Simple & Natural Calendula Soap

This is a mild, unscented calendula soap bar that’s gentle enough to use on virtually all skin types.

Calendula Soap Recipe

It’s made with calendula infused oil and calendula tea.

This is a Cold Process Soap recipe. All measurements are by weight. You must have an accurate digital scale to make soap.

Calendula Soap Recipe

At trace: add up to one additional tablespoon of calendula infused oil, for a more moisturizing soap.

This recipe is sized to fit my four pound homemade wooden molds. The inner dimensions are: 15 inches long, 3.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall.

If you need to resize the recipe, to fit a different size mold, this article will be helpful!

How to Resize a Soap Recipe to Fit Your Mold

If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before proceeding.

You can find more information and step by step instructions in my Soap Making 101 post or check out my Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection.




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  1. I really love your site! Since I live in sweden and can’t get any calendula now, I’m wondering if it’s possible to do this recipe with lavender instead?

  2. Can I add calendula petals into this recipe? If so, at what point would I add them? Thanks!

  3. Hi! Can you please give me a recipe for making soap for sensitive skin, eczema kind of skin. I like the calendula type, can I make it without lye? With glycerin for example, and what else can I add to it? I want to make my own soap but I don’t know where to begin. I don’t like using lye, is it an important ingredient? Please help….Chato

    1. Hi Chato! Somewhere along the line, lye has to be involved in order to make soap. Soap is only obtained when you mix a caustic substance (lye) with oils. Without lye, you just have oil. Once the lye has reacted with the oil, it’s not lye anymore, just like the oil isn’t oil anymore. They both combine together in a chemical reaction to make soap! Even soap you buy in the store has lye (sodium hydroxide.) Check the label of your favorite soap: sodium palmitate means palm oil mixed with lye, sodium tallowate means tallow mixed with lye, sodium cocoate means coconut oil mixed with lye etc. If you don’t want to personally handle the lye though (and a lot of people don’t!), then you could check out my post on making soap without handling lye. That might give you a few ideas! :)

  4. You don’t sound nerdy to me. I travel a lot and live between Europe & the US. About 30 years ago a German friend stayed with me for a few months in Paris and mentioned her calendula soap. she was a poet and theatrical designer and a bit eccentric, so when she said she used calendula soap because it was a deodorant I wasn’t sure if I believed her. But I started using it and after a month or so I threw my underarm deodorant spray away and found a French product with calendula and either palm or coconut oil. It was soft on the skin and kept me odor-free.

    Unfortunately, about 5 years ago the pharmaceutical comany must have changed soap makers. The bar would melt away too quickly then expose an odd-shaped core bar that seemed to not contain the same ingredients. It was a product findable in the major chain of grocery/department stores throughout France.After a while they took it off the market. Apparently they decided it wasn’t profitable or they were bought out or who knows what.

    I have tried other calendula soaps, but they must have less calendula oil, because I’ve not found one with comparable deodorant qualities even when they are a nice bar of bath soap. The one I used for years apparently only used the oil, because you didn’t see petals or leaves in it.

    I’m in Connecticut for 3 weeks and wonder if you ever sell your soap. I’m not the sort who’d DIY, but i would love to find the equivalent of what I had.


    1. Hi Jack! That sounds like a terrific soap. I just sent you an email, for further conversation about obtaining a sample of calendula bar.

  5. I have 3 month old twin girls with sensitive skin. I have used a calendula soap on them but do not remember who it was purchased from.

    Does your soap sud up a good amount? The other did.

    I may have to make my own batch. Where can you buy lye and calendula leaves or dried flowers?

    1. Hi Ron! This soap suds up rather nicely. It’s very plain and unscented, which works for the extra sensitive ones in my family.
      I get lye from my local Tractor Supply store (in the section with plumbing odds & ends.)

  6. Hi! For the calendula infused oil you are using dried calendula flowers or fresh flowers? Which is the best?

    1. Hi Angie! From what I understand, most cold process recipes can also be made using hot process, so I would think it should work just fine. (You might want to double check with a hot process expert though!) :) I hope you have a very merry Christmas too!

  7. I love your blog and your soaps are gorgeous and simple. Today I made an attempt to make my first CP soap with your inspiring Celendula soap recipe. I’ll know in 24 to 36 hours if I was actually successful in making it. Either way I’m happy I made an attempt and hoping it will get easier from here onwards. Thank you for sharing your recipes and knowledge. I’ll have an update how it turned out.

  8. I’m wondering if and how I could use calendula essential oil in place of the infused oil. I think I have calendula growing in the yard but because I couldn’t positively identify it, I havent used it…or dried it.

    1. Hi Beth! While I haven’t used calendula essential oil before, I would think that might work. You’d only want a tiny amount of essential oil versus an infused oil. Since I’m not familiar with using it though, I’m afraid I don’t have any knowledge as far as how much. You should be able to get some information on usage rates if you email or call the manufacturer of your brand. I hope it works for you!

  9. Hi! Love this recipe, have tried it a few times, but have a few questions….
    – how do you get it so white? Mine are coming out darker because of the olive oil i think.
    – what is the superfat and/or water percent ratio? I was trying to resize this for a mould I have and cant seem to get the right ratios as you.
    Thanks for your help, I learn so much from you :)

    1. Hi Michelle! I use light colored olive oil for my soaps (versus dark green), so that could be a factor. You also don’t want TOO strong of a tea, or it can affect final color. I need to go back in my old recipes and put in percentages to make converting easier – sorry about that! :)
      For this one:
      50% Olive Oil
      33% Coconut
      12% Sunflower
      5% Castor Oil
      and a 6% Superfat

  10. Calendula Soap was my very first soap that I made years ago and I loved it. It was very creamy. My infused olive oil was stored for 4 months. It naturally smelled great after the soap was made too.

  11. Hello! I’d love to try making the soap for my son, but he is allergic to coconut. What are good alternatives to coconut oil, and do they offset the ratios of the other ingredients needed for this recipe?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Grace, One of the best substitutes for coconut oil in soap, is babassu oil. (It’s also wonderful in body care products!) It will change the lye amount, but only by a small amount. Here’s a version using babassu oil instead:

      21 ounces olive oil (use part calendula infused oil)
      14 ounces babassu oil
      5 ounces sunflower oil
      2 ounces castor oil
      13 ounces of calendula infused water (tea)
      5.9 ounces of sodium hydroxide (lye)

      As a note – babassu is in the same family as palm, but not fraught with the same environmental concerns. It’s also NOT considered a nut, so can be explored by those with tree nut allergies as well.

  12. How much of the olive oil should be calendula infused? Also. do you ever infuse geranium flowers?

    1. Hi Kellie! It really depends on how much calendula you have on hand. Sometimes when I make this, I have a low supply, so only use a bit of infused oil, but preferably, I like to use as much as I can, all the way up to the full amount. It just depends on what you have available, but the more the better! I was JUST researching geraniums last week. I think you can infuse the scented kinds, but I don’t have any available around here to experiment with. I’m not sure that you can do anything with regular geraniums though.

  13. Well, I did it. I made my first batch of soap in years! I made the smaller batch of Calendula Soap from your eBook. It ‘almost’ fit perfectly into my 2# silicone mold from Crafter’s Choice (Amazon). I put the remainder in an individual bar mold and popped it into the freezer….experimenting. Didn’t I read where you said the silicone loaf molds didn’t have to be insulated? I put plastic wrap over the top (no lid)I and then in a Walmart insulated bag. They used to sell them near the freezer section. I then wrapped a blanket around it. Should I unwrap it? I had enough infused oil for the recipe and with the tea, should be a strong enough batch. I added a 1/2 tsp. of Annatto powder for coloring and 25 drops of Sandalwood E.O. I have no idea how strong or weak that will be. lol I made a boo boo yesterday. I accidentally picked up a bottle of Olive Oil with Sunflower Oil. The Sunflower Oil is 80% and only 20% Olive Oil. I could kick myself. I haven’t used it, yet. I know too much Sunflower Oil can make a soft bar. What do you advise?

    1. Hi Joy, Hooray for making your soap again! I don’t usually insulate my molds these days since we don’t have central air in the summer and only use a wood stove in the winter, so my house stays very toasty year ’round! How did that batch turn out for you? I haven’t used Sandalwood, so I’m not sure how strong it is, but I hope it did well for you! Hmmm – for the sunflower/olive oil – I think I would be tempted to run it through the lye calculator as sunflower oil and only use it in small amounts over several batches of soap. That way it’s not wasted, but it’s not such a big part of the recipe it can mess it up. I’m not positive that’d work, but I suspect it will be close enough! :)

      1. I put my soap upstairs, which is warmer than downstairs. Apparently, what I did was good enough because the soap turned out great! I was able to get them out of the molds less than 24 hours later. The hubby and I made a soap slicer I saw on YouTube and sliced the soap the next day. I’m as giddy as a school girl! :-) Thanks for the link for the fragrance calculator. I haven’t smelled my soap, yet. I figure I should wait until it’s cured more. I believe you’re right on the oil. I’ll just look at it as Sunflower Oil and use it accordingly. Thanks so much!

  14. Hi, Jan! I am super excited to try your cold process calendula soap (I’ve only ever done hot process) but I was wondering if I could switch things up a bit by cold brewing dried calendula flowers in distilled water on the counter during the day and then chilling it in the fridge overnight. I’d be adding the lye to it in the morning. I’ve cold brewed coffee and teas this way for drinking and it’s such an efficient (lazy) method, but would the skin benefits still come through? Could you share your thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Patty, I think that would work just fine! Since you’ve made hot process before you should do great with this recipe. Cold process soap is just pretty much hot process minus the cooking part. :)

  15. Jan, I just want to thank you! I made your calendula soap and it is amazing.
    What recipe do you recommend for rosemary soap?

    1. Hi Mariana, I’m so glad that you like it! You could take this very same recipe and just use rosemary instead of calendula to create a rosemary soap. If you want to scent it, perhaps do a rosemary mint (where it’s mostly mint) or rosemary lavender (mostly lavender, with a dash of rosemary) or you could leave it plain.

      1. Thanks Jan, that’s great. I’ll try rosemary as well. This recipe is amazing!

  16. Can I steep or infuse evening primrose flowers or leaves? I’m a new born soapy and rediculously know nothing. I have made 2 batches of soap so far very basic as they are its looking good. I do want to make all natural soaps and utelising my garden is a wonderful idea. Thank you for reading.

    1. Hi Marie, That’s great that you’ve had two successful batches of soap! I like your idea of steeping or infusing evening primrose flowers and using them in soap! I haven’t tried it myself, but they’re non-toxic, so it would be worth testing it out. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

  17. This is the third of your website soap I have tried. This soap is really lovely. I used the calendula infusion cooked in a double boiler than let it sit for a week. It was a lovely yellow before I put it in with the rest of the oils. Regarding the use of teas, I had a funny reaction with the lye and tea in this case.

    After successfully making your lavender soap with the lavender tea I tried making this soap with the calendula tea. Both times I used distilled water. (My water does not react well with lye.) Interestingly I got a lye volcano with the calendula tea. (And yes I put the lye in last. ) I was so glad I followed your example by putting the jar in the sink.

    I redid the lye solution without the tea and then added shredded calendula petals once I got it to trace. My soap is more pale beige but so pretty! Thank you again for another wonderful soaping experience.

    1. Hi Peggy, I’m glad that your soap turned out so lovely sounding, in spite of the scary lye volcano! I’ve had one happen myself and was so thankful that the sink was there to catch everything. In my case, the herbal tea was still on the warm side, making my lye overheat and boil over. You might want to try completely chilling your herbal teas to prevent that in the future. I love your idea of shredded calendula petals in the soap. I bet it’s beautiful!

  18. Just one more note on my earlier post regarding the lye volcano experience. It is all about thinking about safety isn’t it? I read a lot of blogs for soaping since I am pretty green to the process. Everyone is careful to post about using safety gear but it is up to the individual to think it through. When my lye started to boil over, and I had to react. I had to stop and think, what can I do with this stuff now? I didn’t really know what was safe and ended up pouring the rest down the toilet after rinsing off the outside of the jar. Was that a safe disposal method? I hope so.

    But then I had to keep going with the recipe and had all these questions in my head. Did the distilled water jug I used have something else in it? It was not kept in a controlled environment. Was my jar as clean as I thought? I also just bought my lye from a new supplier, was that the issue? Most likely it wasn’t the tea, but some factor I had not accounted for. In the end it all came down to what I will think of next time and your mention of mixing your lye in the sink. If I hadn’t noticed that I could have had burns and damage to my countertop and floor. Anyway let this be a reminder to not get complacent regarding safety. When something starts to get routine that is when we often learn the hardest lessons. Many thanks for letting me share this… and safe soaping to all your readers!

    1. Hi Peggy, Thank you for sharing your experience! That’s great that you were able to think through the situation quickly. It’s also an important reminder to me that I should really stress the working in the sink part on every single recipe on my site. That one little step has saved me some messy cleanup too. Unexpected things can happen, so it’s always good to be prepared!

  19. Hi jan, I would like to make this soap tomorrow and I have mostly everything on hand but the sunflower oil or castor oil. What oils can I use to replace those? I have palm oil at home and some shea butter and cocoa butter. Would any of those work? If not, what oils would you recommend?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Viktoriya! I think with that oil selection, you could make the basic recipe from How to Create Custom Soaps from a Single Recipe:
      and just use calendula tea and/or calendula infused-oil.
      To get the same size as this calendula recipe, you could use a half-recipe.
      It will have a bit different properties than if you used sunflower and castor oils, but that’s not a bad thing – it will still make a nice bar of soap for you! :)

  20. Hi Jan. Love your blog and recipes! I ran the calendula soap recipe through the MMS Lye Calculator. The recipe reads to use part calendula infused oil. On the calculator they have listed, calendula oil. Should I calculate part of the olive oil as calendula oil or calculate the recipe only as olive oil?
    I tried it calculating both ways. I got two answers for the amount of lye. Total straight olive oil, the total lye amount is what is in the recipe. When I divide the amount, the result of amount of lye was more.
    Please advise as to what I should be doing. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

    1. Hi Colleen! I think the amounts are different because the MMS calculator is referring to the calendula oil they sell. The product description says:
      “The MMS Calendula Oil is made from high quality extracts… calendula petals are combined with a pure fractionated coconut oil…”
      So, their’s isn’t olive oil based and will need a different amount of lye. If you’re using a kind you made at home with olive oil, then just plug the numbers into the olive oil section.
      That’s a great question and I hadn’t realized their calculator did that – so thanks for letting me know! :)

  21. I have some calendula infused with extra virgin olive oil. Can I use that in combination with the regular olive oil? Or will I need to do some refiguring, that can get kind of confusing. My math skills have something to be desired. I still have problems using the lye calculator at times.

  22. Hi Jan! I was comparing your web site calendula recipe with the one on your e-book, and they are not the same. One is a bigger batch. Was that the plan? I was just wondering if it was a mistake on either one. Thanks for all your help.

    1. Hi Lucy! I started out making HUGE batches of soap when I first learned, then downsized to 5 lb batches of soap and now I like making around 2.5 lb batches of soap. The smaller batches let me experiment more without using up tons of ingredients. So, you’ll see a mish-mash of sizes throughout the site, but mostly I use 2 1/2 pound recipes now. Both recipes should work great for you though! :)

  23. I made this soap a few days ago and cut the bars tonight. I’m a little afraid of getting orange spots because the only area I can keep the soap to cure is running about 75 degrees and my humidity goes up and down. My first question is, Do you ever put Rosemary oil or Vitamin E oil to help protect from Orange spots?? I’ve read people do this for super fat soap over 5% but don’t know how much to use. Also since sunflower oil has such a short shelf life, what oil can I use in your recipes instead? I have 4 more of your recipes pegged I want to try and make this month. I have the soap bug. Thank you for writing such great recipes and ebooks.

    1. Hi Annie! In the past, I did use rosemary antioxidants in my soap. I do like it, I just need to restock it. Working with very fresh oils will go a long ways in keeping your soap from developing DOS (dreaded orange spots). Supermarket oils can be good, but sometimes, they can be past their prime. (Once, I had DOS develop within 2 months, after using oil from a supermarket with lower turnover rate. It was frustrating to lose a batch that way…) I try to order from Mountain Rose Herbs or Bramble Berry now, since they seem to do a good job of keeping their oils very fresh. I’ve really been enjoying rice bran oil lately, instead of sunflower oil. You could also use sweet almond oil or avocado oil (I use the light colored, refined avocado oil.) That’s wonderful to hear you have the soap bug! It’s a fun one to have! :)

      1. thanks for the info on other choices of oils. the rice bran oil looks like it would be good for my dry, older skin. I’m acting like a mom with her first baby with this first batch of soap. :) Will Rosemary or Vitamin E be on the lye calculators? Do those go in at trace and will they alter the smell of the soap? Also may I ask what humidity and temperature you try to cure your soaps at? Again thanks for all your advice and knowledge.

        1. Hi Annie! I love rice bran too for my over 40, dry skin. It’s a very nice oil! It’s great to take your time and put a lot of thought into your soap! :) I never calculated Rosemary Extract in my soap recipes, I just usually added 1/2 to 1 tsp at trace with essential oils and other add-ins. (Since my son was allergic to soy & wheat, I rarely used vitamin E, unless I could find one free of both, which was difficult to do!) I never noticed it altering the final smell, as you only need a little bit to be effective. Somewhere along the line, I forgot to add the rosemary extract and found out my soap did fine, so I haven’t used it in a long while. (Though I can see the value of using it too!) I live in Virginia and it’s VERY humid here for the summer and VERY dry in the winter. My indoor temperature stays on the high side, because we don’t have central air and we only heat with a wood stove. I do try to cure my soaps in my home office with a window air conditioner unit, so the temperature isn’t quite so hot as the house is. (My coconut oil is almost always liquid in my kitchen, so I know it stays at least over 76 degrees F.)

          1. I’m from Virginia, born in Farmville, family lives around Batesville, but now I live in Oklahoma. We seem to have the same style of living conditions with window units and wood stove. We use a DE-humidifier in the Winter months to keep the windows from mildew and sweat. So, now I do feel better about my soap curing :) :) I just need to keep that fan circulating around it. Thank you so much!! This home school mom needed a fun new hobby and your recipes and blogs are perfect.

  24. Hi Jan, I can’t seem to get my brain to figure this out. If we use oils that have a 3 to 6 month self life like sunflower oils, does that mean our soap is only good for that long? My calendula that is curing made about 15 bars and I know I can’t use 15 bars of soap in 6 months. The curing time is 6 weeks so that would make the soap almost bad when it’s time to use it. This part of the soap making has me very confused. o.O

    1. Hi Annie R, You know, I have never quite understood that concept either! I think the shelf life thing is a good guideline for how long you should store an oil before using it, but there are so many variations on how long that time is, that it’s really hard to tell. I do know that I’ve used soap with sunflower oil in it, way past the 6/9 months guideline I see listed. I like sunflower oil in a soap recipe & think it gives the bars a nice feel, so don’t worry too much about it. :)

  25. Thank you Jan, The shelf life guidelines I read everywhere are all a little different and it has been stressing me out. If soap goes bad in 6 months and the recipes will give at least 8 bars, then why make soap? And I want to make tons of soap :)

  26. Tomorrow is my FIRST soap making experience and I have decided this will be it! I’m so excited. And all the calendula was home grown and my oil was solar infused this past summer.

    Question : If I was to want to add loose petals inside the sopa (not just on top, but really as a mixed medium), when would I stir them in? At trace?

    Thank you!

    1. Hooray! How did your soap making experience go? You could add dried calendula petals and stir them in at trace. You could also powder them up finely with a coffee grinder and add about 1 tbsp or so to the soap batter at trace. That will give it a pretty yellow speckled color, but will be easier on the drains. I hope that your soap turned out well! :)

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