Make Your Own Soap From Scratch

| 5/7/2014 1:37:00 PM

Tags: Homemaking, Homesteading, Soapmaking, Soap, DIY, Erin Sheehan,

Erin SheehanMy grandmother made her own soap, using rendered fats. I don’t remember much about it other than it didn’t smell all that good and it was cut into odd shapes. I’m not sure what prompted me to make my first batch of soap, but I don’t think it was the memory of those yellow bricks!

That said, making your own soap is fun. It can be a little fussy but the finished product can be well worth the effort. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment.


I use what’s known as the cold process method, which involves oils, water and lye. I’ve used the recipe below many times. I hope it works for you as well as it has for me! Before you begin, read and understand each step and make sure to wear eye and hand protection. Never leave your oils on the stove unattended or leave your lye solution where children or pets might find it.

Equipment needed: kitchen scale, large cooking pot used only for soap (I use a retired pressure cooker), 2 candy thermometers, molds (I use cheap plastic containers), large wooden or metal spoon used only for soap, 1-quart or larger pitcher used only for soap, stick blender, gloves, glasses or safety goggles.

4 ounces lye
12 ounces distilled water
16 ounces vegetable shortening
7 ounces white coconut oil
1 ounce cocoa butter
7 ounces olive oil (the cheaper the better)
Essential oils, and/or color, if desired
Herbs and spices, if desired

5/12/2014 9:34:23 AM

Erin, I have to say that you are definitely more brave than I. As clumsy as I am, working with lye and hot oil on the stove just wouldn't work for me too well. I admire those that do brave new .... ah, old things and have success at it. As for me I'll stick to using dangerous tools and machinery with loud motors and whirling chains on them. I'll be leaving the kitchen chemical processes to those with a much better concentration level and a considerably more steady hand. ***** Have a great kitchen chemistry day.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!