Homemade Liquid Soap

by Daisy on 03/23/2009

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**I have toyed with taking this recipe off the site.  It is problematic.  Originally, I thought I had used KOH, but I was mistaken.  Since I thought I was using KOH, I used way too much lye(3.375 oz), but the dilution process seemed to eliminate that.  I use this recipe all the time in various incarnations and have learned the following:  1) stick blenders make a marshmallow goo that is totally unusable.  Don’t go there.  2) This is really a glorified version of melting the old bar of soap in water, it just skips the grating since the soap is so new and still relatively soft.  3) I like the 3.375oz NaOH version better because it doesn’t make the marshmallow goo if I use a stick blender to break up the chunks.

Ivory’s Liquid Soap

2.5 oz NaOH (or 3.375 if you don’t think Ivory is crazy)
8 oz water
5 oz coconut oil
1 oz castor oil
11 oz vegetable shortening

1. Warm your oils until liquefied and sprinkle the lye into your water.

2. When they’re cool enough to touch, slowly pour lye water into fats.

3. Blend.

4. Stop when you a drip stays visible on the surface for a few seconds.

5. Pour into a jar or other non-reactive container.

6. Insulate and allow to rest for 24 hours.

7. Find a BIG bowl. Dilute soap with water, slowly stirring to get the consistency you want. I add a few cups at a time and then let it rest. It thickens.

8. Stir in 3-4 Tbsp essential oils. I used lavender and tea tree oil to make it antibacterial.

9. Funnel into your containers.

I got nearly a gallon of soap out of this recipe. WOW! VERY economical. The most bang for your buck I’ve seen.

We use it for everything, but coconut oil is notoriously drying so be careful with your hair. I’ve been using it and it has a serious SQUEAK when rinsed.  So, if you have hair that breaks easily, be careful. Also, this is a BUBBLY soap, so no dishwashers or washing machines unless you want a foam flood.


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Dizzy May 3, 2012 at 4:05 am

Hi, love this recipe, I made it last night and have got to the adding water stage, its still in chunks and taking a while to break down and dissolve, can I put it back on the double boiler to help it along. Also does it need to cure once its all liquid and in the bottles, can it be used straight away or must it wait like bar soap for 3 to 4 weeks.

Ivory Soap May 4, 2012 at 9:22 am

NO need to cure. All that dilution with water takes care of the harshness

Robin Boles May 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi. I just found this recipe. You state using vegetable shortening. Can I replace it with vegetable glycerin. If not what kind of vegetable shortening are you using? I cant wait to try this recipe..

Ivory Soap May 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

I have never used glycerin. I used crisco or store brand canned shortening.

Sunshine August 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I’ve tried a similar castille soap using this recipe: http://silverfirsfarm.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/liquid-castile-soap-tutorial/ and http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Liquid-Castile-Soap (same recipe). The recipe calls for KOH, but I couldn’t find any (not even at the winery supply, which is crazy, they were out of stock). I used NaOH instead. The WikiHow recipe just says “lye,” and the other tutorial used KOH and NaOH interchangeably. I don’t remember now (so many webpages), but it seems like I got the idea that KOH and NaOH were basically both ok, but KOH better for liquid and Na better for solid soaps. I have a bunch of this recipe in the crock pot still, and it’s been there for about 5 hours, but never looked like the pictures *ever* and looks like it’s getting dry. It sounds like you’ve tried Na and K: could the sodium be the reason? Any other idea why it isn’t getting gel-ish or translucent? It never has gotten “too hard to stir” and I’ve tried the hot setting and warm setting at this point, thinking maybe it’s too hot. It’s 184 degrees, on the low setting for about an hour. It has a sortof whitish crust where it sticks to the sides of the crock, but it scrapes off easily and doesn’t stick to the plastic spoon. Did you run into this at all? Any idea if it’s related to NaOH or temperature or something else? It was separated most of the time, but never got to what the pictures & videos look like “trace” before it suddenly separated, and it’s been not like the photo ever since. 🙁 Any advice is appreciated. 🙂

E. Gale March 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Sunshine: it largely depends on the lipids you use…as each saponifies at a different rate. Olive oil takes much longer to react than coconut, for example. So when you blend your oils, the molecular reactions happen at different rates.

When using a crockpot, it isn’t necessary to use a purely Hot Process. I like to use a CpHp, where I allow my lye and fats to cool to around 90-120 degrees F (the trick is to get them both cooled to about the same temp). Then I combine and blend to trace. Once true trace is achieved, I return the crockpot to low heat to cook.

It should behave more like you see described from that point on. The important thing during the cook, is to ensure that the lye is has been blended into the oils thoroughly. The HP method incorporates the lye and starts the saponification process much faster due to heat. But if you’re patient it always comes together into a proper gel stage – the cook time may vary, and much depends on your stirring and blending.

Amanda April 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

hi.. love this 🙂 is there something you could sub for the vegetable shortening? thanks!

Marianne May 28, 2013 at 7:04 am

Hello! I made it yesterday and today it’s not dissolving well, it’s still in chunks and hard to break it down and dissolve. Can I put it on the double boiler?

Daisy May 28, 2013 at 7:38 am

Marianne–Sure! Whatever it takes. That would be fine.

winona June 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

i have been looking for a formula to make liquid soap using naoh for a while, i just knew it was possible. naoh is so much more accessible and affordable than koh. i am so accustomed to making liquid soap using a hot process that i decided to do the same using naoh. i think it turned out great. thank you so much for posting.

aida March 18, 2014 at 2:07 am

hello i made this recipe yesterday now it is diluting. i love how thick is it. i keep adding water and it keeps wanting to thicken. the consistency is somewhat slimey and also chunky, will it help if i stick blend it to make it smooth?

winona March 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

i used naoh in place of koh in an attempt to make liquid soap. after some time it solidifies. i have returned to using koh for liquid soap and naoh for bar soap.

Daisy March 19, 2014 at 6:46 am

aida–I haven’t tried that, but if you do, please let us know how it works for you.

Erika May 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

So I made this last night and decided to double the recipe. I doubled it because I was out of TONS of things and this could replace it. Can I just say I LOVE THIS! With the “base” I made puppy shampoo with cedar oil and lavender, people shampoo with tea tree and eucalyptus, body wash with sweet magnolia, lavender and orange and with the remnants I made a dish soap with tea tree and lime. I didn’t want to write until I had tried this for all the above uses, but let me just say this is SPECTACULAR! I did tweek it a bit, vegetable glycerine instead of castor oil, and in everything except the dish soap, I stick blended in avocado oil before I put it their respective bottles. I can not thank you enough for this…such a life saver!

Andrea July 20, 2014 at 7:47 am

Just curious if it goes all stringy and then returns to a solid after you store it? I have made soap shavings into liquid soap and after a few days end up with soap so hard you can’t get it out of the bottle or having to water it down so much you no longer have soap at all.

Maria April 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm

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