Lemon Balm Soap

Lemon Balm Cold Process Soap Recipe

Lemon balm grows like crazy around my house (which is a good thing!), so, of course, I had to turn some of it into a soap!

For further inspiration on ways to use this prolific plant, be sure to check out my post on 12 Things to Do With Lemon Balm.

12 things to do with lemon balm


This is a Cold Process Soap recipe.

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

You can find more more detailed information and directions in my Soap Making 101 post (HERE) or check out my Natural Soap Making eBook & package (HERE).

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This soap batch is sized to fit a 5 lb wooden loaf mold, with extra tall sides, that my husband made for me. The inner dimensions are roughly: 16 inches long  x  3.75 inches wide x  4.75 inches tall.

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

Lemon Balm Soap

at trace add:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) lemongrass essential oil (Where to Buy)
  • 1 teaspoon lime essential oil (or more lemongrass) (Where to Buy)
  • optional: turmeric powder mixed with small bit of oil to make a well-blended thin paste. Add a bit at a time near the end of mixing, to add a yellowish color.

Gather enough fresh lemon balm leaves to fill a heat proof quart jar around three-fourths full. (Or use 1/8 to 1/4 a jar of dried leaves.) Pour steaming hot water over top and cover with a saucer. Once cool enough to comfortably handle, let this infuse for a few hours in your refrigerator. Strain and reserve 20 ounces of the resulting lemon balm tea for your soap recipe. (Make sure your tea isn’t too dark or strong, or it may affect the final color of the soap.)

*I usually use olive oil that has been infused with dried lemon balm leaves for part of my olive oil allowance, but you can use plain olive oil, if you wish.

Make according to general cold process soap making directions. See Soap Making 101 for an overview.

Check your local grocery and health stores for oil, or check online at Bramble Berry (HERE) or Mountain Rose Herbs (HERE). I buy and recommend Essential Depot’s food grade lye, available HERE at Amazon.

My favorite source of essential oils (for naturally scenting soap) is Bramble Berry. (They’re high quality, but a lot more affordable than buying the tiny bottles elsewhere.)


Some links in this post, may be affiliate links. That means that if you click on one and make a purchase from the web site (Amazon, Bramble Berry or Mountain Rose Herbs), I get a small commission for sending a customer their way. This doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does allow me to earn income from this blog. (So, thank you for helping me to keep doing what I’m doing!) :)

Did you enjoy this soap recipe? If so, be sure to sign up HERE for my newsletter, so you can get my latest soap ideas, herbal projects and other DIY recipes sent straight to your inbox each month!

You may also like:

Kombucha Soap | Garden Mint Soap Recipe | Dandelion Soap

How to Make Kombucha Soap Palm Free Recipe  Garden Mint Soap Cold Process Soap Recipe (palm free)  Dandelion and Raw Honey Soap Recipe


Natural Soap Making eBook


Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of The Big Book of Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • Sandra says:

    This looks great! I love Lemon Balm!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  • Sandy says:

    I love all your recipes, however I make goats milk soap and would like to know how I can use your recipes when I only use the goats milk and no additional water. I hope that makes since, I love the recipe I have and have had great success with it but feel if I add the herbs like you have it would only be better.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sandy! While I use water (for allergy reasons), my mother-in-law uses milk in some of hers and they turn out so lovely. I would try placing the herbs in the milk and letting them infuse overnight in the refrigerator. Then make up your recipe like normal. You could infuse the oils too – I LOVE violet leaf infused oil in soap; rose, dandelion & calendula are nice too! Here’s an example of how I infuse my oils: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/calendula-oil-salve/ I love the idea of herbs in goat’s milk soap and I hope you have great luck with it! :)

  • Sarah says:

    I love all these recipes and directions to make soaps, my only issue is that in some recipes I have never heard of the ingredients, and have no idea where to purchase them……. so that leaves me stumped

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sarah, You can buy all of the ingredients you need to make this at brambleberry.com or MountainRoseHerbs.com. (The lye from brambleberry only.) I usually try to put links to where you can buy things, but forgot to do so on this post. I’ll go in and fix it. Thank you for letting me know!

  • Shelley Severin says:

    You said “fill a heat proof jar with fresh lemon balm”. The issue I have is that I have seen “heat proof jars” in sizes ranging from 4 oz to 1 gallon. So I am scratching my head as to what size to actually use.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Shelley! For this recipe, you want 20 ounces of tea, so need one that would hold that amount plus a few extra ounces for good measure. A quart jar (32 ounces) is a good option to try.

  • Lauren says:

    I tried this recipe and it worked quite well. I don’t have lemon balm, so I used chamomile tea and added some of the dried herbs to the final mix.

    It hasn’t finished curing, but I used some of the trimmed soap, and it feels super oily on my hands – when washing it never feels like they come clean. Will this change as it cures, or is this due to the soft oils in the mix?

    Thank you again for your wonderful recipes!

    • Jan says:

      Chamomile sounds like a great addition! How long has it been curing? You want to let it cure at least four to six weeks. It might take a little longer to firm up (depending on the water amount used), but it shouldn’t feel oily after that amount of time.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi, I am currently steeping the tea to try out this recipe. I want to use it soon though and I am wondering if I could make using the hot process? Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Stephanie! Most cold process soap recipes can be made using the hot process method instead. I haven’t made this recipe HP, but the only change in this one would probably be to just stir in the essential oils right before spooning into the soap mold.

  • Cynthia says:

    I used to get all my EOs from mountainrose but they no longer ship to CA!!!! Sooooo upset about it!!! I LOVE mountainrose and the fact that they use all recycled material for shipping and they package things so well, plus their tea is great, almost everything is either wildcrafted or organic and their products, so far, have all been VERY high quality, no I don’t work for them lol!!! I’m just so ferclempth about it!! Now I don’t know where to get reasonably priced EOs that I know are good quality. I don’t want to pay naturesown prices and bulkapothecary doesn’t put reducers on their bottles, although this is where I currently get my oils. Do you have any suggestions?

    Oh and I’m about ready to make my first batch of cold process and I’m going to do a “dollar store” version I found on YouTube but after that I’m going to do the lemon balm, already bought all the ingredients (I hope my first attempt, using the cheaper ingredients, teaches me enough to be able to pull it off plus I hope I enjoy it). I’ve spent a good amount of money so I REALLY hope it’s fun!! But this soap sounds awesome, got the lemon balm at, you guessed it, mountainrose.

    Wish me luck!



    • Jan says:

      Oh no, I didn’t know that Mt Rose changed up their shipping! I love everything they have too – such a great company. Have you checked with BrambleBerry.com? I bought some EOs from there a few months ago and have been really happy with the quality so far.

      It’s a wonderful – and smart – idea to make your first batches of soap with cheaper ingredients while you get the hang of it. I hope you have lots of fun and success in your soap making ventures!

  • yuliya says:

    Before I make this recipe, can anyone tell me if the scent from the lemon balm tea is actually present after curing? I’m concerned it will be gone by that point. Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi yuliya!The scent from the lemon balm tea will not remain. Some people believe that the health benefits remain, some people don’t – no one really knows. I like to put herbs in my soaps in case those benefits do come through and also because it’s fun and creative! Lemongrass essential oil will help give your soap a nice lemon scent though.

  • Felicia says:

    Would this soap adapt well to lemon and herbs and would the liquid still be the same amount if I just used distilled water? I don’t have lemon balm, but I tried your honey oatmeal soap and I had great results. Really want to try this one!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Felicia! Sure, you can use just distilled water in this recipe. You can use a variety of herbs too, not just lemon balm. It’s really unknown if the benefits of herbs survive the soap making process, but I like to add them in just in case, plus it adds an element of fun to the recipe. If you’d like to make a soap with lemon in it – you might like this link that gives more information: http://www.annelwatson.com/soapmaking/creative/July/citrussoap.html I’m happy to hear that you liked the honey oatmeal soap too!

  • Keshia says:

    I made your pumpkin soap and it turned out great and I’m about to make the lemon balm I just wanted to clarify the tea is the liquid I use to mix with the lye? The previous recipe was just water so I wanted to make sure :)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Keshia, I’m glad that you liked the pumpkin soap! Yes, you mix lemon balm tea with the lye, instead of water. (Make sure it’s room temperature or cooler though.) Good luck with your soap making! :)

  • Alice Brigman says:

    Just made the Lemon Balm soap as I have lots growing around my place and love the smell. I made the mistake of putting it in a deep plastic tub I used as a mold. It was so soft and sticky. Will it get better/harder after the amount of curing time? Also what is the best size for these homemade soaps and best mold to use?
    Thanks, can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Alice! Deep molds tend to take a little longer to firm up – possibly days or even a week. Is it firm across the top though? (It should be by now.) Almost all of my recipes on this site and in my ebook are smaller batches and will fit in a mold about the size of a 9 x 5″ bread pan.

      However, this one happens to be leftover from the days when I made bigger batches and I always made it in a flat style mold sort of like this one (though this one is a 6 lb mold and my recipe is for a 5 lb mold batch): https://www.etsy.com/listing/218749867/the-new-easy-out-minimax-24-standard-or?ref=related-3 Someone told me before that they used the drawer from a plastic organizer to make this soap and it did well.

      The reason I switched all of my soap recipes to a smaller size, was so it would be easier for people to find molds for them or if they couldn’t, then use a glass bread pan (lined with parchment paper), since those are easily available in many stores. I’m sorry this one is something of an odd size! I need to go in and refigure it to be more consistent with the other recipes. It’s on my to-do list! :)

      Keep me posted how your soap turns out – I hope it does well for you!

  • Alice Brigman says:

    I like making the larger batches. This one just seem so soft. Not sure it was me or what. I used the same tub mold for another coconut oil recipe, but used parchment paper in it and the soap came out great. Wish I had remembered to us the paper with the lemon balm soap. Thanks for your response.

  • Cynthia says:


    I did end up making this soap several months ago. And it is to date my favorite soap!! I have made about 8 different ones so far. On a youtube video there was a suggestion (from royaltysoaps) to beginners that you pick one recipe and work with it until you have it just right. So I’m going to use your recipe to play with and tweak this way and that as I go along until I get a bar of soap that fits me perfectly! I’d like to try clays and sodium lactate and vit e and silk and oh so many things. But I’m using your recipe as my base as it has made in my opinion THE BEST bar of soap!!

    I am finding though that using real soap is more drying and irritating than what I was accustomed to prior to using real soap. And I think it might be something I”m doing or failing to do because I bought a handmade soap online and it doesn’t give me that dry, irritating feel nearly as much – I do have very sensitive skin though – sooo my conclusion: somewhere in my process I’m making a mistake of some kind, although I’m being super careful measuring and following instructions I think correctly. Can’t quite pin down the culprit. I think my salt bar seems so far to have turned out well – that was fun!!

    I think I’m going to start straining my lye – see if that helps. And I’m going to switch to another brand of lye. The one I have been using is just something I got on ebay so I think I”ll buy from wholesalesupplyplus.com or brambleberry.com to see if it makes any kind of difference. Technically it should NOT right? Lye is an element – like gold is it not? Or at the very least it is a very basic chemical like water that doesn’t have much in the way of variation – I mean you must have H2O in all different kinds of water – it’s the other stuff in the waters that make them different. Maybe this manufacturer puts something in there or uses not great manufacturing. but it must have the very same basic structure right? Otherwise it wouldn’t be lye but something else entirely!! Who knows? Do you have any thoughts on this? Or any advise on the irritation/drying issue?

    And I thought I’d send a photo of my end product of the lemon balm soap – I infused both the water and the oil with dried lemon balm from mountainroseherbs.com. I am not lucky enough to have a backyard full of it and since I live in S CA (desert not beach) I don’t think I’ve even ever seen it before. lol Or if I have I didn’t recognize it as such.

    Here – the yellowish soap – I used a bit of tumeric to color it up a bit:

    well shoot for the life of me I cannot figure out how to get a downloaded pic in my files into this box!! Shoot hate being not so computer literate!!

    Well it’s pretty nice.

    Thanks so much!


    • Jan says:

      I’m so glad that you like the recipe and love hearing how much fun you’re having with soap making! That’s really interesting about the soap being drying. I wonder if you notched the superfat up another percent or two if it would help? I know some soapmakers use around 8% and that would make an incredibly moisturizing bar. That is a little curious about the lye – it’s always possible it’s not truly pure, so buying from a soap-making supply shop would be a good idea. What were the ingredients in the soap that you bought online? I wonder if you have a sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the lemon balm soap recipe? Are you using lemongrass essential oil in the soaps that irritate? That sometimes acts as an allergen for some people. Coconut oil sensitivity is another common culprit people write to me about. (Babassu oil makes a perfect one-on-one substitute if so.) I’d love to see a photo! You can email it to me at honeybeehillfarm at gmail,com or pop it on my Facebook page!

  • Cynthia says:

    It would be nice to think it is the herbs that keep it from being as drying hmm?

  • Jade says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it yesterday using the hot process, I halved the recipe so it could fit in my crock pot, I followed the recipe exactly apart from using lemon essential oil in place of the lime. It looked a lovely yellowy colour at trace, after cooking it went darker, I added a small amount of turmeric powder at the end with the essential oils. The colour has stayed darkish with a marble effect and the smell is divine. I am so happy with the soap, it is lovely to use and I will definitely make it again.

  • Joy says:

    I made a lemon balm double-infused olive oil and am having trouble finding what the benefits of having lemon balm in soap. Could you help me out? Thanks.

    • Hi Joy! A double infused lemon balm oil sounds wonderful! You could also make a salve or ointment with it. The benefits of the oil is that lemon balm is a great anti-viral that can help fight cold sores and other ailments in the herpes family (chicken pox, shingles, etc). Some people theorize that the benefits of herbs do make it through the soap making process, some people don’t think they do. (After trying various soaps with and without herbs, I do think they add something extra to soap.) However, while lemon balm soap might (or might not?) be extra helpful for someone with shingles or who suffers from herpes outbreaks, I made it purely as a creative outlet and as a way to turn some of my excess lemon balm into something fun and useful.

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