessively drying and even burn skin if some of the lye remains unconverted, but for laundry soap it’s perfect!
I’ve found that using a 1% superfatted recipe yields a very cleansing bar with no extra oil. Since I’m washing my clothes to get oil OUT rather than put it IN, this totally works for me. I’ve actually washed my hands with this version and have never had any irritation from it, but it’s really only recommended for laundry.
Here’s the full scoop on making your own laundry detergent using just the laundry soap recipe below and one other ingredient. It’s been a tried-and-true recipe in my house for years, and lots of people have written me to say they’ve had amazing results with it also. Here’s a comment Hillary left after making laundry detergent with the coconut oil soap below:
“I washed a couple loads of laundry today- and it worked so well! Our laundry is always SUPER dirty too! My husband does mechanical work for a logging company and his clothes get REALLY dirty after crawling in, on, and under those greasy machines! I think the detergent cleaned it better than our natural detergent we were buying from Costco! I was very impressed, thank you! : )”
Now, About The One Rule You Can’t Break
One of the most common questions I get about soapmaking is how to make it without lye. As I share in five myths that have kept you from making soap (but shouldn’t!), both are needed to cause a chemical reaction called saponification – aka making soap.
Or, as Marie of Humblebee & Me put it, making soap without lye “is like trying to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano without the vinegar. No vinegar and you’ve just got a pile of baking soda. No lye, and you’ve just got a bucket of fat.” (Curious about the other four myths. Click here to read the whole article.)
Technically, you can actually wash your face with oil using this method, but it’s a totally different approach.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, are you ready to get started?
Video Tutorial: Making Coconut Oil Shampoo Bars
Before I started making soap, I asked a friend if I could stop by and watch her make a batch. She agreed, and that afternoon in her kitchen was what helped me become comfortable with the process. In the video below, I invite you into my kitchen to do the same. I’ll walk you through the method, and then you can scroll down this post for the exact recipe and written instructions to check as you go.
Looking for the shampoo bar recipe I mention in the video? Click the link below to access it:
How to make coconut oil shampoo bars
How To Make Pure Coconut Oil Soap (For Cleansing And Laundry)
All amounts are per weight. You will need to use a digital scale for these measurements.
Lathering Skin Bar (20% superfat)
Makes approximately 44 oz. of soap.
Note: Because this soap is highly superfatted it can create a very dense lather when rubbed directly on skin. For a light, bubbly effect I recommend lathering with a natural sponge like this one.
- 33 oz coconut oil, 76 degree* (where to buy coconut oil)
- 4.83 ounces lye (NaOH)** (where to buy lye)
- 12.54 oz water
- .5 – 1 ounce essential oils (optional)
Laundry Soap (1% superfat)
Makes approximately 44 oz. of soap.
- 33 oz coconut oil, 76 degree* (where to buy coconut oil)
- 5.9 ounces lye (NaOH)** (where to buy lye)
- 12 oz water
- .5 – 1 ounce lavender or other essential oils (optional) (where to buy lavender essential oil)
* For soap making purposes there are several types of coconut oil. The stuff I buy has a melting point of 76 degrees. This is the most commonly available kind and the preferred type for soap making. There is also a coconut oil that has a melting point of 92 degrees and another that is “fractionated,” meaning that the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving only saturated fats. I have not tested this recipe with either the 92 degree or fractionated oils, but it works well with the 76 degree type.
** You can often find pure lye with no additional plumbing/drain additives in the drain cleaner section of a mom n’ pop hardware store. Lye is a naturally occurring substance that can be made by burning hardwoods and boiling the ashes, but it’s much easier to just buy. If you don’t see it, ask a sales clerk for help. They may be keeping it behind the counter because it has multiple uses. Be prepared to explain that you want to make soap, not meth. 🙂
Note: According to Anne Watson, author of Smart Soapmaking, you can use your regular kitchen utensils as long as you follow these guidelines.
- crock pot – 8 quart
- stick blender
- digital scale
- glass measuring cups
- small glass bowls
- plastic spoon with long handle (if you use a wooden spoon like the one pictured below, make sure not to use it for anything but soapmaking)
- rubber spatula
- sink or bowl filled with vinegar and water for cleaning anything that comes in contact with lye. Follow by cleaning with soap.
- protective equipment: long-sleeved shirt, plastic/rubber gloves, safety glasses or protective eye gear
- soap mold – (where to buy oval soap mold or square soap mold) A standard sized bread pan is perfect for this batch, cardboard boxes will also work
- parchment paper for lining the soap mold (where to buy parchment paper online)
Step 1: Weigh your ingredients and set your crockpot to low
Step 2: Add water to a medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl and take it outside along with the lye and long-handled spoon. While wearing your protective gear and taking care not to breathe the vapors, slowly add the lye to the water while mixing gently. Order is important here, so make sure it is the lye you’re pouring into the water.
The mixture will get very hot so be careful! Let it transition from cloudy to clear, then bring it inside. Let cool for 5-10 minutes while you work on step 3.
Step 3: Place coconut oil in a saucepan and heat to 120-130F. Make sure that your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot when taking your reading. (You can skip this step if you want to add your oil directly to the crockpot and wait for it to melt, but I prefer not to wait.)
Step 4: Place coconut oil in your crockpot and set to low.
Step 5: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.
Step 6: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward “trace.” You’ll know trace is achieved when the mixture has the texture and thickness of a light pudding.
Step 7: Cover and let cook on low. During this process the oils should rise up the sides like a wave and then fold back into the mixture. Mine usually takes 45 minutes – 1 hour but the cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot is. Check on it often. If it rises up the sides and seems like it might overflow just give it a quick stir and it will reduce in volume.
Step 8: When the soap is ready it should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline with no oil puddles in the middle. There are two ways to test and see if it’s done. First, dip a PH test strip and wait several minutes for it to fully change color. It should be between 7-10. If it is higher than 10 it’s not done. For a slightly less scientific approach, take a little of the soap and rub it between your fingers. It should feel a bit waxy. Now touch it to your tongue. If it ‘zaps’ you, it’s not done. Note: It is really important to make sure all the lye is converted – otherwise the finished soap can burn!
Step 9: If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture cools a little and then add them, otherwise they will lose their fragrance. (I skipped this, so no photo!)
Step 10: Spoon mixture into your mold and let cool. If you want to speed up this process put it in the fridge
Step 11: Unlike other bars which need to harden for 24 hours before being cut, coconut oil makes a very hard bar that will be difficult to cut if you let it dry too long. Cut as soon as it’s cool and firm.
Step 12: In an area with good air flow, place bars on a rack/tray with about an inch of space between them. Allow them to dry out and harden for another few days. Though you can try your first bar right away, it’s best to let them sit for 2-3 weeks to let the conditioning properties fully develop.
About 1 year when stored in a cool, dry place.
Disclaimer: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soap makers responsibility to research safety procedures for soap making.
More Soap Recipes To Try
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Read My Comment Policy
This is great, I’m excited to channel my inner chemist. One question, is there any concern about the coconut oil melting when it gets hot outside? Like it does on my counter. Thanks!
Unless it is hot enough to melt soap I wouldn’t worry about it 🙂
Is there a way to do a cold pressed version of this soap recipe?
I make soap, and the only difference between cold process and hot process is using the crockpot. Bring the soap to a trace, and then put it in a mold. It will have to cure for 2 weeks before using. I always make cold process. I usually cut the soap the day after I make it, but I have never used just coconut oil.
COULD YOU SEND ME THE RECIPE FOR COLD. THANK YOU
Could you please send me the full cold pressed recipe for the laundry soap?
To Michele and Karen, the recipe is the same. After you bring it to trace, add the essential oil, then pour into molds. Easy peasy!
Hey, this sounds great. How do I use it to wash my clothes though?
Hi Xena, you can incorporate it into this laundry detergent recipe.
sharo has anyone recently used goats milk instead of water. did you use the same amount of lye?
I would like to know how to use goats milk as well.
I’ve made this recipe with fresh aloe juice instead of water, as well as coconut milk instead of water. With the coconut milk I had it practically frozen before adding the lye to make sure I didn’t burn it. With the aloe I just made sure it was super cold, and then I actually strained it when I added my lye mixture to the oils as there was still a little bit of pulp in my water (I literally used fresh aloe). The soaps turned out amazing.
I’m wondering about the detergent soap. How do you add it to the laundry, do you grate it? Or do you just rub it on your stains?
When measuring the water is it fluid ounces? Then a scale wouldn’t be needed? Thanks!
Yes you can use goat milk instead of water for lye just freeze the goat milk in freezer like you make ice and use it just put lye in it which will melt it automatically
I am a college student trying to be as vegan as possible in every form and get the most out of my money spending as little as possible!!
Liquid Skin care
Liquid Hand soap
and everything Idid not think of
I would like to know what cheap all natural product or products (plural) You’d recommend I use to do all or most of these? And please list a couple of stores for different states have different stores.
With the least amount of equipment needed possible
I have a microwave
Dinning ware (plates, bowls, cups)
I can get a few cooking utensils
Here is a little about me I am African American and have dark spots on my face and seems to have developed on my body as well.
I am allergic to a lot of non natural deodorants and detergents and dish detergents/hand soaps
thank you so much for this great soap recipe;) you are awesome!
For the step to mix the water and lye that you did outside and left for 10 minutes while it got clear…would the outside temperate effect this or matter if it’s a cold -19 degree day or even the hot days in summer? I’m curious how I’d go about making this outside to be ventilated if you think the cold would effect it? Thanks!!
Can you add other butters to this recipe for soap?
Hi, these are from 2013 and now is 2017, but I’m needing to know two things with this recipe… have u used goats milk and if so did it change the lye amount? What is the superfat?
Hi, I tried to make this soap, first of all the lye and water never turned clear…..second, long do you preheat the crockpot? Mine seemed to be too hot, even on low. I liquified the coconut oil in the crockpot, then added the lye/water mixture, started using the stick blender, it clumped and hardened on the blender. I was able to finish the rest of it until it looked like pudding, I’m cooking it now, we shall see…..any pointers?
i had the same problem with my crockpot, it seemed to help when I turned it to “warm”, it was finished fairly fast!
Mine didn’t get perfectly clear either but I proceeded with it. When my bars where done, they were hard enough, once cooled. I have one in my bathroom right now and the rest curing. This was my first try at it and I’m so happy about it. I did add some essensce oil too. My only concern is that the tops are not perfectly smooth. I’ve used a knife to smoothen them out but my next batch, I’ll take more care to ensure they are perfect. I do have to say, my hands are soft after using this soap. I’m so happy. I’m no longer a soap making virgin. LOVE THIS RECIPE
I had them same concern about not having smooth finish with my first try making this soap.
I love the rough texture actually as it helps with lathering and removing dead skin or it helps with loosening stains on clothes before putting in the washing machine.
I absolutely love this soap recipe.
I’ve tried cold press also but this is my favourite way.
Enjoy continued soap making!
Wendy, I tried the other processs (without the crock pot) using another recipe that called for olive oil and coconut oil. I don’t really like the color of using olive oil but the soap is pretty and I added Ocean Breeze oil and mixed in lavendar leaves. I like that the crock pot makes it cure faster but the other method came out smoother. I’m going to make more today and am only using silicone molds and will try and smooth the top like they do when smoothing cement, over fill and scrap the top flat. I just wish most of the recipies didn’t require multiple types of oils. That is why I love this recipe, coconut oil only.
Hello can you tell me the total cost and weight of the finished bar before you cut it into individual bars? For all 3 soap recipes if they are different.
Hello can you tell me what the weight is of the finished bars (before you cut them)? And the total cost of making one bar?
Well I am on my tenth batch and learning all the things I can do wrong. Todays was when I poured the lye into the water (a double batch) and gave it a brief stir. When I poured it into the coconut I noticed there was a solid lump of lye stuck firmly to the bottom of the jug (set like concrete).
So now I was short lye. I added some more and had to add more water with it and now my simmering soap is super thick and dense and not acting normal. Could adding too much water do this?
Thanks in anticipation
Hi Elaine, the amount of lye needed to saponify the oils is very precise, so adding more lye and water would definitely have an effect. Unfortunately it’s impossible to know whether your soap has too much lye (which could irritate or burn skin) or not enough.
Hi Heather, I made the soap but the finished product is very soft, even three days later. What could be the cause of that?
Did you use the exact measurements by weight? The only reason I can think of is that much of the coconut oil is still in oil form rather than converted to soap. There may be another possible reason, but I don’t know what it could be.
Aloha Heather. I want to tell you, how much I enjoyed your coconut soap making video. As you know, in Owhyhee(Hawaii a/k/a Lemuria(mu) we do have a lot of coconut trees and along with it, coconuts. And, when I return back to Hawaii, I will make me some homemade coconut soap having to take your great idea(s) for I surely appreciated the lesson. Mahalo A Nui Loa(Thank-you Very Much) from: Noilani….
I hope you get this comment. Not great with all this…. So I was very excited to make this soap, feel much more confident about working with lye now, but I think something went wrong in the process. I added the lye to the coconut oil, blended it and placed the lid on the crock pot and it turned into a science project gone wrong. The mixture puffed up like a giant cloud and oozed out of the crock pot. I have a large crock pot so it isnt that. Do have any ideas where I went wrong? I believe my measurements were correct. I have the taylor scale as shown. Was my coconut oil too hot when I added the lye? I kept it on warm. I’d love to try again if anyone else has had the same experience perhaps they can advise me of my mistake.
Thank you for your help. Marie
Maybe you need to stir it down more often. She said if it puffs up, just give it a stir.
From what I’ve read you didn’t do anything wrong with your materials. You have to keep an eye on the soap in a crockpot. It can have a tendency to grow. When it does this, you just need to stir it to bring it back down.
Can I colour the soap naturally? I get my soap and shampoo bars mixed up!
Yes, keep an eye out on it and stir it a bit when it gets too close to the top.
I would like to know how do you use the coconut bars in your washer?
I’ve made this recipe in the past and LOVE IT! It’s been a few years, but when I made it today- the consistency at the end in the crock pot was all crumbly to the point that I wasn’t able to pour and make bars. And suggestions to what went wrong?
I can’t seem to find the answer to my question anywhere. If I am using food grade lye would I need to run this recipe through a lye calculator or does the lye percentage not matter when using a recipe like this?
I’m sorry but I don’t understand the question. The recipe that I published has been run through a lye calculator.
I have a batch in the crock pot as I’m posting. I made the mistake of over heating the coconut oil…..was reading the celcius…… dah! It looks like I heated it to 200 F. Will this ruin the batch?
I started fresh because I didn’t want to take a chance. Can I re-use the over heated oil in another batch?
Love your post. I’m new to all this, but have already made deodorant and toothpaste this week. Laundry detergent is next on my list.
can you tell me how you made the deoderant and toothpaste? Did you find a recipe online?
I make my own deodorant in small batches. I only use it on days that I’m not going to do anything strenuous:
1 Tablespoon cornstarch, 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, 1 T baking soda. Mix. That’s it!
Laurie, you sound like me. Once I did my second batch of soap, I was in the creative mood so I made homemade fabric softener and was looking into homemade laundry soap, but the research I did on it say it’s not that much cheaper to make your own. So now I will wait. I want to branch out and do skin conditioners, lip balms, bath bombs, the whole gammet of body care products.
It is much cheaper to make your own laundry detergent. I love doing it and change it up often. Try it.
How exactly do you use this as a laundry soap. Do you stick the bars right in the washer?
You shave the block down with a cheese grater, please google to see the ratio of soap flakes to load size.
I cannot find any websites that state how much to use when using homemade laundry soaps. What do you use? (reference or just amounts)
I use 2-3 tablespoons per load.
I made olive oil soap it s not hardening as quick as regulard coconut oil soap, should i worry.
Olive oil soap takes long time to harder.almost three years to cure fully.but it maybe good to go in a year.
This the link that I got this site from… here are the recipes that they use the coconut oil soap with. 🙂 https://mommypotamus.com/laundry-detergent/
Jodi L Isringhausen
Ok, so you don’t use the actual bars in washer ?. There is separate recipe for the laundry soap that includes washing soda (not baking soda), borax, and the coconut oil laundry bar soap (which you grateful and then put in blender to convert flakes to a powder. Now I. Have used microwave to “grate” feels naptha and zote soap bar, (so much easier, but not sure if this soap will do the same way you can video on ivory soap in microwave) I am going to try to use microwave when soap bars are complete.
My name is Mike. I have been watching you’re website for sometime. My daughter 28 and I 58 are planning to make soap this weekend (3rd Sep.). Our well has a pH of 7.8-8.0 naturally alkaline water. What effect will it have on the soap process?
I just got interested in making my own soap bars since I recently converted to going natural with almost all things. My question is can I make this lovely soap with cold press coconut oil I use in cooking. I really love all things coconut. Thanks for a quick response.
I am wondering is there any need to use a conditioner with this shampoo bar?
I tried using your recipe for cold process soap. It came out very liquid-like, which is perfect to pour into the mold. The next morning (more than 12 hours later), it is still as soft as clay, which is nice to cut, but a very bad sign for soap, especially for my family. Is this soap supposed to be very soft? I was hoping for really hard bars.
And just in case, I was exact about weight measurements, even weighing to the gram.
I’ve made this recipe a few times & from my experience sometimes it takes a few days to totally harden.
Millones de gracias.
Quick question ~ The scale pictured is the same scale I own, and it only measures to a tenth of an ounce. The measurement given for the lye is to the hundredth of an ounce. Is guesstimating on the lye good enough?
Generally, it’s recommended that you be pretty exact. I have a second one that is not digital that I use for lye. It’s more of pain to use so I measure everything else with this one. However, a 20% superfat is not unheard of for coconut oil soap, so if you get somewhere between 4.84 and 4.96 ounces you should be good.
Thanks for your quick reply!
If your scale has an option for grams you can always do that, its more acurate. You can always run it through soapcalc.net to see how many grams of Coconut oil, Water, and lye you will be needing
I ended up getting a new scale from bulkapothecary.com/categories/soap-making-supplies.html . If you make soap a lot it may be worth the purchase.
You might try converting to Grams it will get you a lot closer without having to get a new scale.
does the coconut oil have to be solid or can you use the liquid, also can you use a non stick bread pan?
Unless it’s silicone, you’ll want to line it with butcher paper (the kind with a shiny coating one one side) or you will never get it out, even with “non-stick”
can i use liquid coconut oil instead of the solid one or is there a differenc?
Heather ~ Mommypotamus
Hi Joyceleen, you need to use coconut oil that is solid at 76F or cooler.
Can you recommend the type of coconut oil that you use? Should it be organic, extra virgin…? Thanks!
I am interested in finding out the answer.. as we live in Panama in the rural area and make our own coconut oil using the heating method. Can traditionally made coconut oil be used for this?
How much of the prepared laundry soap should be used per load?
I use 2-3 tablespoons
Do you have a dedicated crock-pot for soap making? I don’t and want to make the soap. I’m assuming it should be ok because the lye gets converted.
I don’t, though some soap makers recommend it. I soak my crock pot in vinegar water to neutralize any theoretical leftover lye (though as you noted it should all be converted to soap), then I wash it with hot soapy water.
Thank you! Also… I don’t have a stick blender. Is that something I can get away with or not?
I’m not sure . . . I’ve never tried making soap without one!
Alright… 🙂 This is the second time I’ve made soap, both in a crock pot, and both ended up splotchy. It’s marbled on the inside instead of a smooth pretty one-color bar. Kind of like some converted at a different rate or something. I’m wondering if I over blended it or over cooked it. I will try again in the future, but I just wondered if right off the top of your head you could give some advice? 🙂 Also thanks for all the quick replies to everyone – I’ve learned a lot!
Your videos for soap making are great. Cant wait to try, and now I’m not afraid to use lye.
Stick blenders are cheap. I would invest in one. One website I visited the blogger said since she has been using a stick blender she has never had a batch not turn out. So I’d say it’s worth the investment!
I bought a stick blender at a yard sale for a quarter!!!! Check yard sales You could get one for less than 2$
You can get a stick blender from walmarth or Amazon for 20 bucks
Good will is a great place to find a stick blender. Thats where I found mine. Just plug it in before you buy it to make sure it works.
I make soap the cold way, and since seeing that the heat from the lye/water mixture brings the oils up to temperature it goes fast enough that I just use a wisk (yes, metal) but it works every time though this way does need the 3 weeks curing time. It has not failed me yet.
My first and second batch of this recipe I used a paint mixer on slow in a drill. I was careful not to splash. Try not to mix in air.
I just scored a hand blender at the thrift. That has to be less effort, but the clean paint mixer did a fine job.
Heather, thanks for this lovely tutorial. I have a couple of questions:
1. In the laundry version, do I always need to add the washing soda (as given at https://mommypotamus.com/homemade-natural-laundry-detergent-made-easy/)? Or can I use just the grated soap? The reason I’m asking is that washing soda is good for whites, but probably too harsh on colored clothes?
2. In the cleansing version, can I add powdered (dried) rosemary to the oil, while heating it? And perhaps add some more rosemary at trace? I am trying to avoid the essential oil and use just the leaves for the fragrance (no idea if it will last).
I heard that manually blending takes a LONG time. I went to wish.com and found a cheap stick blender but I haven’t tried it yet to see if it’s too cheap. I will update once I find out (in a couple of hours). But I just use my stick blender from the kitchen and then soak it in vinegar water before cleaning it. Same with the crock pot. I don’t have the money to buy soap dedicated equipment yet. And if anyone knows of a recipe requiring just one or two different oils (easily available), please let me know.
same thing with the bread pan and stick blender? you can use for food after?
I do after neutralizing the stick blender in vinegar and running it through the dishwasher. The bread pan is lined and only comes in contact with the finished soap so it’s fine 🙂
If you are planning on actually using the soap on your body, our biggest organ.. surely a washed pot would be ok to cook in.
just an observation..
In my personal opinion, nothing beats silicone molds for soap making. They are easier to fill, easy to personalize (different shapes) and super easy to clean.
ANYTHING used for soap making should be separate from cooking/food utensils. Look to the FDA website for more guidelines (especially should you decide to sell any soap). I’ve been in the handmade soap business for years, and it takes a while sometimes to get all the things together, but you don’t want to risk it. Crock pots tend to have small cracks in glaze, etc. that collect stuff/leach stuff…why risk anything with your family?
agreed Grandma Bobbie: I wouldn’t risk this. I bought a crock pot and other utensils, containers, etc that are dedicated for soap making and other crafts.
I totally agree with keeping
all your soap making supplies seperate than your food preparing kitchen utensils!
I have been making soap for years, and if you spend a wee bit of time trolling thrift stores/garage sales, you can find everything you need with very little financial investment! I would also note not to use anything aluminum or containing aluminum…(This can certainly include bread pans!) plastic food storage containers or silicone molds make a good substitute.
I know I said I clean all my stuff with a vinegar water solution, before washing with soap, most of the things you need for soap making, equipement wise, are easily found at thrift stores or garage sales. I have a crock pot that I used for my first batch of soap but because I just got a new instant pot, I no longer need to use the crock pot so now it’s my soap pot.
wow.. , ok I can see that .
but the FDA … you actually have faith in what they advise ?
Thanks for that one, Liz! The FDA…(falls over laughing…!
I’ve finally gathered all the materials for this and am quite pumped to try out the recipe. Thanks, Heather! You are so great.
I don’t have a crockpot can you just use a normal pan?
I have a 6 quart crock pot instead of 8 quart. Can this recipe be use in a 6 quart or do I need to buy a new one? Thanks!
You can make the same soap using the cold process method – which doesn’t require a crockpot as the reactions take place without an external heat source. The one described here is the hot processed method.
Could I use this recipe for a moisturising soap but sub KOH to make a liquid soap/shampoo base?
If you are concerned about using the same pot, you can often find crocks (without the base) at second hand stores. I have two that fit in my crock pot base, so I think I am going to dedicate one to soap making just to be safe. I think I will not at this point have dedicated utensils.
Could this be any easier? Now I have no excuse for not making soap! Thanks for the super easy recipe.
I made it. YAH! Its not the prettiest soap (rustic cut) but I had about 50 other projects going at once. Its soap though. how cool!
About how many bars does this batch yield?
What exactly does ‘zap’ mean? Mine tastes soapy, then the longer on my tongue, becomes bitter/slightly burning feeling. Is that the zap?
The zap feels like sticking a battery on your tongue – you’ll know it if it happens!
After an hour in the crockpot on low, the mixture didn’t zap, but it did taste like soap and then it burned, just like Tracy mentioned. I left it on low for four additional fifteen minute intervals, and it still burned my tongue after each test. Then I mixed a little with water and tested it with a pool ph test strip, which showed that it was still very lye heavy. I measured all the ingredients precisely with a digital scale, which I double checked to make sure it was accurate. Any ideas as to what could’ve gone wrong? Or is that slight burn normal? I used Walmart’s Great Value unrefined coconut oil, which doesn’t say it’s 76 degree. Could that have anything to do with it?
I love the simple ingredients! Just a few questions! Will the end product smell like coconut? Also, how do I know if my coconut oil is 76degree? (ok, one more random question. I noticed your parchment paper is brown, is it different than the basic brand I get at my local grocery store which is white? Do you use parchment paper for food? I’ve always felt conflicted about how it’s made and what it’s made of… thoughts?) 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe for the home!
No, it doesn’t smell like coconut unfortunately. If you want it to be scented definitely add essential oils. You can contact your manufacturer about the coconut oil, or try melting it while you take it’s temp! Most coconut oil is 76 degree, so chances are good that yours is. 🙂 The parchment paper works the same as the white kind, it’s just unbleached paper. I do use parchment paper for baking, but it’s rare. Hope that helps!
All coconut oil is 76 except the fractionated. The better the coconut oil is processed makes it much better taken internally. I use the least expensive pure coconut oil since it is only used externally. LouAnn will do fine and it’s sold at WalMart.
Thanks! I hope to try this soon! 🙂
I wonder if it’s possible to add imperial measurements. I tried to look through all the comments so thought someone had already done it, but with 840 or so comments I couldn’t find it. I tried to work it out myself buy ounces and oz And fluid ounces has got me cross eyed.
I think it is (converted you 1kg)
1kg coconut oil
But I could be wrong!!
I love this recipe! I’ve wanted to make your tallow soap but I don’t have any tallow. I saw that you use the same crock pot for cooking; do you also use the same stick blender? I want to buy a stick blender, but i wasn’t sure if I needed separate ones for soap and food.
Yes I do. I neutralize it with vinegar water and then run it through the dishwasher before using for food prep 🙂
Have you thought of measuring in grams to make the water amount easier? I’m American but I think our measures of ounces and pounds are much more difficult in the exact science of baking or soap making. Can you add metric weights to your recipe? Please
If using it for laundry, do you grate the bar? Add anything else? How much do you use?
Yes, I do. You can find the complete recipe here. I use 2-3 scoops per load.
Have you tried making this as a liquid version? Maybe before the soap hardens…it would remove the grating step, right? I also prefer liquid to powder as I have a front loader and find it works better. Any ideas?
can goat’s milk be used to replace the water? I’ve used it in cold process soap, but it was much more complicated, but made great soap! This would be awesome if the liquid could be switched.
Probably, but I haven’t tested it 🙂
You might need to recalculate the lye, since milks often have fat of their own (which is part of why they make such nice soap). Google “lye calculator” or check a good soapmaking website. Typically you will enter your ingredients, enter a percent to superfat, and hit Go.
Whenever you change ingredients in a soap recipe, you have to recalculate the amount of lye you use. The reason is that different ingredients actually require more or less lye and you don’t want to end up with a bar that can burn, or one that is so superfatted it won’t clean. There are several lye calculators online that you can easily find in a google search. They are essential if you are making your own recipe or changing anything in a recipe that is already tried and true.
Goat’s milk? Speaking of goat’s milk, there’s this family that raises alpine goats in Indiana. Just go to goatmilkstuff.com, they sell great stuff, like soap and lip balm. Did I mention it’s homemade and natural?
If you make this with goats milk please post results as I’d love to use my excess milk. I may go ahead and just try it on my own.
Great recipe. I have a few doubts please help:
1. How can I recognize if the rye we buy from market is from a natural source or not?
2. A more general question that I have in mind for a long time – When the coconut oil mixes with lye doesnt it lose its properties because in the process the saponification process the the fat is converted into soap.
1. It depends on what you mean by natural. Lye that is found in stores is manufactured, but the substance itself is found in nature. The thing to make sure of is that it’s 100% lye. The composition will be the same as it would be if you burned hardwoods and made it directly from ash.
2. Yes, the properties of the coconut oil change from that of a fat to that of a saponified fat (aka soap)
I don’t have a scale but am dying to try this! Is there any way around the scale??
No. It is vital for both effectiveness and safety that your ingredients are measured exactly. If you have too much lye, you can produce a bar that will burn your skin. Too much oil will produce a bar that leave a residue.
I got my digital kitchen scale at Wal Mart for $20 or $25. That was years ago, and it’s still going strong.
This looks awesome and I want to try it since I use Kirk’s coconut soap a lot and also make my own laundry detergent. I am very chemically sensitive and I am wondering if there are a lot of fumes when you are working with lye?
Yes, there are fumes from lye. Do it outside, or under your range hood with the fan on. Do not breathe them. They will burn you.
Chemically sensitive, huh? Taking magnesium? What kind? How much?
Thank you, Rachel. I do take magnesium – I take magnesium malate pills – I only take one pill right now, because I am taking a bunch of other things, and some ionic magnesium. I also like magnesium chloride baths but don’t do them often enough. Do you have chemical sensitivity and has magnesium helped you? I have a slew of other health issues too.
Curious about the lye- do you have a source to buy from?
A lot of “mom and pop” hardware shops carry it. Sometimes they keep it behind the counter, though, because it’s also used to make meth. My husband picked some up for me last week and got a lot of dirty looks because he insisted that it be 100% lye. He said he wanted it to make soap, but I guess he didn’t look the part!
Just a note: If you type in “lye” into Amazon.com’s search engine it brings back not only lye, but also the mold (if you didn’t want to use your bread pan), and the stick mixer.
This is great! I cant’ wait to purchase your book to see what other great recipes you have 🙂
Looking forward to trying this but one thing confuses me. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer. But this, “Coconut oil is not used in more than a 30% concentration because it’s so effective at breaking up oil/grease that it can be drying.” makes it sound like I shouldn’t? Am I drying my skin? Thanks!
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom
I have never felt straight coconut oil worked for moisturizing.
I’ve never felt that coconut oil moisturized my body. Feels good when i wash my face in it but not for moisturizing my legs and arms…I seemed to dry out. I’m glad to hear i’m not the only one that feels this way..lol
I have been using only straight organic extra virgin coconut oil as a facial moisturizer for 20+ years now and I have a beautiful complexion. It has worked great for me. I only apply it once per day in the morning after I wash my face with only soap and water. But I also do not use any face makeup (never have), just a little eye liner and some mascara on occasion.
I too have been using pure organic extra virgin coconut oil (76°) for its long lasting moisturizing properties, as a topical (and EXTREMELY effective) treatment for my husband’s mild-moderate plaque psoriasis. As soon as he feels a patch on his skin, I just take a dab right out of the jar (not melted) and apply it to the entire patch. Patches are usually gone in 1-3 days (applied 2-4 times a day, or whenever it feels itchy.) He has suffered with this condition since he was a baby, and this simple method has changed his life. After only 1 year, some of the patches that always show up in the same spot every time, never even develop patches anymore. ♥ Nature provides the absolute BEST ingredients for our health, inside & out.
— Thank you for this amazingly simple recipe! I’ve made 3 batches so far, and here’s my take aways:
1. The temp outside really doesn’t matter, (1st batch I blended outside in 109° weather [it gets hot in AZ], 2nd batch it was only 46° and at night. What DID make a difference was ‘thickness’ of the air and wind flow. Too much wind in your direction could be dangerous, while no breeze at all or stagnant thick air like we have during summer here, and there’s really no ventilation of the fumes either. I mix mine in our Arizona room (fancy for screened in porch) with a fan on low between me and outside, pointed away from me so it sucks up the air around me and blows away and outside.
— 2. It is VITAL for both the safety of your soap, as well as its integrity, to WATCH your crock pot or check it at least every few minutes and STIR it anytime its starts to ‘cloud’ up the sides. It necessary to evenly & effectively alter the properties of the oil to become a saponified fat.
— 3. Do NOT rush or jump the gun on the curing process/time! I can’t stress enough how important this is. It’s the difference a soap that densly lathers, cleans and softens skin, and can be sold professionally… Or soap that can potentially cause anything from mild skin tingling & redness, to sever chemical burns to any part of your body its touched. Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and our body’s first defense against the every molecule of the world around us. It is remarkably durable against gradual exposure to dangerous materials, but VERY saseptable to immediate, high quanity exposure. If you don’t allow you soap to cure long enough, your end result could not only be too soft, but could potentially severly burn and scar the user for life. ? So PLEASE follow her directions and especially Measurements to A TEE. If you ever substitute any ingredient, ALWAYS use one of the lye calculators these wonderful ladies mentioned above.
Once you start actually making the recipe, its very easy. And anytime your gut questions something you’re doing, din ignore it, ask someone! Everyone here has been so helpful for my process, google and YouTube are also great resources.
I follow a high-fat, low-carb way of eating and consume 5.5 Tbsp coconut oil (plus butter and naturally occurring fats in meat and eggs) daily. I do use coconut oil as a moisturizer but with this much fat in my diet, I rarely need to. I’m getting hydrated from the inside out.
Wow be careful- good fats can be bad for you in high enough amounts. Anything can be a poison.
I disagree. I’ve been on a high good fat diet for over a month and lost 58 pounds from it and didn’t had any problems with my health, hardly visiting my doctor because i don’t believe in the stuff he tells me what to take because it’s not 100% natural nor 100% organic because i have a HIGH intolerance with anything that’s not natural and not organic like prescription drugs by the doctor his or herself, even injections of liquid drugs causes bad reactions to my skin and body. I already knew i had those experiences from time to time from age 2 – 29. I’m 30 now and living better.
Also I take coconut oil internally for 1 tablespoon every other 4 days because i monitor what i’m taking because i too take other things. But the most good thing i take is raw avocados that good fat is like a butter replacement and a good way to make gelato out of.
“An avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”
Oooh, would love to know how you make gelato with avocados. I love avocados, and I love gelato!
William, could you tell me the diet you used to help you lose so much weight? I know this is a soap blog but I would still love to know. And congrats on the weight loss.
Not so. I am on the Keto diet due to diabetes, and am controlling my blood glucose without meds (Type 2 ). My diet consists of 75% FATS: healthy ones like avocado oil, olive oil, etc.; 25% protein and 5% carbs: healthy ones: green beans, cauliflower, broccolli, asparagus, etc., no SUGAR or substitutes, root vegetables, grains, beans, pasta, rice or other ‘bad’ (high carbs) carbs). My weight has dropped, my blood sugar is being controlled, and I feel so much better. HEALTHY Fats do not make us fat! They are needed by our bodies. I have been on this diet for over 9 months now with no issues.
Coconut oil does not make up more than thiry percent of the oil blend used to make most soaps because without superfatting, it can be drying.
At least, that is my understanding, just reading the article. (I read the paragraph in question four times before I came to that conclusion.)
Crockpots are not common where I live. Can I just use a regular cooking pot/vessel instead on my gas stove?
I’m very intrigued by this and have made a batch of cold process coconut/olive oil soap before which I felt was a bit too superfatted if I wanted to use it in other ways than washing hands and skin. The coconut oil I used then was the fractionated kind I guess as I read on the ‘Down to earth’ blog it would work the same way – plus it fits in better with my skimpy budget for non-eating things 😉
Thanks for taking time to do this whole blog! I’m always in here to see what you’re up to even though I don’t have kids.
You can use a double boiler instead of the crock pot. I make soap on a regular basis and just stack one big pot inside another pot that has water.
I skip the crock pot altogether. I just put the coconut oil in a pot, pour in the lye, mix with a spoon until the temperature spikes and then starts to go down, then gently heat on the stove until the mixture is about 110-115 degrees F. Then I remove from heat and use the stick blender to homogenize. I add essential oils (sometimes) and pour into my soap mold once the mixture is cool enough that it starts to get thick like pancake batter.
Does anyone know whether Lori’s method means that you literally “pour in lye,” or did she mean she mixes the lye in water first & then pours in the lye+water mixture?
Also she didn’t say if she means in a double boiler? She sounds like she just heats it straight on the stove.
I’m sure the experienced soapmakers know Lori’s method?
Yes, I just heat it directly on the stove, no double-boiler.
I just pour the powdered lye straight in and stir until dissolved. The blend for some time with a stick blender (in the later step after heating) takes care of it. I’ve never had burn issues with this method, but you should always test with litmus before using.
Lori, do you have a photo of yours. I’ve done it your way, and not sure it looks right! Also, how long do you mix it with a hand blender? Thank you.
How many bars of soap does this make?
You know, I meant to measure the total weight so I could say exactly how much it makes but I’ve already given away part of this batch. It made 9 large bars 🙂
could you specify that in weight please?
I also find it interesting that you use a crock pot. I make my lye separately, and wait until it has reduced heat to about 100º – 110º F. in the meantime I heat my oil(s). when they are both about the same temperature, I mix them until trace, then add essential oils and/or coloring. If the temperature is too hot, it will “cook off” the scent of the essential oils….
Can this recipe be multiplied, doubled?
Can this recipe be doubled?
Can this be used to wash dishes by hand? Looking for a natural, handmade dish soap. Thanks!
How bout using as a dog wash?
I don’t have a dog so I can’t say from experience, but if you try it please let me know how it works out!
Yes..works just fine!
Thanks for the recipe…it’s been awhile since I’ve made soap, but this has me wanting to get back in the game! : )
One question. I used to buy Red Devil lye at the hardware store, but I believe they discontinued it. Do you have another brand name I could keep my eye out for? Thanks!
I get Rooto at Ace Hardware, and it’s 100% lye.
Is Lye the same as caustic soda, or washing soda – never heard of Lye, live in South Africa
No, that’s sodium carbonate or ‘soda ash’ as it’s sometimes called. For soapmaking you need sodium hydroxide which is what lye is.
Caustic soda is just another name for lye.
Can I add herbs to the recipe when it’s safe to add the essential oils? Or should I do that at a different time? Also, can I halve the recipe okay, or would I need a different ratio of lye to coconut oil?
Thank you so much for this recipe. I look forward to trying it. Your blog has been a real blessing. Slightly off topic. I was just wondering if you cloth diaper, and if so what brands you would recommend. I found that a lot of natural living bloggers use diapers with PUL covers. Do you think this is a concern or would you say it is safe. I’d love to know your opinions on the matter.
Thanks so much for this soap formula. I will definitely try it, never made soap before, BUT I did make your two ingredient detergent a couple of weeks ago and it’s working great. A woman at our local FM makes detergents also, and had a new product which I purchased, she called “multi purpose cleaning” she said it’s a great pre treatment for stains and can also be used as a detergent, it lists the same ingredients, coconut oil, lye, and water as you do, except she also added glycerine to it, it’s the best “pre” treatment I’ve ever used, it got out dry blood on a white garment with no problems as all. My question “how much glycerine should one add to your formula for the detergent?” Do you have any idea?
Hi Heidi! I’m not sure, but you may find this recipe for a DIY stain remover helpful: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/03/diy-laundry-spot-remover.html
Thanks so much for your speedy reply, it’s much appreciated. Heidi
Sarah @ Politically Incorrect Health
Thanks Heather for sharing! I have been intimidated to make my own soap for a while, so it is great this only calls for 3 ingredients! I am sure it is very economical too 🙂
Thanks! One more clarification on the lye… lol, I have super sensitive skin that breaks out easily… and I know it all gets converted… I have just never done this before and am hoping this will be a mild soap that doesn’t tend to break people out. I have always used coconut oil based products with no ill effects. Also, do you use this soap with your children? It’s just funny to think about using something like lye that you have to be so careful with (gloves, ventilation, etc), and then you rub the stuff all over your body after it’s made! Thanks for any more assurance you can give!
Hi Olivia! I don’t have sensitive skin so I can’t say for sure whether it would be a good choice. It is very cleansing so maybe not. I do use it on my kiddos, but they don’t take baths every day :). Not sure if this analogy will help, but chicken poop will burn garden plants if it is put on too early. It’s very good for the soil but it needs to go through a chemical process before it’s safe. Same thing with soap. Hope that helps!
Love the analogy! lol… I think I will give this a try… I love that it is only two ingredients and surely it can’t irritate anymore than other soaps I have used that have “junk” in them! Thanks for all the great recipes!
I have rosacea these days (its fun gettin old) which basically means my face skin is extremely sensitive I find shop bought soaps cause issues either dryness or oiliness but home made soap (and this soap is lovely) is the best for my skin and you can make it from most stuff you have in your pantry. So dont be cautious about making soap and letting the kids use it (they will thank you when they are older!) just be sure to follow all the safety guidelines and you will be so proud of yourself for making something that is natural and good for your skin – the only thing is you will get hooked on it and will find yourself searching the net & book stores for new recipes and methods 🙂
Called all hardware stores around and no one sells the lye… but my friend bought some from an Amish community store awhile back for making soap (and made her soap just fine), but she says that it says 98.9% lye… do you think this will be okay? It’s a powder like what you have. Thanks!
Hi Olivia! I’m so sorry you’ve had trouble finding it and I wish I could say that 98.9% is recommended, but based on the info I’ve read from experience soap makers I personally wouldn’t. Not sure if this may help, but I’ve heard that some people order it online when they can’t get it locally.
Thank you! And also, I am seeing that expeller a good quality expeller pressed coconut oil still has melting point of 76 degrees… is that what you recommend, or do you think I should use the raw virgin cold pressed?
Essential Depot has lye for soap making, very good prices and it’s pure!
You can buy lye at Essential Depot. It is a great website.
If I made pure olive oil soap would it be ok to use for laundry?
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say, but if you do try it make sure to run your formula through a lye calculator as your saponification values will change!
That would make pure castille soap – have a google of it – it creates a ‘slimy’ lather. Some people love it, some don’t care for it at all (as a body/face soap). Personally I wouldn’t go for it as a cleaning product as I wouldn’t find it bubbly enough but it is a commercially available cleaning product so experiment and see.
The properties of coconut oil make it the bubbliest of all soap ingredients so perfect as a laundry detergent.
I’ve been making soap for about 10 years now. Pure olive oil soap is more complicated as it doesn’t harden quickly like coconut soap. Any soap made from pure liquid oils will be very, very soft & take a very long time to cure.
If you let coconut oil soap sit & mellow for about a month or so, it’s not drying but very conditioning for skin.
Thanks so much for the recipe I’ve been wanting to try homemade bar soap. Gave it a go last night and followed exactly but when I waited for it to cool to 100 degrees so I could add my essential oils it hardened and became crumbly. Do you know what I did wrong or could change for the next attempt? Also is it normal for it to have a distinct smell?
Oh Tara, I’m so sorry! As I mentioned in the post I don’t add essential oils to this formula, so it may be that coconut oil hardens at a higher temp than my other soaps (which is where I got the temp). The good news is all is not lost! You can simply re-melt the soap and add re-pour into your mold if you’d like. Here are the instructions: http://www.soap-making-essentials.com/rebatching-soap.html
The only other possibility I can think of is if maybe the lye measurement was off. If the soap is chalky and crumbly it might be a possibility that there was a problem with the measurements somehow.
On the “distinct smell” question, I’m not sure how to answer! I grew up on unscented ivory soap, which had a fragrance based on the type of fats that were used. It wasn’t strong, but it was there, you know? I’d describe the fragrance of this coconut oil as being like that, only a different fragrance because a different fat was used.
Do you need to use a croc pot? I don’t have those available where I live.
Yes, for hot process soap a crock pot is recommended 🙂
No, you don’t have to use a crock pot. Search around on the internet and you will find instructions for doing it in the oven. I even found a site with instructions for a room temperature process!
Hi, I have a 7 quart croc, is that big enough for this recipe? If not, will 30 oz of CC oil work do you think (running back thru the lye calc)??
If I want to use your recipe for the laundry soap, how would one use it? Is it in bar form as well? If so, is it just to treat stains with it? Perhaps I’ve missed something. Thanks in advance!!!
Hi Heidi! If you click on the photo of laundry soap it will take you to my recipe, which will explain how it works. 🙂
You don’t have to use a crock pot if you pour into your mold only about half full (I have wood molds that I line with parchment), then put it in the oven at a low temp for a few hours. When it’s done…no zap on your tongue, push it down like you’re packing brown sugar until its flat and level. Let it cool and slice.
you mentioned a low temp, what temp exactly?
Hi Heather, can this recipe be made using the cold process method? Despite the long curing time I do prefer that to hot process. I would guess the curing time would be less with this recipe anyway. Thanks!
I’ve only just discovered yor blog do I’m looking forward to checking out your recipes and all.
Hi Jane! I have a friend who loves cold process and have watched her do it, but I have not personally worked with that method so I can’t really say. 🙁
Can you turn the bars into body wash?
I don’t believe so, Sunshine. However, you can make a decent body wash with liquid castile soap 🙂
This looks terrifying (chemistry and experiments and lye, oh my!) AND wonderful. I can’t WAIT to try this once I get my hands on some lye! And some strong gloves.
Hello!! I can’t wait to make this soap!! But I have a question… Instead if placing the soap in one mold, could I place it in silicon molds and make cute little hand soap?? Just wondering if it would work… Also, I bought your book and I’m ordering the supplies I need to make most of the recipes tonight!! I love it!
Thanks for all your advice!!!! And thanks for writing the book!!
Yes, you an definitely pour it into smaller molds! I hope you enjoy the book! 😀
Could you use tea instead of the plain water?
Yes, you can!
I’ve never made soap before in my life, so please excuse me if I’m asking DUMB questions here. Can I make this with the coconut oil I already have at home? It’s Lou Ana All Natural Pure Coconut Oil. It says it’s Non Hydrogenated. Can I use this to make this recipe and have it come out right?? Also, I see in your recipe that you are using 32 oz of coconut oil. Does this mean that you’ll end up with 32 oz of soap? What size container will I need to hold the soap until it hardens? It looks like you’re putting it in a glass meatloaf pan. So would that work? Also, can I use freezer paper turned up with waxy side towards soap instead of the parchment paper? Thank you so much for your help! I’m getting really excited about trying this!! 🙂
I am not familiar with Lou Ana so you’ll have to check with the manufacturer. What you’re looking for is a coconut oil with a melting point of 76 degrees. This is the most commonly available kind and the preferred type for soap making. There is also a coconut oil that has a melting point of 92 degrees and another that is “fractionated,” meaning that the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving only saturated fats. I have not tested this recipe with either the 92 degree or fractionated oils, but it works well with the 76 degree type.
Because you are adding water and a tiny bit of lye you’ll end up with more than 32 oz. of soap. The container size depends on how tall you want your soap. I let mine set in a medium-sized bread pan. Freezer paper would probably work though I haven’t tried it. Hope that helps!
Lou Anna will work just fine! I’ve used it before and it’s great for soap making!
I just made this with the 92 degree coconut oil.. .looks fine.. hope it washes well. 🙂
Thank you so much Heather for your response!! I’ve been doing some more reading and it looks like I can use that coconut oil. I’m going to probably be making this today or tomorrow! I’m soo excited! I’ll use the LouAna today because I just want to ‘play around’ a little, but in the future, I’ll probably buy better grade coconut oil. THANK YOU soo much for this recipe and your help!
I HAVE MADE SOAP!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This is really too easy! Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’m pinning this to use again!
Yay! I felt the exact same way when I made soap for the first time. When I realized how easy it is I couldn’t believe I had been intimidated to try it for so long.
I keep reading soap making sites and recipes, always with the intentions of ” this is the one I’m gonna try” then I see the lye and am scared off. I really think this may be the ONE.
I looked thru the comments but didn’t see my concerns. Clean up after making the soap because of lye…do you just put the utensils that come in contact with lye/mixture in vinegar to neutralize, how do you dispose of this? Just pour down the drain?
My stick blender has a plastic blade cover, I’m wondering about the high temp of lye mixture with this type of immersion blender.
Guess I’m still a little leery of the lye….but this is very likely the ONE that will get me to try. ? ?
i love this post… this looks super simple and it would definitely be something i will make and use regularly!!
I am dying to make this but don’t have scales…do you think there is there any way around this??
Sorry, Angela, but you definitely need scales for this recipe! Otherwise you’ll end up too much or too little lye, and neither is a good scenario.
Very excited to try making soap using coconut oil. I’m thinking after measuring the coconut oil I could put it in the crockpot to melt and skip the melting in a pan part. Yay, one less dish to wash!
I was thinking the same thing: why not just melt it in the crock pot? Aside from the extra dish to wash, some of the coconut oil will be lost because it will leave a residue on the pan. If we’re trying so hard to measure carefully, I’d rather keep it all in one vessel.
You can definitely make it without using another pan. I just put my coconut oil in the crock pot and turn it on low, then I make my lye mixture. When the oil is melted, I pour in the lye, stir, blend with a stick blender until trace and cook for about an hour. Couldn’t be simpler!
I am soo in LOVE with this soap! I’ve given some to some friends of mine, and they are loving it also! And much to my surprise, even my husband has converted! lol! He came in from working on greasy farm equipment and washed his hands with this soap and they came clean! Earlier today I made some lotion bars with Shea and cocoa butter and used some soap scraps to wash up my cooking utensils. It washed the oily residue off very well! I’m thinking this stuff would rival Dawn dish soap! Hence my question. I want to try and make this recipe into a liquid version, to wash dishes. I know I need KOH to make liquid soap, and according to the soap calculator to make 16 oz batch, I need 6.08 oz water and 3.37 oz KOH. (This is with 18% super-fated like your bar soap recipe) My question is this: Has anyone tried this? Do my calculations look right? I’ve searched the internet and I can’t find a 100% coconut oil liquid recipe. They all have other oils added and they aren’t super-fated, so I’m a little leery. From what I’ve read, you have to dilute with 3 times the paste weight. Heather, are you going to be trying this any time soon? lol!
If you are making dish soap, you might want to skip the superfatting, that really is just for skin moisturizing. I would probably go with the 1% superfat goal for cleaning soap. If you make some, it would be awesome if you came back and posted how it went. I would be interested to hear about it. 🙂
Hello, I really want to try making this soap. I don’t see where the blender comes in. Also I know have a scale. Is this going to be a problem? If so are these expensive?
Hi Karen, the immersion blender is used when you bring the soap to trace. You can do it by just stirring but it takes a long time. This recipe does require a scale – I picked mine up for about $20.
I am a soapmaker. To answer several questions, yes you can use a bid spoon if you don’t have a stick blender, it will just take a little longer. The soap will do the same in the crock pot anyway (called hot process soap). If you sook the soap AND have been correct in your calculations you should not have any lye left over when the soap is done. Some essential oils can make soap seize up, so not sure what oil made the soap crumbly on one person. ALWAYS make sure you add lye to water and not the other way. Soapmakers remember “The snow always falls on the lake” to help remember the order. And, you can also make a completely lard based soap and cut into bars to use as a stain stick for laundry (has to do with the enzymes in it).
I’m in Venezuela and the lye I find is 95% Sodium hydroxide. Could I use it??
Thanks for your time.
Hi Julia, unfortunately I can only recommend 100% lye. 🙁
Hi Heather. Thank you for posting this recipe. I have a technical question about soap making. I need to buy a soapmaking book, but haven’t yet… Anyways, I’m trying to figure this out. I thought you used the lye calculator for the coconut oil and then it would give you the recipe for how much water and lye to add… And then after that is cooked or at trace you would add the other oil that would not saponify and would make your soap less harsh? I’m confused about the 18% that your recipe states. Can you tell me about that? I’ve been putting off making soap because I don’t understand how to put my stuff in the calculator. Thank you in advance I really appreciate any help you can give me. Leigh
Hi Leigh, the calculator I use allows me to enter a superfat ratio so that I can mix it all together at one time. There is only enough lye to turn 82% of the mixture to soap so the remaining 18% is unconverted, which makes it more moisturizing.
Thanks Heather! I made it! 🙂 I didn’t cook it so it’s curing! I love your page and stories! Excellent Job!
Really amazing – going to try your recipe (my first soap ever, so really excited!). Thanks for being so clear in your process, this is one of the best descriptive user-friendly I’ve read online in hours and hours of researching this topic. 🙂
Is there any way of knowing what type of essential oil will seize up the soap? I so would love for my coconut oil soap to smell like coconut! Lol
I can tell you one – lemon oil made mine turn into an instant brick!
I have a old hand held mixer, can I use that instead of a stick blender? thanks I am really looking forward to making both the laundry soap and the soap for our family to wash with. Blessings
Theoretically yes, but I would be concerned about the mixture possibly splashing with a hand-held mixture. Lye can cause burns in it’s raw form.
regarding the scale…. is there any reason why I couldn’t use a non-digital scale? this is probably a silly question but I am very intimidated by the whole soap making process… but am so excited to try it out! Thank you for sharing this!!!! 🙂
I wouldn’t. Digital scales will allow you to measure to tenths of an ounce, or even more accurately, to the gram. You don’t want to take the chance of adding too much lye and burning your skin or too little and leaving a residue.
I am new to all this and want to learn more. I read in a comment something about a book. Can you tell me more please. Thanks, Rebecca
Made the lathering skin bar tonight with .5 oz of wintergreen EO and .5 oz of eucalyptus EO and it’s fabulous. Lathers luxuriously and smells divine!
Hi there! Thanks for all the great recipes and wonderful ideas! I’m sorry if this was previously asked. CAN you use the 20% superfat for laundry, or would it ruin your clothes? I’m asking because I already made the body soap a couple weeks ago and I would like to try the laundry soap now. Thanks in advance!
I personally wouldn’t. The extra oil could create deposits on clothes 🙁
I’m looking to make soap for the first time and am planning to use your recipe, but I have a question. Your equipment list includes a plastic, long-handled spoon, but the one in the photos appears to be wooden. I am inclined to be somewhat concerned about using plastic with lye, and am guessing that since coconut oil does not tend to go rancid that a wooden spoon would be sufficient (plus I have tons of extras!). Thoughts or clarification? We’ll be using these things exclusively for soap-making as we’re producing to sell, so I’d like to make sure to get the right equipment. Thanks!
If you’re using it exclusively for soapmaking wooden is fine. Since you’re new to this I just want to stress one thing – make sure it is cooked thoroughly! You may want to test it with a pH strip until you get the hang of things 🙂
the reason for not using a wooden spoon has nothing to do with rancidity. the lye will eat up a wooden spoon and you will end up with bits of splinters in your soap. high-temperature silicon is a better bet.
Just a quick question- once the soap is ready to be used, and after you grated it, do you add any washing soda/ borax/ baking soda or citric acid at all?
Thanks for your reply!
Hi Niva! Yes, I do. You can find my recipe here https://mommypotamus.com/homemade-natural-laundry-detergent-made-easy/
How can you say this soap is natural when you use Lye ? From my viewpoint Lye is a negative factor when making this soap.
Lye is a product that is found in nature. I buy mine for convenience but it can be made from hardwood ashes, and it’s absolutely needed to convert fats into soap through a process called saponification. It’s how people have been making soap from the start 🙂
How do you think soap was made 100 years ago??? Lye was made in the old’n days by leaving used firewood/ash outside on slats over a bucket. It would get rained on and you’d get lye water in the bucket. You’d then heat and mix that with your fat to make soap. Only now they make it standardized so you’re not guessing at the pH of the lye water.
Ever look on the back of a handcrafted soap label to see “saponified coconut oil” or “saponified mixture of … ” ? A way of saying it was made with lye without actually saying “lye”. The chemical reaction that occurs makes it safe to wash with.
Lye is how soap is made. Lye is a natural product. Every time you have ever used any solid soap, it was made with lye. If it wasn’t made with lye it is detergent, and THAT is an unnatural chemical shitstorm.
The entire world is made of chemicals, including us. Lye, or sodium hydroxide, is refined wood ash, basically. It’s a salt. It’s also a strong base, or alkali.
Next time you sit down to dinner, and sprinkle a little sodium chloride on your eggs, reflect if this is natural enough for you. Is the sodium bicarbonate in the biscuits natural enough? Is the hydrogen hydroxide in your soup pot acceptable? Or in that same soup pot, will you have hominy treated with sodium hydroxide (yes, lye!) in the posole.
Or you can wash your body with sodium laurel sulfate, which is a known carcinogen. I’m sticking with the safe, pure, natural soap that I make myself.
Thank you!!! I couldn’t have said it any better!!!
hello i do not have a crock pot but i do have an old deep fryer which i use to boil ham in @ 76-80 C.
it can go lower in temperature so my question is how hot is your crockpot at the lowest setting
Lye was easy to find found mine in the shelf for swimming pool mainanance in Global House store ( THAILAND)
Sorry, Maarten, it doesn’t have any info other than low/medium/high so I’m not sure!
I couldn’t figure out how to “respond” so I am using the “Reply”.
I have a question regarding the Coconut Oil Soap. Can you use soap bar molds for this product or is it too hard?
Hi Irene! I’m not sure I fully understand your question – are you talking about regular soap molds? If so, then yes they would be fine to use. You might not want to let them sit too long before cutting, though 🙂
one question…………I have made one batch 2 days ago, and I love this so much making another as we speak, question tho, do you have to stir it as it is cooking????
No, you don’t have to stir it. Glad you like the recipe!
I am on my third batch of soap and it works wonderfully, but the only trouble that I am having is that it is hardening up on me too quickly. I try to let it cool slightly to add EOs and it clumps so none of my bars are smooth. Even when I take it straight from the crockpot to my molds I am having the same trouble. I have been following the recipe to the T. Please help…thanks!
I have been making lye soap for a while. I do not use a scale and I do the cold process. I have multiplied my “Batch” by as much as 6 times, and just multiply the lye water and lard and oil the same and mine is perfect every single time. I’ve used coconut and olive oil, pure lard, and added lecithin once. I have never had a “bad” batch and it has always set up perfectly no matter what kind of oil I use. Not sure why you have to be so precise in your recipe. I do not own a scale and still make perfect soap every time. What’s the difference in yours and mine that makes your have to use a scale and lye calculator? Maybe I am just too old fashioned but I don’t believe 100 years ago they had scales to measure the lye in the soap they made. And theirs turned out good. My grandmother made it all the time and even rendered he own lard used in the soap. IT was not perfectly white but was always a good hard bar soap that lathered good. I buy pure lard at grocery store in 3 pound tubs. I always make large batches using minimum of 6 tubs of lard.
I would LOVE to talk to you, via email, I have no scales and no stick blender and really want to make this soap as soon as possible. I need some to make laundry soap and I am about out of laundry soap. I really want to be able to so this but everyone I talk to says you Have to have the scales and the stick blender. I sure could use some help. ( i n good hope 16 @ msn .com with no spaces is my email address. ) tyia blessings
I would also like to hear more about your recipe (taylor . aaliyah @ gmail . com) Is it possible to make it without the lard?
So…..I just made my first soap EVER. Generally I tend to do something wrong so I think I did it again. I measured everything, right, I hope. I put it all in the crockpot, blended, got the pudding and I let it cook for a longgg time. Probably 2 hours or so. Because I was scared I would undercook it. So finally I decided to shut it off and it is very waxy. I did the test and it didn’t zap me BUT after about 10 sec my tongue slightly burned and then it went away??? My biggest concern is in this ‘GEL’ wax I have chuncks of something that looks like hard coconut oil when its below 70 degrees. The wax is hot but there are still chuncks in there! I tried breaking some of them down but there are everywhere. Some are big, some are small. So i just gave up and put it all in the molding pot and now awaiting to cut it because its 1 am and I have been doing this since 7 pm ): I would appreciate your input on the chuncks, tongue burning, if you think this soap is safe and what I should do? I did the the fat one. Hope to hear from you,
Hi Julz! My guess is that the soap is overcooked. Here’s an excerpt from another blogger that may explain why:
“When I first started making HP, I had the lumpiest soap ever. Even the cured bars showed the tell-tale white spots. There are two main reasons for hard lumps in soap — over-heating and over-cooking. In my experience, HP should never be brought to a temperature over 140F (60C). Doing so causes the indirect heat source to become more direct as the sides of the pot or slow cooker heat up enough to over-cook or burn the soap. The hot sides contact the soap, causing bits to over-heat and harden. While harmless, these hard bits will affect the look of the finished soap.
As with cooking soap at too high a temperature, cooking it too long will also cause lumps. A longer cook time means more evaporation — and evaporation means harder, thicker soap. As the soap continues to over-cook, the soap will begin to form hard lumps. I have rarely had a batch of soap of any size which required cooking for more than 45 minutes.” Source: http://gracefruit.blogspot.com/2006/07/hot-process-hints.html
Thank you so much! I ended up cutting it and all the directions you posted and it turned out fine! I am just soooo happy that I made my first soap I pretty much told the world! Glory to God for giving me grace to do this lol. And blessings to you, Heather. I heard your daughter sing a song on one of the videos you posted how to make lotion, joy to my ears (:
YAY, I’m so glad it worked out for you, Julz! I just made a batch myself 🙂
My coconut oil was exposed to heat and is now liquid. Do you think I could still use this to make soap or was something changed chemically?
Melting oils will not change them chemically, unless you added something else to it. Pure coconut oil that has melted will re-solidify into pure coconut oil.
Well, I made this soap, but was looking at your site from my phone and because the reciepe for both types of bars are right next to eachother, I accidentally put the amount of lye for the laundry bar, into the bath bar recipe. I also added some food coloring to these bars, before I realize my mistake. Bar works great on greasy hands for hubby when he’s working in the garage, but too harsh for body use. My question is, if I grind these bars up to make the laundry soap on your site, do you think the food coloring will dye my clothes? May be a silly question, but I thought I’d ask.
Hi Joanna! I honestly can’t say, but I think it’s a possibility that they might cause stains. What a bummer – so sorry! 🙁
Moni K. George
Can I mix a little of Honey wax? If yes how much? Will the lye remain same?
If you change the ingredients you will need to recalculate the lye 🙂
So I’d love to use this as a “base” soap of sorts. It’s simple and the ingredients are basic so I’d love to use this recipe for all/most of my soaps, but altering/adding ingredients depending on what I want. Question is– how do I know how much of the added ingredients (eg, clay, essential oils, etc) to use in the soap? I’d like to make an activated charcoal and tea tree soap but I’m not sure how much of each to add and whether or not it’d change the consistency. Also, can I add another oil, like if I wanted to include castor oil how would I do this?
Hi I am making this right now and the mixture isnt *folding in on itself * in the crock pot it looks more like it is puffing up and foamy almost…. could that be because it is a different crock pot? I did blend it first and it thickened and everything looked fine? it has only been in there about 10 mins but I judt want to know if maybe I have done somthing wrong?
also I touched it to my tongue and it didnt *zap* but it slowly started to burn a little then went away…
Hi Sasha, it should take longer than 10 minutes for the mixture to rise up the sides. You’ll probably see it happen soon 🙂
Help! My soap has been in crockpot for two hrs. and it has not foamed up on sides at all. It is just separating. What should I do?
I’m so sorry, JoEllen, but I have never had an experience where my soap separates. If I had to guess there may be an issue with the lye. If for some reason it is not working you’d have oil and water, which of course would separate. If the lye was converting the oil/water through saponification it wouldn’t separate. If it were me I’d check the label and make sure it is 100% lye.
It was 100 percent. I decided to use stick blender and it turned for thick mashed potato consistency and I put it in loaf pan. Soap tuned out ok. Lye was still very warm when I added it to oil even though I waited 10 min. Should it be. Should I take a temperature and make sure it’s the same as oil?
Hey – I am having the same issue. My lye is brand new and 100% lye. So weird. Should I just let it continue to sit in the crock pot for longer?
I have a question. How do you measure in those increments of 4.83 and 12.54 ounces…..the scale I have only goes from 4.80 to 4.85 and how would I adjust the oil and water accordingly for those measurements?
Hi Carla! I’m sorry, but I”m not sure I understand the question. Your scale only measures form 4.80 to 4.85? If so, you probably need a scale with a wider range for this recipe 🙂
Last year,I bought,stocked and forgot one gallon of coconut oil.It has become rancid.I happen to grow vegitables and you say that coconut oil with potash lye makes a “very dry” liquid soap. Incidentally, insecticidal soap solution, sprayed on insects, dries the insects dead on contact. Now my question is: how I can make liquid soap, using Potash lye and rancid Coconut oil. Do i have to make any changes in the lye calculator because the coconut oil is rancid? thank you, Abraham Tharakan
Hi Abraham, unfortunately making liquid soap is a completely different process that utilizes a different kind of lye. Though I hope to in the future I don’t currently have experience with it.
With referance to my comment of Sep12, 8.24 pm . and your reply on sep12. 8.52 pm. If I were to make solid soap with the rancid coconut oil and sodium hydroxide lye, would I have to make any changes in the lye calculator ? I do not want to feel guilty that I wasted so much coconut oil due to my negligence. Thank you Heather. Abraham Tharakan.
I wouldn’t think so, but I honestly don’t know for sure.
How well does the soap hold up? Coconut oil melts if it comes contact with your skin won’t it still do that?
No, it won’t. The cooking process converts the fat to soap, which causes it to react differently 🙂
hi!im a student from phillipines and thinking on how to make a simple papaya extract home made soap.my prob is i dont know the measurement of the ingriedients..tnx!
NaOH is not compatable with glass, especially when hot. It actually reacts with the glass to form sodium silicate. It’s always much safer to mix up the lye solution in a plastic container instead. It may not be apparent initially but its always best to be safe.
Thanks for letting me know, Val! I don’t have any plastic bowls but I will get one 🙂
I just bought a 16oz HDPE Nalgene bottle for mixing the lye. They have multiple sizes available on Amazon:
I have looked through all the Q&A to find the answer to a question I have, didn’t find it so I have to ask, Is the coconut oil “super fated” or do you have to add more coconut oil to do this and recalculate the lye amount?I want to make sure my soap is silky and soft and not drying out my skin. Or can I just use the exact measurements that you have? I have never made soap before and I am so excited to start on this. Got some herbs drying in case i want to use them. Have a men and woman scent for 2 batches. Got molds, neat cutter and some colors on order waiting to come in. Hoping to get a batch made this weekend. If all this works out and I find out that I am going to love it I hope to continue to make the body washing soap. I already make my own laundry soap and I love it. It does a wonderful job on cleaning my clothes and the smell is wonderful. I hoping for the same results with the body soap. If you could answer this one question I think Im ready to go except waiting for the weekend for hubby to come home to mix the lye. lol thanks for all the info you have on this site looking forward to hearing back from you.
Hi Tina, the first recipe is superfatted 🙂
Hi Tina can u pls tell me how u make ur laundry soap?
i made a big mistake and added the oils before it finished cooking, now it got all puffy and fluffy and i’m worried if i should finish cooking it or just put it immediately in the loaf pan, help!
Added which oils?
the essential oils that you said were optional
crockpots may not be available all over the world. it is difficult to find one in india. what if you use a stainless steel vessel or a glass vessel , instead of a crockpot? what temperature should i keep the mixture of lye and coconut oil going for a sucessful end result,ie soap.
Hi, My friend and I have made this soap twice, but it took us about 8 hours in the crockpot! What were we doing wrong? could we cook it on high instead if low?
Hi Anna, I honestly don’t know why that would happen unless your crockpot “low” setting is really, really low. Do you have this experience with other soap recipes?
Just wanted to let you know my hubby and I made a batch of this soap last weekend. It turned out wonderful!
This is SO easy I didn’t even have to do the zap test your pictures looked just like my product so I figured it was right. It set right up and cut like butter. I let it sit out for a week before wrapping the bars in plastic wrap. This weekend is the men scent. Did woman last weekend. Since this is so easy and I love coconut oil I was wondering if I could add things like rosemary and mint herbs. real Lavender herbs? Things like that. I think I want to try it but i don’t want to mess up that much soap. What do you think. Again thank you for this recipe!
Glad you like the recipe, Tina! I think if you add the herbs at the same stage you add essential oils it would be fine 🙂
Hi, Been using this recipe successfully for years now, but want to add an anti-fungal property to it from tea tree oil. Anyone tried it or have ideas? What amount? What kind? And at the end?=equal to method for adding an essential oil?
Looking at the pix doesn’t check the ph. Hope your soap doesn’t bite you.
I made a batch of this a few weeks ago (body bar) from your beauty recipe book. My boyfriend and I both love it! I just had a question about sourcing coconut oil. I was looking to invest in a larger amount from a quality source (I’ve gotten from good sources, but want to get in more bulk quantity online) and was curious why you like Wilderness Family Naturals? I was looking at them, and Tropical Traditions, and was wondering if there was a large difference between the two, or a reason you might choose Wilderness over Tropical Traditions? Any information/ insight you could give me would be great!
Thanks a bunch, and thanks for all the helpful recipes! They have really helped get toxins and nasty chemicals out of our lives!!
Haha oh my I had quite the experience with this one, but it was a good learning one 🙂 I’ve never made soap before and I’ve been nervous because of the lye, but I’ve read up on it a lot and knew not to use metal supplies. Ok glass bowls and plastic spoons check! I melted the coconut oil in the pan and added it and then the lye/water mixture to the crockpot and mixed until it traced. Then you said cover it, but I didn’t know I needed a cover and this one didn’t have one so…I used tinfoil. Well within 10 minutes it was bubbling up from under the tinfoil and down the sides. I can only assume it was the tinfoil reacting with it. Anyways by then it felt like soap and it hardened on the surfaces it touched even though it was warm. It looked like yours did even after only 10 minutes, maybe because of the reaction, so we put it in the pan, but we figure it should be fine if we let it sit about a month. Thank you!
I also wanted to thank you for doing a recipe without borax. My husband won’t let me use it in our he washer because he says the whole nature of borax is that it’s insoluble and will never break down so it will wear down your water pump., so it’s a no go in our house.
I have a question about coconut oil being ‘drying’ if you use more than 30% in this recipe….if it will dry your skin, then why are we putting pure coconut oil on our faces? This may explain my face looking like leather after I’ve applied it to my skin (with a mixture of 1/2 cocoa butter).
I make coconut oil soap and after about 6-8 weeks it starts turning brown. How can I stop the soap from turn brown?
This is a favorite post…pinned it on Pinterest!
I punched your recipe in the soap calculator with 20% superfat and here is what I got for the values. 5% is normal superfat. When you get around 10%, it can get tricky. Your soap might be oily. I can’t imagine 20% but I take your word for it that it works. I might have to try a test batch just to see for myself. For those who don’t know what this stuff means. The INS value is what you try to shoot for for a well balanced soap. Superfatting 20% sounds like a mess to me, but I might have to try it. I think for the novice soap maker, they might be better off with 3 or 4 oils and sticking to 5-8% superfat. That being said. Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm(sustainable sourced) oils are the go to oils for soap making. I usually use castor oil and another one or two of 6-8 different higher end oils(avocado, pumpkin seed, jojoba, kokum butter, almond, shea butter, coco butter, shea butter, etc) to make luxurious conditioning soap for winter. I am now starting to experiment with deer tallow since it’s hunting season around here and the butcher was kind enough to save 20 pounds of deer fat for me to reduce down to oil. I ended up with a gallon of pure deer oil for free. Anyway. Here is what soapcalc dot com shows for this recipe.
Soap Bar Quality Suggested Range Your Recipe
Hardness 29 – 54 79
Cleansing 12 – 22 67
Conditioning 44 – 69 10
Bubbly 14 – 46 67
Creamy 16 – 48 12
Iodine 41 – 70 10
INS 136 – 165 258
This is awesome. I can’t wait to use it once I get a crock-pot 🙂 Until then, I have it pinned, keep up the natural awesomeness!
I made 100% coconut oil soap…from About.com first. It says to use only 9.6 oz water for 33oz coconut oil and yours is 12+oz. Yikes. Mine seems to be ok…just wondered what lye calculator you use? Want to get this the best it can be.
I am pretty sure I followed the directions carefully. Everything seemed fine until after the time on low in the crockpot. I took it out at 43 minutes because it looked just like in the picture. It was pretty hard and in waxy clumps. I had let it cool a bit and mixed in some absolute rose essential oil. The essential oil mixed in but it was still so clumpy and crumbly. I scooped it into the mold and pressed it down to try to get the clumps to stick together… but most of it just crumbles into little bits. What did I do wrong? Did I leave it in the crockpot for too long?
Hi Elisa, one or two possibilities comes to mind. First, sometimes soap can be crumbly when the lye is measured incorrectly and too much is used. Second, soap can be crumbly if it is cooked on high heat and/or too long. My guess is that your crock pot may run a bit hotter than most – I’m so sorry you had trouble with the recipe!
Thanks! I think it is my crockpot. It is still pretty new. Although there is also a chance there was a little more lye because our scale only measures by the tenth. I don’t think we were more than .05 off though. I think this soap will work out as laundry soap, so it won’t be wasted. It smells amazing! I will try out the recipe again. My mom has a more precise scale that I can borrow, and I will watch the crockpot more closely.
tried making this tonight. it was mostly a success, but i had a problem during the process – the soap WAY overflowed my 5 qt crock pot about 20 minutes in. i scooped what i could back in, but with the lid off while i was cleaning it cooled down a bit and never resumed climbing the sides. so i just kinda guessed when it was ‘done’ and left it on for a little over an hour. it has a….pretty strong scent now. it lathers beautifully and feels great,but this scent is unattractive. i washed my hands with the soap and i can smell it as i sit here and type. so i’m assuming this is not normal since no one is talking about a scent this strong. is the overflowing a sign my crock pot runs hot, should i try cooking on ‘warm’ next time instead? any other ideas? thanks!
Hi Lauren, I think it may have mostly been the size of your crock pot. I use an 8 quart and will update the instructions to reflect that – so sorry it overflowed! About the scent, I’m honestly not sure what may have caused that. My soaps – which are made with organic expeller pressed coconut oil – are virtually unscented.
I own a 4 quart crock pot. Is there any way I’d be able to make it work for this recipe? Maybe watch it closely and stir often? Or is it just out of the question!
I suggest stirring your soap, I had this happen once with a lard soap recipe and now stir all my soaps.
I was searching for a soap recipe, and found your post. I was wondering which lye calculator you use. I make 100% coconut oil soap, and my calculator shows a different superfat.. Just curious……
Hi…I’m making this right now. My crock pot overflowed in less than 2 minutes! It is a massive mess, and I feel like the oil prevents some neutralization. I can’t even keep it on “keep warm” without the billowing overflow. I followed each step exactly, and am a trained scientist. I feel confident everything was correctly done…help?
Libs, is it possible that your crock pot is smaller than an 8 quart?
I love your blog, and everything you do, but I have to be honest about something. I feel that this recipe should be geared toward people who don’t buy coconut oil in bulk. I’m willing to bet that most people don’t, and that we’d benefit more from a recipe that uses 16 or 32 ounces of coconut oil, since they are sold in 16 ounce jars. Also, your option to leave a reply is at the end of all the comments, so if there are 1000 comments you have to scroll to the bottom of all of them to write a comment. If you wouldn’t mind, it would be a good idea to look into moving the comment box to the top of the comment section.
Love the tutorial! I tried making the bar soap yesterday and at some point in the process I turned the page (printed directions) and used the lye measurement in the bar soap recipe. All of my measurements were precise for the bar soap except for the lye. It was the 5.9 ounces instead of the 4.83. What do you suggest? Will this be too harsh for skin? Do I need to make it into laundry detergent instead? Thanks!
Yes, I think it will be too drying for skin. I would use it for laundry 🙂
Epic Fail! My crock pot was way to HOT! I had it on low but the temperature gauge has never worked that well and when we first put it in it boiled over ….and now I have hard clumps of white in the soap. I will try again but with a good crockpot! Merry Christmas to me.
Can’t wait to try this!
you are my hero!!! I’m from South Africa so things have a slightly different meaning here – crock pot is called a slow cooker – coconut oil is not as easily obtainable, and is costly. But with the pic’s I got the crock pot ready and with a little search I got my coconut oil…and I am allllll smiles – the first batch is a little clumpy but will do just nicely for own use
This is a great , easy to use recipe. Thanks for posting. I am excited to try it out a soon as I get home. I live in Belize where coconut oil is traditionally made with organic abundance. I am also going to try this with cohune oil.
I can’t wait to try this!
This recipe is currently in my crockpot right now..I’m so excited to see how it is when it’s done. Question: have you tested this on cloth diapers? I’m wondering how it is for that.
Hi Bree, yes I have used it on my cotton prefolds. It’s worked beautifully, but some manufacturers will void your warranty if you use soap rather than detergent on your dipes. And of course depending on the dipes it may/may not be a good idea to use soap. I tend to favor natural fibers 🙂
Oh I know. Mine are all old cotton prefolds. Just wanted to see if it leaves much build up or not.
Can’t wait to try this… will be my first soap making venture. Wish me luck! 🙂
I started making it then it began to look like lumpy mashed potatoes that are somewhat clear. Where did it mess up???? Tempature of crockpot is at 150 on low setting. Is this right???
Hi Chelsey, it sounds like yours looked like mine does before I spoon it into the mold. In fact, “lumpy mashed potatoes” is how quite a few people describe the look of hot process soap while it is cooking http://hubpages.com/hub/hotprocesssoapmaking
Riens Handmade soap
Yes that 20% super-fat should do the trick and we’d have a very blow bubbly bar. Love this. Good job!
Hello. Love your blog and appreciate all your tips on natural living. You are helping me change the way I live 🙂 So thank you!
I do have a question about this soap recipe… I have been looking for quite a while for a homemade all natural oil based cleansing bar and have tried a couple that I’m not really happy with. I haven’t heard of LYE before so I followed the link you posted and was alarmed that the label on the bottle says that it’s a poisonous substance. I researched a little further and from what I read, I’m not comfortable at all using this product. What is the reason you choose to use it? Is there any other alternative I can try (besides wax)? I’m not concerned with the “soap” lathering or not, (I’ve been very happy with how well coconut oil cleans by itself) I just want the bar to stay solid at room temperature and I want to be able to scent it so I don’t always smell like coconut. HELP! 🙂
Hi Gina, lye is a product that is found in nature. I buy mine for convenience but it can be made from hardwood ashes. It’s absolutely needed to convert fats into soap through a process called saponification. It’s how our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made soap 🙂
Gina, sounds like you are not wanting to make soap but to solidify your oil. I’m not aware of any other natural ways than using wax, like you had stated. The reason you use lye is to MAKE soap from oils. The lye transforms the oils into soap through a chemical process called saponification. Think of making a cake, you combine the flour, eggs, leavening agent, oil, etc and use heat as the catalyst and in the end you have a cake that no longer has the properties of the initial ingredients-it’s the same for soap making. Many soap makers will “superfat” their soaps to add excess oil in the recipe that doesn’t get saponified to make moisturizing soaps. I hope this helps and didn’t confuse you more = ).
Has anyone had experience using this soap in an HE washing machine? If so, how long has it been used? I was worried that a 100% coconut oil might be excessively bubbly for an HE machine.
Is the coconut oil soap all that’s used in the washing machine, or is it being combined with some washing soda, baking soda, etc.?
I have an HE machine. I make my own soap that I’ve been using about a year. I use 4 bars zoat or fels napa grind in food processor, baking soda, arm and hammer washing detergent boost, Pyrex crystals, oxyclean,borax. Not a lot of suds clothes are clean with no smell. Oxyclean takes care of the bleach part, puex crystal takes care of fabric softener part. So this also saves moneys on bleach and fabric softener. I used to be a Tida and Downey girl. But this does such a great job I’ve stopped using tide and Downey. I use 1 lid full off the crystals per cycle. My husband is a truck driver and to me dirt road and diesel stinks! This takes it all out. Sorry if I’ve stepped on any ones toes for not using what they use. This stuff just works so good for our family.
Tina, thanks for your reply.
Hello! This looks great, I’m just doing the math to work out if it is cheaper than the current stuff I use. I’m sure you’ve put it somewhere but I can’t see it sorry – how many 5oz bars does this receipe make?
Thanks so much
How to make ” pure” coconut oil soap ( for cleansing and laundry) I’m very confused. You really use this soap on your body with Lye in it?
Hi Beth, lye is a product that is found in nature. I buy mine for convenience but it can be made from hardwood ashes. It’s needed to convert fats into soap through a process called saponification. If the ingredients are measured correctly and the proper method is used, lye fully converted during the process of saponification and none remains in the final product. Every store bought bar of soap was made with lye, and it’s also how our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made soap. Hope that helps! 🙂
Just curious….you say to put the crock pot on low but yet in your pictures…. it is set to high??? Do you turn it down or something? I just want to make sure I have the right temperature. Thanks!
me and my girlfriend were trying to make this soap twice with the exact recipe. First time we definitely used a crock pot which was too small and we also didm´t have a digital scale. The second time we used a 5.5l crock pot which is about 6 quarts and a digital scale. However, both times the mixture came all the way up to the top. Did we do anything wrong? The crock pot was set to low. The mixture wash´t really usable after that due the mess we had in the kitchen.
Hi Semmy, it sounds like the problem is that your crock pot is too small. As mentioned in this post I recommend and 8 quart for this recipe. So sorry about the mess!
Don’t be afraid of stirring your soap and don’t step away from your crockpot until you are familiar with how a certain soap recipe will react in your crockpot. I had the same thing happen to me when I made lard soap for household cleaning purposes, I gave it a good stir and it was fine. Now I stir all my soaps made hot processed in the crockpot for even cooking and to avoid unprocessed lye pockets. I would try again with your size crockpot (you have same size as mine that I use for soap making with this size recipe of oils), just keep your eye on it and stir as necessary. Good luck.
I just tried this soap recipe yesterday.. im hoping you might be able to identify what went wrong! i believe i followed all the steps correctly, measured everything exactly. I even believe the mixture got to trace, then i left it in the crock pot on low for an hour. The soap did eventually get hard but this morning, but when i cut it, it is very sticky. And im not sure it is exactly what you would consider “solid” at room temperature. I put it back in the fridge, but i dont expect it to be usable bars. Any idea what could have gone wrong? the only thing i can think of is that i added the essential oils too soon, i added them once i hit trace because i had remembered that from other recipes. So is there any way that baking the oils in the crock pot for the hour could have messed the whole thing up? other than that im not sure what happened! any help would be great! thanks!
Hi Alicia, I haven’t encountered this so I can’t say for sure. My bars are “tacky” when I cut them a few hours after making a batch, but not outright sticky. Based on this discussion on a soap making forum it is likely the bars will dry out a bit over the next few days: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=14584
I would love to make this with a lemon verbena scent for my boyfriend. I am having a difficult time finding lemon verbena essential oil that isn’t going to be really expensive. Would lemon verbena fragrance oil be acceptable?
Hi Angel, it will certainly work, but you may want to check the ingredients in the fragrance as they are likely to be synthetic.
I did also find ground lemon verbena, but I’m sure that would substantially change the ingredient measurements.
I tried your recipe, just because I had the ingredients on hand and I was curious. What really surprised me is how well it works. My laundry is not only clean, but it feels softer and cleaner than when I used regular laundry detergent. The tiny bit of essential oil I added for fragrance doesn’t carry over to scent the laundry, but I use a dryer sheet fabric softener anyway. I threw in a fairly dirty towel that I had used to clean the floor, to see if it really cleaned and it came out perfect. I don’t think I’ll go back to the detergent pods I was using. Thanks for this!
Woohoo! I’m so glad it worked so well for you. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and let me know!
I’m wondering if you know if it would be ok to divide the soap recipe in half and make 2 batches. I don’t have an 8 qt crock pot yet and when I tried it in my smaller crock pot it ran out the side.
Hi Elizabeth, it should work but the cooking time may be reduced a little.
Thanks Heather I so appreciate your recipes.
Heather, with the melting point for coconut oil at 76°… how does the soap bar, stay a soap bar? Will it (soap bar) melt in a warmer climate?
I made this in my 6 quart crock pot without even knowing it shoukd be 8 quart!! Mine didn’t rise like the pictures very much but it still looked like lumps and mashed potatoes, reaching the gel phase nicely. I am not sure why it didn’t rise to much though..still came out great but it seems to dry my hands out when I tried it. :((
Elizabeth, did halving the recipe work? What size was your smaller crockpot?
With coconut oil’s melting point at 76° . What keeps this soap in a solid bar? And not a big glob mess?
Soap is NOT coconut oil.
The chemical interaction between lye and coconut oil is pretty powerful.
When you heat the oil with lye, you are altering the chemical composition of the mixture – you no longer have lye *and* coconut oil; you now have soap (a process called saponification – YAY CHEMISTRY!!!), and it does not have the same melting property as the source oil. While incomplete reaction or poor mixing may result in pockets of oil left over due to superfatting, the majority of your soap is going to be solid, and most if not all of the remaining oil molecules will be trapped inside. Coconut oil has a long shelf life, so the extra oil shouldn’t go rancid.
How much of the laundry soap do you put in a load and will it disolve by itself or do I need to shave it? Thanks
I use about 2-3 tablespoons depending on the load. You can find my recipe here: https://mommypotamus.com/homemade-natural-laundry-detergent-made-easy/
If I’m washing in warm water it will dissolve by itself. If I’m washing in cold I start the machine on hot, add the soap and swish my hand in the bottom to dissolve it real quick. Then I switch the setting to cold and pass my hand under the stream of water to rinse of the soap 🙂
I tried to double the recipe and I could not get the soap to trace at all. Can you tell me what I might have done wrong? It just wouldn’t work.
I’m not sure, but my best guess is that when doubling the recipe you may have miscalculated the amount of lye to use. So sorry you had trouble with the recipe!
Check the oil section at Wal-Mart or your local grocery store. My local price for LouAna is 30 oz for $6 and no shipping. Sams Club sells a larger jar, but the price per oz is about the same.
I halved the recipe (this is my first hot-process soap so I wanted to test it out) and it seemed to be going well until I stirred it and everything went pear-shaped! The soap accelerated like crazy and now I have a big batch of crumbles and chunks to work with. Def did not achieve neutrality. Ph was about 11 when I tested it.
I guess I will let it cure and use it for laundry soap, but I’m wondering what went wrong here?
I’m sorry that happened to you! I can’t say for sure what happened, but you may find this article helpful in figuring it out: http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/soapglossary/a/SoapSeize.htm
Has anyone tried using a disposable plastic crock pot liner for protecting their crock pot (for food use afterward)? Just wondering if that would work so I wouldn’t need to get a second crock pot.
Is it ok to use this soap in a high efficiency washing machine and does it work well for cold water washes as well as hot?
My first time making soap hot process and I LOVE it! Very rich creamy lather, my hubby has discovered it and it is now his favorite soap as well, I don’t scent mine, I like it as is, thanks so much for the wonderful recipe 🙂 definite keeper to make again and again.
Just made this soap for the first time! I just cut it however its still pretty oily…is that normal? Thanks
Hi Carly, I haven’t really noticed it having an oily feel 🙂
Yeah its drying but when I touch it its like I’m touching coconut oil and it gets oily. Maybe reduce the oil amount next time just by a little amount? Thanks
Oh and when you’re measuring everything out I added in the weight of the bowls too…so like the oil was 33 oz plus the amount of the bowl it was in. ??
Hi Carly, when you measure ingredients you need to exclude the weight of the bowls. Usually there’s a “tare” button on the scale that allows you to zero out the weight after you’ve added the bowl but before you’ve added your ingredients. I don’t recommend altering the recipe, as doing that without recalculating the lye can leave leftover lye in the finished product which can burn skin. Is it possible the saponification did not complete? Perhaps it did not cook long enough?
My daughter started making and selling soap to earn money for college. She does a soap of the Month club through my business. http://Www.almanaturals.net she does a great job!
So trying this!
Janet Cross Harrison
Joyce Cross, hummm, good soap recipe to try!
I love making this for my other DIY cleaning needs. It’s so much more me when i can use my own handcrafted soap vs store bought bars:) I love the lather and bubbles this soap gives me laundry and dish soap
Victoria Lynn McGaugh
Id have to buy a bunch of equipment to even do this lol. Sounds awesome but seems like a ton of trouble to go through. I wish I could be that person though. Scrubbing with chemicals later lol
Great recipe! I’ve been making for quite some time! once a month.. I do dishes & and laundry with it! Very easy to make..
Hi. an you recommend a shampo for kids?
This is so easy to make and the results are not only cost effective, it works wonderfully.
Love this soap!
Karrielinn Moore Cadle
Sounds good, but wouldn’t it kill our washer or dryer over time since it hardens and would form residue? Or is there something that combats that? Curious.
Karrielinn, you can use vinegar as your rinse agent. It’s natural, effective and removes soap from clothes.
Stefani Allen Wood
Sarah Mason Keegan
I was actually going to try this during nap time today, but I don’t have a crockpot dedicated to soap making yet. Is there any other way to do it? Is the stovetop too hot on low?
Sarah Mason Keegan
Iris Martell, how do you use it for dishes?
Alexis Kay Eyer
Dorothy Forist Redner
I keep a bar by the sink and a sponge and scrub … Sparkling clean dishes… Old fashion way… It has to be at 1% super fatted
Sarah, you can use the stove top, if you use a double boiler. I just bought a thrift store crockpot.
Angie Guerrero Brinkmeyer
If you use a double boiler does it have to designated to make soap only like the crockpot?
I don’t get how oil base in a laundry soap wouldn’t coat the clothing and adhere permanently to fabric.
All cp soaps are oil based 🙂
How much of the soap would you use in a load of laundry?
Kate Runn – Here’s my recipe 🙂 https://mommypotamus.com/homemade-natural-laundry-detergent-made-easy/
Jenn Higgins Bogedin
Jenn Higgins Bogedin
I’m a little confused. Doesn’t coconut oil clog pipes? How can you use it as soap yet keep it from clogging up the plumbing? I’d love to do it, but not if it’s going to cause a lot of problems later on.
Soap is made through a chemical reaction called saponification. In this reaction, the coconut oil is changed from oil form to a soap, which doesn’t have the properties of coconut oil. The remaining oil in superfatted soap is in a suspended state throughout the soap, much like the oil in mayonnaise is suspended in emulsion (which we don’t worry about clogging sinks).
Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support
April, The coconut oil in this recipe is mostly saponified – aka turned into soap. The remaining oil is no more problematic than the “one quarter moisturizing cream” that is sometimes advertised 🙂
I make this in my crockpot that I use for cooking. Remember the end product is soap so it cleans your crockpot! There is no lye left after saponification. For those wondering about the oil clogging things, the oil is saponified in the process, it isn’t oil once it is made into soap (unless you superfat it) otherwise all soaps would clog pipes as they are all made out of oil.
Joan Butler Ward
And the benefit of using coconut oil to make laundry soap is????
Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support
Joan, Coconut oil creates a very cleansing bar that is considered highly effective for cleaning clothes.
Margaret van Blommestein
Make me some please.
I will try to make soap this summer. I have all the ingredients already. I am so excited!
Nicole Loyd Sandoval and John Buckner….our summer projects need to get underway…
Thanks, Elizabeth Tetlow!
Is this cloth diaper safe?
Khali Anderson – Yes, the recipe variation that has no added oil is what I use for my cloth diapers.
I mean my sons. I don’t wear them, of course.
Lol, thank you!!
I have made this soap several times and it is wonderful, creamy, rich bubbly soap 🙂 I leave it unscented.
Question: I wanted to use this as laundry soap….BUT, do I need to let it sit for 2-3 wks? I make soap all the time, but never the coconut oil soap. Mine has other oils….all natural. But again, I just wanted THIS soap for laundry. So I’d really like to know if I need it to sit for weeks, or if I can just use it after 1-2 days.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW :):)
Since it’s hot process it can be used immediately as laundry soap 🙂
Thank you so much for the reply!!!!! I am doing laundry today and was thinking of giving this a go 🙂 Since I run a business, I already have all the things I need!
Thanks so much 🙂
Hi this is in reference to your coconut soap recipe. Can you add roughage such as bits of dried flowers, as exfoliant and if so, at what point can they be added?
Hi Susan, I think you could, but I don’t have any experience with it unfortunately.
Have you ever used liquid lye? I think that is why mine doesn’t seem to be working. It’s not getting hard or foaming up the sides of my crockpot. It’s creamy and definitely soapy and I’m not getting the zap. Not sure if I should let it cook longer or just let it cure and see what happens?
Hi Danae, I have not used liquid lye. I believe that may be used to make liquid soap but I’m not sure.
Hi, I wanted to ask if Castile soap can be used instead of Lye? Or if there is any other substiute.Thanks.
Hi Charu, lye is needed to convert the oils into soap. Castile soap is a finished product – the oils and lye have already been mixed together and converted to soap. Because the lye in castile soap has already been neutralized it can’t assist with the conversion process, unfortunately.
I had 2 questions. 1, can I use a hand mixer instead of a stick mixer? And 2, I have essential oils for tealight candle diffusers that I like, can I use those in making my soap?
HI Matthew, I do not recommend a hand mixer since the potential for spattering would be high, and until the lye in the mixture is converted to soap it can cause burns. Any essential oil is fine.
Thanks.Is there anything I can use in place of a stick mixer?
You can use a plastic, long-handled spoon that is dedicated to soapmaking. It will take awhile to get to trace.
Hi there, so I don’t have a stick blender. and I don’t really want to buy one. Can I just use an electric mixer? Or regular blender? Thanks!
I would not use either as they are likely to splash and lye can burn skin.
Thanks, I’m trying to find the materials I need but I’m on a budget.
So can you use just any plastic cooking spoon?
I just use a slotted stainless steel spoon I got from the dollar store.
Is this the “soap” you use for bathing your kids? I am wanting to find something to use for everyday baths and washing up for my 2, 4, and 6 year olds.
How many ounces of soap does this make?
To anyone who has made this or any other soap, what kind of scale would you recommend for the most precise measuring? The one in the link above measures every .05 oz or every 1 gram and not in between. If we need to have precise measurements, specifically for the lye, then what would be best to use?
Heather..just so you know..they are changing the formulation in many hardware stores for lye because these sick people are using them to make crystal meth and drugs so you cannot rely on the fact that the lye you buy in the store is the real stuff. Im sure you didn’t know this when you made your recipe but sadly this is true. Sometimes i think its another excuse to stop people from making homemade cheap products. That’s why they are raising the prices of baking soda and washing soda and all the other stuff. I heard it on the news so i thought i would share it with you so you can recommend where people can get the pure lye
I’m excited to try this soap! I’m wondering how many bars it makes when you cut it. Also, I have heard of people adding sea salt for exfoliating to some soaps. Can this be done with this soap? Thank you!!
I made this soap last night but had a couple of issues that I didn’t see in the comments, so I thought I would share. Things were going well until I went to put the stick blender into the crock pot. I do feel like I have to mention that I bought my stick blender at the thrift store and it only had one speed and appeared to be an older version. So, I put the blender into the crock pot, fully submerged and hit the button and the lye, coconut oil mixture shot out of the slots in the blender and went everywhere (and I do mean everywhere, I was still finding spots of it this morning on my upper cabinets), as I was gathering my thoughts on how I was going to make this work, the stick blender was sitting in the crock pot, I looked down and the mixture is bubbling, I pulled the stick blender out and the coconut oil/lye mixture had eaten the finish off of the blender. So I bypassed the “trace” stage and hand-stirred for a while to thicken the mixture. I thought, no problem, disaster avoided, I can use this for laundry soap; put the lid on the crock pot and started to neutralize and wash all of my lye dishes. About 30 minutes later I turned around and the lid on the crock pot was bubbling off! So I stirred my mixture down, I didn’t see anything in the instructions that said I was supposed to stir or not to stir (that is the question, tee hee!!), so I stirred to avoid another clean-up mess. I am glad to say that at midnight last night, I was cutting coconut oil soap bars and will have lovely smelling clean laundry in a couple of weeks. I would like input on the blender problems if anyone has any thoughts. Thanks and God Bless.
Hi, how many ounces of fragrance would you recommend?
In my search for cruelty free body soap, I discovered Made from Earth’s soaps, and it has answered all my prayers for a perfect daily soap. Simple ingredients and a gentle scents – I use the Citrus Lavender and the Blood Orange Soap.
No drying, no chemical scent, no sllck, artificial feel on the skin. My allergy prone skin is handling it well. My skin is in better shape than it has been in quite a while.
Is 20% superfatting still lathering? I want to make your soap recipe but I’m worried about it not lathering enough. I like it bubbly and lathery. I’ve made soap before that didn’t lather very well using 10% superfatting. I forget what I used
With coconut oil it does indeed lather quite well.
So excited – I have my first ever batch in the crockpot right now!!! I’m going to try putting thieves oil in to help one of my kids with bad acne.
Hey! I finally got the lye in to try this recipe (I had to talk a hardware store owner into having it ordered, long story short- meth is a serious problem in our area) and although I was scared of the lye reaction part, I pushed forward. I tested a bit on my tongue earlier after having it in the crock pot about 35 minutes and it was waxy and didn’t ‘zap’ me it just tasted gross. Hoping I did this right, I think I might test this batch on myself before passing them out to family and friends and potentially burning them, lol. So worth it to have fresh simple soap at home! 😀 Thanks for sharing!
My stick blender is plastic on the end instead of metal. Is that going to be an issue when mixing the lye mixture and coconut oil?
My stick blender also has plastic parts. I have never had trouble with it. I only use this stick blender for soap making though. I describe my process above (different than in this post) in the comments if you search the page for “Lori.” Over time the plastic on my stick blender has become a little foggy, but that may also be from washing it on the top rack of my dishwasher.
We tried the recipe, and our soap came out crumbley–before we could add any fragrance. It did lather up nicely, but we wanted to make bars for gifts…
Heather ~ Mommypotamus
Hi Su, crumbly soap is usually a sign that either too much lye was used or it was cooked too long. Is it possible that either of these scenarios might apply? So sorry you had trouble with the recipe.
If someone else asked this, I missed it…….What about all that coconut oil going down our drains? That doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
I posted earlier but forgot to click “notify me” for comments.
I’m concerned about coconut oil going down my drain on a regular basis. Won’t this clog the drain eventually?
Hi Debbie, the majority of the oil in this recipe is saponified. In other words, the oil reacts with lye to make soap, which does not post an issue. There is a small amount of oil that remains (20%), but I’ve never had a problem with using it. Drains are designed to handle a certain amount of oil because as we wash naturally occurring oils on our skin are rinsed away.
It’s risen really high (to the lid of the crockpot) and doesn’t seem to be going back down. Is this normal? Did I go wrong somewhere?
Nevermind, it ended up sinking back down. They are cooling now. We’ll see how it turns out!
First time making the soap and it turned out well, but it is drying my hands. What did I do wrong?
You may need to give it some time. It mellows out after a few weeks.
is there any way i could do this without a scale, like if i converted the oz measurements to cups and tbs? or would that be too big of a risk? thanks 🙂
Hi Isabella, it needs to be by exact weight. 🙂
thank you for posting this!
quick question: mine is slightly crumbly and not difficult to cut even after several days.
what is your thought regarding this.
thank you in advance for your reply!
Hi Bobbi, I’m honestly not sure. Slightly crumbly usually indicates that it was cooked too long or too much lye was used, but “not too difficult to cut” makes it sound soft as well?
i made it again today;
i think i cooked it just slightly too long last time, it is such a pretty soap. moist though, which i think is weird.
tomorrow or Wednesday i will make your French green clay soap; really looking forward to that.
thanks for all the assistance. i am reading all the comments; it really helps to hear other people’s experiences.
again, thank you!!!
How do you use this for laundry soap?
What type of crockpot liner did you use?? Just the crock inserted itself? Your photo is a little deceiving to make out.
I use the crockpot liner as is. But I have a devoted crock pot for soap making now too.
So quick question (answer when you get a chance of course tho, lol), but can I use the soap interchangeably? I made some a month or so ago and have a bunch of bath bars left, but now I need laundry detergent. Can I use what I have left, or should I just bite the bullet and make some of the laundry recipe? I don’t want my clothes oily but I don’t need them unwashed either, lol. Help!
They really shouldn’t be used interchangeably. The laundry soap is too harsh for skin, and the skin formula is too superfatted to be optimally effective.
Ok, thanks for the quick reply! I decided to hold off on making any until I knew one way or the other, so I’ll make some tomorrow. 🙂 Ready to try out this laundry detergent!! 😀
I hope you love it! We sure do 🙂
We used to use the precut base soap you find at the craft store to melt in your microwave to add scents to on a bar by bar basis. After the coconut oil soap is finished, cut, and cured, can this recipe be used the same way? I.e. can I make your recipe with no oils then remelt soap bars to add essential oils one bar at a time? I just got so many essential oils for Christmas, I want to play around with different combinations until I find my favorite. Thank you for all your hard work! I am always on your site looking for new projects.
Hi Amber, this recipe is not quite like melt-and-pour soap. You can definitely rebatch it, but the process is not quite the same and the texture will change somewhat.
Thank you for your recipes Mommypotomus!! Question please: I am online looking for Lye and the one you link to is now $32. I found another one that says “food grade” and is also 2 lb. for $9…do you mind checking to see if that one is okay for that price?! Here is the link. I’d love to save the money obviously!!!
It says on the ad that it’s good for soapmaking, so you should be good to go!! I would def. use it.
Wow!! Thank you so much for this recipe!! I was wondering if there was a good recipe for coconut oil soap or not. I’m going to make this today! (The old fashioned way, not the crock pot way.)
You are so sweet to answer everyone’s questions, too!!
Hope you have a great 2015!!
I am making this soap as I type this! It puffed up and overflowed my crockpot at about 20 minutes in. I measured everything on a digital scale and followed all the directions exactly. I scraped up everything that overflowed and put it back in the crock but the soap also seems like it is already cured! It is so hard and will not remelt. Advice?
Hi Jaclyn, did you use a large crock pot (8 quart)?
I have a question.
1. Can there a way to use melt n pour soap or melt n pour soap from scratch recipe rather than using lye?
The reason i ask this question is because i have a high intolerance with anything that’s not healthy, not natural and not organic. My concerns with this is i have very sensitive skin to where if i used a product that isn’t natural nor safe to my skin i will get bad skin reactions. So i am just wondering if there’s a better solution to this.
Hi William, all soap is made with lye, which our ancestors used to obtain from rendered hardwood ashes. Melt-and-pour soap is simply soap that has already undergone the saponification process (the adding of lye) before you use it. I covered it more here if you want to explore further: https://mommypotamus.com/making-soap-without-lye-and-other-myths/
Hope that helps!
Great recipe, I’m really excited to try it out. However, I’ve been making a lot of beer soap lately by just replacing the amount of water with flat beer, do you know of any reason why that wouldn’t work for this recipe? Thanks!
I’m making my own laundry detergent but don’t have the supplies to make my own soap yet. I found Kirk’s Original Coco Castile soap, a coconut oil soap, and was wondering if I could use this type of soap to mix with my Borax and Washing Soda for my detergent? What effect does the 1% vs. the 20% or so have on the ability to clean laundry? Help!
Great Article! Just curious, does this soap have any advantages other than it being all natural? Does it last longer? More effective clean? Thanks!
Could I use parchment paper in the bread pan instead of butcher paper?
Thank you for this and so many fantastic recipes!
Yes, you definitely can!
if you don’t mind me asking, which digital scale do you use? I’ve used a few and found they are pretty inconsistent.
This is Great! I’m looking for different type of homemade soap recipes to make as gifts. Thanks for the great pictures too! Sometimes the explanation just doesn’t do it.
I’ve been following this for over a year-just good solid information-thank you!
I have started a small business selling natural soap and skin care balms, etc. I use this recipe as may “basic” soap and add different things for variety.
I have 2 questions
1) I would like to make a double batch of soap when I have large orders? I am concerned about what size crock pot I would need?
2) Could I add bentonite clay to add an exfoliate? If so, how much?
I am confused. I have always made my laundry bars using lard and thought that it made the best soap for cleaning clothes. Please explain to me the difference between the two ingredients.
I have made this soap (lathering skin bar) before and it is perfect and I use it as a base for everything. However this time I was making it with a friend, got distracted, and forgot to let the saponifying mixture sit in the crock pot. Instead, I poured it into molds immediately after trace. OOPS. Anyone have any insight on what skipping this step does/doesn’t do? I feel kinda foolish since I was trying to teach my friend how to soap!
You just made cold process soap. Let cure for 4 to 6 weeks.
All – When making any type of soap using lye (NaOH), do not use any pots, pans, etc. that are made of aluminum. Aluminum is incompatible with lye.
Could I use goat milk instead of water for this recipe?
Hi! LOVE this recipe! The most simple I’ve seen yet and I loveeee that it only uses coconut oil!
I wanted to know how to add other things to change it up like, I want to make a charcoal and tea tree soap that includes castor oil. Do I add the charcoal at trace? How much castor oil do I use and how would that impact the amount of coconut oil used?
Also, is there a way to do this exact recipe but using the cold process method instead of the crock pot?
Thank you! 🙂
OH! & how much charcoal would I use?
I’ve only ever done cold process for this soap. It’s much faster than the crock pot method. I have added fine sea salt to my soap during trace, but I’mnot sure how adding charcoal or other additives would go. Usually you add essential oils a little after trace as the soap cools but is still pourable.
If you want to add castor oil you’ll want to use one of the online lye calculators to make sure you have enough lye to saponification all the fat, or not too much lye for the amount of fat you have, which would cause a burn. I’ve never used castor oil in soap before (though I have recipes which use it) but I imagine it has a different fat content than coconut oil. Enter your ratios into the online calculator and it will tell you how much lye to use. Make sure to litmus test the finished product since you’re experimenting a bit.
Has anyone made this soap recipe using the cold process?
Do you have any recommendations for a brand of essential oils or fragrance oils to use. I want something that won’t fade throughout the whole bar. I don’t like it when I buy a bar and it smells great then looses the scent before it’s gone.
Apologies if this has already been asked, there are so many comments that my eyes started bugging out trying to find a similar question. Once the process is done, before you pour the soap into a pan to harden, could you add water to create a liquid soap?
No, unfortunately that will not work. You can grate it and mix it with warm water to create a liquid-ish soap, but it won’t work like what you’re used to.
Fantastic. My mom just started making soap a few weeks ago and is scared to get into the lye handling and such. She wants to try and start selling it at the markets but she wants to start out slow. I found this video as well that some folks may find helpful in addition to the information above.
Hello! I love your recipes so I’m really excited to try this one!! Forgive me if this question has already been asked, but how many bars of soap does this yield? I want to compare the cost to the kirks coco soap with this to see if it’s a huge savings or if I should just keep buying bar soap to make laundry soap! Thanks so much!
I was wondering how many ounces of soap this makes? I want to cut it into 5 oz bars and wondered how many this would yield. Thank you!
I really enjoyed your video; very well done!
You mentioned shampoo bars in your video. Is this made using the same recipe as the Lathering Skin bar (20% superfat).
Hi Robin, the shampoo bars are made from the same ingredients but different ratios. You can find the recipe here: https://mommypotamus.com/shampoo-bar-recipe/
PLEASE no more gray text – just use black so people can read without struggling
don’t be a slave to fashion – readability is what matters
black always works
I would like to try this recipe, but I’m not seeing the recipe for the shampoo bars. I’m wondering if it is the exact same for the laundry bars and you just also can use it for shampoo? Or is it a different superfat and I just don’t see it?
Hi Amanda, the recipe for the shampoo bars can be found here: https://mommypotamus.com/shampoo-bar-recipe/
Hello i had a few questions . On the laundry soap and bar soap and shampoo can you use coloring to change it from being white ? Also I seen the link you posted for the coconut oil I wanted to know what kind of coconut oil do you use their is so many different kinds ! Or witch ones could you use ? I love this and can’t Waite to try it thank you so much for sharing this !!
bit of a novice here but I use unrefined cold pressed coconut oil from trader joes as its pretty good priced (5.99 for 16oz) and I have used it for ingesting and oil pulling and plan to for the body soap as well 🙂
You can also purchase a giant tub of cold press virgin coconut oil from Costco for, I think, $26 and that’s Canadian so it may be less in USD.
I would like try these soap respect but crock pot might not be big enough can u cut the recepesfor in half
Having looked around the internet everyone else just heats the fat to the same temp as the lye stirs the lye and mixes them, no crockpot. But from what I can make out theirs is not ready to be used for a few weeks. So can I make your recipe without the crockpot and leave it for a few weeks before I use it ?
Also thank you for the info on the different types of coconut oil I have been using a cheap one for cooking I might have to cough up abit more in future.
Claudia – That’s called Cold Process, and there is a four-week or so curing time. This is Hot Process, and the heat saponifies the soap far more quickly, so it’s ready as soon as it’s cool and dry.
Hi! I made the soap today! I am so excited to try it! One problem I ran into was after I checked it at 25 minutes it was overflowing out the back of my slow cooker. It is the larger cooker and I had it on low. When I used it for food I always thought it was too hot. Do you think it is ok? Can it be done sooner if it is done at a higher heat? I did the “taste test” and got a little bit of a delayed zing.
Hi Laurie, yes it could conceivably be done sooner, but your delayed zing experience makes me wonder. You may want to treat it like cold process soap and let it sit for a few weeks before using.
I made your recipe and found it very drying to my skin. I was curious as to why this would happen…
I entered you recipe into a soap calc. The first set of numbers are the standard reccomendations and the second number is the calculation of the recipe:
Hardness 29 – 54 79
Cleansing 12 – 22 67
Conditioning 44 – 69 10
Bubbly 14 – 46 67
Creamy 16 – 48 12
According to this calculator this recipe is way to hard on the skin.. What am I doing wrong??
Hi Heather Do you happen to sell this soap? I would be interested in purchasing.
I’ve thought about opening and online store at some point, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet 🙂
I make the soap all the time and re-melt for liquid dish soap too. We sell it on facebook. But it is so easy to make that I have been concentrating on selling the unique body bars and just showing people how to make the laundry cleaning bars themselves. It also works great to pre-treat stains. Just get the end of the bar wet and the area of the spot wet with warm water and rub it on. Wash as normal.
Hi there hiw long do you coconut oil soap bars normally last thank you for the great video
Hi, thanks for sharing your recipes. Does this laundry soap work in cold water washing?
Yes it does However I’ve found that in order for it to dissolve it’s best to start the water on warm, add the soap and swish it in, then flip to cold and add the clothes. It takes me just a few seconds 🙂
It works really well on the warm setting on my washer.
Hi there, Im investigating over tooth soap and I would like to know if this home made coconut soap can be used to brush teeth (is it safe? does it have the correct ph ? ect)
Thanks in advance! 🙂
I would like to make saponified coconut oil to use as foam soap. Do you have a recipe for that? Or have you tried it? Thanks!
Thank You Heather!…This looks wonderful and your video is super helpful in learning the process! I will try to make this one very soon for our family…I can hardly wait to do it! You are a wonderful teacher and I feel alot more comfortable trying to make soap now…skin bars, laundry soap and I may even try your recipe for the shampoo bars! This is great! Thank you again!!!
i was wondering if you could add things to it such as oatmeal or herbs? Or would that mess up the process? Thanks
Additives would go in after the process is complete or the lye will digest the herbs or oatmeal.
Thank you, Heather!
The recipe sounds so easy I can’t wait to try it! The only problem is I’m not sure about the temperature. My crockpot is different from yours and there’s no such thing as ‘low’. So I wondering may you know how many degrees do I need?
Can I use a 7 quart crock pot?
It may overflow if you don’t keep an eye on it and stir if it starts to increase in volume, but you can try. 🙂
Hi! I am planning on making a batch of your shampoo bars, and also the cleansing bars today. I gathered all of my ingredients, and with them, I also got a gorgeous canister of mango butter. My question is, can I incorporate some of that in with the cleansing bars? If so, how does that change the measurements? And does that get added in later or at the same time as the coconut oil? I am a total newbie at soap making and am really having trouble working with the lye calculator, so I am simply using the recipes that look good, like yours!
Hi Heather! Thank you so much for the recipe and tutorial. I am so excited for my first soap making experience! I do have a safety question though…I read where you said that if using a wooden spoon, that spoon would need to be designated for soap making after that. By following your cleaning instructions with vinegar and followed up with soap, will I be able to use my crock pot, bowls, immersion blender, etc. again for food cooking purposes? Don’t want to poison my family 😉 Thank you!
Wooden spoons can absorb lye, which is why it is recommended that they be dedicated to soapmaking if used in that way. According to Anne Watson, author of Smart Soapmaking, tools such as stainless steel spoons can be properly cleaned and used in the kitchen. More info here: https://mommypotamus.com/making-soap-without-lye-and-other-myths/
I will like to learn about soaps. Anyway I think u’doing great I like the way you teach
How do you use this bar in the washer?
I have been using your shampoo bar recipe for a while and love it!! I was wondering if this soap can be made with coconut milk instead of the water. Thanks!!
Hello Heather! Thank you for the amazing tutorial! You can also try using muffin trays lined with wax muffin liners instead of using the loaf pan, so that you won’t need to cut them up anymore. plus they’ll come out roughly the same size and shape. Much easier especially when making big batches for gifts during the holidays or for your online store. 🙂
I watched the video on the making of coconut oil bar soap….what do you do differently to make the laundry soap? Do you sell your homemade soaps?
Hi Lyn, in the post I share two different recipes – one for a body bar and one for laundry soap. The process is exactly the same, but the ingredient ratios are slightly different.
I made these bars without the crockpot..do I need to let them sit a few weeks or can I use them within a few days…
If it’s cold process, it has to cure for 4 weeks or so. >.<
Thank u so much for the recipie!
is it for babies’ use too?
Are all natural recipies u post are safe for babies too? Like shower gel etc..?
Many thanks 🙂
I have used this soap on my babies. It’s not tear-free, though, so I have always been careful to keep it out of their face. Most of my recipes are child-friendly, but a few are for grownups only. For example, I wouldn’t use the warming muscle rub on young children because it contains essential oils that I consider too strong for them.
Yes, this recipe is safe for babies. Not all of my recipes are, but I do have a lot that specifically mention whether or not that is the case.
This is really great! How many ounces of soap does the batch make? I’m trying to compare prices between this and commercial soap. thanks!!
Hi, I am more used to litres than oz.
I converted your measurements but I have a doubt: when you use ounces and oz. do you mean the same thing? Its just an abbreviation?
Also, the temperatures you indicate are Fahrenheit o Celsius?
Yes, oz. is an abbreviation for ounces, which can be measured by volume or weight. In this recipe, the ounces must be measured by weight in order to work.
I make my own soaps using a melt and pour base from bramble berry. However my mother and I are looking to make our soaps entirely ourselves. I just remelt the soap and add essential oil and fresh herbs and pour into molds. If we made these bars and let them cure for a couple of weeks could it be used as a melt and pour base then?
I need your help. I’ve tried the coconut oil soap recipe twice with a cold process and both times the soap bar comes out with an amazing lather but is VERY drying to the skin afterward. I even tried to add shea butter the second time with 20% super fat thinking the extra fat would help moisturize but with no avail. Can you help me figure out how to make this soap really moisturizing and not drying? Thanks.
It sounds like this particular oil may not a good fit for you – so sorry! Everyone is different, and sometimes skin responds better to certain oils/butters than others.
Hi, I have been making my own laundry detergent for almost 2 years now. I don’t like the Nephla soap. Some times it dosent desolve even if I grind it really fine. After awhile I can even feel a “film” on my soft Rachel blankets and then I have to go back to using the All clear on the blankets until they return to their softness. I like this recipe a lot. I will have to try this along with your other soap recipes. Curious to try the shampoo bars. I thought that was funny, explain why your buying the lye. I had not known that info prior so that is a good tip and still hilarious lol. Also being able to use a cardboard box to make the soap thats a great tip espcially for those of use just starting out on making soaps. Thats great to know especially if we dont have extra change to purchase molds. After all we are going to be grinding it up ones its made. Thanks for sharing all these great diy recipes. I am just starting out making things at home and so far the things I have made are great and have saved me A LOT of money !
Can you provide directions to make this soap without a crock pot? Would putting the mixture in a non-reactive pot on lowest heat setting (warm) on the stove be effective?
Hi Sabrina, I plan to show how to make this recipe using the cold process method in the future. I’ve never used a stove top so I can’t say how that would work.
I would like to make soap with different scents. Does the coconut oil recipe work with other essential oils without smelling like coconut?
I also only have a 5 qt crock pot. Can I cut the recipe in half? Will it work?
I made the coconut soap recipe according to instructions. I got a beautiful, hard soap. I did not add any essential oils. It smelled good before it was used. After I used it once, it got a “mildew towel” smell to it. I dried it on a rack, plenty of ventilation. I used a wash cloth before applying to body. Now, it has a slight stinky smell. However, when I use it, even with that smell, it doesn’t make me stinky…lathers great, rinses off perfectly, and leaves me smelling and feeling very clean. I just don’t understand why the bar has that stinky smell. In all other ways, it smells great. What could it be?
Hi Susan, I make this recipe pretty regularly without essential oils and have not had this issue. Unfortunately, I have no idea what could be causing it, sorry!
Thank you, Heather. This was my first attempt at soap. It is a great recipe and really beautiful. I have made other’s since and am waiting for them to cure. I will see what happens with those. I will also make this recipe again, as I may have done something wrong. Still, it cleans great!! Thanks!
By the way, the deodorant is FANTASTIC!! It works better than any other commercial brand I have ever used!!!!!!
Hi there! LOVE LOVE your blog and “empire” :)!!! I am attempting this creation this weekend and have found everything minus an 8QT crockpot (at a decent price) will a 6QT work or will there not be enough room for the soup to puff and move? I just wanted to make sure before I try it out- what a mess I will have it not. Please and Thank you!
I don’t see anywhere about cleaning up all the products. After soaking in vinegar, how do you wash them? Normal dish soap? Can the utensils & crockpot be used for other things because of the lye being one them?
Your laundry soap looks likes powder. I don’t see the recipe for the laundry soap. Thank you for such a great website.
Has anybody tried adding things like dried herbs or ground oatmeal?
I added ground oatmeal to a batch and it turned out great. I also added a few tbsp of raw honey (one the soap cooled a bit). It turned out very well for me.
I made some tallow from brisket trimmings can i use 1/2 coconut oil and half tallow and still get the same rusults? Ive never made soap but am so excited about rendering my own tallow and am itching to use it!
Unfortunately, you cannot substitute one oil/fat for another without recalculating the amount of lye needed. Each fat has a different saponification value and cannot be used interchangeably. I am a fan of tallow soap, but in my opinion it’s not quite as good as coconut oil soap for laundry. Can be great for skin, though.
Just wondering… how many drops of essential oil do you use? And does the bar smell strongly of the essential oil or more like the coconut oil?
I accidentaly saw your video last night. You inspired me to go out this morning and get a really cool soap melting unit and all other bits and bobs I would need to start creating my own soaps. The most difficult part was finding sodium hydroxide. Couldn’t find NaOH powder in any pharmacy 🙁 only pellets and had to provide my ID card and sign a form otherwise you can’t get it. Well, I hoope pellets will work just the same.
Keep up the good work and best regards from Zurich.
I’ll be sure to visit your blog again.
Hi! Thanks for this recipe: I’m excited to try making my first batch of soap.
I was hoping to start with a smaller batch: I wanted to use just one 16 oz. jar of coconut oil (partly so I don’t overflow my crockpot and partly so I don’t wind up with SO much of this one kind of soap). But the lye calculators I’ve found don’t allow for superfatting beyond 10%. I’m curious if you know how much lye/water I should use for a half-batch?
I can not wait to try and make my own soap. The question I have is you are using a crock pot with a ceramic liner. Mine has a non stick liner. Will that make a difference in the rise process of the soap.
Wow!…I love it!..finally I am going to make my first soap!…I start to collect eventing since more than 3 months but always got scare..
Thank you for this video I going to follow step by step…
(My English is no to good) and all this is like therapy, now most of the time stay in home by myself, and I need it ! ❤️
Thank you for your information. I am so glad that I found your blog. I had some bad experience with homemade cleansers. I tried your recipe for Laundry Soap, though. It works! I can not believe that it was so easy. I put orange essential oil instead of lavender. Thank you for sharing your article.
How do you use it as a laundry bar? Do you throw it in the wash? How much to use? Also can this be used as a soap base for melt n pour? I can’t wait to try it.
I would like to know the same thing. Do I use it with washing soda and borax or just throw some coconut soap in the washer by itself…? I’m so confused!
Dear Heather, would u let me know if this coconut oil soap can be poured in to silicone soap molds and if it molds/unmolds well?
I would love to give it cute shapes using silicone molds…
Also , can you use a natural colorant in it, have you tried it?
Huge tank you, Jane
Hi. I used silicone molds and had no problem un-molding it
I was wondering if the laundry soap recipe will work well for washing dishes. I love how short the ingredients list is! Less chemicals to worry about 🙂 thanks for sharing.
Is it possible to use a whisk instead of immersion blender?
Help! I got my soap pudding like and then it separated. What do I do now?
Hi Carra, did you add any fragrance after the soap reached trace?
No, I didn’t add anything.
Finally just let my concoction cool since it didn’t look like it was going to do what it was supposed to. Now it resembles a brick of soap in a puddle of oil. It really zings my tongue. Can I save it somehow? Is it possible I blended it too long?
Hmmm, that’s usually the issue if there is separation. Did you make any ingredient substitutions? Another oil for coconut oil perhaps? Or measure by volume instead of weight?
It sounds like your soap did not reach trace, but that doesn’t fully explain the separation. Will try to help you figure it out if I can!
I didn’t make any substitutions or measure differently. I previously made your coconut oil shampoo bar, which I love. It turned out beautifully. The only differences I can think of between the two batches are 1) I let the oil sit in the crockpot to melt for longer this time (distracted!) and 2) I continued to blend the oil and lye/water mixture after it looked like pudding. If I let it sit for several weeks will it become usable? I just hate to throw it out! Thanks for your help!
If you still have this mixture you can begin to reheat it and while you are doing that add some solvent ( rubbing alcohol) and cover with a nice fitting lid. You will need to stir the mixture but be sure and replace the lid quickly and only do this in a well ventilated area because of the fumes from the alcohol. You will need to bring the mixture to 180 degrees F and keep it there stirring occasionally until the water has evaporated. Something happened to cause the separation but it can be put back together.
Love the coconut soap and the hot process, so much easier. I’ve made one with a few ounces of argon oil, thinking it would be great for hair. Just tried it with 10 oz argon, and 20 oz coconut. Used a soap calculator to get the lye/water ratio. Step 8 never happened, the mixture just sat there looking like pudding. Suggestions?
Answering my own question. Total operator error. I had the slow cooker on warm, not low. Once I turned up the heat it processed just like it was supposed to. Can’t wait to try it out!
I follow the recipe for the bars of coconut soap and it came out perfect! It’s only the second time i make soap, so I was nervous. The lather is amazing! Thank you for your clear instructions.
Hi Heather, I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my first batch of soap I made using your coconut body bar hot processed soap. I mentioned that it had a “funky” smell after a while (like towels taken out of the dryer slightly wet and left to dry). Well, I figured it was the way I cooked it, as I didn’t do it right the first time (got confused about temps). Anyway, I rebatched it because I didn’t want to waste the product, I added a little coconut milk and milk so it wouldn’t burn and then added peppermint in case the sent didn’t go away. It turned out great. It still has a slight funky smell (cannot figure out what I did wrong), but it does not transfer to the skin when you use it to wash. Having said all of this, this is by far the best soap I have used so far. It has aged beautifully and is a beautiful snow white color. The lather is amazing and has just gotten better over time. I am going to make a new batch today, using your recipe, and see if the smell is in this one. Since you have never had this problem, it has to be something that I did. I have made a bunch of hot and cold processes soap since, and all of it has turned out fine. But, everyone LOVES your recipe. So, I will let you know how it turns out! Thanks for sharing it with everyone. Your deodorant recipe is the best and everyone in the family loves it. Never going back to store bought again. OK, just wanted to give you an update.
I found Kirk’s original coco Castile
Pure Botanical Coconut Oil Soap
can I use this to make laundry detergent?
Yes you can, i use it in mine 🙂
I am looking for a great, natural degreasing soap for my fellow bike mechanics- bike grease and lube can be tricky to clean off. It sounds like this is a great degreaser for hands, not just laundry?? How would you rate this soap as a degreaser?
I accidently made the laundry soap recipe for the body soap. Can I still use this for my body ??
It is likely to be drying to your skin, but if you don’t find that it is too harsh you can use it. I would let it sit for a week to let it mellow out a bit first.
I just made the soap and I did the same thing Tracey. I used the laundry soap recipe instead of the body soap. Have you used your bar soap yet and did it cause any problems?
Question: once the soap is ready to be placed in the form, is it ok to just skip the form part and add it directly to the other laundry detergent ingredients? If not what do you recommend as an alternative to grating the soap?
Can this be made without a crock pot?
Hi, what lye calculator did you use to do this? I want to make a bigger batch, of all of these recipes, but the ones I’ve found: majestic mountain, and mms/the sage, don’t allow for a higher superfat % concentration, like yours. Thanks!
Made the shampoo bar and loving it . I used it for the first time yesterday and as you said my hair is waxy and kinda gummy feeling. Just wondering what do you personally use as a hair “oil” or serum after the shower and to use before using a flat iron or curling iron? Thanks so much !
I typically just rinse with vinegar to restore pH, but I do use a leave-in conditioner with my daughter. You can find the recipe here: https://mommypotamus.com/diy-leave-in-conditioner/
I was wondering if you can add herbs, shea butter and vitamin E oil to your shampoo bar recipe without ruining it and if so, when would I add them and how much could I add? Thanks
Have you ever added both beeswax and essential oil to your soap bars?
So I’ve bitten the bullet and made the soap for laundry – I’ve been so nervous about making soap that I’ve watched the video at least 15 times to make sure that I’ve got it all in my head – the only thing that i’m really worried about now (because I am ridiculous worry-wort) is the cleaning of all my instruments. I left everything to sit in vinegar for around 5 minutes and then washed it all twice with detergent – is that enough????? I’ve even sprayed my floor and counter with vinegar in case some lye escaped without my noticing. I don’t know if I’m over thinking or worrying – but as its my first time using lye i’d rather be safe than sorry – especially with 4 babies in the house (2 human, 2 furry). Would you be kind enough to just run through how much water to vinegar and how long to have it in this solution for, for the freaks like me out there!
You just made soap with the equipment so water is all you need to clean the tools. If you’re really worried after washing away the lather it won’t hurt to rinse in vinegar and then water.
Really it’s only soap when you are done.
I got mine from eBay. But I still
Did the zap test too.!!
Sorry wrong comment- thanks Steve! Is what it was meant to say!
Looking forward to making this soon. Where can I buy pH strips?
I got mine from eBay but still did the zap test.
HI, Just have a quick question regarding the lye used in the soap making process. I am wondering why in the world would I want to use a product on my body that requires gloves to make it? Does something break down in the lye that makes it a safe product? Maybe I missed this in the video?
Hi Audrey, here’s an excerpt from my post on soapmaking myths that you may find helpful:
So here’s the skinny on fats and lye: Both are needed to cause a chemical reaction called saponification – aka making soap. As Marie of Humblebee & Me put it, making soap without lye “is like trying to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano without the vinegar. No vinegar and you’ve just got a pile of baking soda. No lye, and you’ve just got a bucket of fat.”
Unlike modern chemicals, lye is a naturally occurring substance that has been used for thousands of years. (source) When our great-grandmothers made soap, they got their lye by burning hardwood ashes. Unfortunately each batch was a little different, so it was hard to know exactly how much to mix into a recipe. If too much lye is used, some would be left over in the final product, which could burn skin. If too little lye is used the “soap” would be mostly oil.
These days soapmakers buy lye from the store, which is exactly the same each time. Using store bought lye ensures that recipes work out right.
I am going to make this in the next few days…I am tempted to not test because I am afraid to put the sample to my tongue…people have been burned by lye in soap making…is the threat of that over by this point in the process…I see gloves are still needed. Thank you and really interested in your video’s.
OK…so I did the touch to tongue test and it didn’t kill me…call me silly…I love making soap!!!!!!!!!!!
Firstly I must say that you have fabulous hair and skin…. Haha, that’s what that’s compelling me to make your body soap (thinking to try this first then the shampoo bar later)!
Anyway this is my first time working with Lye and yes, I’m definitely worried I mess it up!
My question is: I only have about 50g of lye with me so can I just scale your recipe for the body bar down by proportion? Or do I have to recalculate?
Thank you in advance and live your blog.
Firstly I must say that you have fabulous hair and skin…. Haha, that’s what that’s compelling me to make your body soap (thinking to try this first then the shampoo bar later)!
Anyway this is my first time working with Lye and yes, I’m definitely worried I mess it up!
My question is: I only have about 50g of lye with me so can I just scale your recipe for the body bar down by proportion? Or do I have to recalculate?
Thank you in advance and love your blog xx.
Hi Heather, Thank you so much for all your information, can’t wait to go through it all soon. (newbie from Australia) I am just starting to read all this information on soap making and need to start buying equipment. Is the 8 quart (7.57L) slow cooker necessary? From the video it looks smaller than that, (the one you are using) Also would i need two? One for soap making and one for making broth? Thank you very much. Sandra
your video is great! you make this look so very doable for those of us who have never made soap. would it be possible to update your links for the equipment you use? they aren’t currently working.
also, if you sold your laundry soap bars online i would definitely buy some. 🙂 i am currently in the throes of making liquid dish soap and was able to find a bar similar to yours but am still tweaking to get the exact formula right that rinses clearly and doesn’t leave spots.
thanks for all your helpful info!
Hi Linda! Over the weekend there was a site wide glitch that caused all the links to malfunction, but everything is working again. I’m glad you found the tutorial helpful!
Can I add other ingredients to this soap recipe. I wanted to try cocoa and coffee in it.
Can you substitute coconut oil for olive oil in the skin bar and still work great??
Unfortunately due to the fact that each type of oil has a different saponification value substitution won’t work. If you’d like you can recalculate the lye with your preferred oil and see how it goes. In my experience, though, 100% olive oil soap is very difficult to get just right.
Maybe this is a dumb question, but can I use the laundry soap in my HE washing machine? Or do I have to hand wash?
I made this soap and added cinnamon and lavender essential oils (about .25 oz of each). I did the zap test and it seemed good to me. However, the soap seems to leave my skin dry and in a few places it burns a bit. Does this mean the lye didn’t convert? If i let it set out for a few weeks will it be better? I also wondered if it is the cinnamon oil? I had never used it before.
Hmmm, it could be the cinnamon oil or unconverted lye. If it’s the lye it will mellow over time. Not sure about he cinnamon, unfortunately.
Help! I’m making the soap and it hardened in the crockpot! Can I save it??
I’m sorry to hear that! It’s hard to know what happened based on your description, but I can try to help you troubleshoot a few possibilities. A couple of questions:
1. Did you add fragrance?
2. Did you weigh all of your ingredients?
I did not add fragrance. I measured carefully–weighing. It puffed up, but didn’t ever “fold” over on itself or have any kind of puddle of oil in the center.
I’m trying now to remelt, but it’s not working.
I didn’t add fragrance. I weighed my ingredients carefully. It puffed up, but never really made a “wave” on the side and folded over, nor was there a puddle in the center of oil. It just hardened all puffed up.
I chopped it up, added some water, and tried to remelt, but that’s not working either. It “zapped” my tongue; I just wanted to see where it was at. The PH strip is about 12-14, so something’s not right. I’m just going to have to throw it all away. Bummer! $$$
I thought I posted this question already but I guess there was some sort of error. I have a small 2qt Crock Pot , and really want to make this soap, but I don’t know if I can just halve it or if that would totally throw off the ratio?
Please help! Thanks!
My soap turned out dry. At step 8 it overflowed my small crock pot (will need a bigger one) and hardened and broke into a thousand pieces. What did I do wrong and is there any way to salvage the pieces and turn them into bars of soap??
my soap has gone right up to the top of the crock pot and is pushing the lid up as if it is going to overflow???
Stir it! 🙂
Maybe I am a big wimp….does the “zap” hurt? I am scared!
First time soap make here, had to convert measurements to metric as I’m in Australia. Love the simplicity of your recipe. Is there a moisturising ingredient I can add so that my skin is not so dry after use ? I did make the body bar .
Can you add goats milk instead of water?
Do you think I could use a 6 qrt instead of a 8 qrt crock pot ?
Hi. I was wondering is there a chance that the soap can be overcooked? And also would your batch be the same if i made it cold process?
Looking foreward to a reply.
Im super excited to try out these recipes but I had some concern – we dont pour oils/fats down our sinks because it can blog and clog them! Is this not a concern with coconut oil, since its for a body soap and laundry soap?
no because it’s not oil now, it’s soap! Happy washing!
I made this a few days ago and it smells great, feels great but is super drying to my skin. It definitely strips all the oils out of my skin. Will this change as it ages?
I love it so far but wife tried to use it to shave her legs and she said it was impossible because there was no “slippery” to her skin as she shaved.
Which soap version did you make. I made the shampoo recipe bar and that was fab and not drying and let’s me do my legs!!
My soap didn’t form a smooth pudding? Should i cook it longer? It looks and feels very oily? Not sure what i did wrong, other than not using the stick blender. I used a hand held mixer but maybe too late, about 30 minutes into the process..,it started out ok, but never became like pudding…not sure what I did wrong…
To get to pudding you need to blend it for at least 10-15 mins, or at least I did when making the shampoo bar, I’m guessing the lower the fat content the less time to convert as the laundry soap didn’t take quite as long. I’m guessing you could just follow a cold process now, but you might need to research it.
I Would love to make the soap , although I work alot …so can you give me an approx. Time for the soap to firm in the fridge ? Just a guess..?
I make it after the kids have gone to bed. Starting at 8 or 9pm. Prep and making it take about 1hr and the cooking for an hour. I then put it into moulds go to bed and cut it up in the morning! Easy! No fridge needed!
CAN YOU MAKE THIS IN TO A LIQUID SOAP FOR BATH AND SHAMPPO?
For the laundry soap bar, how much do you use in each load?
Boy I must have been tired when I read the article! I completely missed the link to make the finished laundry soap! Sorry about that! Looking forward to making these soaps!
For the skin soap, would it hurt to reduce the coconut oil to 32 oz since most are sold in increments of 16 to 32 oz?
Tina, the volume needs to be measured by weight rather than volume, which is what I think you are referring to. The measurements need to be precise. If you decide to go with a different amount, you’ll need to recalculate the amount of lye used.
I am lucky enough to have a beautiful linden tree in my garden which is in full bloom at the moment (Melbourne Australia!) and was hoping to use the flowers to make some soap. Have not tried soap making before but am inspired by the feedback to your recipes. Would you have any suggestions on how to use or process the flowers and how to incorporate the scent into the soap?
So, silly me, I accidentally made the laundry soap instead of the body soap. : (
Do you suppose I could rebatch and add extra coconut oil during the process or is it a total loss?
Heather, please can you tell me if I can make this soap without the crockpot?
You can make it using the cold process method, but unfortunately I do not have written instructions that I can provide. A basic soapmaking guide can walk you through it, though.
Just wondering if a crockpot liner can be used? Or will it melt from the lye? Thanks! 🙂
Unfortunately it is not compatible with the lye. https://mommypotamus.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=moderated#comments-form
Will these turn out lumpy? Any way to avoid that? I’m not sure if this question has been asked…I can’t see any of the previous comments.
Thank you so much for this tutorial.
I am making the coconut body soap for the second time as we speak. My Mums’ request. When she started running low she forbid my Dad from touching it! ‘Reckons it’s the only soap she’s ever used on her face and absolutely loves it.
The only thing that went wrong that’s worthy of mention is the soup blender I used was aluminium. Highly polished so I thought it was stainless steel. It went black underneath and I didn’t realise till I was done and cleaning up. I am sure some of the metal went into the soap but we all used it anyway since it was a small batch and was so damn good (linked to alzheimers on the one hand but used in various forms in Chinese medicine on the other!) .
I wonder if it’s worth making a small edit to the page to say ‘Plastic or Stainless only!’
This is my third batch of this soap. My husband and I love it. A friend of mine loved it too. She recommended that I sell it, as she knows several people that would buy it.
Can you use silicone molds?
I have a large cube silicone mold I was thinking would be a cute soap shape!
Excited … recipe in process!
Can you replace or combine the coconut oil with olive oil?
No, unfortunately. All oils have a different saponification value and cannot be used interchangeably. Also, olive oil makes a very soft soap and has a much shorter shelf life.
of course you can. but you need to calculate the exact amount of lye needed and decide on the superfatting level. eg. with a calculator like this: https://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Lye-Calculator.aspx
How does coloring take to this base (i.e. mica powder for pigmentation)? Thank you
I’m not sure – I’ve never tried coloring it. 🙂
What if I suspect my soap isn’t done? I got impatient and nervous that my crockpot was too hot, and put it in a mold, but have since decided that maybe I was premature. Can I leave it to cure longer, or did I ruin it? Thanks for the recipe, I am super excited to see if this is something that will be useful for my family.
Yes, you can leave it to cure for several weeks.
Excellent step by step video instructions! In the text it does say to dedicate your wooden spoon (if you use one) to soapmaking only, but what about the other tools, ie; bowls,crock pot and immursion blender? I am concerned about the effect and sideffects of the lye and then using them…
Hi there………….I loved making this soap but mine didn’t rise up at the sides……it rose like a Souffle! Is this normal and does it affect the soap in any way?
It’s totally fine if it rises like a souffle. Mine does that sometimes, too. 🙂
Me again……………Heather if I wanted to add some olive or almond oil and a little less coconut oil would this work and if so what proportions would I use?
Unfortunately different oils have different saponification values, so replacing part of the coconut oil with another oil would require the recalculation of how much lye to use. Also, olive oil makes a much softer soap. 🙂
Is it important to have the 8 oz crock pot? I am finding lots of 7 oz ones.
I use a 6 oz and it works well!
Hi Heather I don’t have a crock pot as I am on solar power, so can I cook it in a normal saucepan on a gas stovetop?
Thanking you in advance,
I think the cold process method of soapmaking would work better in that case https://wellnessmama.com/77388/cold-process-soap/
Looking forward to trying this soap! Any recommendations for what essential oils go well with this soap? Is there a coconut fragrance that I need to complement?
I am so excited to make this recipe! I’ve never made my own soap before, so I truly appreciate your detailed instructions. I’ve been slowly purchasing the things I will need as I have been able- my silicone mold arrived yesterday so now I’m really itching to get started 🙂 I was hoping you could tell me though, do I need to have a dedicated stick blender and crock pot for soap-making? Thank you!
Hi Angela! I cover using dedicated equipment in this post 🙂 https://mommypotamus.com/making-soap-without-lye-and-other-myths/
This will be my first attempt at making any kind of soap.
Is an 8qt crock pot absolutely necessary? Would a 6qt work?
Yes, unfortunately. The soap will most likely overflow in a 6 quart during the cooking process.
I tried the soap bars and loved them. I have used them and it lathers great. I love all your recipes.
I love the simplicity of this recipe and coconut oil is so awesome but my question is would I be able to use Goats milk with this recipe? In place of all or part of the water?
Goat’s milk soap is wonderful, but you need to use a recipe that has been specially formulated exactly for goat’s milk. It is really dangerous to just swap ingredients in a soap recipe…it needs to be calculated according to the milk’s saponification value. I believe the process is somewhat different as well, you may want to use cold process instead of hot process.
For bathing and such I really like to use sunflower and olive oils, and maybe some Shea butter, too. But I have been looking for a recipe for cleaning, and this is awesome! I want something that packs a serious punch in the laundry room.
Hi Heather, is there a way to buy the soap if one is too lazy/unskilled/afraid to make it themselves?
I’ve super sensitive skin and am looking for an all-purpose soap for face, body and hair. Upon researching natural bars suitable for my skin, I came across way too many options and noise. This is the bar with the fewest ingredients and no essential oils.
HELP! I am currently making this soap and I have a huge 8 qt Crock Pot. It is OVERFLOWING everywhere. I did the measurements EXACTLY! HELP! I have now turned the Crock Pot off and unplugged it. It has been set on low, but I will try it on warm if/when we can plug in again.
Hi Carrol, just give it a stir and it will reduce in volume. Stirring will not affect the cooking process. 🙂
OK. Thanks. I ended up using the stick blender on it after the volume decreased, and the heated on warm. There was no zap, so we continued with process. We shall see. 🙂
Just so you know… It all turned out great.
We are experimenting with using Lavender infused water today. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Absolutely love the simplicity of this recipe! We tried it at home, the first batch was not so successful, the second one turned out a lot better!
We halved the recipe, and had some ratio issues…both batches gave a slight “zap” even after an hour of being heated.
We are also finding it to make our hands a bit dry. Any suggestions on how to make it more moisturizing?
I’m interested in trying soap making for the first time, but I don’t have an immersion blender and I don’t want to buy one in case I decide not to continue with it. Is there any reason I can’t just use a whisk to blend the lye into the coconut oil?
Interested in making this recipe. But, do I have to use a crock pot? Can I just pour it in a mold after it reaches trace?
Thank you, Heather for the recipe!
I totally forgot to test for PH level. After pouring it in a soap mold, I did the zap test and it burned.
If I leave it for two weeks before use, will it be ok?
My mistake, I failed to follow instructions.
Hi Nano, yes it will mellow after sitting for awhile. It’s hard to say exactly how long, but somewhere between 2-6 weeks.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I will be using this recipe for laundry only.
sorry Heather, not sure if you have received my comment before.
I wanted to mention that your soap recipe that I failed to follow instruction,
I will be using it strictly for laundry. When I did the zap test it burned. It was too late after I poured it in a soap mold. It solidified. Will I still be able to use it if I leave it to cure for two weeks and use it only for laundry? Please advise. Thanks.
What happens if you leave it in the crockpot for too long? I keep on trying the zap test to my tongue and I feel like it still leaves a stinging sensation in my mouth and have left it going. It has now been on for 2 hours on low. Is this normal?
Oh, I was making the normal Coconut Oil Soap bar for cleansing your skin.
If I wanted to make this more moisturizing ( we have EXTREMELY hard water) could I just add shea butter, or avocado or almond oil, something like that? This would be an addition, leaving the other ingredients the same and at the same measurements. Thanks!!
I love using coconut oil for just about everything but it will clog your drains
It’s true that coconut oil can in some circumstances, but after undergoing the saponification process (the conversion of a fat/oil to soap), it’s no different for drains than store-bought soap.
As a tip…
We Heat a kettle full of water once a month and pour down each of our drains. We use coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil in our skin care, soaps and shampoos. This keeps the drains running smoothly.
Soapin' in VA
I found your recipie through a post on Reddit, took a deep breath, hit up Amazon, and stared at the ingredients for over a month. Today, I decided to finally try it. I am now learning how to rebatch, as I think I over cooked it and it wouldn’t mould, but will now be cheerfully handing out my French milled, organic coconut soap. If it ever remelts. Thanks for the opportunity to learn a new skill?
I love your site and all the great recipes! You clearly do an amazing job researching, which is appreciated, and I’m amazed at how great you are at responding to comments and questions!
I do have a question about making this soap…I use a colloidal silver soap on my face, and it has made an incredible difference in my acne. I was wondering if I can swap out all or a portion of the water in this recipe for colloidal silver. Would I need to make any adjustments to the recipe, since colloidal silver is mostly deionized water?
Hi Jillyn, I haven’t tried adding colloidal silver so I can’t say for sure whether or not it would affect the saponification process. If you try it please let us know how it works out.
If you can’t make it, what is a recommended brand to purchase similar to the one that is made with less ingredients?
I love the idea of this recipe! I just made my first batch of laundry soap. First batch of soap ever! Newbie alert! I didn’t put any essential oil in it because I wanted it to unscented and well the soap sort of stinks. An indescribable smell really. Did I do something wrong? Or is that normal?
My soap has a very neutral, pleasant smell. I wonder if perhaps the coconut oil was past its prime?
Thank you for the quick reply! I will check that out right away. I hadn’t thought of that. ?
I make this without putting essential oils in it and mine stinks too. Can’t even describe it really. My oil has not expired and it smells like this every time. It’s just the way it smells I think.
I just made it for the first time with brand new coconut oil and it has kind of a “curdled” smell… Hoping it will smell better once it’s set and cool. My soap never rose/folded in on itself either though, I’m wondering if my crock pot was too hot? it had a ph of 9 though and didn’t zap me, so I’m going to try it on my laundry anyway.. but I was also curious about the funky smell…. Hope it doesn’t make my clothes smell.
I’m just wanting to double check the amount of water for the laundry soap. All the other soap versions on this page have 12.54 oz of water to 33 oz of coco oil, with only the amount of lye varying. However the laundry soap has only 12 oz of water to 33 oz coco oil. Can you confirm it really is only 12 oz rather than 12.54 like the others?