Oatmeal & Honey Soap Recipe

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Oatmeal and Honey Soap

(For a hot process oatmeal & honey soap recipe, click HERE.)

Not long after my children went on a gluten free diet, they came down with chicken pox. It sounds silly, but I couldn’t stop dwelling on the sad fact that I couldn’t use the traditional oatmeal baths and lotions and such that are so helpful for itchy skin afflictions.

As soon as I learned how, I determined I’d make my own skin-soothing oatmeal & honey soap free of gluten, dairy and soy. This recipe is the product of that quest!

This post and blog contain affiliate links to Bramble Berry, Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This costs you nothing extra, but does help to support my site and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you! :)


Oatmeal & Honey Soap

(5 lb mold version)

You can buy most of the ingredients needed for this at Mountain Rose Herbs or Bramble Berry. Your local health or grocery store may have suitable oils on hand too. I buy lye from my local Tractor Supply store or Amazon.com.

Note: Soaps containing honey do not need to be insulated or covered. If you see a crack forming across the top, that means the soap is getting too hot in the mold. If that happens, move the mold to a cooler place (or even your refrigerator) for several hours to help.


Instructions for making soap can be found in my post Soap Making 101. I also recommend my ebook: Natural Soap Making: Cold Process Basics & Recipes, for more in-depth information, details on coloring soaps naturally, how to read a calculator, 25 of my favorite palm-free recipes, and more!

Natural Soap Making 275 px



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You might also like:

Soap Making 101 | Honey & Dandelion Soap | Calendula Soap

Soap Making 101   Dandelion and Raw Honey Soap Recipe     Calendula Soap Recipe


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97 Responses to Oatmeal & Honey Soap Recipe

  1. Lory says:

    Hi I forgot to ask last email on soaps…how many bars do you get average? Size? Also on the tools, you probably answered this but do you use wooden spoon or rubber? Also can I use plastic for the lye/water mixture due to heat? How do you get the colors you have like with Rugosa? Finally, SORRY to bambard you what do you use to cure, or what do you set them on? Thank you in advance. Lory Rendon

    • Jan says:

      Hey Lory, no problem on the questions – ask away! :) There’s also a lot of this info in the post:

      For the size mold I use (homemade wooden box of 16″ x 11.5″ x2″ inner dimensions), I usually cut 18 bars, with a bit of edges left over (that I use for us here at home.)

      I use a heat safe plastic spoon for stirring lye or a stick of wood (I have woodworkers in the family & have a supply of fresh clean hardwood ones for each time. Otherwise, over time the lye eats away at the wood, leaving little splinter pieces in your lye eventually.)

      You can mix in a plastic container, in fact someone commented that glass/pyrex has a chance to shatter so plastic is a safer choice. Just make sure it’s heavy duty plastic and not something thin that will melt from the heat. Look for the recycle symbol number 5 on the bottom which means it’s heavy duty polypropylene plastic. You can also use stainless steel (never aluminum though.)

      For colors I use clays and herbs – here are two sites that will give you an idea of what each one does:



      I cure my bars in a single layer on wax paper or brown paper bags cut open and laid flat or parchment paper. I turn them every few days to make sure that they cure evenly.

      I hope this answered your questions and good luck with your soap making! :)

  2. Lory says:

    One more…sorry…how do you clean up your tools?
    Hand blender, bowls etc. Thanks your a sweetheart for replying.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Lory, that’s actually an important topic that I meant to address!

      In the past, I ran my items through the dishwasher when I was done, but it completely ruined it and I had to have several pipes replaced in my kitchen because of that. (It’s still raw and uncured soap, so somewhat like pouring grease down the drain in that state.)

      Once you let it sit for a few days, it’s more soap like and you can scrape off most of the dried layer (throw those scrapings in the trash) and wash as usual. OR if you want to clean up the day of soap making, you can use old rags or paper towels to wipe your items clean and then wash as usual. Be sure to wear gloves though since it can still burn your skin at this point, until it’s cured & have tools & dishes and such dedicated just for soap making.
      Hope that helps!

  3. Lory Rendon says:

    I have another question? How do I determine amounts of oils,water needed for let’s say I wanted 6 bars of 5 oz? Do I just multiply the 5×6 so 30 oz total I’m confused. I don’t want to make a batch with let’s say 20 bars. I know the lye calc is for how much of the lye. Also somewhat confused regarding 5% discount? Please explain in simpler terms? Thanks in advance 😉

    • Jan says:

      Hi Lory, My recipes make about 18 bars. So, if you want to make 6 bars, you’ll need to figure out 1/3 of all of the ingredients, other than the lye. (We’ll get to the lye part in a minute.)

      Also, I’m going to round a little bit on the oils so that you’re not trying to measure odd amounts like 8.33 ounces or something.

      So for this oatmeal soap recipe:

      34 oz coconut oil / 3 = (rounded to) 12 oz coconut oil
      48 oz olive oil / 3 = 16 oz olive oil
      25 oz water / 3 = (rounded to) 8.5 oz water
      LYE – we’ll figure this out in a sec
      At trace: 1 TBSP oats, 1 teaspoon honey, extra 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of other oils & butters (your choice), 5 drops tea tree oil, 7 drops lavender. (essential oils can be adjusted to smell preference.)

      Now, we have to go to the lye calculator and figure out the lye since we changed the oil amount.


      When we punch in 12 oz coconut oil and 16 oz olive oil it tells us that we need to add 4.11 ounces of lye. (Using the 6% discount.) See how it’s a different number than if we had just cut the lye in the original recipe by 1/3? Always, always, always use the calculator if you change something, even if it’s small. Just in case!

      The 5%, 6% etc refers to how much of the oils you want left over in the bar once the lye is all done acting. If you have 0 to 4% extra oils (discount) then your bar will be on the harsher side, with little to no moisturizing benefits. 5 to 8 % (discount) is the ideal range where there’s enough oils & fats left in the bar to moisturize the skin. At 9 and 10% then you have a lot of oils left over and your bar will tend to get too soft and mushy. The more oils in a bar, the sooner the oils will go rancid in it. (i.e. won’t last out a year before starting to smell “off” – like old oil) I like 5 or 6% because that lets me put a few extra bits of oils at the end, without going into the 9 and 10% range.

      I hope that helped!

      • Leasa Sieve says:

        This comment uses different amounts of coconut/olive oils (34 oz coconut & 48 oz olive) than the recipe that is posted above ( 16 oz coconut & 40 oz olive).Which recipe do you use? I’m looking at the recipe you have posted for 5lb mold for oatmeal & honey soap.

      • SP says:

        I made soap for the first time following the modified recipe you posted above. It’s only been 1 hour since I poured it into the mold and I took a quick peak and it’s the top of it is turning brown!! At first I thought it was mould or something but it’s not…it’s just discoloured. I’m not sure if it’s because I put a lid on the plastic container. I don’t think I’m supposed to when I look at the instructions again but it’s not totally clear to me so I’ve I since taken it off. However, I’m thinking it’s the honey because I didn’t put honey in the whole mixture, I split the mixture up and added honey (I also added a little more than the recipe called for) and that’s the batch that turned brown. Not sure what I should do. So far it’s only on the top so I’m hoping I can scrape it off after it has set.

        • SP says:

          Now I”m thinking the change in colour is due it hardening/setting because there’s now different shades of brown that’s spreading and the brown part appears to be more harden/set than the lighter parts.

          • Jan says:

            Hi SP! Cold process soap goes through a gel phase in the mold (unless you refrigerate it) and those changes in color and appearance are perfectly normal. It might look very strange over the next several hours, but it should be fine by the end. :) You don’t want to cover soap with honey since it might start to overheat. If that happens, you’ll see a crack starting to appear in the top. If you see a crack, move it to a cooler place (even the refrigerator will work) to cool it back down. I think your soap should turn out just fine!

            • SP says:

              It turned out great for my first time! I couldn’t help but checking it every for hours. So just to confirm – if I put honey in the recipe I shouldn’t cover it but otherwise I should? Thanks for the recipe and reply!

              • Jan says:

                Wonderful! I’m glad it turned out well! I always have to peek at my soaps a lot too. :) And yes, you are right, if you have honey in the soap, it usually won’t need covering. I cover most other types BUT not milk soaps. (Those need to stay quite cool. I have whole tutorial on milk soaps on the Soap Making page.)

  4. Cyndy says:

    How much does this recipe make? as in how many lbs? I tried it using a 1/3 of batch as you mentioned in your notes. I had never tried making soap & this seemed easy enough & appealing (i was looking for a honey/oatmeal recipe). Well i loved it & can’t thank you enough for your blog & this post. THANK YOU for sharing!! We quickly used up & gave away the 1/3 that we made & i just made a full batch. I used some vintage cheese boxes that my husband had as my molds & this batch fit perfectly to fill both of them. so i was wondering what the size it is so that i know how much my molds hold when considering other recipes. thanks again so much! cyndy

    • Jan says:

      Hi Cyndy, I’m so glad your soap turned out so nicely! :)

      You should be able to add the oils, water and lye together to get a total amount or size of the batch. So, if we do that to this oatmeal soap recipe, we have: 34 oz coconut + 48 oz olive oil+ 25 oz water + 11.9 lye = 118.9 ounces total ingredients.

      118.9 ounces divided by 16 ounces in a pound = this batch of soap is around 7.4 pounds. (Which is a really odd size because I had to work with non-standard homemade molds.) For comparison, 2/3 of this batch would probably work pretty well in a 5 pound mold (or mold with a capacity around 80 ounces.)

      I hope that helped answer your question. You might want to double check my math on some of this; I just dashed it out on scrap paper instead of using a [more reliable] calculator. :)

  5. Hi
    I am very new to soap making. I am a hobby bee keeper and want to use my honey and beeswax in some of my soap. I discovered your website and blog.. I love it and already posted to my FB page as y new favorite site. At trace where you are the extra oils do you add all that are listed of do you choose from them. My husband has psoriasis and I would like to make something that might help his skin. Thanks for your help and your beautiful website. I posted my blog above.

    • Jan says:

      So happy you like the site and thank you for posting it on your FB page as well. :)
      I love your blog and have bookmarked it to browse through later – we are looking into top bar hives and a garden area just for the bees & butterflies and it looks like you have some good ideas and links there!

      Okay, as far as the soap: things added at trace are all extras and optional, so you can change things around a bit to suit you. (The additives at trace are tiny amounts, so have more leeway than the main part of the recipe, which shouldn’t be changed without a lye calculator on hand.)

      So, at trace add:

      ~ 3 tablespoons ground oats (but you can add less or leave it out)

      ~ 1 tablespoon of honey – I actually add more than this is my dandelion soap recipe and I add beeswax as well. (Actually I add the beeswax that is still oozing with honey and hasn’t been filtered yet.) You can see this recipe in my free dandelion ebook or I plan on popping it on the website in the next few days so it’ll be on my soap making page. ( http://thenerdyfarmwife.com/things-to-do-with-dandelions/ ) This dandelion soap recipe is the one that a relative uses for her psoriasis and she loves it so much, so gets it from me a whole batch at a time. You could use the oatmeal soap recipe and the items from trace used in the dandelion recipe, if you wish.

      ~ up to 2 extra tablespoons of any oil or butter that you like (or leave it out.) Sometimes, I use 3 tablespoons in a batch, but keep in mind too much extra oil will make your bar too soft/oily. For psoriasis, you might want to try tamanu oil or rosehip seed oil (or a tablespoon of each!)

      ~ and then for essential oils – you can add much higher amounts (mine tend to be on the conservative or barely there side) or leave them out.

      I hope that helps, but feel free to ask further questions! Good luck soap making! :)

  6. Thank you so much for responding to my email. I do have one more question. I understand that when you add honey to a soap recipe it continues to heat up through the gel cycle. Do you insulate you wooden molds when you add honey. Do you leave open or refrigerate to prevent gelling? Thanks so much for all your information.
    Maureen Russell

    • Jan says:

      Hi Maureen, Honey will make your soap heat up more, but with the small amount I use, I haven’t had to do much differently. I usually cover my molds with a few layers of quilts, but in the case of soaps with honey, will usually just use one small one. I also lift a corner of the blanket and feel the outside of the mold a few times over the 24 hours, and if needed, do a quick peek into the mold, but haven’t had trouble with overheating yet! :)

  7. Maureen Russell says:

    Hi Jan
    Wanted to let you know that I followed your oatmeal honey soap recipe yesterday. it was my first time making cold process soap. I made it exactly to recipe except I sized it to my mold. I only added the 1 Tbsp of honey and it heated up and started to gel. I freaked out cause I didn’t think that was suppose to happen. Anyway I put it in the refrig. I didn’t know as a new soap maker if you want gel or not. So I may have a partial gel. The soap was a really pretty creamy white, yellow color. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Can wait to try it.

  8. lisa says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! One question, on the 2 extra tablespoon of oil can i add sweet almond oil instead of rosehip seed oil. Thanks for your lovely recipe!

  9. lisa says:

    Also, how many weeks to cure?

  10. candice says:

    Hi, I’ve never made soap before & have been confused until I stumbled on your site. Thank you for the easy explanation. I have a question about essential oils that are used as preservatives. I heard that grape seed oil helps from the oils in the soap from going rancid… do your recipes also contain the essential oils to preserve the soaps? Also, what does the oatmeal and honey soap from your recipe smell like? I know it’s a silly question, but I’m wondering if it would have the honey smell or more of a lavender scent. Also, can I use coconut oil that I use to cook with to make soap? Thank you!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Candice, I’m happy to hear that I could help clear up some confusion! :)

      I’m not using essential oils as a preservative in my soap. I add them for extra skin benefits or scent. (I’m REALLY light on them, due to extended family members with sensitivity to strong smells, so they are barely detectable at the levels I list.) Grapefruit seed extract can be used as a preservative, sort of… along with vitamin E or rosemary antioxidants, but with a well balanced cold process soap recipe, you don’t really have to have one. (Though I do often add rosemary extract to soaps made with foods – like cucumber or carrot, etc. as a just-in-case thing.) If you make a super fatted soap (heavy on the oils), it’s more moisturizing, but it will go rancid a bit quicker. You can trade off and put less oils, but it’s not as soothing to dry skin. I’d rather super fat and take a bit shorter shelf life. Even then, your soap won’t go bad as in grow mold or anything. It just starts to smell a bit like old oil or may develop orange-ish spots. I have some soap bars my mother-in-law made about 3 years ago that are still in excellent condition and smell just like clean, fresh soap!

      The oatmeal and honey bar smells mildly like oaty honey to me – I find it pleasant, but not strongly scented to speak of. There’s not really enough lavender in there to detect; if you want it to smell more like lavender, then increase the amount of lavender EO significantly. Here’s a fragrance calculator you can use to get an idea of how much to use: http://www.brambleberry.com/pages/Fragrance-Calculator.aspx

      And, yes, you can use the coconut oil that you cook with to make soap! I hope I answered your questions well enough, but if not – let me know! :)

  11. Debra Jones says:

    Can I use Colloidal Oatmeal? THANKS!

  12. Helen says:

    Im planning to make skin products using oatmeal as an ingredient and am wondering if the oatmeal goes bad after being in simmering coconut oil for a couple minutes before being cooled and hardened.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Helen, That is a great question! Your oatmeal should be fine that way. You want to make sure that it’s super fine and incorporated very well into your oils. You may want to look into colloidal oatmeal. From the product description here:
      it says: “This product is excellent in face masks, milk baths, soap, and creams. Usage rate varies depending on the product. Soap recommended usage rate is up to 5%, milk bath, up to 50%, masks, up to 25% and creams up to 1%.”

  13. satya says:


    I used this recipe by decreasing the amounts like
    coconut oil – 8 oz
    olive oil – 10.66oz
    water – 5.66
    lye – 2.74

    finally added 1tbsp each oat meal,honey and shea butter.Its hot process soap. At the full trace only I turned on the crockpot (by mistake) .So it cooked up real fast. And did the zap test ,it was good. But the problem is It is lathering very much like detergent. Which I don’t like really. And not at all mosturising .I like creamy soaps very much. I want to fix the problem. Can u help me out plz?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Satya, Soaps that are higher in coconut oil are more lathery than others. Some people find coconut oil heavy soaps to be drying, while others like them. My dry skin likes creamy, moisturizing bars as well, so I think I understand the type of soap you’re going for. It does okay with the oatmeal-honey soap, but it works better for my husband with oily skin because it is a stronger cleanser. For creamy, moisturizing soap, you want to look for recipes where the coconut oil is about 25% or less. They also will probably have something like shea or mango butter or avocado/hemp oils, etc as main ingredients. When you make palm free soaps and just have coconut oil at or below 25% you get less lather, so castor oil is sometimes added to boost it back up some. If you want creamy with low lather, skip the castor oil. This soap is an example of a really creamy, low lathering soap: http://www.hobbyfarms.com/hobby-farms-editorial-blogs/craft-hub/winter-rose-soap.aspx

      For the batch you just made, you could try rebatching and adding a few more tablespoons of extra moisturizing ingredients. It will still be a lathery, cleansing soap though, because of the percentage of coconut oil. Here’s a great link on the process: http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/soapmakingbasics/ss/rebatchingsoap.htm

  14. Roberta Apple says:

    Thanks for the modifications to the above recipe eliminating coconut oil and making substitutions as you recommended. My sister who is allergic to coconut oil was thrilled beyond to receive these soap bars.
    You are amazing and extremely generous with your knowledge. Thanks again for caring!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Roberta, I’m so happy that your sister likes her soap! I know a bit about how it feels to be allergic to something that everyone else can have and I bet that your thoughtfulness & caring really made her day. Thanks for letting me know – I love hearing great news like that! :)

  15. SarahFae says:

    Hi! I love your site! I am a rather inpatient sort of person and was wondering if anyone has had any luck making this as a hot-process soap rather than cold-process. 😉 Would there be anything that would need to be altered to make this a hot-process recipe?

  16. Leigh says:

    I’m curious. I want to try this as a hot process recipe, and I don’t plan to tweak it. When you add the extra oil at trace with the honey, do you incorporate it or let it cook on the top?
    I should know this, but I recently scalded a batch of honey soap and had to throw it out. My daughter really needs a soothing soap and I want to make her one so her father stops using peppermint castile soap on her, which dries her out so much.
    I don’t want to ruin it and I learned to lower the heat (a lot!) but haven’t tried honey again. So, mix it in on very low heat and let it cook or put it on top?
    Thank you!

    • Jan says:

      That’s a great point I didn’t consider when converting this to hot process! Yes, I’d stir the extra oil and honey in AFTER the soap is completely cooked and right before putting it in the mold. Just stir, stir, stir really well then spoon into the mold. Thanks for pointing that out. I hope the soap helps your daughter!

  17. Karen says:

    I would like to try making this soap:)

  18. Lauren says:

    Thanks so much for your wonderful recipes and website! I just made my first ever batch of cold process soap (or any soap, for that matter), and I used your recipe. I did substitute sweet almond oil at trace, and when I poured the molds it was a light, creamy yellow color. I took a peek at the molds a few minutes ago, and the soap looks completely different now – it’s much darker and slightly translucent. Is this normal? I’m really hoping this is just part of the gel process and I didn’t mess up my batch!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Lauren, That’s just the gel phase (the soap heating up in the mold) and it’s perfectly normal, but it scared me the first time I saw it too! :) Hooray for making your first batch of soap!!

      • Lauren says:

        Thanks for responding! The bars are curing well, and they smell AMAZING. My corners stayed slightly white compared to the rest of the mold, so I think I got a partial gel. Overall, I’m delighted with my first batch and can’t wait to try again.

  19. Leasa Sieve says:

    I would like to try your oatmeal honey soap. I have what is probably a dumb question (this is only my 2nd batch of soap), but why the range of water amount? How do I decide how much to use?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Leasa, That’s a great question! I usually pick a number in the middle. If you’re worried about your soap setting up too fast, then pick a higher number (more water = slower time to trace & longer time in the mold). If I’m dealing with a silicone mold, I’ll go a smidge under the half way mark so it unmolds faster for me.

  20. Leasa Sieve says:

    My digital scale only goes to one decimal point(7.8 oz). So I’m guessing I need a different scale to measure the lye (7.86 oz) correct?

  21. juli says:

    what is the exact amount of water. Never heard of a varying amount.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Juli! I use the lye calculator here: https://www.thesage.com/calcs/LyeCalc.html and it returns a range of water that you can use in a recipe.
      If you’re new to soap making and don’t want to risk your soap setting up too fast while you’re working with it, then you use water on the higher range. Water on the lower range can be used, but your soap will reach trace faster – sometimes too fast! I usually aim for a middle number so that I can make soap quicker, but still have time to add things at trace. It also helps to reduce the water if you use a silicone mold, so it firms up sooner.
      So, if you’re familiar with the soap making process, I’d go with 18 ounces of water, or if you’re just learning then probably 20 ounces will be best.
      (Water is the only ingredient that has a little flexibility in amount – the lye & oils should all be precise.)

  22. Sherry says:

    Hi Jan! I want to make this recipe for my eczema guys. I’ve mentioned before we have a nut allergy including coconut oil. What oil would you substitute in its place?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sherry! To substitute coconut oil, my first choice would be babassu oil, in equal measure since it has such similar properties. If that’s not easily available, you could try using using cocoa butter (which adds hardness to the bar like coconut oil does) and castor oil (which helps boost lather since high olive oil soaps tend not to have much.)

      The recipe, as is, is roughly 72% olive oil and 28% coconut oil. You could make this a similar “almost castile” type soap with something like:
      43 ounces olive oil
      7.5 ounces cocoa butter
      5.5 ounces castor oil
      7.1 ounces lye (6% superfat)
      18 ounces water

      EXCEPT, once I figured and typed that all up, it occurred to me that cocoa butter is probably off limits too (but I’ll leave that variation up in case someone else can use that option), sooooo….

      Idea #2 is to substitute the coconut oil with tallow or lard (bonus of that is that tallow is supposed to be good for those with eczema.)
      40 oz olive oil
      16 ounces tallow
      7.21 ounces lye
      18 ounces water

      OR Idea #3 – if you ‘d like to keep the soap vegetable based, you might want to just do a castile bar of say 100% olive oil or perhaps 95% olive oil and 5% castor or meadowfoam oil (to try to get a little lather in the bar.)

      You can take any soap recipe that you like and just change up what you add at trace to make it into an oatmeal and honey soap.

      • Sherry says:

        Thank you so much! I’m on the search for Babasuu! You are right! Cocoa is not an option! Thank you for thinking of that as well and giving me the other alternatives! You are so very awesome! I appreciate you very much!

        My gang is also very used to Aveeno lotion (Ugh) and think it solves their dry skin (not). Some lotion recipes would be great that don’t leave them feeling greasy! I can’t wait to own a hard copy of all of your books!


        • Jan says:

          Hi Sherry! I bought my babassu oil at amazon.com. It’s wonderful stuff! They even sent me a sample of a cream that was really nice. I had horrible eczema as a kid and my mom used those types of lotions on me too. I well remember how miserable it was – they burned & didn’t really help. :/ It sure is nice of you to make things to help them feel better! :)

  23. Jennifer says:

    Hi, Would this recipe be good for a dog soap? I’ve read the PH needs to be around 7 for dogs. I have not picked up any PH testing strips for the online recipes I’ve found.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jennifer! I haven’t tested the pH of it, but it will run on the alkaline side. I’ve made a few for my dogs, but none that I’m super impressed with. You’re right, they do need a little different soap than we humans. I’m still working on the perfect dog soap recipe and will definitely share if I make one I like!

  24. Dani says:

    Hi Jan,
    I am fairly new to soap making (probably 7 batches so far) and I just tried honey in my recipe and I loved it! Not having to cover it made it to where I could steeple the top and the hotter process made it to where I didn’t have to worry about soda ash. My question is: can you use honey in other recipes? Specifically- I have some clays coming in soon from brambleberry and was wondering if it was okay to use honey with the clay at trace? Thank you so much for your wonderful blog!!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Dani, I love honey in my soap too! You sure can add honey with clay at trace. I like to make a slurry of honey, clay & water (plus any EOs) so that everything mixes in quickly and smoothly.

  25. Zoe says:

    This recipe was the first I ever made!! The soap turned out great!!

  26. Kay says:

    I made the oatmeal & honey soap and am fairly new to soaping. It is still really soft. How long do you wait to cut it?

  27. Kay says:

    Thanks, I will buy some sodium lactate for next time. I made the soap in a parchment lined box and have waited 2 days. The soap came cleanly away from the sides of parchments but stuck to the knife when I cut it. I cut it into thirds lengthwise & a small bar from one of the lengths. It is honey colored and feels like playdough. Do you this this will harden up or should I start over?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Kay! I would give it more time to harden up. If it came away from the mold cleanly and you don’t see any oil separation going on, then maybe it just needs more time.
      One thought, since this happened to me in the past before I realized what was going on – did your lye have any clumps or anything in it? If you shake it and hear some in there, then that means some moisture has gotten in and it won’t measure out properly, making your soap a little short on lye and little softer.
      Also, did you keep the mold at room temp or did you chill it? Chilled soaps that don’t go through gel phase, will take longer to firm up too.
      I’d give it another week of curing before I tried cutting any more and see how it is then.
      Keep me posted!

  28. Rebeca says:

    How much does it cost to make one five pound bar of the oatmeal soap? How many bars does it make? Thank you for your response!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rebeca! The cost will vary widely depending on how much you pay for your ingredients. You can use oils from your local grocery store, but sometimes it works out cheaper to buy them online, depending on volume ordered. So, if you buy a 32 ounce container of olive oil and only need 16 ounces for this recipe, that part of the soap batch will cost half as much as you paid for the olive oil. You can go through and calculate each ingredient like that, add it up to see how much the batch costs in total, then divide it by how many bars it makes to get a cost per bar.
      The amount of bars will vary depending on your mold size. An example of a 5 lb mold can be found here: http://www.brambleberry.com/5-Lb-Wood-Log-Mold-with-velcro-straps-P3612.aspx It’s 17 inches long. If you cut one inch thick bars, you’ll get 17 bars – or more likely 16 once you trim off the ends. If you cut 1.25 inch thick bars, you’ll get around 13 bars and so forth. If you use a flatter box mold like this one: http://www.brambleberry.com/18-Bar-Unfinished-Birchwood-Mold-P5168.aspx (which is 6 pound mold) then you get a little different look and amount.

  29. Ana says:


    I am new at soap making but I am excited to try out your recipes. I am especially looking at the oatmeal recipe. I am not sure how to use the lye calculator so I will just use the recipe you have posted. So, I have a couple of questions: How many bars of soap can I make with the recipe you posted? and can I use Shea butter ? and how much do I add? THanks so much and I really enjoy reading your posts.

    Ana Gonzalez

    • Jan says:

      Hi Ana! This recipe is one of my larger ones and will make somewhere between maybe 15 to 18 bars (which will vary depending on what type of mold you use and how thick you cut the bars.) If you want to use a smaller recipe, that makes around 7 or 8 bars, you can use this one: http://thenerdyfarmwife.com/hot-process-oatmeal-honey-soap-crock-pot-method/ (If you don’t want to cook it in your crock pot, you can just add the honey and oats and pour it into a mold, exactly like this recipe does, just let it cure for about 4 weeks after unmolding it.)

      Shea butter would be a really nice addition to this recipe. If you use this one, you could change the recipe like this:
      16 oz coconut oil
      36 oz olive oil
      4 oz shea butter
      18 oz water
      7.83 oz lye
      same amounts of oats and honey and such at trace

      In case that recipe is too big for you, I decreased it so it would fit in a mold around the size of a 9″ x 5″ bread loaf pan. (In fact, I sometimes use my glass bread loaf pan and just line it with parchment paper or an inexpensive trash bag.)

      Smaller Sized Oatmeal & Honey Soap With Shea Butter:
      8.5 oz coconut oil
      19 oz olive oil
      2.5 oz shea butter
      10 oz water
      4.19 oz lye
      (then add half the amount above of things to add at trace like honey & oats & such)

      I hope that helped answer your question, but if it doesn’t, just let me know!

  30. Alyssa says:

    I love this recipe!

    I recently found a milk soap recipe that used the same measurement of milk in replacement of water, only, they froze the milk in cubes before adding the lye.

    I was wondering if I could do that and sub out the water in this recipe for milk?

  31. Kokila says:

    Hi, I get a lot of goose bumps and have researched that oatmeal can be used to get rid off them. Is this true? If so, do you sell your soap?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Kokila! Oatmeal can be soothing to dry skin which might help, though bumps can be caused by many things. (Sometimes, even what you’re eating or they can indicate that you need more essential fatty acids in your diet.) I don’t sell any products right now, but if you check on Etsy.com and do a search for oatmeal soap, you will find lots of great options!

  32. Coral says:

    How much honey is to much honey? I just put 1cup in a 5 lb loaf. It’s dark golden, I wasn’t expecting that. I think I goofed.

  33. Coral says:

    Wow, I had no idea it could do all that bad stuff if you added to much honey. It didn’t volcano, or is it to soft. What do you mean by scorch? I did everything wrong, even covered it up like I do for all my soap. It did turn a dark golden color tho. Do you think it will still be sudsy?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Coral! When a batch of soap I made scorched from honey, it turned from the pale yellow I had colored it to an unattractive brown color (with a bit of pale yellow marbling). It also just smelled slightly burnt and not at all good. I would just let your soap cure and then give it a test run. If it still lathers up and it smells good, then I’d use it! It seems to me that all that honey would be good for your skin. Soap guidelines are only guidelines and not set in stone, so I think it’s admirable that you experimented outside the bounds to see what would happen and I hope that it turns out really great for you!

  34. sim says:

    Can I make this with milk instead of water.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sim, you sure can! Just freeze your milk or have it at least partially frozen before using so it won’t scorch or overheat.

  35. Virginia says:

    Hi jan. Can I put my soap straight in the fridge to stop it from gelling, have already made a batch and dsnt look to good with a brown ring in the middle, and white around the edges, so thought I wud try another way

  36. Mylene says:

    Can I replace water with a mix of raspberry juice and frozen buttermilk?

    Also, can I replace honey with maple sirup?


    • Hi Mylene! You can use frozen buttermilk instead of water, but the raspberry juice will likely turn your soap a brownish color. (Juices rarely stay the same color, though cold carrot juice will give it an orange tint!)
      The honey is added for skin benefits that I don’t think maple syrup has. You could add a little bit of maple syrup, just for label appeal, so you can call it Maple Oatmeal Soap (or something similar) – but be aware that the sugars in it will heat your soap up further and if you use too much, your soap will probably be sticky.
      This post:
      has some information on using milk in soap that might help you as you experiment with the recipe. Good luck! I hope it turns out well for you!

  37. Ana says:


    I just made my first batch of honey oatmeal soap and I am so excited! Just a quick question, I didn’t add any fragrance but next time I would like to add peppermint oil. How can I calculate that?
    Thanks so much for your posts, they really inspired me to just go ahead and make my own soap. :)

  38. Courtney says:

    Hello! First I would like to say I am enjoying your website. Very informative. I am new to the cold process soap making world! And I have a question. I have been doing lots of research and I am ready to start making my own soap. I have found a couple recipes on your site that I would like to try, but I would like to substitute some of the oils or butters. If I substitute the oils or butters but keep the same measurements, will it change everything? To where I have to use a soap calculator? Thank you for your time!

    • Hi Courtney! You can substitute oils and butters in any recipe you’d like, but yes, you’d need to run it through a lye calculator.
      This one is the most user friendly one, I think:
      (I have found though, that interchanging shea, mango and cocoa butter for each other doesn’t really change lye amounts enough to matter, so if you’re just swapping butters, they can usually be done pretty equally.)
      If you read up on this post:
      It will give you more details on how you can substitute an oil and using lye calculators.
      Be sure to check out the printout of soap making oils linked near the beginning of the article, since that will help guide you as you make substitutions. Lye calculators look tricky and I was very intimidated by them at first, but they are pretty easy once you see how they work!
      Good luck with your soap making adventures! :)

  39. Courtney says:

    Awesome! Thank you! One more question…. For now! 😉 I have seen people wrap there soaps when they are letting them sit for the 6-8 week. I have seen people ceramic wrap them but this is mainly for melt and pour. Do you have to do the same thing for cold process or can you just let it sit on Parchment paper? Also, when using essential oils does the smell or the benefits evaporate when the soap is sitting for the 6-8 weeks? I know this sounds like a stupid question but I came across a lady that wrapped her soaps up and let it sit for 6 to 8 weeks so it doesn’t loose its benefits…. Thank you for your time!!

    • Hi Courtney! For melt and pour, you do want to wrap in plastic wrap or else it might develop little beads of moisture on the surface. For cold process though, you need plenty of air circulating for them to cure. Wrapping them isn’t a great idea during that time, since a point of curing is to evaporate moisture so the bar hardens and will last longer. Even when cure time is up, I like to keep my soaps where some air can get to them. (Nowadays, I sell them in a little muslin bag with a tag attached, so they can breathe, but still be protected from handling and dust.) Essential oils will fade faster than a fragrance oil, but some will last a lot longer and better than others. Some good ones that will stick around include: peppermint, lavender, 10X orange (ten fold orange), eucalyptus and lemongrass. Some that won’t stick around for long include regular lemon and orange essential oils. You also need to put a large amount of essential oils in, a few drops won’t do. I scent mine on the lighter side and still put 1 to 2 tablespoons of essential oil for around a 2 1/2 pound batch. This is when the big bottles of essential oil from Bramble Berry works well – they’re much more economical than buying tiny little bottles that you’d have to use the whole thing of.

  40. Courtney says:

    Shrink wrap I mean!!! Sorry :/

  41. Gillian says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if the measurement of oil is by weight or volume. Do I measure 8 oz of olive oil by filling up a 1 cup measuring cup OR do I weigh out 8 oz on a digital scale? I know the lye is measured on the scale but I am confused about the rest of the ingredients.

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Gillian! Everything in soap (oil, butter, lye and liquid) is measured by weight. The lye amount is based exactly on how much oil that you have in a recipe, so you want to be very precise. Sometimes measuring cups come in slightly different sizes (depending on manufacturer) and sometimes we fill them a little bit fuller or lower, so it’s hard to be consistent without a scale. I hope that helped! :)

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