Dandelion & Honey Liquid Soap Recipe

How to make dandelion and honey liquid soap recipe

Every spring, I look forward to making one of my all-time favorite soaps – Dandelion & Honey. I’ve been making some version of it for about 12 years or so now, changing up the recipe here and there for variety.

This year, I decided to switch things up and turn it into a liquid soap, instead of bars.

Liquid soap is one of those things that seems complicated, and some methods are overly so, but this recipe is fairly straightforward. If you’ve made cold process or hot process soap before, this liquid soap recipe shouldn’t give you any trouble. (However, if it does, feel free to ask questions in the comments below. It sometimes takes me a few days to see them, but I do try to answer every comment that I can!)

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Dandelion Tea

Dandelion & Honey Liquid Soap Recipe

All measurements are by weight. You must use an accurate scale to make soap. 

  • 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (40%)
  • 4 oz (113 g) dandelion-infused olive oil (20%)
  • 4 oz (113 g) sunflower oil (20%)
  • 4 oz (113 g) castor oil (20%)
  • 4.63 oz (131 g) potassium hydroxide (KOH) (3% superfat)
  • 13.75 oz (390 g) dandelion tea and/or distilled water
  • 1 tsp honey mixed with 1 tsp warm water

Also needed for dilution phase:

(You can buy cute dispenser pumps that go on the top of mason jars HERE.)

 

A cup of dandelion flowers

Preparation

Liquid soap requires a different type of lye than bar soap. For this recipe, you’ll need to order some potassium hydroxide (or KOH). I buy mine from Bramble Berry or Essential Depot. Both are 90% pure, so this recipe is calculated for that purity level. If your potassium hydroxide has a different purity, you’ll need to run the recipe through soapcalc with a 3% superfat for the new lye value. (Higher superfats aren’t really needed in liquid soap, so 3% is plenty for this recipe.)

After you’ve obtained some potassium hydroxide and are ready to make the soap, you’ll next need to make a dandelion tea and dandelion infused oil.

To make the tea, place 1 cup of dandelion flowers in a heat proof jar and pour 1.5 cups of simmering hot distilled water over them. Let the tea infuse for about 20 to 30 minutes then strain. Cool completely before using in soap recipes.

To make the infused oil, please see #1 on my post 12 Things to Make With Dandelion Flowers.

 

Straining Dandelion Infused Oil

How to Make Dandelion & Honey Liquid Soap

Once you have a dandelion tea and dandelion infused oil, you’re ready to make your soap!

 

Add potassium hydroxide to dandelion tea

Step 1

Place the cooled dandelion tea in stainless steel or heatproof plastic container. If you don’t have quite enough dandelion tea, you can just add more distilled water until the liquid weighs 13.75 oz (390 g).

Wearing gloves and goggles, weigh out the potassium hydroxide and sprinkle it into the dandelion tea. Stir well.

The lye solution will turn a bright yellow-orange, but that’s normal. Set the lye solution aside while you prepare the oils.

 

Oils mixed with dandelion lye solution

Step 2

Weigh the coconut, olive, sunflower and castor oil into a slow cooker.

Turn the heat on low then pour in the dandelion tea and lye solution. Hand stir for about 5 minutes until incorporated.

 

Liquid Soap at Trace

Step 3

After hand-stirring for several minutes, start blending with your immersion (stick) blender. Blend on and off until you reach trace. Don’t run the immersion blender continually or you’ll risk burning out the motor.

Stir with the immersion blender for a few minutes, then let the soap rest for several minutes before stirring with the blender again. It will take about 25 to 30 minutes before trace is reached.

The photo above shows my soap at trace. You can see it got a little foamy from the stirring, but that’s okay.

At trace, thoroughly stir in the honey and water mixture.

 

Liquid Soap Stages

Step 4

Now, it’s time to cook!

The photos above show how this batch of soap looked over cook time. Your times and appearances might vary some, depending on how hot your slow cooker runs.

Keeping the heat on low, cover the slow cooker (crockpot) and check every 30 minutes or so, stirring with a heat proof spatula or spoon each time you check.

The soap will turn darker and gel-like in spots and you’ll probably see some clear or cloudy liquid separating from the soap. Just stir everything back together, cover and cook some more.

After about 2 hours, you should notice that the soap batter has gotten thicker and more concentrated as you stir.

Keep cooking until the soap looks like the final photo in the collage above – it will resemble the glossy look of vaseline. (Or, if you’ve ever made homemade coconut pecan frosting before, it reminds me of that look, minus the pecans & coconut.)

This particular batch cooked about 4 hours, but yours may not take as long or may take a little longer.

When you think the soap is done, scoop out a small amount, let cool until comfortable enough to handle, then mix with a bit of distilled water to dilute.

Touch the diluted paste with the very tip of your tongue – if it gives your tongue a “zap” then it needs to cook longer. If it just tastes kind of gross and like you just licked soap, then it’s good to go!

 

Diluting Liquid Soap

Step 5

At this point, you could store your paste in covered jars until you’re ready to dilute. I go ahead and dilute the whole amount, since we give a lot of it away and use up the rest within a few months.

The pH of this finished diluted soap runs around 9. Because of its natural alkalinity, it doesn’t need a preservative, as long as you dilute with only distilled water and/or vegetable glycerin. If you try to dilute with fresh ingredients like herbal teas or milk though, then you’ll definitely need to explore a preservative of some type since they spoil so easily. (For that reason, I add those types of things to the recipe BEFORE cook time.)

To figure out the dilution amount with this recipe, weigh the fully cooked soap paste.

The cooked soap paste in this batch weighed about 26 ounces (737 g).

Multiply the weight of the fully cooked soap paste by 0.20 (or 20%) to get the amount of glycerin needed, then multiply the weight of the soap paste by 0.80 (or 80%) to get how much distilled water you need.

For this batch, that means I needed 5.2 oz (147 g) vegetable glycerin and 20.8 oz (590 g) distilled water.

Combine the glycerin and distilled water in a deep stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil. Scrape the soap paste into the boiling glycerin/water mixture, stir a bit so the paste is covered by liquid as much as possible, then cover the pan and turn off the heat, leaving the pan on the still-hot burner.

Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring and mashing with a fork, spatula or potato masher occasionally.

Once cooled, bring the mixture back to a boil once or twice more and then allow to cool again, stirring occasionally to break up larger lumps of soap paste.

Keep the soap in the covered stainless steel pan for a few days, stirring occasionally, until all of the soap paste is dissolved.

Pour into jars (I pour through a fine mesh strainer to catch any stray lumps) and allow the soap to settle for a few more days, though you can use it right away if you’d like.

And, that’s it! You’ve made liquid soap!

 

Did you enjoy learning how to make Dandelion & Honey Liquid Soap? If so, let’s keep in touch! Subscribe to my monthly newsletter HERE to receive my latest herbal ideas, DIY body care projects and natural soapmaking recipes once, sometimes twice, per month. (No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.) 

Dandelion and Honey Liquid Soap Recipe

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46 Responses to Dandelion & Honey Liquid Soap Recipe

  1. Jenny says:

    I assume you would add essential oils for scent when you are finished with diluting the soap? What would you recommend as a shelf life?

    • Hi Jenny! I normally leave this unscented, but you can definitely add some essential oils for scent if you’d like.
      The fragrance calculator at Bramble Berry will give a good range for your chosen essential oil, which can then be adjusted slightly to personal preference.
      https://www.brambleberry.com/pages/Fragrance-Calculator.aspx
      A nice thing about liquid soap is that you don’t need tons of essential oil to give it noticeable scent.
      For shelf life of liquid soap – the undiluted paste is similar to bar soap & should last for at least a year.
      We use the diluted soap up within 3 or 4 months, so I know it stays fresh at least that long, though it may last even longer than that. (I have some microbial tests planned for this summer, so stay tuned!) :)

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks Jan, you have inspired me to revisit the big glob of liquid soap paste I made last year. I didnt really know what I was doing, and diluted some of it to make the liquid soap but think I added too many other ingredients at that stage. It was OK, and everyone says how they like it (I added a bit of lemongrass oil for scent), but I am not happy with it. I will try your %’s of glycerine and water. Thanks again, Sarah 😊

    • Hi Sarah! Liquid soaps vary in how much water/glycerin is needed to dilute, depending on the recipe used, but the amount in this post is a good starting place! I hope that you like the ratio & that you give liquid soapmaking another try sometime! :)

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Jan, love your work and your books. I’m not a fan of sunflower oil – it’s the only oil that has ever gone rancid on me in soap. What could I substitute that with?

  4. Danica says:

    Hi, I really love the things you do. I also have your book, very nice!
    One thing that has been bothering me with ls is that it doesn’t really foam. How is the “foamability” of your ls?
    Thank you in advance!

  5. kristy says:

    Hello,

    So… just curious, could I use this soap as a homemade body wash?

    Sincerely,

    Kristy

  6. Katie says:

    Hi! I am very interested in making this liquid soap, however would like to use some milk with it. You talk about adding it early on so a preservative wouldn’t be needed. Would I use the milk to replace the tea/water (as in amount to add)? Or would I need a different recipe? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Katie, Yes, you can use milk to replace the tea/water (frozen or slushy milk), but one of my preferred ways to add milk is to reduce the water amount used to make the lye solution by a few ounces, then use the rest of that amount as milk, blended into the oils before adding the lye.
      So, that would make this recipe look like:
      8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (40%)
      4 oz (113 g) dandelion-infused olive oil (20%)
      4 oz (113 g) sunflower oil (20%)
      4 oz (113 g) castor oil (20%)
      4.63 oz (131 g) potassium hydroxide (KOH) (3% superfat)
      3 oz (85 g) milk —– BLEND THIS WITH OILS
      10.75 oz (390 g) dandelion tea and/or distilled water — USE THIS FOR LYE SOLUTION
      1 tsp honey mixed with 1 tsp warm water
      Then make as usual.
      If using powdered milk, I blend about a tablespoon into the oils before adding the lye solution.
      One thing to note with hot processing soap made with milk this way is that it will affect the final color of your soap, making it darker and browner than it’d be otherwise.

  7. Joanne says:

    I really enjoyed the read. Loved the idea of using dandelions too.

  8. Shannon McLean says:

    Can you put some salt in for a slightly thicker cloudy soap?

  9. Anuj Agarwal says:

    Hi Jan,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog The Nerdy Farm Wife has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Soap Making Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/soap_making_blog/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Soap Making Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    Best,
    Anuj

  10. Lorna Robb says:

    Hello , just found your site from sunny Scotland. Just been out and picked my left over dandelions cleared them out last week before I found this.

    Ordered your book and signed up for emails, cannot wait to get started. Made soap once and have been looking for ideas.

    Thanks lorna

  11. K.Young says:

    Jan – does this only work with all high-oleic oils? I see your note about a sub for Sunflower, but what about a full or partial sub for Olive?

    • Hi K! You don’t necessarily have to use all high-oleic oils. My first choice for an olive oil sub would be rice bran oil. (Also sunflower oil, but if you need to sub that out already, that wouldn’t be a factor.) :)

  12. Jessica says:

    I see this made 26 oz of soap paste. How many ounces do you get when diluted? If I just want to make a 12 oz container or two (because I’ve never done liquid soap before) should I halve the recipe or quarter it? Castor oil seems to be one of the few oils I do not have in my cupboard. Is the drugstore variety okay to use or is there a good substitute?

    Thanks for the recipe. My 5-year old has been harvesting dandelions for me and is so excited for dandelion soap :)

    • Hi Jessica! Since you’re diluting with an equal amount of liquid (water + glycerine), then the 26 ounces of paste becomes 52 oz of liquid soap. You could try halving the recipe, but I found that recipes much smaller than this size are more difficult to work with as far as stirring (completely submerging the immersion blender in the soap mixture) and uneven heating of crockpot. Though I do have to note that I don’t own a smaller crock pot – if I did, it might be much easier! :) You should be able to use castor oil from the drugstore. Some brands are processed with hexane (a solvent that’s associated with some health risk), so I try to source brands that are made without. I hope you have good luck with your soap! :)

  13. jamal alnafea says:

    Hi. Can I replace potassium hydroxide with sodium hydroxide? Because I own a quantity of sodium hydroxide and I would like to use it. Thanks

  14. Arsho says:

    Jan, I have your lovely book and thank you for this recipe. Will definitely give it a try. Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend!

  15. Michelle says:

    Hello,
    I always enjoy reading your site. My husband is allergic to coconut and mangoes is there another oil that I can substitute for the coconut? I always find it difficult to locate a recipe for soap and lotions that do not require the use of coconut.

    Thank you

    • Hi Michelle! Babassu oil is often used as a substitute for coconut oil in soap recipes, is he able to use that? I understand how difficult it is to work around allergies! This summer, I hope to write up a blog post with some coconut-free soap recipes which I hope will help those who are allergic. Stay tuned! :)

  16. Shona says:

    Hi Jan,

    Other liquid soap recipes I’ve seen use borax to neutralize the potassium hydroxide, but yours doesn’t. I like the idea of not using it because I can’t seem to get the borax to dissolve. I’m looking forward to try your recipe.

  17. Cindy corbin says:

    Jan I made your recipe! I think I had it to the right consistency except for a couple lumps. Heated it up again and it got thick and I can’t get it back to the clear looking soap again. Seems to keep getting thicker. Any ideas?

    • Hi Cindy! How long did you heat it for and was the pot covered when you did? You may have evaporated off a bit too much of the water. You could try gently stirring in some more distilled water & let it sit (still covered) overnight & see if that helps. How thick is it? If it’ll still work in a pump-style soap dispenser, then it might not need much, if any, thinning back out. Keep me posted on how it’s doing!

      • Cindy corbin says:

        Thank you! I think that’s what I did! It’s almost has a taffy consistency. I added water. It’s pretty thick to get stirred in but I’ll let it sit overnight and see what happens. Thank you!

  18. Lucy says:

    I LOVE your blog and recipes! I have been making a glycerin based liquid soap for some time now and have found that scenting it poses some issues like clouding and even clumping of the Essential oils. I’ve tried gently reheating my diluted soap in the crock pot and adding the Essential oils and not stirring or messing with it and after awhile shutting off the crock pot to let it slowly cool, which is somewhat successful but also proves to be risky and creates a certain portion of wasted product. Do you have any better suggestions for how to do it without the risk of clouding or having globs of essential oil sitting at the bottom of the batch? I sell it and people seem to really like the clear beautiful soap scented with EO’s.

    • Hi Lucy! My best suggestion would be to try adding the essential oils while the soap is gently heated, but it sounds like you’ve already tried that. I’m a little stumped past that idea as it usually works for me, though I also have to note that I most often leave soaps unscented for our household use. I’ll look through some of my liquid soapmaking resources & if I spot a possible solution mentioned, will update my comment to let you know! :)

  19. Mary Tallo says:

    Just finished a batch of the dandelion & honey liquid soap. Success. I have 2 comments to make. I had the setting on my slow cooker on the lowest setting #1. Hours past and was not getting the results as per your instruction. I had to increase the setting to a #2, then a little more and it progressed, finally at midnight I just unplugged the slow cooker and; went to bed after about 12 hours. In the morning just went ahead and diluted with glycerin and water. My lowest setting must be just a warm setting. Also, my advice is not to use a slow cooker that has a coating such as Teflon. The lye attacks the finish and it is ruin. Live and learn. All and all, I am pleased with the results of the soap. I diluted it by 50% and am using it in my foamer pump.

    • Hi Mary, Happy to hear the recipe was a success! My slow cooker runs hot, so thanks for the feedback on other models! Great point too about mentioning that non-stick coatings (along with aluminum) aren’t recommended for making soap as they can have negative reactions with the lye!

  20. Dana Wolanin says:

    Hi Jan,
    I have Glycerin from WSP. I don’t know if it’s vegetable glycerin though. Is it okay to use in place of the vegetable glycerin you have listed? I’d like to use this up before buying something else.
    Thanks!
    Dana

  21. Helena says:

    You are the Best. Love your common sense recipes
    Been using them for quite awhile now and so happy with the results.
    Have the dandelion infusion all ready to go, so am going to try the liquid soap.
    thanks again for being there.
    Helena

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