Cold Process Bar Soap Procedures
  1. Put on eye protection and rubber gloves.
  2. Put the fats in a lye-resistant container, I use Pyrex. Place a glass or stainless steel thermometer into the fats. Be sure the thermometer doesn't touch the bottom of the container and give a false reading. Heat the fats and optional ingredients to the temperature specified in the recipe.
  3. Dissolve the lye into cold water; NEVER add water to the Lye! (Use cold distilled water, if your water is hard or mix 2 T of salt to your tap water, before adding the lye). Wait for it to reach the temperature specified in the recipe. Cold water is important. If you add lye to hot or boiling water, the water could "boil-up" out of the container.  Stir the water while slowly add the lye. The water will get hot and turn cloudy. Continue to stir until the lye dissolves. Don't breathe or intentionally smell the fumes coming from the cup because they are quite "breathe taking." If you wait too long to stir the water, the lye could harden in the bottom of the container. This is not a problem. You can still stir it, but it will be more difficult. Add a glass or stainless steel thermometer to the lye/water and wait until it reaches the temperature specified in the recipe. You may place in a cool bath water to help drop temperature more quickly.
  4. When both the fat and the lye/water reach the temperature specified in the recipe, add the lye/water to the fat. SLOWLY! It's sometimes a balancing act to get the fat mixture and the lye/water mixture to specific temperatures at the same time. Never place lye/water in a microwave (the cup could break). It takes lye/water longer to cool than it takes fat to heat. Most soap makers wait for the lye/water to cool to about five degrees above the desired temperature, then heat the fat. When both the lye/water and the fat are within five degrees of the temperatures specified in the recipe. Slowly pour the lye/water into the fats while stirring. (Note: Temperatures for small one-pound batches of soap poured into individual molds aren't critical. As long as the lye/water and fats are between 120 and 140 degrees F you will have good success. Larger batches or batches poured into a single mold require the lower temperature range.)
  5. Stir the soap until it "traces." When lye, water and fat first combine, the mixture is thin and watery. Gradually, as the lye and fat react chemically to form soap, the mixture thickens and turns opaque. "Tracing" is a term to describe the consistency (thickness) of soap when it's ready to pour into molds.
  6. After the soap traces, add up to one tablespoon essential oil (if desired) and stir a few minutes longer to incorporate the oil. About the only soap that remains totally scent-free is the Pure Soap Recipe that follows. Other fats result in soap that has a "fatty lye" smell. Essentials oils are necessary for a pleasant-smelling product.
  7. Pour the soap into molds and wait for it to harden.
  8. Unmold the soap; Soap is still harsh when it's time to remove it from the molds. Put on rubber gloves and press the back of each mold compartment to release the soap. It's a lot like removing ice cubes from a tray. Sometimes the soap doesn't release easily from the mold. To overcome this problem, leave the soap in a freezer for a few hours. Freezing soap causes it to contract slightly, become hard and release from the plastic mold.
  9. Wait the time specified in a recipe for the soap to "cure." (Usually 3 weeks). During the curing time the pH of the soap decreased (the soap becomes mild) and the bars harden. It's a good idea to write the following information on a piece of paper and place it with the soap: the date you made the soap, the date the curing time is over, and the recipe name.
  10. Enjoy your soap!

 The following recipes have the exact amount of lye to make soap that contains very little excess fat. This soap leaves skin perfectly clean and smooth feeling. The Pure Soap without essential oil is a good laundry product, dishwashing soap etc. Some people like excess fat in recipes. For this I recommend 2 to 4 tablespoons Castor oil added when the soap traces. Castor oil is emollient and contributes to soap lather. Adding Castor oil after tracing along with 1 tablespoon essential oil also seems to help retain the soap fragrance.

Pure Castile Soap

16 oz Olive oil
2.8 oz lye
1 cup water (8 fluid ounces)
Fat and lye/water temperature about 110 degrees F
Time in molds: 48 hours
Cure: 3 weeks

Basic Soap
6 oz coconut oil
6 oz olive oil
5 oz  Palm Oil
2.6 oz lye
1 cup water (8 fluid ounces)
Fat and lye/water temperature about 120 degrees F
Time in molds: 48 hours
Cure: 4 weeks


swirled soap
Liquid Soap

35 oz Coconut Oil

13 oz Castor Oil

12.4 oz Potassium Hydroxide KOH

37.3 oz Water

78.7 oz Water (added to dilute soap paste)

2.7 oz Water (added to dissolve the Borax)

1.3 oz Borax (added to neutralize excess lye)


To achieve transparency using the hot method, bringing your paste to 200 degrees for 3 hours

To achieve transparency using the cold method, add  20 oz 90 percent isopropyl alcohol to oil and lye mix

Lotion Bar 

We make 2 sizes of lotion Bars - 1oz and 2 oz. We use silicon molds.

4 oz beeswax

4 oz Shea butter

4 oz Coconut oil

Heat to just melted. Remove from heat add EO’s

6 drops of lavender essential oil

6 drops of tea tree essential oil

6 drops of rosemary essential oil

Pour into molds and refrigerate until hard, remove from mold and place in tin or bag to carry


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