Friday, October 7, 2011

A Gentle Bar Of Soap


 Hi Everyone,  I decided to make some soap for Christmas gifts.  The soap I will make is called castile soap, which is a pure olive oil soap and free of sodium lauryl sulphate.   This soap is a gentle and mild cleanser.  People who have eczema  as well as others with sensitivity to  sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) prefer this soap.   I must stress that soap making can cause serious burns and that proper equipment is a must.  My soap kit contains heavy rubber gloves, safety glasses, a thick apron and long sleeves.  For equipment, I use a large stainless steel pot, a glass quart wide mouth canning jar,  a wooden spoon,  small glass dish,  a scale,  a silicon spatula,  a stick mixer, a large stainless steel mixing bowl,  and a homemade soap mold.

I gather all my ingredients to start.


 Weigh 11 ounces of cold water into a quart sized wide mouth mason jar and place in a stainless steel bowl.  I put the bowl and jar in the  kitchen sink.  If any spills, it will clean your drains.  SEPARATELY weigh out  4 ounces of sodium hydroxide into a small glass dish.   Pour the sodium hydroxide INTO the water, not the other way around.  Fill stainless steel bowl halfway with cold water as pictured below.  This will help cool the sodium hydroxide mix quickly. Stir this with a wooden skewer until dissolved.  Don't breathe in the fumes cause it will make you cough.  Let the solution cool to 110 degrees.

Meanwhile weigh and pour 32 ounces of  olive oil into a large stainless steel pot. (THIS IS ONE TIME YOU CAN CHEAP OUT .  JUST USE PLAIN OLIVE OIL.  YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY THE EXPENSIVE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.  VIRGIN OIL DOESN'T MAKE GOOD SOAP.)    Heat to 110 degrees. 

When both the sodium hydroxide solution and oil are at 110 degrees, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oil.   Stir this mixture for about 15 minutes with the wooden spoon.

Next step is to get out the stick mixer or you could be stirring for days.  Mix the soap until it reaches trace.  This means the mixture will change colors (a creamy off white) and will thicken.  It should be the consistency of vanilla pudding.  You can add your essential oil now (up to 2 ounces) and mix thoroughly with the stick mixer.

 Pour the mixture into the mold scraping the pot out with a silicone spatula.  This mold was designed to hold this size batch of soap.  A mold can be made from a heavy cardboard box lined with plastic.  I would say a box about 10 inches long x 4 inches deep  x 3 inches wide.  You can build this from wood too.  This would be the better option if you are planning on making soap more than once.  Make sure you line your mold with plastic though or your soap will get stuck when cured and could also leak out the sides when you pour it in

When the mold is full, cover exposed soap with plastic.  I use saran wrap.  Wrap in a blanket and let sit for at least 3 days to harden.  This may take longer.....or like this freaky batch, less.  (one day cure....very rare).  Probably because Halloween is in the air.......

When the soap has hardened up, it is time to un-mold.  I use a cheese cutter that I modified with some sticks and epoxy so I could cut the soap in even bars.  Yes, I tried duct tape, but the sticks moved and caused crooked bars.  Nobody likes crooked bars!

The soap needs to cure for minimum 4 weeks.  I leave mine longer usually 6 to 8 weeks as castile soap needs a longer curing time.  I put it in a closet with wire racks so that air can circulate around the bars.

After it has cured,  I package the soap in a shrink wrap package.  You can wrap it in fabric and tie with a bow, or in cardboard or just leave it in the air.  It is ready to give to a smelly person  to your family and friends!  Not because they are smelly, just because you love them.

Hope you're having a great day,

Party Time At

Home Stories A2Z


  1. Thank you for sharing! I have always wanted to make my own soap and my little boy suffers from eczema.

  2. Hi there- found you through the hop and am a new follower. This is amazing! I have bookmarked it for future use. In 8th grade, my mom and I decided to make soap...bad idea. It wouldn't come out of the pan so we left it upside down on our oak kitchen table and the next morning we noticed that lye had dripped down and made a nicely etched rectangle pattern on our table. Also, we put an entire bottle of rose essence in. Overpowering! Needless to say, we never used it. Haha. I hope you have time to follow my life in South Africa by

    I hope you are having a great week!

  3. I love handmade soaps!! They're always great for guest bathrooms and little gifts!

  4. Thanks for all your comments! Hope you all try to make some soap for your families and friends.

  5. How did you create your mold? I love the oval shape of the finished product. Much nicer than a hard edged rectangle.
    thanks for a great 'recipe'!


  6. Hi Ellie, Thanks so much for your interest. We went to the scrapyard and found a round piece of stainless steel tubing. It was a 3" tube. We put it in a hydraulic press and squashed it in to an oval. It became 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" Hubby welded 2 pieces a scrap metal on the bottom from each side with holes drilled into the ends of it. You can probably see from the photo. I cut a square piece of melamine and countersunk some bolts in from the bottom. I can put the mold onto the melamine and tighten it down with butterfly nuts. This seals up the bottom. He also welded some square tubing at the top for handles, but you don't really need them, although they are handy to haul it around. Hope this helps you. Make sure if you make one though, that you use stainless steel as the soap will react badly with other metals. Oonga

  7. Thank you for sharing your soap recipe, I am all inspired to make my own! I have just become a follower of you, and hope you will follow me too!

  8. Hi Cecelia, Thanks for joining us! I can't seem to find your blog as we would like to follow you too!