Soap Making


Rosa Rugosa Homemade Palm Free Soap Recipe  Oatmeal and Honey Soap  Hollyhock Flower Soap Recipe   Calendula Soap Recipe  Pumpkin Soap Cold Process Recipe  Garden Mint Soap Cold Process Soap Recipe (palm free)  Lemon Balm Cold Process Soap Recipe   Dandelion and Raw Honey Soap Recipe  Apple Cider Cold Process Soap  Natural Clay Soap Using Funnel Pour Method  Winter Rose Soap  Forsythia Cold Process Soap  Aloe Rose Palm Free Cold Process Soap Recipe  homemade lavender soap recipe (from scratch)  Old Fashioned Pine Tar Soap (Palm Free)  Honey & Hemp Shampoo Bar Recipe  Homemade shampoo bars in your slow cooker  baby carrot soap palm free recipe  Milk Chocolate Mint Soap Recipe  Homemade Oatmeal & Honey Soap Hot Process Method  How to Make Snow Soap  Violet Leaf Soap Cold Process Recipe Palm Free  How to Make Goat's Milk Soap Using Oils and Canned Goat's Milk from the Grocery Store  How to Make Milk & Honey Soap using Hot Process or Cold Process Method  Avocado Shampoo Bars Recipe - Palm Free Hot Process Soap  How to Make Kombucha Soap Palm Free Recipe  Goldenrod Cold Process Soap Recipe  Palm Free Cucumber Soap Recipe  Circling Taiwan Swirl Cold Process Soap - palm free with natural colorants  Dandelion Scrub Bar Soap Recipe  Aleppo Soap features laurel berry fruit oil and can be useful for those with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, eczema & acne.  Handmade Dandelion Soap Hot Process Recipe  How to make a simple natural soap, from scratch  Chamomile Tea & Honey Shampoo Bars Recipe  Sunflower Soaps Recipe  Chamomile "Almost" Castile Soap Recipe  Rose Clay Cold Process Soap Recipe  Natural Dandelion Shampoo Bars Soap Recipe (Palm Free)


My Soap eBook & Package:


Essential Oils for Soapmaking (FREE Printable Chart):

Essential Oils for Soapmaking Chart The Nerdy Farm Wife Blog


Soap Making 101:

Basic tutorial for cold process soap.



How to Make Soap With Milk:

Basic cold process tutorial using cow or goat’s milk, coconut milk, or other non-dairy substitute.

How to Make Milk Soap From Scratch (Palm Free)



How to Create Custom Soaps:

Example of how I create a variety of soaps starting with one plain recipe. (Healing Skin Bar, Springtime Violets Soap & Sunflower Soap recipes included.)

Create Custom Soaps From A Single Recipe


Making Soap Without Lye (Sort of):

How to add natural ingredients to make a variety of custom herbal soaps, using a ready made melt & pour base.

Make your own herbal soap without handling lye


Why Do We Use Lye In Soap Making

(Article I wrote for Hobby Farms)

lye soap


How to Make Any Soap Recipe Palm-Free

how to make a soap recipe palm free


How to Sell Your Handmade Products

Selling Handmade Products FAQS Series


Favorite Source for Lye:

Essential Depot sells the best, most consistent food-grade lye I’ve used for soap making (so far) and can be found HERE on Amazon.

Sources for Soap Making Ingredients:

Bramble Berry

Soaper’s Choice

Mountain Rose Herbs


Bulk Apothecary

Wholesale Supplies Plus

Nature’s Garden

Majestic Mountain Sage


Necessary Tools:

A digital scale is essential for making soap and extremely useful for body care recipes, in addition to its usual kitchen handiness factor. Bramble Berry has several to choose from (HERE) as does Amazon (HERE).

An immersion (or “stick”) blender is highly recommended for making soap. It will save hours of stirring by hand and make success much more likely.

Immersion Stick Blender


Lye Calculator:

Always use this before making any recipe that you’ve found on the internet (people make typos all the time!) and to adjust your recipe size or swap out one oil type for another.

My favorite, by Majestic Mountain Sage


Calculating Batch and Mold Sizes:

Not sure how big a batch of soap to make for the size of your mold? Here’s a great site at on how to go about figuring it out.


Natural Soap Making eBook


30+ Natural Soap Recipes and Tutorials from The Nerdy Farm Wife blog


200 Responses to Soap

  1. Pingback: How to: Create Custom Soaps From A Single Recipe - The Nerdy Farm Wife

  2. Pingback: Soap Making 101 – Making Cold Process Soap - The Nerdy Farm Wife

  3. Amy Goins says:

    I have always wanted to try making my own soaps and finally have the time to do it. I find the older I get the more dry my kin becomes. I also have a girlfriend who could practically bath in olive oil and still have dry skin. She also has almost constant skin itching and is always trying new lotions in an effort to moisturize and stop the itching. She is also highly allergic to lavender and cinnamon. Would you please recommend which oils or recipes would be best for dry skin like ours? I’m so grateful to have discovered your blog on Facebook. I’m sure there’s many more things I’ll try, lip alms will come right after soaps!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Amy!

      My skin tends to be dry as well. Out of curiosity, does your friend use cocoa butter? There’s a subset of people who have allergic reactions to it and it manifests as dry, flaking, itchy, reddish skin. I try to avoid using it in most products because of this fact. It sounds like she’s being exposed to something constantly; if not cocoa butter, then maybe examine something else she frequently uses… possibly related, goat’s milk soaps are so lovely, but they make my skin itch. This is why I make all of my soaps dairy free as well as gluten and soy free. ALSO possibly related, I have a niece that breaks out from products made with olive oil, so while you don’t hear of it often, even olive oil can cause issues.

      To help the itch in the short term, I suggest something like my healing salve recipe (minus the lavender) which is what I use on the occasional dry skin itchy spot or you can make a cream, which is a little trickier to get right but ohhhh soooo soothing to dry skin. My mom and several other relatives along with myself LOVE the cream for softening and smoothing skin. You can omit any of the essential oils in the recipes and change the oils around to suit allergies. (i.e. omit the lavender for your friend)

      As far as favorite oils for moisturizing: I LOVE LOVE LOVE tamanu oil. It has soooo many great benefits. I try to add it to most every salve I make plus add a spoonful or two at the end of most soap making batches. It’s also great straight on your skin, but it’s pretty expensive and oily that way. Jojoba oil is wonderful for dry skin, rosehip seed oil is great for anti-aging benefits. Hemp seed oil, avocado oil are both rich and moisturizing. I like shea butter a lot, but I really prefer mango butter since it is more effective for treating wrinkles and adds a slight layer of UV protection.

      I think that might give you a few ideas… let me know if I missed something and feel free to ask any more questions! :)

      • jax says:

        what a lovely, thoughtful reply – so nice to see someone who is interested enough in their followers to take the time to try to help. love your blog!

      • Laura Megariz says:

        Amy,your friend should pay attention to what laundry products she’s using,the fragrance oils used in that kind of thing are killer!Fels Naptha soap is good for helping the rash and getting the chemical residue out of your clothes and washer.Love your blog,I’m making the dandelion salve right now.Thanks!

    • Cayci says:

      Amy, I would advise your friend to attack her dry skin issue internally with supplements. If shes allergic to natural oils like lavender and cinnamon then that she is very toxic internally.

  4. MamaRhino says:

    I found your blog and your recipes while looking up different recipes for homemade products and am very impressed! Recently I am trying to find some recipes for my son who has psoriasis on his elbow, knees, ankles and in his scalp. It’s not the reddish type, but looks more like a huge callous (and HUGE dandruff flakes in his hair). He’s currently using the expensive products from the dermatologist and they don’t really work that well so he asked me to look up some homemade versions. I have made a homemade lotion recently that I think will help, but I am curious about what specifically I should use to help him. I am overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and thought I would ask for your help. I did read that you are taking classes so I don’t want to overwhelm you either – just get back to me when you have the time.

    • Jan says:

      Hi MamaRhino! I’m so sorry for the delayed response! I don’t have any specific experience with psoriasis myself, but if I did have to tackle it – I’d start with plenty of tea tree oil and tamanu oil in my recipes and then experiment from there. Both are excellent for skin problems. Tamanu Oil can be found at You could try mixing a few drops of tea tree oil into a small bit of tamanu oil and massaging it directly on the scalp & irritated places. As far as herbs for healing skin I like: calendula, plantain, and comfrey, for starters. You could infuse oils with those to use in salves, etc or you could make teas and tinctures from them to apply on the skin. Again, I have no personal experience so these are just the ones I’d try first. I hope that gives you a few ideas to start and I hope you find the solution you need!! :)

      • MamaRhino says:

        Jan, Thank you so much for getting back with me. I do love Calendula and have some Comfrey that I was planning to use for an arthritis salve. I did not know it was good for psoriasis as well. That is good news! In a few weeks I will have more time to get working on this. I will also look into getting some Tamanu oil and make him a shampoo with that and Tea Tree Oil.Thank you again for your help. I will let you know what I find that works.

        • Laura says:

          I have scalp psoriasis. The other day I did a no-poo wash using baking soda & water. They also recommended apple-cider vinegar for conditioner. Now, I didn’t brave to do those alone. Plus, I wanted to smell better than that. I use Organix shampoo & conditioner. The other day I did Tea Tree Shampoo after the baking soda, then the Apple Cider Vinegar, then rubbed some coconut oil into my scalp , followed by my Coconut Conditioner. I also love the Macadamia. Those all help calm my scalp. I haven’t gotten to try mydevacurl products yet. Those who I know who have look amazing!!!! Hope you find that helpful w psoriasis!

          Just found this page through a nut brittle you posted. Excited to be venturing & discovering around it! Thanks!!

          • Jan says:

            Hi Laura! Sorry for the delayed reply – sometimes good comments get sent to Spam and I miss them or almost miss them! Thanks for the great tips on psoriasis! Happy to have you here! :)

            • Love your post on soapmaking, and also lotions and salves… have you ever used coconut oil? i have fallen in love with it, and wondered if it would work for soap and lotions/salves… as for the others with soriasis, don’t know about that, but have discovered that hypothyroidism has these characteristics, and unless you ask a doctor to specifically test you for a thyroid disorder they wont…

              • Jan says:

                Hi Marcia, Yes, coconut oil is great stuff for a lot of people! It’s a primary oil I use in soap and it can go in lotions and salves. Because it’s not quite a liquid, but less solid than most butters like shea or cocoa butter, you just have to keep in mind that you might need to adjust beeswax or reduce other liquid oils (like olive) if you use a lot of coconut oil. The fun is in the experimenting though!! :) That’s a great tip about checking your thyroid as well. That’s linked to a lot of health problems, for sure.

  5. Maggie says:

    Do you have a recommendation for a soap recipe that helps remove blackheads?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Maggie, I’ve had a lot of people report success with the cucumber & borage soap helping to clear up their skin:

      It has French green clay in it, which helps draw out impurities from the skin.

      Not a soap, but one thing I do for my teenaged daughter is to moisten a bit of the clay with tamanu oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. She spot treats her skin with it nightly, without washing it off, and it has really cleared up her skin. You can get all of the ingredients at or maybe your local health store if you want to experiment with that method.

  6. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much! I’ll give your suggestions a try :)

  7. Rachelle says:

    Wow, that is beautiful work that you do, the soaps but meaning all the information to help us achieve the love making of soap. Thank you very much for your informative page.

  8. Hillbilly Boo says:

    I was reading your soap making 101. Good stuff. I have made 2 batches of soap and they came out good. But can you say more about letting them totally “soap-a-fyi” I had a slight stinging experience(my eye) with a bar in the shower and wondered if the lye didn’t totally break down. It was just that one time though. How can I be sure? The recipe I used was with lye, melted oils blended on the stove w a stirn’ stick then cooked in a crock pot for an hour. What are your thoughts…

    • Jan says:

      Hi there! :) That’s a hot process soap method, which is a way I don’t use, so I’m not as familiar with troubleshooting. I like to use the cold process method which has you cure the soap for about 4 to 6 weeks to make sure it’s mild enough to use.

      If your skin isn’t irritated with the bar other than that one time with your eye, it’s probably fine. Even though lye soap can be made to be very gentle – it’s still soap and will sting when it gets in your eyes.

      To be certain your soap is ready to use, you can test the pH. Here’s an article, if you’d like to read further on it:

  9. Jan W says:

    Hi Jan, I have so much Chocolate mint growing in my garden. Didn’t know it was a root plant…lol Well know I know ! But my question for you is, how do I incorporate it fresh into my soaps… it smells so good?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jan W!

      My mints are going crazy as well! :) Most of the scent in herbs & flowers that you use in the lye solution, won’t carry through to the finished product. So, I usually add a bit of essential oils to make up for that.

      Mint still makes an absolutely lovely soap though. The one I make (and I thought I had posted the recipe on here, but seems I haven’t done that one yet) – I use the fresh mint to make an infusion/tea and once cooled, measure that out for my water portion. You can add a little green French clay or chlorella to add a pale green tinge to your soap. Right at trace, add peppermint essential oil. It’s such a nice, cooling soap – perfect for summer & a favorite of many people that I know!!

    • Jan says:

      Oooh and since it’s chocolate mint, you could add a little cocoa powder instead and make chocolate mint soap. I made some before that people kept trying to eat. Smelled divine! :)

  10. Jan W says:

    Hi Jan, I made my very first cold press soap. I did something wrong can you help me please. I infused Hubiscus tea with distilled water for 2 days as I read how to infuse. It was so lovely, bright red. So i mixed it with my lye.. still fine. But some how my soap turned brown. temperature of lye & oils were the same. Some how I am getting thing wrong…lol Thank you for any help. ~~Jan :-D

  11. Jan W says:

    Thank you Jan for all the information… I love your posts & your web page. You have made me smile again…lol :-D I pulled it out of the mold today & it has turned kind of a golden color all ready. Your super with all the information & knowledge !! :-)

  12. Ali says:

    I have a question I can’t seem to find the answer to. My friend and I tried making a super fatted soap. We had it in my slow cooker, and after three hours it was still ‘zinging’ ours tongues, indicating there was still lye present. I’ve read a few places I can remedy the soap. Do I just melt it, add more oil and cook it? Should I blend it again? Can I save it? Any advice would be great.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Ali, I only make cold process soap (you don’t cook it like hot process, you let it cure over 4 to 6 weeks) so I’m not overly familiar with the technique, but I *think* you could try rebatching it. If you do a google search on “how to rebatch soap” you may get some good info. Here’s a troubleshooting list that may offer a few ideas: I wish I could help more, but I’ve not used that method to be able to give you a reliable answer. Good luck!

  13. sharon says:

    why has my soap containing dried mint turned so oily? Is it the oil from the mint, and if so how do I rectify the problem?used melt and pour,thanks

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sharon! By oily, do you mean that beads of liquid are oozing out on the top and sides? Melt & pour soap sweats easily, so once it hardens you should immediately wrap it in air tight plastic wrap to avoid that problem. If your mint leaves were thoroughly dry, I don’t think they were the culprit. I like to use only small, fine sprinkles of dried mint with a bit of French green clay or chlorella powder added. They help keep the bar green, since eventually dried herbs will turn brown. You could also double check with the manufacturer of your soap base. They might have more insight for you! :)

  14. Ingrid Beach says:

    Have you tried Neem oil. It’s wonderful stuff. It works great for a number of ailments like acne, psoriasis, etc. A natural heavy duty antibiotic and much more. Been around in use for a thousand years. Look on the web. Good luck!

  15. bea magbanua says:

    Hi i’m 15 year old girl and trying to do her project…maam i just wanna ask if lye water or solution is good for making soap instead of the solid lye…thanks a lot. :-)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Bea! That’s a really cool project – I read somewhere that Anne-Marie from the popular blog started making soap when she was 16 and turned it into a thriving business. To make soap, I use sodium hydroxide (lye) and add it to water. It’s granulated and not liquid. I find it at my local Tractor Supply store in the plumbing section (it’s made by Roebic I believe), but you can also order from here: You’ll want to watch videos & read plenty of tutorials for all of the details on using it since there are a lot of safety precautions to keep in mind & measurements must be precise. Good luck with your project! :)

  16. bea magbanua says:

    Thank u very much…:-D

  17. bea magbanua says:

    Hi again… maam i just wanna ask how to prevent rancidity to my soap…thanks…ur a great help.:-)

  18. bea magbanua says:

    Thank u very much…ur such a great help for starters like me…:-):-):-)

  19. Jace Honey says:

    I was wondering if you could use left over lotions? Hand or body lotions in the soap recipes?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jace, That’s a great question! I’m not sure that would work out well though. Lotions have a lot of additives in them that won’t react with the lye, but other parts of it, that will. I *think* it would disrupt the balance of things. However, I can’t say I’ve ever tried it so can’t be positive it wouldn’t work!

  20. Ellen (Sadie) says:

    Hi Jan, I’m just getting into soap making again after many years absence from making it. I absolutely love violets, but have no idea where to look for them or even if they grow here in Medford, OR. What is the second best way to obtain a fresh violet scent? Oils? Thank you, Sadie PS: Just discovered your blog and love it!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sadie! Sadly, fresh violets won’t add scent to your soap; there is also no natural essential violet oil that can be extracted from the flowers. The only way to enjoy the natural scent is by picking a handful of fresh blossoms & enjoying them in the present. If you’d like a violet scented soap, you can try using a fragrance oil, but it will contain artificial components. I was so sad to learn all of that too, as I adore violets myself!

  21. Leslie says:

    I’ve just found your site and am very pleased to have done so! I took a short 2-hr into to cold process class while on vacation last month, and have been dying to dive in and make a batch on my own. Your site really has me inspired! I’ve visited others as well, and have shopped around for supplies. (Thank you for the link and recommendation to Mountain Rose Herbs – I think they have wonderful stuff!) I’ve admired the wildly colored, swirly soap artistry featured in many books and websites, but my own inclination is much more like yours: skin-friendly soaps made with natural ingredients, without artificial additives. I love your directions for making a violet infusion (a shame there isn’t an essential oil) and I hope you’ll share more ideas like this in the future! Thanks so much for all your information and inspiration!
    P.S. When it comes to wildly colored soaps, I think your Sunshine Soap takes the prize! Love it!!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Leslie, Thanks, I’m glad that you like the site! I’m with you; I love seeing everyone’s creativity with colors and such, but when it goes on my skin I like it to be pretty simple and pure. It sounds like you are more than ready to start making your own batches. The creative options for soap making are almost endless – I think you’ll have a lot of fun and be a pro in no time!

  22. Ivana says:

    Hi, i was wondering, what would be the best substitute for palm oil?



    • Jan says:

      Hi Ivana! As a direct substitute, you want a “hard” type of oil. Tallow, lard, and cocoa butter all work nicely. You can use higher amounts of cocoa butter, but anything over 15% has more risk of cracking. I make all of my soaps palm free now and I like to use recipes that go something like: 40 to 50% olive oil, around 25% coconut oil, about 10% castor oil, and fill in the rest with other oils like sunflower, meadowfoam, hemp, and so forth. I’m really happy with that formula, so far. I have a post in the works about turning any soap recipe palm free that I hope to get out this month; it will have more detailed information on the topic too.

  23. Rebecca says:

    Hi there, thanks for a beautiful, inspiring website. Can you tell me where you get your soap labels from , particularly the carrot and honey soap bar striped label? Many thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Rebecca! The striped part of the label on the carrot soap is just a strip of scrapbook paper – I believe that piece was made by Creative Memories, but you can get tons of different types at craft stores. I make the square or round label parts to stick on the paper strips using a photo editor, like PicMonkey & print them on sticker paper. I have a tutorial for round labels here; I need to update it and make one for square labels too (on my to-do list!), but it gives a general idea of the process.

  24. Erin Freeman says:

    Hey Jan,
    My friend and I are reading up and starting to make homemade soap. I have a question about the lye. Since it is caustic to the skin does adding it to the hot oils make the caustic agent change and it becomes able to be used on the skin without any damage? Essentially making the soap “natural”. Your blog is great and very informative.

  25. Sweety says:

    Please please help me out, i want to know if i can use infused herbs after straining out infused oil ?
    i generally when use infusion i strained out oils and throw out left over herbs :(
    please help me


    • Jan says:

      I usually throw out the infused herbs because my feeling is that most of their beneficial properties are now in the oil. They might have some use though that I haven’t discovered yet!

  26. Jen says:

    Hi…I Came across a soap recipe using only olive oil and Palm kernel oil. Is this unusual? The recipe says that it is a harder bar with good lather and moisturizing. Anyone ever try a soap with just two oils?

  27. Georgann Serino says:

    How do I deign my own cold pressed soap recipe (like 11 ounces coconut oi, 3 ounces cocoa butter etc) Where could I find this out?

  28. Jo says:

    I am still a newbie to this, but I am having a blast trying different recipes. Love your site, so inspirational!

  29. Chris says:

    Hello. You site is fantastic. I’ve purchased and downloaded one of your books, and am really enjoying everything here. You are so inspiring! As I am new to soap making, I’ve been wondering if the saponification process “homogenizes” all the more expensive exotic oils, and doesn’t really make it worth using them, unless adding them at the end as a superfat?

    So far, I’ve been making CP soaps, and then oven processing them for 20-30 minutes in the mold. I’ve been able to unmold pure castile within 12 hours, and pH testing shows they are ready to go i& pretty hard in a week. So I am liking that! I just wonder if the superfat ratio is more important that the types of oils. Any thoughts?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Chris, I’m so happy that you like the site! Thanks too for buying one of my ebooks!

      There are two trains of thought, that I know of, when it comes to superfatting soap. When I learned to make it (about 12 years ago or so), we were told to add a little bit of our more expensive healing oils at trace, because at that time, most of the lye was “used up” on the other cheaper oils and that would make those expensive oils go a lot further.

      Later, I read how a scientist studied this idea and found that it doesn’t really matter when you add the expensive oils, it’s going to be about the same outcome. One exception is if you hot process and add the luxury oils after cook time. The lye is all “used up” by then and those oils will directly enrich your end product. Honestly, my brain still likes the idea of adding a few spoonfuls of my favorite healing oils to CP soap at trace – like tamanu or rosehip, so sometimes I still do that, mostly because old habits die hard sometimes. :) Different oils give different qualities to your soap, so I don’t think they’re wasted per se, but I do think superfatting plays an important role as well.

      I love your idea of making CP then oven processing. Castile that is firm in 12 hours and ready to go in a week is wonderful! That’s a method I haven’t done much with yet, but want to. It sounds like the best of both worlds!

      • Chris says:

        Thank you so much for the quick reply! I imagine you get tons of questions. Your answer on the SF of CP soap makes a lot of sense. But since I am (mostly)oven processing them in the mold, to get a full gel, I just assume that most of those oils are being used up. Certainly, HPing the soap, and then adding oils & fragrance could really work well. I just don’t particularly like the look of those soaps – kinda lumpy & home-made. But I am going to try making some shampoo bars that way, and making some ultra-moisturizing bars, as these could use the extra oils. And probably use up much less essential oils. Thank goodness I don’t like highly scented products – I am amazed and kind of horrified as to how much essential oils a CP soap really needs!

        After doing much reading and research, I decided to do the CP soap, swirls and all, and then oven process it in the mold. So far, this is giving me the best of both worlds – smooth & pretty CP, plus full gel and faster use of HP. I only want to use natural herbs and colorants, so the thought of wanting to keep the soap from gelling to maintain bright colors has no interest for me (so far).

        Today I made a Honey Calendula and a Lemon Shea, and oven processed both of them. They will be ready to cut tomorrow, and ready to use in 2 weeks. As a comparison, I made the same Honey soap last week, and didn’t oven process it. It is still super soft – just barely sliced it a few days ago. Plus it sat in the mold for 3 days. But I also made a yogurt soap today, and decided to stick it in the frig instead of the oven! We’ll see how that goes tomorrow!

        It’s all very interesting and fun! I am SO thankful that you have shared your expertise with us. It would have taken me a year of experimenting to get to where I am today without all the online help. Can’t wait to dive into the infusing and all! Thank you!

  30. Nancy says:

    Love your site! I was wondering if borage flowers/other herbs would still turn brown if added to melt and pour and used at imbeds on top of CP or HP soaps?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Nancy, I remember seeing that idea in a library book I got several years ago. It looked really pretty! I think they used calendula and rose petals and I don’t think they were completely embedded, just a thin layer holding them in place, but I can’t quite remember. I think it’s worth experimenting with a small amount and see how it turns out!

  31. Nancy says:

    Nice to know. Will let you know how it turns out.

  32. Quanita says:

    I’m new to soaping and up until last week when I made you baby carrot soap, the batches I made where of my own imaginings. I made another batch last night( of your baby carrot) only to realize after I’d put it in the molds, I forgot to add eos. Would it be okay to ‘re batch this to add fragrance? Also I’m wondering how much effect an over pour, about an ounce, of the coconut oil will affect my batch. Thanks for all your ideas and helpful information!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Quanita! You sure can rebatch your soap to add your essential oils. It will look a bit more rustic, but will still work great! Sometimes, I overpour my oils too by a little bit. The only thing that happens (if it’s just a small amount), is that your soap is a little more super-fatted, which to me, is a good thing, so I don’t mind. If it’s a large amount though, then your soap might end up too soft. I ran the recipe through the lye calculator with the extra ounce of coconut oil, but still the same amount of lye, and that puts the soap at a 9% superfat – so, your soap might lean towards the softer side. (Or it might not – that’s still in the acceptable range, so you can see how you like it!) :)

  33. Leslee says:

    I just made the dandelion salve and today made the dandelion CP soap.
    I am a little worried about the soap!!
    How long does this recipe take to “harden”? It was and still is , quite loose after a couple of hours. Other soaps I have made have got thick quickly and really heated up the mold.

    Should I be concerned?
    Will I be able to rebatch if it doesn’t solidify?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Leslee! How did your soap look today? It usually sets up well for me, though I’m not sure how soft it still is after just a couple of hours. I peek a little to make sure no crack is forming (overheating), but that’s about it until I check it the next day, to see if it’s firm enough to unmold. It might be a little softer than you’re used to because of the higher amount of soft oils like olive and sunflower, compared to ones higher in palm oil or other solid-type oils. It should be set up within two days though, unless you’re using a silicone mold, which might take a little longer. If you make it again, you could also try decreasing the water a bit, for a firmer set in the mold. I hope it turned out well for you after all, but if not then it should be able to rebatch well.

  34. Leslee says:

    Thanks for your quick response!!
    Today it firmed up great!
    It was softer than others but still ok and ready enough to in old!
    I cut it today after leaving the block out for a few hours….it was fine!!

    I think I might leave a little water out next time…….

    I love the salve recipe!!! The soap may be my next favorite! I will dial it in over time!!

    Love your blog:-)
    Thank you so much!

  35. AmyK says:

    love this site. Can any recipe for cold process be used for hot process? I am under a time constraint and hot process doesn’t need near the cure time.

    • Jan says:

      Hi AmyK! For the most part you can turn almost any cold process soap recipe into a hot process one. They are basically the same method, only hot process has the extra step of cooking the soap to make it cure faster. If you see a cold process recipe that says to add something at trace, you would add that AFTER cook time instead. I like to put in a little extra water with any additions though, to help them stir in more evenly, since at that point the soap is a lot thicker and it’s tougher to incorporate some items.

  36. AmyK says:

    Thank you, that was very helpful. Ok next newbie statement/question: I have noticed that some essential oils are reacting with plastics , like my measuring spoons and I have small plastic ramekins that I use to have all of my ingredients premeasured and at hand. Last night I had lemongrass essential oil measured in a red plastic measuring spoon, when I poured it into my soap the oil had turned red! Luckily this small amount didn’t affect the overall appearance of the soap.The plastics also don’t seem to wash clean well, like a never ending film is on them. I have, of course, stopped using plastics. I am now wondering about the whole clean up process. I do keep all equipment for soaping for that use only, but do I need to continue to wear the gloves and goggles to wash up everything? Sorry this is so long :/

    • Jan says:

      Hi AmyK! Yes, some essential oils will eat through plastic, which is why it’s best to use glass when working with concentrated levels. For soap making cleanup, you can do two things – (1) Keep your gloves on and wipe the largest parts of raw soap off of equipment with paper towels or rags (disposing of them in several layers of grocery bags) and then wash everything well with dishwashing liquid and warm water OR what I do and is much easier (2) Set your pot, utensils & such aside until the next day. The raw soap will have saponified by then and won’t be caustic, so no need for gloves. Soak everything in warm water and rinse. You might have to scrub a bit of the dried soap off in spots, but it’s so much easier and much much MUCH better on your drains. (Also, never put equipment with raw soap batter on it in your dishwasher either. I learned that the hard – and expensive – way!)

  37. Jessica Foster says:


    I have lots of orchids. Can I use the blooms for my infusions? Thanks, Jessica

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jessica, How wonderful to have lots of orchids! To determine if a certain plant or flower can be used in soap, I first research it online to see if it’s edible. I haven’t looked into orchids myself, but if they’re not poisonous, then I’d say it’s worth a try! One thing to note though is that the scent from flowers rarely hold up through the soap making. So, your end soap is not likely to smell like orchids.

  38. Linda says:

    Please can you tell me how to clear up this sore on my legs, it smells a little funny, gone to my feet I thought maybe my foot was athletes foot. But then it was rare in between the toes.So I used gold bond foot powder it stopped for awhile. Now it started again and I need to stop this fluid on my legs. The scabs on my leg some are healing and some still there. Please help, Ive usd Neosporin,Cortizone ointments to rub on my legs and feet after bath. I’m out of options ” HELP”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Talaye says:

    Help! I made a soap using cornmeal. With out thinking I sprinkled some on top as I would with lavender buds or something. Will the cornmeal on top go bad? Did I just ruin this whole batch of soap?

  40. Jessica Foster says:

    Your book is beautiful, and I am having fun experimenting with the recipes. Do you have any suggestions for what to use for a bar for teenage acne? It has to be palatable – ie, no neem oil! Thanks.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jessica, I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the soap ebook! Thyme is excellent for treating acne. I read one study where it killed the bacteria that causes acne better than accutane. You could take any of the recipes and infuse the oil with thyme instead of whatever herb it calls for and use thyme tea as well. Tamanu oil would be excellent to add at trace too. (Perhaps half a tablespoon.) You could also try taking out an ounce of water away from the beginning amount and adding that 1 ounce back as witch hazel at trace. That does sometimes lend a slight smell though that reminds me of children’s grape tylenol. (Maybe it’s just me though!) :) However, all that and the best results that my teenage daughter has had for acne is when she uses raw honey to wash her face. You can infuse the honey with thyme as well for a double dose.

  41. Jessica Foster says:

    Thank you for the detailed suggestions. I have just one follow up question. You say to use thyme in the oil and water. Do the healing properties survive the lye? Lye seems so caustic and strong, it seems logical to me that it would wipe out any benefits of the thyme. That said, science was never my thing. Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jessica! That’s something of a debated topic, and I’m not sure anyone has proven it one way or the other. I do know that when I loaded the first soaps I made (for my eczema plagued toddler) with skin healing and inflammation lowering herbs, it made a tremendous difference versus the plain soap I made based on the same oils. So, I’m pretty convinced some benefits remain. Only time and scientific studies will tell if I’m right or not though! :)

  42. Jessica Foster says:

    Jan, I don’t need scientific studies. Your experience is good enough for me. Thanks for the reply.

  43. Jessica Foster says:

    Hi Jan, It’s me again. This morning I made your charcoal mint spa bar. Everything went great until I attempted to pour the layers. I poured the green layer first. Then I poured the charcoal layer. As I poured that layer, it sunk! It disappeared before my eyes!

    I poured the rest of it, then poured the rest of the green, and the stuff that hadn’t sunk rose to the top. It seems to have mixed itself. Why did this happen? I am interested to see what it looks like when I unmold it. Meantime, I am wondering why it didn’t behave like yours. Thanks.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jessica! It sounds like your soap wasn’t quite thick enough to layer. Next time, if you bring it to a thicker trace first, it should behave better for you. I’d love to hear how it turned out!

  44. Jessica Foster says:

    Well, it’s a good thing that I am doing this for fun and not to sell the soap. I put the loaf in the freezer because I wanted to see what would happen if it didn’t gel. I pulled it out after 1 1/2 days. I let it thaw. I could tell that it was too soft, but I was impatient to see it, so I unmolded it anyway. I cut a couple of bars. They are too sticky, so the cut isn’t clean.

    My husband likes a strong scent, so I put a few drops of peppermint on top of the loaf – I figured it’s soft anyway, maybe the scent will sink in. You can see where I put the EO – little spots across the loaf. The downstairs smells like peppermint. Actually, the loaf looks like candy! Good thing I don’t have little kids here.

    The charcoal seems to have gravitated up the sides and to the top – very strange – but the figure 8s that I drew in the soap survived. So now I have to wait patiently for the soap to dry out so that I don’t destroy the whole thing when I cut it. All in all, very funny and very enjoyable.

    • Jan says:

      Soap making is always an adventure! I still have unexpected things happen too. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the process! :)

  45. Jessica Foster says:

    Do you have any recipes for eye makeup remover?

  46. MH says:

    Do you have a face bar soap recipe for sensitive/aging skin?

  47. MH says:

    Thanks! I am going to try the honey! Have you ever added activated charcoal into the carrot soap for teenage skin?

    • Hi MH! I’ve put activated charcoal in soap, and I do like it – you just don’t want to put too much or it starts staining.
      For my 16 yr old daughter – funny enough, she gets the best results for clearing her skin by washing with honey too! You can use plain honey or infuse it with dried or fresh thyme. There’s a study showing that thyme kills the bacteria that causes acne just as well as the leading prescription medication. So, it’s a great herb to include in teen skincare products. You could infuse a soap making oil with thyme or add a spoonful of thyme-infused honey at trace for an extra boost in your soap.

  48. MH says:

    Thank you! Super excited to try the soap for my son and daughter.

  49. Jackie says:

    Was just wondering if you are willing to sell the shampoo bars? I started making my own shampoo, with
    Coconut milk, dr. Bonner’s Castile soap and vitamin e oil, loved it in the beginning but after awhile it just started not doing right. I have read where the alkaline levels are way to high in the Castile soap, and where people are just using coconut milk and aloevera gel. I’m just a little worried about those two items being to heavy for my hair and if it will actually clean my hair. So if you could help in any way I would greatly appreciate it. I just don’t have time to make my own soaps.

    • Hi Jackie! It’s quite possible that I will. I had planned on opening my Etsy shop for a while, around the middle of August, but got caught up in a big project that distracted me from that. I just need to recreate my labels and get some shipping supplies, then I can get back to my Etsy shop idea. So HOPEFULLY, in the next few weeks I can do that! I agree with you about the castile soap shampoo. It worked great for me for a while, but then it stopped being effective. I like shampoo bars better now (though they still do well followed by a vinegar rinse or spritz to restore pH).

  50. Jessica Foster says:


    I want to make my soap white. I don’t want to use titanium dioxide. Another website said kaolin clay would work. I noticed that you didn’t mention that clay in your book. Is there something unhealthy about it that I should know about? Thanks.

    • Hi Jessica! I have used kaolin clay in soap and do like it – I haven’t heard that about it turning soap whiter though; I’ll have to experiment with it myself! To get whiter soaps, I use a very light olive oil – the lightest ones I can find with little to no tint of green. Coconut oil also makes for a white soap. Don’t use teas; use water instead and soap at lower temperatures. Some essential oils (lemongrass & 10x orange comes to mind) will tint your soap varying degrees. I have a lovely castile soap I made with 100% light colored olive oil and it’s almost as white as my 100% coconut soap for laundry, so it is possible without titanium dioxide! Thanks for the kaolin clay tip, I look forward to testing that out!

  51. Kandis Denay says:

    I’m in the process of creating a small time (hopefully larger w/in time) soap/aroma business.. I have thoroughly enjoyed your website and want to create my own, helping your promote yours and others in the loop. I would love the opportunity to understand how you became so successful – i’ve picked a few of your ideas already… I want to know if outcry was the website builder for yours and which one do you think would make me more successful and covered in the process. I’m new at this so if you have any extra information to share I’m all ears :)
    I know you stay busy but any little bit would help! Thank you…

    • Hi Kandis! What great timing as I’ve recently been mulling over putting together a mini-course on blogging, since I get so many questions about it. Maybe you could help be one of my beta testers! It’s still a ways away from being anywhere close to being ready, but shoot me an email at honeybeehillfarm (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll add you to the beta list. Cryout Creations is just the name of the company who made my theme (Mantra). You start with a site from and then buy a theme (or get a free one, like I did). Setting up your web site is a big endeavor, but you can do it! :) My friend Larry has a great tutorial on starting a blog: that might help you get going. He recommends A Small Orange, and that’s who I have my hosting with too. I’m very pleased with them.

  52. Anna says:

    Hi Jan, thanks for your great website! I’ve made some soap that zaps and is really lye heavy. Am I able to rebatch it to add more oils please? And how? Thanks! :-)

  53. Farina says:

    How do you make a mold for soaps. Can I use cupcake tins

  54. Tess G. says:

    Hi Jan! I LOVE your website! I think that it is so informative. I am currently in a business class and am researching the possibility/plausibility of starting my own business. I am just getting started and your site has helped me A LOT! Thanks!I do have a question I hope you can answer for me. I am looking for the NAICS Code for this type of business and cannot seem to narrow it down to one code. Which one is best suited to this type of business?

  55. Anjali G says:

    Hi Jan,
    Thank you for your website and all your hard work. I started soaping recently and have made your oatmeal honey bar and the hemp honey shampoo bar. Followed your recipes )
    I tested the ph level using ph strips after 24 hrs and the oatmeal bar is showing ph 10 and the shampoo bar of 11
    Will the ph value go down after a few weeks . Am a little worried. Is there any way to reduce the ph values of cp soaps?
    Thank you , best regards, Anjali

    • Hi Anjali! Yes, the pH will go down as the bar cures, but homemade soap usually ends up somewhere around 8.5 to 10. pH strips aren’t always very reliable, so some people like to test by touching the bar against the tip of their tongue. If it mildly “zaps” you, it needs to cure more. I just wait for a few weeks, then try washing my hands with a bit of soap. You can tell if the pH is still too high if the bar leaves sort of a slimy feel on your hands. According to chemists who’ve studied the topic, there’s no real way to lower the pH of homemade soaps, because if you do that, then the saponification bond will start to break down. So, it sounds like your soaps are on the right track – they just need several more weeks of cure time! :)

  56. Nancy says:

    Hey Jan
    I am enjoying your website too. It’s chock full of information for newbie soapers like me. I just tried my hand making your CP skin healing soap for sensitive skin. I halved the recipe and ran it back thru the Lye Calculator. It came out looking good, but after an hour or two I noticed it had a crack in the top. What causes cracks in CP soap. Thanks a lot

    • Hi Nancy, I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the site! Cracks start forming when the soap is getting a bit too hot in the mold. If you see that happening, you can uncover your soap and move it to a cooler area. (I’ve put a mold doing that in front of a box fan before and it helped.) If it’s REALLY heating up, you can put it in your refrigerator. I don’t usually worry about small cracks, but if they get big and out of control, then your soap might start expanding out through the crack and make a mess.

  57. nina says:

    do you have to have a separate stick blender for making soap or can you use the one usually used for food? Or better – can you reuse it for food after blending soap?

    • Hi Nina! I use everything separate for soap making. Some people do use the same equipment for food and soap, washing carefully between batches, but you can see visible wear after a time and I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of mixing the two. Having said that though, I did use the same equipment for my first year or so of soap making and no one in my family perished from it. :) If you use the same equipment, let the raw soap batter sit on it for 24 hours (that gives it time to become less caustic and more soap-like, so if some does accidentally gets in your food, it won’t be as big of a deal), then soak a bit & rinse any residue away thoroughly with plenty of warm water.

  58. Anna says:

    Hi Jan I made some lovely soap with an olive oil/ coconut oil base. I’m wanting to use 3-4 oils ( I have lots of Shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil and also beeswax hanging around) but I’m wanting to make. Soap that stay hard in the shower. My lovely bars lasted ages as hand soap but only about a week in the shower :(. What would you recommend to make a hard showerproof soap (that’s not Palm) please? Thanks Anna

  59. Mandy Silva says:

    I understand that some essential oils flash because the cold soap process gets so hot. Which oils will retain their fragrance the best?

    • Hi Mandy!
      I’ve found that lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus & 10x (ten-fold) orange stick around nicely. Regular lemon and orange essential oil fade out quickly. I like to add grapefruit essential oil as a little complement to lemongrass and/or 10x orange, and enough of it stays around to notice. I do only like my soaps lightly scented though, so that influences my experiences and opinions.
      The Soap Queen has a good article you might enjoy reading:
      She says – “We haven’t noticed substantial scent fading at higher temperatures, but it is something to take into consideration. If you’re using a low flash point scent, you may want to avoid gelling the soap. During gel phase, soap can get as hot as 180 ° F…. It may be something to consider when making hot process soap as well, as the soap temperatures are typically around 160 ° F or hotter.”

  60. Kerri says:

    I just wanted to thank you for your lovely recipes and all the time you spend sharing your experiences. I made my first soap in September using one of your recipes (it came out great and now I am a bonafide soaping addict). I love that you are going palm free as when I set out to make soap I decided I would not use it. My search led me to your wonderful site!

  61. Jessica Foster says:

    Hi Jan,

    The soaps I’ve made feel great, but they melt very fast. I made a 100% olive oil bar, and it lasted a long time but was a little slimy. How high of a % can I go with olive oil (to make the bar as hard as possible) without having a slimy feel? Thanks.

    • Hi Jessica! Faster-melting bars can be a major drawback to palm-free soaps. Some people use tallow to replace palm and it makes a much longer lasting bar.
      High olive oil soaps are really nice though – one of my favorites! For a bastille soap (an “almost castile”), I aim for around 80% to 90% olive oil and 10 to 20% of another one or two oils.
      I have a bar here that I made using 26 oz olive oil and 3 oz castor oil (3.7 oz lye, 9 oz water) that is about 6 months old and hard as a rock. I really like it and use it often, but I just washed my hands with it to observe the feeling and I think it has just a bit of that slimy feel you mention, so probably aiming more towards the 80% range would work better for you.

  62. Mechel says:

    Do you have a conversion for using liquid sodium hydroxide in soap recipes?

    • Hi Mechel! I’m afraid I don’t. I haven’t worked with liquid sodium hydroxide to be familiar with it. I see that Majestic Mountain Sage has a spot on their lye calculator that might relate though?
      “If you are using a ready made lye solution, check the box above and enter the enter the strength of your solution. The solution strength needs to be measured as a percentage of lye weight to water weight (% w/w).”

  63. James says:

    I tried finding your “Basic Soap Making” link, or page, but to no avail.

    Many years ago while I was attending a now debunked boarding school, we used to make and use a basic brown soap. It was made with the original “Lysol” brand disinfectant liquid and animal fat.

    I have not been able to find this recipe anywhere and your website has just taken me in circles trying to locate your basic soap recipe. Do you have, or know where I can find the original “Lysol Soap” recipe for brown soap? It was a wonderful soap that was so useful and we used it in the kitchens for washing and cleaning large pots and pans. It was also extremely useful for washing laundry and could remove even the most stubborn stains.

    If you could assist with either a basic soap for making the brown lysol soap cake I will be grateful and appreciate your assistance. Thank you for your time.


    James of Anchorage Alaska

    • Hi James, I’m sorry that the web site looped you in circles! It needs quite a bit of updating, since it’s gotten a bit unwieldy as it has grown. That’s on my to-do list for 2016.

      I’ve never heard of soap made with Lysol and animal fat. That’s a fascinating concept though! I remember Lysol liquid being used for EVERYTHING in my school too. One year I kept getting hives after recess and turns out it was the Lysol the teacher used to wash the desks with while we played.

      There are several recipes on my site, but I don’t think I have a Basic Soap recipe. I really should have one – that’s a great suggestion for a future article.
      This recipe:
      Is pretty basic with just olive oil and coconut oil. You can omit the honey, oatmeal and other extras and end up with a very plain, very basic soap.

      You probably want one with lard or tallow though. Here’s one you could try:

      I’m not sure of the safety of combining lye directly with Lysol. I wonder though if it’s something that you could incorporate in right before pouring into the mold? It’s just not something I’m familiar with to know for sure, but I’ll ask around and if I find anything that might help, I’ll be sure to update this comment and let you know!

  64. Ivy says:

    Which of this soaps can also be used as a shampoo? And what makes a difference between a soap bar and a shampoo bar? Thank you I’m very interested in this question!

    • Hi Ivy! Some people use the same soap for their hair as their body, but most like to make shampoo bars a bit differently. Usually, the main difference is extra castor oil. This gives the shampoo bar a bunch of lather, so it soaps up in your hair a lot more like regular shampoo would. I have some more shampoo bar recipes coming this year, but here’s one I wrote over at Hobby Farms you might like:
      It really helps to follow a wash with a shampoo bar, with a vinegar rinse to help reduce buildup. This is most important if you have hard water.
      Either spritz a little vinegar right on your hair then rinse out, or dilute some vinegar with about twice as much water and pour over your hair.

  65. I noticed that you do not have any liquid soap recipes on your site…unless I am blind – known to be that at times…I want to make a simple, yet effective, translucent laundry soap and I was wondering what recipe you used to make yours.

    I am assuming, with all your amazing soap making skills, that you wouldn’t be running to the grocer to purchase laundry soap.

    (btw…your site is one of my favorite sites and I recommend it to my readers in my preparedness book.)

    Anne :)

    • Hi Anne, Thanks for the kind words and for recommending my site to your readers!

      For laundry detergent, I make pure coconut oil bars (0% superfat), grate them, then mix with roughly equal parts of washing soda. (usage rate = around 2 tbsp per load or 1 tbsp for light loads)

      Liquid soap is on my want-to-try list, so I don’t have anything up on it here (yet!) Humble Bee & Me has some liquid soap making directions and recipes though, that you might find helpful:

      Good luck with your laundry soap quest! :)

  66. Rhonda says:

    Hi Jan,
    I’m just getting started in making my own soap. I haven’t made my first batch but can’t wait for my supplies to come in. Do you have any pointers as how to organize all of the different recipes? I know I’m gonna want to make different kinds. ?

    • Hi Rhonda, How wonderful that you’re going to start making your own soap! What you could do is print off the recipes you want to try and keep them in a notebook. (I’m working on getting my site to be printer friendly, so hopefully that will be an option on here too soon!) You can go through various web sites and print off the ones you want to try, then as you try them, make notes on what you changed or anything like that. I have a big notebook I’ve been keeping recipes in for years. The only problem comes when I make one up, then write it down on a scrap envelope or something and then lose it! That seems to happen to some of the recipes that turn out best, then I don’t know how to recreate it! So, my best advice is to not do like I do – and don’t write your recipes on easy-to-lose paper scraps. :) Happy soap making!

  67. Karen says:

    Hi Jan, to test the lye in my cold process soap I’ve been using PH strips. I’ve read that the PH result should be between 7 & 10. My soaps are at 10. Because it’s at the higher range I’m concerned. Would you recommend I bring that number down and if so how do I do that?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Karen! Are these freshly made soaps or ones that have cured for 4 to 6 weeks? From what I understand, finished soaps should range from 8 to 10, though in this post:
      The Soap Queen says 9 to 10 is good, while 11-14 is too high.
      pH strips are also not 100% reliable. Is your soap pleasing to use? Does it make your hands feel nice after washing with it? If so, your soap sounds good to go!
      If it leaves your hands dry feeling though, it may have a bit too much lye compared to oil amount. You could superfat a higher next time to help & double check that your scale is accurate (old batteries that are about to go out, can cause inaccurate measurements).

  68. Candace Salinas says:

    I purchased you ebook on soap making and it never downloaded. Where do I find it?

    • Hi Candace, I’m sorry about that! I just sent you an email with the download link and another through the shopping cart (SendOwl). Sometimes, my emails might end up in one of your other gmail tabs or the spam folder. If you don’t receive them or they won’t work properly, just send me an email to honeybeehillfarm @ gmail . com (no spaces) and I’m happy to try something else. Thanks and I hope you enjoy your ebook!

  69. Lisa says:

    Hi Jan! I was wondering is tallow the same thing as lard? You have been sooo helpful…you are my go to person for questions on soap making!

    • Hi Lisa! Lard is usually sourced from pigs, whereas tallow is usually beef. (You can also get lamb or goat tallow.) In soap though, they have some similar characteristics and both make a good substitute for palm oil in a recipe! :)

  70. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much Jan! Now I just have to find the beef tallow!

  71. Kelly says:

    do you send FREE samples of soap? specificaKlly shampoo bars?

    • Hi Kelly! That’s not logistically or financially feasible for me to do, but if you check on, you’ll often find soaps and shampoo bars in sample sizes. With the cost of postage, packaging and ingredients, they won’t be free, but they’re usually reasonably priced.

  72. Rachel says:

    have you made shaving soap for men? I would like to make some, but have no clue..thank you.

  73. Sylvia Bibler says:

    I just purchased the complete package of Soap making.
    While downloading, I somehow lost the downloads. How do I get back the downloads-I was able to print the milk soap recipe and How to line a mold but did not see the main soap booklet.

    • Hi Sylvia! Sorry about that happening! I just sent you an email with your download links. (It will come from honeybeehillfarm @, so if you don’t see it soon, check your spam folder in case it landed there.)
      Talk to you soon via email! :)

  74. Sybil says:

    Hello, I must admit it, it is vety inspiring, fantastic site you have created here. I love your soap recepies and how good they look on the photos! I am beginner and your tips are a lot of help.
    Greetings from Europe.

  75. Barbie says:

    Hi there, I made the garden mint soap. When cut the loans in to bars it became very crumbly. Out of 3 loans I ended up with only 4 bars. Any idea what could have gone wrong? Do you think I can re melt it slowly and try again?
    I made this recipe before with no issues.
    Thank you so much,

    • Hi Barbie! I’m so sorry to hear about that! It sounds like the soap is lye heavy. Is it possible that you mis-measured an oil or forgot to add one? (I’ve done that exact thing before, which is why I have to ask!) :)
      You could try melting it down again, but if it’s still misbehaving, I’d suspect too much lye is the culprit & you may have to start over with a fresh batch.

  76. Troy McCart says:

    We did not want an eBook but thought we were ordering an actual book. Looking for a contact number to respond. Thank you.

  77. Beka Hoffacker says:

    Hi!!!! I am sooooo excited! I just hit the four week mark on my first batch ever of soap, and it is awesome!!! Smells great, is super soft on my skin, and lathers wonderfully. I’m addicted!!!! I do have two quick questions for you though. I made the Eucalyptus Mint soap and really couldn’t get the green clay to mix that well…it’s kinda clumpy in the soap. Any suggestions. I thought about not mixing it with water next time, and just adding it straight in at trace and seeing what happened. Second, the top portion of all three batches dried a bit white at the top. It’s hard to explain but the top layer (approx. 1/4″) is just paler…is that normal? Thanks again! You’re site is amazing!!!

    • Hooray on your first batch of soap!! :) For clay, you really must get it mixed well with water before adding it in your soap. If you add it straight, you’re likely to get even worse clumping.
      You might need to add extra water to the clay to make a thinner slurry and the lumps might dissipate easier in that.
      Another method you could try is stickblending the clay powder into the oils BEFORE adding the lye solution, but be aware that the clay will quickly thicken your soap batter faster than usual, so be prepared to work fast if needed.
      The paler bit on the top layer happens to me sometimes too. That’s just where it didn’t quite 100% gel all the way to the edges. Insulating your soap with towels or blankets helps keep the heat more even.

  78. Natalia says:

    Hi Jan! I love your books, I wanted to start doing my own soaps and lotions and both of your books, natural soap making and 101 easy homemade products, have inspired me to finally do it, I love all the ideas on them and I created my own soap recipes, however I have a doubt about lye, I bought solid lye and I saw in the book a picture of the one you use that it seems to be liquid lye, I also read in Bramble Berry and for what I understand they use also liquid lye, so I’m wondering if it’s ok for me to use solid lye and then add it directly in to the te or water that I will be using for the soap. My first language is not English so I might have missed, thank you for your help.

    • Hi Natalia! How exciting that you are ready to make your own soap! My lye is not liquid. It comes in little solid pellets or flakes – it doesn’t turn into a liquid until you add water to it. So, I think that you probably have the same thing that we use.
      Does the label have a contact number or email that you could double check with the manufacturer to make sure? I hope that you’re able to start making your soap soon and have lots of fun with it! :)

      • Natalia says:

        Thank you for your promptly answer Jan :) I appreciate it, I bought it online and now that you clean up my doubts I will definitely try to do some soaps. I hope you can keep posting and thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us.

  79. Martha says:

    Do you make a pine and violet soap?

  80. Julia says:

    Hi, I would like to use goat milk powder in your lavender bar soap recipe, how much do you suggest I use? Thanks!!

    • Hi Julia! For that size recipe, I’d add around 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of powdered milk.
      How I add it is to look at the amount of distilled water in the recipe and set aside around 1 oz (28 g) of it.
      Make a lye solution with the rest of water and let it cool while you prepare your oils and powdered milk.
      To incorporate the powdered milk: combine the powdered milk with the 1 oz reserved water and blend until completely lump-free, straining if necessary.
      Make soap as normal, but at trace stir in the powdered milk/distilled water mixture and blend until completely incorporated.
      I’ve noticed that this will tint the soap a bit cream/tan – so you might want to notch up the amount of purple clay a bit to compensate or you could try mixing in a little kaolin clay or maybe zinc oxide too (to whiten it a bit).

  81. Julia says:

    This is great, thanks very much for the help! I appreciate it!

  82. Mary Maynard says:

    Jan, Please help; I just finished the recipe for the Lavender soap and followed your book recipe to the letter; I have gone over everything several times and cannot figure out what I did wrong; I have made other batches before this one and they have all been successful; the lavender batch turned brown the instant I poured the clay mixture into the mix; I didn’t even use the full 2 teaspoons, only one, because I only had one teaspoon; I did mix the clay powder in a stainless steel measuring cup; did that do it? I can’t figure out what else it would have been. Please help; I am discouraged now. I don’t want to give brown lavender soap to my family for Christmas gifts. LOL

    • Hi Mary! Just double checking – did you use purple Brazilian clay? And it had a very visible purple color to it in the package & not brown? If so, it should definitely give a purple color to the finished soap, but natural colorants can be a little persnickety in that they don’t always immediately show up the color they end up being. Sometimes they might look a little brown or gray at first, especially before gel phase. Make sure that you keep the soap warm (cover it with a blanket & check it every so often to make sure it’s not getting a crack on top) so it goes through gel phase and that should help the color “pop” a lot better. With only 1 teaspoon it might not be as visible, but you’ll hopefully end up with a purple hue. Hopefully, it will look a lot more purple for you in a few days – write back and let me know how it’s doing! :)

  83. Courtney says:

    On your goat milk and honey cp soap to double the batch, do I just double everything?

  84. Lynda Woodley says:

    Hi Jan, I made your Neem Oil Soap. It has been in the mold in exceed of 48 hours (62 hours), because it seemed too oily and soft to cut. Can you advse what to do ,,, what could be wrong?

    • Hi Lynda! I’m sorry to hear about your soap! I think the only soap recipe I have with neem oil in it is a doggie shampoo bar in my ebook package. Is that the recipe that you’re referring to? If so, did you make it hot process (crock pot) or cold process? Is there anything you changed about it? If you give me more details, I’m happy to help! :)

  85. Riddhi gandhi says:

    made a batch of Activated Charcoal, Earthern Clay and dried rose petals in CP. I made it on 6th Jan and that cures on 27th Jan. In eagerness I tried checking the ph on 26th Jan today in Melbourne Aust. The litmus paper shows the ph as high 11 to 13. Should I wait for another 2 weeks as that make 6 weeks altogether? Also the soap when made lather made my skin go dry. I am extremely worried about it. What steps should I be taking in my next batch?

  86. riddhi gandhi says:

    Hi Jan,

    Sorry for a late response. I am pretty sure I used only these three oils. I started using olive oil from my next testing batch. I kind of figured out what went wrong.

    I selected liquid instead of solid (thinking type is for state of oil :(

    This means all my batches had calculated wrong lye until now.

    I am trying another batch this evening, that’s a lesson learnt forever.

    Thanks Jan for let me find the light.


    • Hi Riddhi! I’m so sorry that happened, but I’m glad you figured out what went wrong. Best of luck with your future batches of soap! :)

      • riddhi gandhi says:

        Hi Jan,

        I tried another batch on last Wednesday, i tried unmolding them last night (Tuesday) the soap is extremely soft at the bottom. Also the surface looks hard but on pressing it does get pressed.

        There is some soda ash formed on the surface, even after spraying rubbing alcohol.

        Below given is my recipe :
        Coconut oil – 150 gm
        Olive oil – 150 gm
        Shea Butter – 50 gm
        Castor Oil – 35 gm
        Canola – 115 gm

        Water – 165 gm
        Lye – 69.45 gm

        Added activated Charcoal and earthen clay to it.

        Hope you could help.



        • Hi Riddhi! Your recipe sounds good, with the right amount of lye. Did you use a silicone mold? Sometimes those tend to trap in moisture, making the soap stay softer longer.
          When using silicone, you can decrease the water amount to compensate.
          For example, in the recipe you shared, you could reduce the water amount to around 130 or 140 grams of water (somewhere around twice as much water as lye, or a bit less than that) and it would still be plenty of water.
          After almost 1 week though, soap is usually firmer than that, even with a silicone mold, but it might just need more time.
          Another thing that can cause soft soap is if the lye gets moisture in it while in storage. If you shake your container of lye do you hear lumps inside? If so, it won’t measure out or behave correctly and can cause soft soap.
          Another reason for soft soap is if the soap didn’t quite reach a true trace. Sometimes, the soap looks like it has traced, but it’s not really. After you think your soap has reached trace, let it sit for a minute and if you see it starting to separate it was a false trace and needs more stirring.
          Hopefully your soap will still harden up after time in the open air. Keep me posted on how it does for you!

          • riddhi gandhi says:

            Yes i do you silicone mold. Does it mean E.g if my recipe calls for 100 gms of water i only use 80-85gms (as a lum sum) and if recipe calls for 60 gms of Lye to reduce it to 30-35 gms ? Should i be doing this each time.

            Does molds with wooden insulation doesn’t need any change like mentioned above? I find silicone molds as they are easy every ways.

            You could be right with lye catching moisture. I have a huge container of lye and extra lye measured i put it in a smaller container. Maybe that is causing lye act weirdly. I live in Melbourne that is usually a dry place but yes the weather in past few days has been humid. Also false trace is a good tip.

            Soon after writing to you last time i made another batch last Thursday which i check this morning looks hard enough. But when i made it i hadn’t seen your reply on page.

            How can i be sure of batch each time. As each batch invests 2-3 weeks before coming to a conclusion. Help :(

            • Hi Riddhi! You would never reduce the amount of lye in a recipe; it’s the exact amount you need for the exact amount of oils that you have. But, you can reduce the water some to help the soap not be as soft.
              Silicone molds are great, so if you find them easy to use, then definitely stick with them. Wooden molds are just easier to remove the soap from, even if it’s a little soft, since the sides are movable.
              That’s great that your soap made last Thursday is looking hard enough! I hope it turns out wonderful for you! Mostly it’s a matter of practice and to just keep making soap, learning how it behaves, to get a good batch each time.
              Sometimes still though, even after 13 or 14 years of making soap, I’ll still run into a misbehaving batch every now and then. Soapmaking is always an adventure! :)

  87. Cindy says:

    I very recently made the milk soap. Can the recipe be doubled? Are there any problems created when making a double batch? Or, any caution to use when doubling a recipe for soap? Thanks!

    • Hi Cindy! Yes, the recipe can be doubled. As long as you don’t change the type of oils/fats, the ratio of lye to oils shouldn’t change. Most of my recipes run about 2.5 to 2.75 pounds (you get the weight by adding up the weight of lye + oils + liquids), so if you double, you might end up with more than a 5 pound mold can hold. You may want to have some small individual molds or yogurt containers for extra soap batter. :)

  88. Kit says:

    I am new to soap making. I would like to ask if I can sub cocoa butter with Shea butter in any recipe that call for it. If I would like to add shea butter to any recipe, should I just run the lye calculation with the extra shea butter?

    • Hi Kit! Yes, you can equally sub cocoa butter with shea butter in most soap recipes. You can also interchange either of those butters for mango or kokum butter. You’d want to run it through a lye calculator to be sure, but I’ve found that it barely changes the lye amount, so don’t often adjust specially for it. Just one difference to note is that kokum and cocoa butter will add a little more hardness to soap than shea or mango butter.
      If adding extra shea to an existing recipe, you would also want to run it through a lye calculator. A good starting point for using shea butter in a soap recipe is around 5 to 15%. :)

  89. Kavisha Shah says:

    Hi. I love your work and your passion to share your work with everyone.. I have a small query. I used a wrong SAP value in my soaps for olive oil. So now the lye in most of the batches is 3 to 4 grams more. Is that ok?

    • Hi Kavisha! It depends on the size of your recipe & how much superfat you calculated, but 3 to 4 grams is a fairly small amount – if the recipe is large enough, the soaps may very well be okay!
      Do you have a sample recipe of the amounts that you used? I can double check them for you & let you know a better answer. :)

  90. SarahLynn says:

    I want to make your basic soap recipe. I want to use less olive oil, more coconut oil , and use palm oil instead of castor oil. Will this be ok. 16 oz coconut oil, 10 oz olive oil, 5 oz palm oil. Please email me ASAP. I want to make soon. Thanks, in advance.

  91. Alex says:

    Hi Jan,

    Thank you for the wonderful website. I have tried making a few of your recipes and want to make more every night, even though we are overrun with soap! I have a couple of questions, if you don’t mind. They are unrelated to each other. First, have you tried making sulfur soap? I use sulfur ointment for my acne and figured soap would be even better (no grease on the pillow etc). From what I read, sulfur reacts with lye, so I am thinking running a hot process and adding sulfur at the end, probably starting with 1% to test it. My second question is – do you have any recipes for handmade shaving cream? Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Alex! I know the feeling of being overrun with soap! :)
      I love the idea of making a sulfur soap & have it on my want-to-make-one-day list.
      I’ve read the same as you have too – that adding sulfur to the lye solution isn’t recommended because it can react negatively with it & cause your soap not to trace.
      However, I’ve also read that it’s difficult to add after hot process cook time & can make the soap separate, so my plan was to stick blend the powder into the oils before adding the solution.
      Apparently, it also smells incredibly vile when it’s curing, which admittedly is a little off-putting to hear, but I still want to try it out. I’d love to hear how yours goes if you get a chance to make it!
      For handmade shaving cream – I have a recipe for shaving soap pucks that I make for my husband that requires dual lye types. I can send you the recipe if you’re interested.
      He’s been requesting a shaving cream too though, so that’s something else on my need-to-figure-out list. :)

      • Alex says:


        Thank you for your reply. I think for sulfur soap I might make a small batch of soap and split it in half, then add sulfur to some at trace and for the rest of it follow the hot process and add it after cooking. I am also planning to add some clay (for color as well as its cleansing properties) and a little tea tree oil (to counteract the smell of sulfur as well as for its antibacterial effect). I will le to you know how it turns out.

        I would be grateful for the shave bar recipe. I found some recipes online that use tallow and any combination of KOH and NaOH from 60/40 to pure KOH. I am curious to see yours though.

        Also, I just purchased your soap making package but my work PC crashed as I was trying I download the files. Could I ask you to email them to me (or a download link). Thanks!

        One final question – have you used sandalwood oil? From what I’ve found, not only is it pricey but also controversial. If you could point me in the direction of a responsibly sourced brand I would greatly appreciate it.

        Thanks again for all the inspiration

        • Hi Alex! That sounds like a good plan for the sulfur soap. Keep me posted!
          Sorry to hear about your computer! I’ll send an email in just a few minutes with your download link & the shave recipe. If you don’t get it by tonight, let me know & I’ll try again from another email address in case that one got lost along the way.
          I haven’t used sandalwood in soap for the sustainability reason you mentioned, plus because it’s a little rich for my budget in that quantity, but Mountain Rose Herbs has Australian sandalwood which is supposed to be more eco-friendly:

          I actually had that one in my shopping cart last order to try in lotion or something, but swapped it out at the last minute for ho wood which I thought was a good substitute for it, but turns out that one is a good substitute for rosewood instead. I’ll have to grab some next time to test out.

  92. Janice Cole says:

    i have been using pine tar soap for decades, however, i would like to try your soap. i’m not interested at this time in making soap(s), but am interested in purchasing some bars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *