Easy, Hand-made Soap
Publish date:
Summary: Aside from the added safety precautions necessary for working with lye, making soap is really not that different from making cake.

If you’ve ever made soap from scratch, you’ll understand the allure of the mysterious transformation that happens when oil and water are mixed with lye. It’s somehow very satisfying to take your first bar of soap to the faucet and lather it up into a mound of frothy white foam in your palms. The fact that you’ve made the soap from quality ingredients you chose yourself, with nothing unwanted added, only enhances the experience.

And soap making is easy. You only need a few basic ingredients and simple tools to make a beautiful bar of pure, health-giving soap. You can likely find most of what you need in your kitchen or at your local grocery or hardware store. Aside from the added safety precautions necessary for working with lye, making soap is really not that different from making cake. Both activities require some pouring, some mixing and some waiting. And just like making a beautiful cake, you’ll want to enjoy some of your soap yourself and share some with someone special. Making soap is simple and rewarding.

Once you’ve tried a first basic batch, you’ll want to be more creative. You can add natural scents, colourants, healing botanicals and texturizing elements. With simple techniques, you can add swirl patterns or whipped toppings. Or craft a batch with a specific purpose – to treat eczema or acne, for shampooing, shaving or for exfoliating. There’s no end to the creative possibilities.


It’s hard to imagine life before soap. These days hand soap, in one form or another, is in every home and public washroom facility. But it wasn’t always like that.

Soap making likely began more than 2000 years before Christ, but those early soap-like products made from ashes and animal fat were used for cleaning fabric, not for personal hygiene. Among the earliest recorded sources addressing personal hygiene are the writings of Moses. Around 1450 BC, he wrote laws about personal and camp cleanliness for the Israelites encamped in the wilderness enroute to the Promised Land. While soap is not mentioned by Moses, the health laws given in the Book of Leviticus demonstrate a concern for cleanliness, both spiritual and physical, that is repeated throughout the Bible. But it wasn’t until many years later that soap for personal washing came into common usage. By the time the prophets Jeremiah and Malachi came on the scene, those they ministered to were so familiar with the idea of using soap for personal cleansing that these prophets could use the term “soap,” or something like it, to represent spiritual cleansing.

The prophet Jeremiah, who ministered between 627 – 586 BC, wrote:

For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God. Jeremiah 2:22

And Malachi, around 430 BC, wrote:

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap. Malachi 3:2

It’s clear from these references, that people in Bible times were familiar with the idea of using soap for personal cleansing. But the use of soap for personal hygiene was not widespread until much more recent times when people began to understand the importance of personal cleanliness to prevent the spread of disease. A better understanding of the chemistry involved in making soap and commercial lye production took the guesswork out of soap making, resulting in milder soaps for personal use. It also paved the way for commercial production which began in the late 19th century.

How Soap Works

From the very beginning of soap’s history until now, the chemistry involved has remained the same. Soap is made from combining water, oil and a strong alkali. Water and oil don’t normally mix but when a strong alkali, like lye, is added it reacts with the oil and the molecules recombine to form soap. This process is called saponification and when soap is made properly, the lye is neutralized by the oil, making a safe and gentle soap.

Hand washing with water alone can remove many germs, but soap increases the effectiveness of water because of its molecular structure. The molecules of soap attract both oil and water. Soap works because when we lather our hands with it, the soap pulls oil-trapped germs from our skin, which can then be rinsed down the drain with water.

Modern Soap Making

I remember a hard bar of soap that my grandma always had for scrubbing stains before putting her laundry into the wash tub. When you used it, it left your skin feeling stripped and dry. But Grandma never used a recipe and was never quite sure how much lye or fat to use. The soap was good for getting stains out of linens but it was harsh. Today’s hand made soaps have little resemblance to Grandma’s old-fashioned laundry bar.


Making soap in small batches has become an art in recent times. Recipes have been perfected for making gentle soaps that are not only great at cleansing the skin but also have emollient properties that help restore your skin’s moisture. Recipes for producing the gentlest soaps rely on high quality fats and a technique called superfatting. Superfatting is adding more fat than is necessary to combine with the lye, leaving extra fat in the bar for moisturizing. And superfatting points to an important advantage of making your own soap - choosing what to include and what to leave out of your soap.

One of the benefits of making your own soap is that you control what goes into it. Because skin is porous, it absorbs what is put onto it, to varying degrees. This is why it makes sense to be thoughtful about what we put onto our skin. When you make your own soap, use the best quality ingredients that you can easily get and afford. For example, you can choose pure essential oils over chemical fragrances, and natural colourants like clays and plant powders over dyes.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are made from plants, often using a water-based steam distillation process. Fragrances, on the other hand, are synthetically produced and are more often associated with seizing, the unwanted, too-rapid hardening of the soap. So, although there may be many more scents to choose from in synthetic fragrances than in essential oils, avoiding harmful chemicals and bad batches of soap are good reasons to choose essential oils over fragrance oils.

Natural colourants

Adding colour to your hand made soap is exciting and will make it even more appealing. Many foods can be used as natural colourants to produce solid colours or interesting patterns. You’ll need to do some research and experimentation to find the colour you’re looking for, though, since plant-sourced colourants often change colour when exposed to lye. Here are some examples of natural colourants and the colours you can expect.

Shades of Green

kelp sage
wheat grass juice

Shades of Yellow or Orange

beet root powder
safflower petals

Shades of Yellow or Brown

carob or cocoa powder
ground rose hips

Shades of Yellow or Purple

madder root
Moroccan red clay
red sandalwood

Shades of Yellow or Blue

indigo powder (stains easily) woad powder (can stain)

Get Started

Use the list below to ensure that you have what you need before you start. You probably already have most of these items in your kitchen. Otherwise, you can buy them inexpensively wherever you shop for kitchen supplies.

Easy-to-use silicon soap molds can be purchased from soap making supply companies, but you can also find good substitutes at home. Milk cartons, shoe or cereal boxes lined with parchment paper all make acceptable soap molds with no extra cost. Do not use containers made from reactive metals like aluminum or tin since dangerous gas can be produced when you pour in the fresh soap.

Collect the items in the list and store them apart from regular kitchen items that you use for food preparation to avoid contaminating your food.

Equipment needed

• Heat-safe container for mixing the lye

• More containers for weighing ingredients

• Pot

• Stick blender

• Digital kitchen scale

• Soap molds

• Measuring spoons

• Mixing spoons

• 2 cooking thermometers

Ingredients and where to buy them

Purchase basic oils like olive and coconut oil at the supermarket. Specialty and essential oils can be ordered online from soap making supply companies or local craft or health food stores. Oil prices vary greatly depending upon the supplier and the quality of the product, so shop around and remember to take shipping costs into consideration if you’re ordering online. You may be able to buy lye at your local hardware store but check the label to be sure that it’s 100% lye.

Safety measures

In addition to the basic soap-making equipment and ingredients needed, you will also need some basic safety equipment. Because lye is caustic and can burn skin and clothing, take proper precautions.


• Goggles

• Gloves

• Long sleeved shirt

• Long pants

• Apron

Other safety considerations

Work in a well-ventilated room with windows open or a fan going, or mix the lye and water outside. Breathing the fumes can harm your lungs. Keep vinegar in a spray bottle close at hand. Vinegar will neutralize any spilled lye.

Minimize distractions

• Switch off your cell phone

• Keep children out of the room

• Keep pets out of the room

Moisturizing Ivory Soap


2 oz castor oil
14 oz coconut oil
14 oz olive oil
14 oz palm oil
6.2 oz lye
14.6 oz distilled water
1 t carob powder
1 t spirulina
1 t turmeric
Essential oils:
1 t bay
¼ t lemongrass
1 t rosemary
1 t tea tree


• Weigh oils into a pot and heat on low to melt the hard fats.

• Measure the essential oils into a separate container and set aside.

• Weigh the water into a heat-safe container. Set aside.

• Put gloves and goggles on. In a separate container, weigh the lye.

• Mix the lye into the water.

CAUTION: Always add the lye to water. Never pour water into lye as it could explode.

Stir a few times. As the lye reacts with the water, the mixture will heat and produce fumes. Step away from the lye mixture to avoid breathing the fumes. Stir again until all the lye is dissolved. Leave the mixture for a few minutes until it is no longer producing fumes. When the mixture looks clear, set it aside to cool and place a thermometer into it.

Check the melted oils with a thermometer. When the oil mixture and lye solution are the same temperature, they’re ready to mix together.

Slowly pour the lye into the oil and, with the stick blender in the “off” position, gently stir the two mixtures together. Once the two mixtures are incorporated, use the stick blender to pulse by varying between “off” and “on” settings until the mixture has a creamy look and texture.

With the stick blender in the “off” setting, lift it from time to time and observe how the drops fall upon the surface of the mixture. When the soap thickens to the point that it lies on the surface momentarily but then quickly sinks back into the mixture, it is at the “light trace” stage. Add the essential oils and, with the stick blender in the “off” position, stir them in. Turn the stick blender on and mix the soap until it has the consistency of thick pudding. Pour the soap into the molds.

Optional: Leave the soap to firm up a bit (about five minutes). Use a spatula to shape the top or sprinkle it with decorative elements like dried flowers.

Let the soap cure until it is hard to the touch (about 24-48 hours). Once hard, remove the soap and cut it into bars or slices using a knife or soap cutter. Space the bars out on parchment paper for good air circulation and place on a shelf where they can cure undisturbed for 6 to 8 weeks. The longer the soap cures, the harder and milder it will become.

Don’t be afraid to try a bar of soap after about four weeks. It will be softer than soap cured over a longer period but it will not be caustic. Soft soap will not last as long as harder soap because it washes away more quickly, so if you can be patient, the results are worth the wait.

Happy soap making!

Follow instructions for making Ivory Soap until oils and lye are combined.

At light trace:

Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Stir the charcoal/olive oil mixture into the remaining 2/3 soap mixture. Using stick blender, mix the charcoal into the soap mixture until light trace stage.

Stir in lavender oil. Use stick blender until trace stage.

Pour about half the charcoal soap mixture into a soap mold. Pouring over the back of a spoon to prevent mixing, layer the reserved uncoloured mixture on top of the charcoal mixture.

Slowly pour the remaining charcoal soap mixture on top and smooth with a spatula.

For flame pattern: Use a bent wire pushed through a drinking straw to plunge and pull up into the soap. For swirl pattern: Use a butter knife to draw s-shaped lines through the soap. Smooth the top or pattern with a spatula or spoon.

Place the soap mold into a cooler bag and wrap with a blanket to cure for 24 hours or until it is hard to touch. Once hard, remove soap from the mold and cut it. Space the bars out on parchment paper for good air circulation and place on a shelf where they can cure undisturbed for 6 to 8 weeks.

Charcoal Facial Soap


4 oz avocado oil
2 oz castor oil
8 oz coconut oil
13 oz olive oil
3.5 oz shea butter
4.2 oz lye
10.07 oz distilled water
2 t charcoal, mixed with a small amount of the olive oil
2 T lavender essential oil

Carob and Vanilla Cake


4 oz avocado oil
2 oz castor oil
14 oz coconut oi
8 oz olive oil
10 oz palm oil
2 oz almond oil
5.75 oz lye
13.2 oz distilled water
1-2 t carob powder
½ titanium dioxide
2 T bentonite clay
2 T Himalayan salt
3 T vanilla essential oil

Turmeric and Oatmeal Facial Soap


1.6 oz castor oil
8 oz coconut oil
12.8 oz olive oil
1.6 oz palm oil
4.8 oz shea butter
3.2 oz almond oil
4.4 oz lye
5.25 oz distilled water
2 t turmeric
2 oz oatmeal
2 t grapefruit essential oil
½ t tea tree essential oil

Science Deceptions
Media Deceptions
Spiritual Deceptions
A Basis for Conflict
Is there evidence for Creation science? How does it compare to evolution? The following articles give insight in to these questions and more.
Conforming Under Pressure Evolution Is Not Science—It's Religion Creation and Evolution: Is Compromise Possible? How Can We See Stars That Are Billions Of Light Years Away? Understanding the Creation Week The Rise of Evolutionary Thinking Geocentricity: It's Time to Face the Facts Earth's History: Conflicting Paradigms Lamarck Proposes Natural Selection Where did the Universe Come From? Age Of The Earth Evidence for a Young Universe Is Carbon-Dating Accurate? Flood Chronology
Evidence in Stone
Can we understand the age of the earth by the rocks? What theory does the evidence support?
Soft Rock Evidence for Rapid Washout
The Fossil Record
What does the fossil record show us? Is it all random or a defined science that we can understand? Where does evolution fit? Uncover mysteries in the history of the Earth.
Evolution of the Horse Evolutionary Sequences Order in the Fossil Record Explosive Evolution Fossils prove a Flood Fossil Footprints Dinosaurs and the Flood Petrified Trees The Biblical Flood Reasons For Extinction Fossil Reefs The Post-Flood World Human Evolution
Genes of Genesis
As we study the genome, the molecule, and the atom, we see a vast network of intricate systems beyond our understanding. Were these systems really formed by chance?
Built-in Variation in the Gene Pool Why So Many Species - Glossary Is the Gastraea Hypothesis Viable? Mechanisms For Variation Creating Life in a Test Tube? Post-Flood Distribution Answering Questions "Species" versus "Kind" Molecules That Began Life Natural Selection Reproductive Exchange Natural Selection as a Creative Force Transposable Elements Recombination of Chromosomes The Evidence of Things Not Seen Ernst Haeckel's Theories Dinosaur Extinction and Global Catastrophe Variation and Classification Jesus Christ—All Things Become New Why So Many Species? Evolution: Miracle of Miracles Is The Grand Canyon Proof of Noah's Flood? Spiders and the Creative Genius of God Things That Negate Evolution: Snake Legs Wrong Assumptions in C-14 Dating Methods Rapid Cave Formation The Australian Problem Synesthesia: Mystery of God’s Creation
Creation to Restoration
How did this world change from the perfection depicted in Genesis to a world full of thorns, thistles, parasites, and death? If God made everything perfect, how could it have all been so changed?
A Good World Gone Bad An Imperfect Planet Evidence For Design Evidence For Transformation Rapid Transformation Clean and Unclean: The History of the Human Diet The Dawn Chorus and Life Forces
Archaeology and the Bible
Archaeology and prophecy have proven the Bible to be true. But what's so special about the Bible that makes it a point of so much controversy?
Tyre and the Bible Archaeology Confirms the Bible Petra and the Bible Egypt and the Bible Babylon and the Bible The Lost Books of the Bible
Crossing Musical Boundaries
Music is a powerful emotional motivator that crosses cultural and language barriers. Its message can be understood by every culture and people across the planet.
The Philosophers Talk Music Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Christianity The Beat The Pursuit of Pleasure Music and Worship The Rave Can You Feel the Music? Whose Music? The Bible and Rock Music: Are they Compatible? The Ear The Last Great Contest – Worship Classical Music Therapy Music and the Frontal Lobe From the Horse's Mouth: The Rock Industry Condemns Itself
Hollywood and the Movies
What is the system of worship found most often in our society? Does it glorify God?
Hollywood's History Gnostic Themes in the Movies Hollywood and Gnosticism
Brain Closed—Please Come Again
Research has shown that our sensitivity to stimuli reduces itself yearly by about 1%. Is your brain hibernating?
The Dangers of Television
Beware of the television's abilities to hypnotize, alter moods, and even cause depression.
Violence and Video Games
Like music and movies, video games are addictive and can cause behavioral problems.
The Origins of Halloween
What is the origin behind this popular festival celebrated every October 31?
Introduction to the Reformation
What started the Protestant Reformation? Was the Reformation a success? Does it still matter today?
The Pope Claims to be God on Earth
Read proof that throughout the Roman Church's history, the Papacy has often claimed that the Pope is divine.
The Bloody History of Papal Rome - A Timeline
The oppression of Protestants is widespread and consistent throughout history.
The Bloody History of Papal Rome - Quotes
It was once written in America's oldest Catholic newspaper, the Boston Pilot, that "No good government can exist without religion, and there can be no religion without an Inquisition, which is wisely designed for the promotion and protection of the true faith.”

Read several authors' thoughts on papal Rome's history.
Catholic Councils
What happened at the Council of Trent? The First Vatican Council The Second Vatican Council
The Jesuits
Learn what people throughout history have had to say on the reputation, history, and political nature of the Jesuit Order.
An Introduction to the Jesuits Jesuits and the Hippie Movement Ignatius of Loyola and Martin Luther "Caring" and a New Morality Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises Ignatius Loyola and Spiritual Formation Protestantism Destroyed The Jesuit Superior General
Cross and Crown
This book "Cross and Crown" is a powerful and thrilling recital of the most romantic and dramatic incidents in history to be found on record, told in the simplest, most graphic, and entertaining form.
The Aggressive Intentions of the Papacy
The historian Ranke says this about Protestant-Catholic relations: "In the year 1617, everything betokened a decisive conflict between them. The Catholic party appears to have felt itself the superior. At all events it was the first to take up arms."

This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
Christianity and Violence
Would the world be a safer place without Christian fundamentalism?
Stories of the Reformation
Dive into history to uncover the remarkable stories of faith and passion in early Protestantism.
An Italian mystic. A minister to a British king. An Augustine monk. A Swiss farmer's boy. What do these men have in common? They were used by God in powerful ways to bring about the Protestant Reformation. Enter into the lives of these ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Inspiration for these articles comes from Gideon and Hilda Hagstoz' Heroes of the Reformation
John Laski Jerome of Prague John Wycliffe Louis De Berquin Gaspard De Coligny Philipp Melanchthon
Religious Doublespeak
Language can be used to communicate both truth and lies. Learn about the religious doublespeak being used to pull the wool over the eyes of the world.
Hegelian Thinking and World Politics
Hegelian dialectic thinking is applied in many situations in world politics. Often the ordinary people are used as pawns in the game of Hegelian psychology played by those who pull the strings of world control.
The Great Controversy
Read this classic work by Ellen G. White.
The Destruction of Jerusalem Persecution in the First Centuries An Era of Spiritual Darkness The Waldenses John Wycliffe Huss and Jerome Luther's Separation From Rome Luther Before the Diet The Swiss Reformer Progress of Reform in Germany Protest of the Princes The French Reformation The Netherlands and Scandinavia Later English Reformers The Bible and the French Revolution The Pilgrim Fathers Heralds of the Morning An American Reformer Light Through Darkness A Great Religious Awakening A Warning Rejected Prophecies Fulfilled What is the Sanctuary? In the Holy of Holies God's Law Immutable A Work of Reform Modern Revivals Facing Life's Record The Origin of Evil Enmity Between Man and Satan Agency of Evil Spirits Snares of Satan The First Great Deception Can Our Dead Speak to Us? Liberty of Conscience Threatened The Impending Conflict The Scriptures a Safeguard The Final Warning The Time of Trouble God's People Delivered Desolation of the Earth The Controversy Ended
Who is Jesus?
Is Jesus really who He says He is?
Did Jesus Ever Exist? Was Jesus the Messiah? Is Jesus God? Jesus: The Mercy Seat Is What Christianity Teaches True? The Godhead and the One True God Movement Why Did Jesus Have To Die? Six Purposes for Christ's Life and Death on Earth The 70-Week Prophecy What Day Did Jesus Die? Jesus, the Recycled Redeemer Names of Christ in Revelation
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
The First Beast—Comparing Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 Revelation Identifies End-Time Babylon Identifying the Antichrist The Second Beast of Revelation 13 The Final Confederacy Walking Through Daniel The Seven Plagues Walking through Revelation
Religious Trends
What are the trends in the religious world today? Sun Worship, The UN and the One World Religion, Eastern Mysticism and Spiritism... Just what do all these things mean in light of Bible prophecy?
Sun Worship Babylonian Religion Politics and the Papacy Paganism and Mary Wealth Redistribution The Charismatic Movement Unity at All Cost? Sustainability Spiritism throughout Religions Catholic Pentecostalism Paganism and Christmas Pentecostalism The Charismatic Movement and Spiritual Gifts Manifesting the Charismatic Spirit The New Age Movement Paganism in our Culture Secret Societies The United Nations' Global Government The History of Tongues Signs and Wonders Revival and the "Power of God" What’s So Bad about Spiritual Formation? Zionism
Most people can understand the reasoning behind nine of the Ten Commandments—don't kill, don't lie, don't steal. But what about the Sabbath Commandment? Why would God give such a law? Why should we follow it?
What is the Seventh-Day Sabbath? Creation and the Sabbath The Weekly Cycle Why Sunday? Sabbath FAQ
The Second Coming of Christ
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
Signs of The Second Coming of Christ The Second Coming of Christ Viewpoints How Christ will Return What will Happen to God's People? What will Happen to the Rejecters of God? Will there be a Secret Rapture? The Millennium of Peace
The Bible
Can the Bible be trusted to provide answers to our questions? Does it contain truth? Learn about the evidence that proves the Bible's authenticity.
Choosing the Books of the Bible Archaeology Confirms the Bible Studying Scripture Scripture is Inspired by God Testing the Gospel of Thomas Testing the Gospel of Judas The Spirit in Scripture The Lost Books of the Bible The Gospel Story Spiritual Gifts
Christian Living: Sin and Salvation
Consider the crucial points of the Christian life.
Christian Living Good God, Bad World. Why? Salvation By Faith God's Plan to Eradicate Sin The Ceremonial Feasts Pointed to Christ
Is there more to death than the fact that it is the opposite of life? What are the false doctrines involving the immortality of the soul?
Death: Understanding the Terminology A Biblical Understanding of Death The Resurrection of Lazarus Spiritism Hell and Purgatory An Immediate Afterlife? The Parable of Lazarus