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Making soap yourself: tips and simple recipes

Making soap yourself: tips and simple recipes

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Instructions for homemade natural soap
The basic material for soaps is oils and fats. If you want to produce particularly mild variants, vegetable fats are recommended. But animal fats are also suitable. The respective fatty acids such as linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid or oleic acid determine the properties of the soap.

Methods of making soap

Soaps are the salts contained in the fatty acids. You can boil them out of the fatty acids with a sodium or potassium hydroxide solution. Simmering comes from traditionally cooking soap glue in a saucepan. The cold process is much gentler and suitable for beginners. The lye does not boil here, the products become milder, but the process takes longer. The temperatures also rise to 85 degrees Celsius with this process. There are four methods of making soap: the core soap process, the cold process, the hot process and the reflow process.

Raw materials for handmade soap

For the production either use vegetable oils and fats such as coconut oil, rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil or you mix these oils with sebum or lard. If you use palm oil, make sure that it comes from sustainable production: palm oil plantations are the number 1 rainforest killer, and palm oil for which primary or secondary forests are felled is the opposite of own soap production, which should also be ecologically harmless.

The different oils differ in how hard they become, how much foam they form and how stable this becomes, so that you can determine the properties of the end product through the appropriate mixture.

You mix the fats and oils with sodium hydroxide solution (NaOH). This requires a great deal of sensitivity and caution is required when handling NaOH due to the risk of chemical burns. The oil needs so much lye that the soap is not too basic, but also not too oily. It becomes too oily if you use too little lye.


They heat the fats and the alkali to around 50 to 60 degrees Celsius and mix both with a hand blender. It takes about half an hour.

In fats and oils, fatty acid molecules attach to the glycerol molecules. The saponification splits the fat molecules, the fatty acid combines with lye, and the glycerin remains.

Glycerin is used for other purposes in industrially manufactured products. However, the cold process preserves the glycerin, which makes the soap softer.

Nourishing oils

We add care oils while the mass saponifies, so it gets a consistency of jelly. This will probably go wrong the first time, because you need a feeling here. If you add the care oils too early, the base oils saponify. If you are late, smeared crumbs will appear instead of smooth soap, it will blister and will not become creamy.

Suitable care oils are: jojoba oil, shea butter, wheat germ oil, castor oil, coconut oil or avocado oil.

Bring the soap to the scent

Do you want your soap to smell good? To do this, add fragrances. This also has medical benefits: smells influence our mood and we want to smell good when we wash ourselves. However, the finished product hardly smells like the perfume they mix in. You should avoid commercial perfumes that contain alcohol. This shows up as streaks in the finished product.

You won't get around experimentation and learning by doing. General quantities, how much of which perfume you should add, do not help much. Fragrance oils such as lavender oil, bergamot oil or rose oil are suitable for beginners. Instead of rose oil, you can also add rose water - this is much cheaper, but also less concentrated.

Fragrant plants

If you even want a little peeling, you can also add the crushed herbs and plant parts to the soap yourself: rosemary, lavender, sage, mint, lemon balm, grated lemon, peach, such as orange peel, ginger powder or dried and grated flowers of Roses, cornflowers, cowslips, hollyhocks, jasmine, lilac, apple, almonds or cherries.

Depending on which fragrance you want to achieve, all parts of the plant can be considered as powder or heavily crushed and dried, which do not have a toxic effect on the skin and / or trigger allergies. Sage, rosemary and other medicinal herbs even have medicinal properties.

You can also make your own oils that let them steep for a few weeks or months and then use them in making the soap as well as in the kitchen. For rosemary oil, for example, you put rosemary sprigs in an oil of your choice; it can also be rapeseed or sunflower, as well as thistle or olive oil.

It is not so easy with the scent of flowers, because you need large amounts of rose petals, for example, to produce an acceptable fragrance oil. That is the reason for the high price. Try it out: Grated dry leaves of raspberries and blackberries give the soap a rough consistency and a slightly earthy scent.

Color natural soap

You can use all types of skin-friendly colors, but they should not stick to the skin. So don't use beetroot or blackberry juice, for example. You should not use food colors, but ask specialist art stores for non-toxic colors that do not penetrate the skin. The natural color of soaps is light yellow.

Compose soaps

Don't despair if the result leaves something to be desired the first few times. This is not just normal, it is necessary. You won't reach the scent that you envision at the beginning any more than you will write an outstanding story on the first story you write.

We mostly use fragrance oils bought at the beginning. Unfortunately, they are expensive, with the cheap ones for 1 euro the scent evaporates quickly. Good lavender oil costs around 7 euros per bottle, for example. But you also have the certainty that the soap will smell good even after months.


When the oils, colors and fragrances are in the mass and the soap starts to harden but is still liquid, pour everything into molds. Porcelain vessels are just as suitable as plastic or ceramic.

Grease the molds beforehand with petroleum jelly so that the mass can be molded. To avoid bubbles, tap the molds several times on a firm surface.

Skincare teas

Tip: You can use herbal teas in all recipes instead of water, which firstly smell and secondly cares for the skin. These include marigold tea, lavender tea, spruce or pine needle tea.

Make your own natural vegetable oil soap

A caring soap made from olive oil can be made quickly and easily.

Recipe for olive oil soap

For about 1400 grams of soap you need:

  • One liter of olive oil
  • 123 grams of sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
  • 250 milliliters of water

Important: NaOH can cause severe burns, which is why caution should be exercised during processing and contact with the skin should be avoided.


  1. Heat the olive oil, water and NaOH to about 100 degrees with constant stirring using a hand blender.
  2. After half an hour, the mixture should be a creamy
    To have substance.
  3. Then fill the mass into the appropriate containers or molds.
  4. After at least 48 hours of storage, the soap maintains its shape, but is still relatively soft and greasy.
  5. In order for the olive soap to harden and give off a lot of foam, it must be stored at cool room temperature for around 6 months.

If you want a pure olive oil soap, that's enough. You can also add a little rosemary, rose or lavender oil, rosemary leaves, crushed and dried lavender flowers, crushed and dried orange peel or other plant substances. A shade gives lavender or mint tea, which they use instead of water. Even more unusual teas such as ginger tea or linden blossom tea fit. Or you can make tea from pine needles or use birch water.

For example, for a soap made from vegetable oils:

  • 350 milliliters of olive oil,
  • 250 millilite coconut oil,
  • 300 millilite rapeseed oil,
  • 120 grams of sodium hydroxide
  • as well as 250 milliliters of water and proceed as for the recipe with pure olive oil.

(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Benjamin Oltmann: Make soap yourself: natural soap from your own kitchen. A Beginner's Guide, Books on Demand, 2015
  • Debesh Mishra: Preparation of Soap Using Different Types of Oils and Exploring its Properties, Department of Chemical Engineering National Institute of Technology, 2019 (Retrieved 8/27/19), Logdmom Publishing

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