Top 9 homemade soap recipes

Starting from a basic soap recipe, you can make all kinds of soothing and smelly soaps you and your family could love. Here's some favourites.

Top 9 homemade soap recipes

1. The standard soap

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) cold water (not hard water)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) commercial caustic soda
  • 250 ml (1 cup) melted beef fat or vegetable oil
  1. Slowly add the caustic soda to the water, then bring both caustic soda solution and oil or fat to about body temperature.
  2. Combine the two in a glass bowl. Mix slowly and steadily with an egg beater until the consistency is that of sour cream.
  3. Pour mixture into mold and let it cure for about three to six weeks.
  4. For a more moisturizing version, mix in 60 grams (four tablespoons) of your preferred commercial skin moisturizer before pouring into molds.

Note: The following soaps use the directions above, but with different ingredients and cure times.

2. Castile soap

A hard-consistency soap that's good for carving. Allow it to cure for six to nine months.

  • 750 ml (3/4 cup) olive oil
  • 3.75 kg (8 lbs) solid vegetable oil
  • 600 g (21 oz) caustic soda
  • 1.8 L (8 cups) water

For sensitive skin, replace one-third olive oil with avocado oil.

3. Grease remover for hands

A soap with a coarser than usual texture is useful for cleaning hands with ground-in dirt and grease. Add 30 grams (two tablespoons) of almond meal, oatmeal or cornmeal to the castile recipe above before pouring into molds.

4. Coconut and olive soap

This soap is cream-coloured with rich, gentle lather, even in cold water.

  • 750 ml (3/4 cup)  olive oil
  • 1.5 kg  (3 lbs) coconut oil
  • 600 g (21 oz) caustic soda
  • 1.8 L (8 cups) water

6. Lanolin soap

Recommended for dry skin. Add 60 grams (four tablespoons) pure liquid anhydrous lanolin (usually available from chemist shops) to the standard soap recipe before pouring the mixture into molds.

7. Milk and honey soap

Nourishing for all types of skin. Mix 30 grams (two tablespoons) each of honey and powdered milk into any soap while it is still liquid. Pour it into molds.

8. Rose water soap

A slightly astringent soap that's good for oily skin. Substitute 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of rose water for plain water when preparing the standard soap solution.

8. Cinnamon soap

Traditionally, cinnamon soap was coloured with yellow ochre. A few drops of oil of lavender can also be added to the standard recipe.

  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) oil of cinnamon
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) oil of bergamot
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) oil of orange

9. Savon au bouquet

In French the name ­simply means "perfumed soap". Add the fragrant oils to the standard recipe.

  • 10 ml (2 tsp) oil of bergamot
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) oil of clove
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) oil of thyme
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) oil of orange
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) petitgrain oil

Most soaps are variations of the same recipe. Feel free to experiment with different oils and scents using the single cake method as your base. It's economical and a fun way to discover what you like.

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