Oatmeal & Honey Soap Recipe

Oatmeal and Honey Soap


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!

Oatmeal & Honey Soap

(5 lb mold version)

You can buy most of the ingredients needed for this at Mountain Rose Herbs. Your local health or grocery store may have suitable oils on hand too. I buy lye from my local Tractor Supply store, but you can also order it from Brambleberry.com.

Instructions for making soap can be found in my post Soap Making 101. I also recommend my ebook: Cold Process Soap 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!

Cold Process Soap Making Basics & Recipes

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30 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:
      http://thenerdyfarmwife.com/soap-making-101-making-cold-process-soap/

      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:

      http://www.lovinsoap.com/2011/07/natural-soap-colorants-gallery-spice-and-herbal-powders-at-trace/

      http://www.lovinsoap.com/2011/08/natural-soap-colorants-gallery-clays-added-at-trace/

      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:

    Jan,
    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:

    Jan,
    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.

      https://www.thesage.com/calcs/lyecalc2.php

      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!

  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.
    Maureen

  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:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Colloidal-Oatmeal-P5565.aspx
      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:

    Hi

    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:

    Jan,
    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!
    Roberta

    • 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! :)

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