The million dollar question:
Do REAL homesteaders use crock pots and stick blenders?
Well, I’m still not exactly sure what qualifies a “real” homesteader, but I’m gonna answer that question with a resounding YES.
I have a deep appreciation for my stick blender. And my dishwasher. And my washing machine.
And I’m pretty sure Ma Ingalls would have loved them, too, if she could have fit them into her covered wagon.
So, why I am talkin’ ’bout appliances this fine morning? Because appliances have turned soap making, a once long and arduous process, into a snap. Making a batch of gorgeous homemade soap only takes about a 90 minutes, where it once took much, much longer. And I’m showing you the ropes today.
But first, let’s answer a few common questions:
But, do I have to use LYE for homemade soap?!
Yep. You do. Lye is a part of any true soap making process. The basic formula for soap is:
liquid + fat + lye
Lye produces the chemical reaction which turns fat into soap. Otherwise, you’d end up washing yourself with a big blob of animal fat, or coconut oil, or whatever. Lye is our friend.
A lot of people have a fear of lye– I know I did. But the truth is, if you take the proper precautions, there’s nothing to be scared of. (Kind of like our buddy, the pressure canner).
Hot Process Soap vs. Cold Process Soap
Hot process soap making (aka crock pot soap) and cold process soap making are pretty much identical processes. The main difference is that hot process soap allows the chemical reaction to complete immediately, while cold process soap allows the chemical reaction to happen over a curing period of six weeks.
I’ve used both methods, but I prefer hot process soap (crock pot soap) for the following reasons:
- I can use the soap the following day, no six-week wait. (I like instant gratification)
- I don’t have to find a place in my tiny house to cure the soap for six weeks, out of the way of kids and animals.
- It really doesn’t take much more time.
**UPDATE** Come to find out, even though I’ve been told forever how hot process soap is ready to use immediately, this isn’t the case. I have since learned from a few soap makers who shared their knowledge that while hot process doesn’t necessarily require a six week wait, you will find the texture and hardness of the soap improves after a 1-2 week wait time. So while you can use it right away if you want, it’ll be better if you still wait a bit.
The biggest downfall in regards to crockpot soap is that it produces a slightly less-pretty bar, with a bit more lumpiness on top. However, considering I’m mainly interested making soaps for family and friends, and not becoming an artisan soap-maker, I’m totally cool with that.
What supplies do I need for hot process soap?
Not too many! But there are a few (inexpensive) items that will make your soap-making life a hundred times easier:
(some of these are affiliate links)
- Crockpot — I found an older crockpot at a yard sale for $5. It’s my official soap-making slow cooker
- Glass or Pyrex measuring cups and bowls — You’ll want to avoid metal utensils/dishes in your soap making process since lye reacts with some metals.
- A digital kitchen scale — Seriously. You’re gonna want one of these.
- A stick blender — Sure, if you’re super committed, you can stand there and stir your soap for a couple hours… I’m not that committed. The stick blender (aka immersion blender) makes it happen in mere minutes. It’s worth every. single. penny.
- Soap mold — For the longest time, I’ve used a simple cardboard box lined with parchment paper. Really, anything can work as a soap mold, including shoe boxes, loaf pans, misc. kitchen pans, Pringles chip tubes, you name it. As long as you can line it with parchment paper so you can remove the soap, you can use it. I recently splurged on a silicone soap mold from Amazon. It’s nice, but it’s not a necessity.
- Safety gear — This includes eye protection, gloves, and long sleeves, to guard you from the lye.
Hot Process Soap Ingredients:
- Lye — Sometimes you can find lye at your local home improvement store (usually in the plumbing section), but I generally have a very tough time sourcing it locally… I ordered my last bottle of lye online. Just remember, you MUST only use 100% pure lye (sodium hydroxide). Nothing else can be added.
- Fat/Oil — There are SO many different soap fat options out there, it’ll blow your mind. If you get on some of the fancy soap-making websites, you’ll find detailed recipes calling for many different types of oil or fat in each recipe. Since I’m not an artisan soap maker, I like to keep it simple. My soaps generally contain olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, or tallow (tallow soap recipe), in various quantities. Each oil has different properties it’ll lend to the soap. The more soap you make, the more you’ll find out which oils you like to use best.
- Liquid — I usually use water in my soap recipes, but milk is also a popular option. If you are using water, make sure to only use distilled water. That way, you’ll avoid any potential issues with the minerals your tap water might contain.
Alrighty, enough talk. On to the recipe!
Basic Hot Process Soap Recipe (aka Crock Pot Soap)
(A note about amounts: This hot process soap recipe produces about 30 oz of soap. I chose this amount because of the size of my mold. However, you can absolutely play around with the oil amounts in any soap recipe, as long as you run the final amounts through a lye calculator to make sure you are using a safe amount of lye. I always, always run my numbers through the lye calculator before I make any soap recipe)
- 10 oz olive oil
- 20 oz coconut oil
- 9 oz distilled water
- 4.78 oz 100% pure lye
- Essential oils for scent (optional)
- Digital scale
- Safety gear (safety glasses, long sleeves, gloves)
- Stick blender
- Crock pot
- Non-metal dishes and utensils
To begin, measure out the olive and coconut oil. Place the coconut oil in the slow cooker, and turn it on so it begins to melt. (If you want to speed up the melting process, you can melt it on the stovetop in a saucepan instead.)
As the coconut oil melts, measure out the other ingredients, weighing each and every one on the digital scale first. In soap making, we always measure by weight, not by volume.
I measure my water into a Pyrex measuring cup, and the lye into a small glass bowl. Make sure you have your protective gear (eye protection, gloves, long sleeves) in place before you start handling the lye.
Once the coconut oil has completely melted, add the olive oil to the crockpot and allow it to mingle and warm up.
Now it’s time to mix the lye and the water. Make sure you do this in a place with plenty of ventilation, as the lye will produce a reaction with the water and emit fumes. I prefer to do it outside, or under my stove hood with the fan on.
Slowly add the lye to the water, as you continually stir the water. The chemical reaction will happen quickly, and the mixture will heat up, so make sure you don’t grab the water container without gloves or an oven mitt.
**Important** ALWAYS add the lye to the water. NEVER add the water to the lye. Adding water to the lye can result in an unpleasant Mount Vesuvius type of reaction…
Once the lye is completely dissolved into the water (you’ll want to continue to gently stir until this happens), add it to the melted oils in the crockpot. Do this slowly, all while stirring the soap mixture.
Now, grab your stick blender. Stir and mix the mixture with your stick blender. I don’t run it continually, but rather pulse it for short spurts, stirring the mixture as I go. You’ll see it blend together rather quickly and it will thicken.
We’re looking for it to come to “trace.” You’ll know this has occurred because your soap mixture will have the consistently of pudding, and will hold its shape when you plop some on top. Like this—>
Once trace has occurred, the hard part is over! Simply place the lid on the crockpot, set the timer for 50 minutes, and allow the mixture to cook on LOW.
While you don’t need to necessarily babysit the crock, you will want to be semi-close to make sure it doesn’t bubble over. Mine always tries to rise out of my crockpot at least once during the process, and I have to give it a quick stir to calm it down. It usually only takes once, though. Otherwise, you shouldn’t need to stir it.
While you’re waiting, line your soap molds with parchment paper (if you’re using a silicone mold, skip this step) and prepare any additives (see below).
Once the 50 minutes has passed, it’s time to test the soap to make sure the lye has reacted with the oils completely and no longer remains in the mixture.
I like to do this by grabbing a small amount of the soap mixture, allowing to cool for a second, and then touching it to my tongue. If it “zaps” me, I know there is still lye remaining in the mixture and it needs to cook longer. If it just tastes like soap, we’re ready for the next step.
If you are mixing in any additives, turn off the crockpot and allow the mixture to cool briefly before mixing in any essential oils. However, you can’t wait too long, as the mixture will begin to set up, so watch it carefully.
Pour the soap mixture into the mold, making sure to press it into all the corners and smooth out the top as much as possible.
Set it aside for 12-24 hours, or until it sets completely. (Usually, overnight is plenty of time).
Remove the soap from the mold, cut it into bars, and allow it to dry for another day or so to allow it to harden up a bit.
Now it’s ready to use. You made soap! Can you believe it?! You’re officially a homesteading rockstar. 🙂
- While I use high-quality olive oil and coconut oil in my cooking, I don’t feel bad about using the lesser, cheaper grades for soap making.
- I won’t go into all the details of additives in this post, but some folks like to add things like coffee grounds, dried herbs, or ground oatmeal to their homemade soaps. Essential oils are also a fabulous addition if you want your soap to smell purty. You can also purchase colorants and dyes, but I never use them. I’m fine with naturally-colored homestead soap.
- One of the benefits of hot process soap is that there should not be any lye remaining on the crockpot or soap molds. This makes clean-up easier. However, to clean the lye bowl and stick blender, simply allow them to soak in a mixture of hot, soapy water and vinegar. The vinegar will neutralize the lye, and ensures you don’t burn yourself while washing them later.
- This recipe is 5% superfat. This means that we added extra oil to make sure the lye would have a complete chemical reaction, so it would no longer remain in the finished product. This is why it is so important to run all your soap measurements through a lye calculator first. Otherwise, you could potentially be making a recipe with an insufficient amount of oil, which can result in unreacted, caustic lye remaining in your bar.
- I like to scrape the leftovers from my crockpot into a small ball and use it right away while the bars are setting up.
- The sky’s the limit when it comes to the essential oils you can use in homemade soap! However, my current favorite addition to this recipe is 30 drops of patchouli and 20 drops of wild orange.
- Don’t expect a super strong-smelling bar of soap unless you add copious amounts of essential oils to the recipe. (I’m talking, like, a LOT. Way more than 50 drops.) Another option is to purchase specialty soap scents/fragrances. I personally limit my oil usage to about 50 drops per batch because I purchase high-quality medicinal-grade oils and I don’t want to use an entire bottle in one sitting. A lighter-scented bar is fine with me.
- You don’t have to make a soap recipe with multiple types of oil. You can definitely just use one type of oil if you wish. Pure olive oil soap will be very hard, as will pure tallow soap. Pure coconut oil soap has a lovely lather. Experiment and find out which oils you prefer.
Catrina Frey says
I am super excited to try this! I think I will do it outside though, b/c we do not have a true ventilation fan in our kitchen. Question though, I have found over the years that my delicate areas 🙂 are very sensitive to soaps and have only found one-Ivory, that doesn’t cause problems. Do you think that this recipe would be okay?
Catrina; You are probably reacting more to the chemicals and detergents in the commercial soaps and going to a true soap product should help you. This is a great basic recipe!
Catrina F says
Thanks Danielle, that makes me want to try it even more!
Ingrid Mc Cord says
I am assuming that the delicate areas are the peri area. You should not use soap in that area at all. Ingrid McCord RN MSOM
I found out that I was severely allergic to glycerin. It is common in most shampoo, conditioners, hand soaps and alcohol sanitizer. It was recommended that I make my own soap to avoid the issues so I have just now obtained everything I need.
Unfortunately, glycerin is a natural byproduct of all soap making, as triglycerides are broken down into glycerin through the soap making process. It is likely you are allergic to something else, but olive oil is fairly low in triglyceride so would probably be your best bet if that is the cause.
Sandra Flagg says
I read somewhere years ago that ivory soap was just lye soap made with lard. After the soap was made, it went through a process that I believe was called French processed soap. It was grated, remelted and whined with a mixer which added air bubbles to the soap. Ivory would float because of the air incorporated into the soap during the blending process. I tried it and it worked, but it was an arduous process and there is no real reason I know of for your soap to float!
Jennifer Massaroni says
Sandra Flagg that is a very interesting story! I love it! The only reason I could figure they made Ivory soap float was as a marketing tool for the consumer to be able to find their soap in the bath water! Very cool!
Linda K. says
I am from Cincinnati, the home of Proctor and Gamble, maker of Ivory soap. The floating ability of Ivory is not a marketing ploy. When the soap was first made, the man who operated the mixer was not paying attention to his work. The mixer went over long, mixing too much air into the soap. Rather than throw out the huge batch of soap, it was wrapped and sold. People loved the floating ability so Ivory continued to be made in this way. It’s perfect for lake bathing!
If you’ve ever bathed in a spring-fed lake, you’d know why it’s good to have soap that floats ;)!
That said, I do prefer homemade soap, even if it is harder to keep track of in a lake =o).
I have heard hard core campers (people that like to go out with nothing but a backpack for weeks) like Ivory because if you drop it in a stream or lake it floats to the top 🙂
Great article Jen! I see your lime EO there…I recently made a shredded coconut & lime that turned out amazing!
BUT…I was wondering if you had any experience with re-batching? I have tried in the past, but with little success. I have a goat milk base CP soap that I was considering doing a re-batch on… any tips would be appreciated! Otherwise I’ll just keep those bars for myself lol. Blessings!
Sorry….I meant Jill!!!
I would love to try this! Do you think slow cooker liner is useful for cleaning up?
I was wondering if it would be possible to use a liner too so I could use my wool dyeing crock pot for this also. When the soap is done I could just lift the whole thing out and put it in the mold as is and peel the plastic off when done and easy clean up for my wool dye crock?
Jay Reimer says
Lye is very soluble and can be neutralized with any acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) The other ingredients are food oils. I would not worry about using your “regular” crockpot, just give is a very good clean when you are done (like once through the dishwasher.)
You could try but there’s a possibility it could get cut by the immersion blender, which would probably be a huge mess and you could potentially be burned by unreacted lye trying to clean it up. It’s really really easy to clean the crock pot because it’s just soap at the end, if you soak it with hot water it comes right off and you have a squeaky clean crock pot!
It appears that it is best to have a crockpot used just for soap making. Is this the case for the immersion blender as well? (That it shall only be used for soap……….or if washed, can it be safely used with food? Thanks for the great recipe……looking forward to trying it!!!!
I have made homemade soap several times in a crockpot and I use my immersion blender that I use in cooking in making the soap with no problem. I do have a dedicated crockpot that I use for soap making but it’s not necessary.
I love making my own soap and knowing what is in my soap. I have a tallow and coconut oil soap with peppermint essential oil recipe I use and it turns out wonderful.
Do you have a goat milk soap you can share? I have always wanted to make goat milk soap bc it is so moisturizing.
i just replace the water in my soap recipe with cows milk soap and have not issues with how it comes out.
I want to make a combo of coconut oil and lard. Can I do half of each?
Cheryll Wesoja says
I would love that recipe.
Julia Jones says
I have decided to jump into making soap, but I purchased 10 gallons of liquid lye. Did I make a mistake in buying liquid? Can I still use it just like lye crystals are used? Would I use the same amount of liquid vs crystal lye?
It should be noted that milk can scald or burn from the heat of the reaction with the lye (if one uses milk in lieu of water). I make goat’s milk soap and always use partially frozen to frozen milk in order to maintain a cream colored soap. I’d the milk sugars burn, the soap will end up a color between store-bought butter and almost caramel. The scent of the bar may be effected as well.
Also, instead of ingesting lye to find out if your soap has turned out…you could but pH testers. They are quite inexpensive. You can order soap pH testing strip at around $10 for 50. You only need to test one bar out of a batch, so that’s only $0.20 per batch to make sure your soap is in the ideal pH range.
Jillian Edwards says
So what should the pH be? Perhaps I missed it but I didn’t see it mentioned at all.
Rachel, I make goat milk soap (I use the powdered that I reconstitute). Rather than mix the GM and lye-that scalds the milk and produces a horrible smell, I sub out some of the water that I add to my lye mixture and use that amount of water to reconstitute my GM. I do cold process, so I mix all my oils, then add the lye mixture and just as it begins to thicken, I add the GM mixture. I do need to add that it best to make the lye mixture ahead of time and let it come to room temp if possible. I don’t like to use it I feel I can’t rest my hand comfortably on the outside of the container it’s in. Using a hot lye mixture will accelerate everything and its harder to control trace. I find that whenever I use any milk type additive (including an oat milk slurry) that I just cannot avoid the batch going through either partial or full gel phase. But It’s just for personal use so I don’t really mind.
What would make it soft or rubbery and oily?
Thanks for this! Super helpful info. I was wondering why my GM mixture turned dark yellow and smelled funny; now I know!
If it develops a smell, is it permanently in the soap once it’s cured? I used fresh milk from our ladies, but I had read to freeze it so I did. I made with lemon infused olive oil, lemon zest, shea butter and coconut oil. I noticed a slight smell some of it being the lye, but will my soap smell bad when it’s done? It was a yellow but I used lemon
Melanie Ware says
Best soap tutorial ever!!! I haven wanting to tackle soap for the longest time. I totally feel ready after reading this post. Thank SO much!
I agree these are the best complete instructions I’ve found over the past 2 years serching for how to’s. Others seem to leave out a lot of the little steps & that would leave me thinking I missed something or I wasn’t following correctly. Yours filled in the blanks. Much appreciated:)
Tammy Wilson says
I love your Toolbox and read it fervently! Thanx so much for this wonderful ‘recipe’. Do you think this would work well with goat’s milk for the liquid?
Maria Atwood says
Great Job on making a complex and scary (using lye) process for soap making. I made it once outside with a seasoned soap maker but never did it on my own because of the fear of the lye. Maybe this summer I will try it again on my deck.
Maria Atwood – Traditionalcook.com
Sorry if my questions sound silly. Is this soap for bath only? What else can you wash with this soap?
I’d just like to clear up one misconception – ALL soap is safe to use after saponification (assuming it was made correctly). Saponification occurs during the cook for HP soap, but it only takes 24-72 hours for it to occur in CP soap. The cure in CP soap is not to make it safe, but to make it a better bar. Likewise, HP soap greatly benefits from a similar cure time. Yes, you can use it immediately, but you’ll have a better, harder, more lathering bar if you wait a few weeks. Otherwise, great post 🙂
You’re correct. Curing isn’t about saponification, which is done in a few days. In fact, hot prpcessed soaps do need to cure as long, or longer than cold process. Soap is a salt of a fatty acid…..with a crystalline structure. The crystals move around during cure as the soap loses water molecules. The pH lowers slightly during this long process which makes a milder bar.
By the way, pH strips do not work with bar soap…you won’t get an accurate result. Lye soap is by nature, alkaline. Store nought detergent based bars can have a neutral pH. 100% pure soap can’t ever be neutral….it disintegrates first. (I believe there is a way to test handmade soap pH at home, but don’t know what it is, and it takes a special pH meter)
Thank you for this! I’ve misplaced my original recipe and this looks terrific! I’ve always made cold process in the past, but am eager to try this. For ventilation reasons, spring and summer has always been my soap making season. 🙂
Thank you again!
Barry Cheshier says
You stress the avoidance of metal in this soap-making recipe, yet I’ve only seen metal stick-blenders–we have two–both metal. That’s okay? Thanks!
Yes, see my post.
I must add that you do not need to soak your utensils in vinegar. NaOH (lye) needs to be less concentrated to burn you. Flush with water and save the vinegar for something else. I worked in a lab with varying concentrations of NaOH(aq) and to not burn my self I work goggles, lab coat, gloves, and diluted the NaOH with good old water. When I am done making my HP soap I flush my glass jar that contained the lye with water. I fill it up to the top and rinse it a couple times then wash. I take my stick blender and blend water to clean off the lye a couple of times until clean, then stick blend soapy water (one drop of Dawn will do) I then wash my glass jar with a tiny drop of dish soap to remove the salt residue. I then stick blend
Barry Cheshier says
Angie Davidson says
If you add sodium lactate, which is a natural preservative, to your cooled lye water before mixing, the end result is a more fluid pour after the cook. It allows for a smoother bar and more flexibility as far as swirling. it won’t ever be as pretty as cold process but you can get some nice swirls or at least good color mixing. It also makes for a harder bar.
Disregard the last incomplete sentence. I meant to delete it before posting. Have a great day and happy soaping!
I like your easy instructions. A few tips I would add are: Set the crock pot in a larger tub such as a dish pan, and set the lye jar in another tub while mixing it for safety. I had a nice lye volcano working with homemade beer, but was no problem, I was ready for anything and it all went into the tub. My only problem was to guess how much water and lye was lost and add accordingly. It turned out great after all. Beer soap is not for beginners, only experienced soapers:) I have made hundereds of batches of soap, and lots of store bought beer shampoo bars with no volcanos. I always mix water with the chilled beer.
A time saver tip: I do not wait for the oils to melt, the lye water is hot enough to melt it while blending/stirring.
A few tricks to make hot process soap more smooth, almost like cold process soap-add 1 t. sugar to lye water and stir in 1/4 cup powdered milk to soap after the cook. Seems to help!
Taylor Inman says
thank you so much for this recipe! I can’t wait to try it out. Love your blog and you did a great job on the oils revolution! Taylor
Jill Winger says
Thanks Taylor– enjoy!
Great recipe and great directions. i am a hot process soap maker myself. just two suggestions:
1. Before givng thre direction to put teh coconut oil oin in the crock pot to nmelt you should have instructed to wiehg i first! tah is a very important step tha was missed!
2. Also your reference to the Sap tables needed to be more than a quick reference. If someone is trying a variation of your recipe like say all olive oil they must consult the sap table and also understand the concept of super-fatting whether it be 5 % or any other % as well as what the ratio of oil or fat to the lye must be.
Otherwise great recipe for someone who knows what you are already talking about…not so much for beginners.
But great discussion and pictures of understanding and geting soap to “trace!”
Opps sory for those bad typos!
I meant to say under # 1:
Before giving the direction to put the coconut oil in the crock pot to melt you should have instructed them to weigh it on the scale first! That is a very important step that was missed! Sorry, I was interupted while typing and forgot ot proof! Oops!
I’ve never read so detailed tutorial before. Thanks a lot for the step-by-step guide and for all the additional information. You even made an easily printed version of the recipe which is so practical. I wanted to ask what essential oils do you use for the recipe and how many drops do you add? And do you think it is safe to add some colour? Is it going to work? And at what stage of the recipe it is fine to add it?
Jill Winger says
Hi Beki– You can use any Eos you like, as far as scents go. I adding about 30 drops, but fair warning– it takes a LOT of oils to make soap smell, and often the scent sort of disappears after the curing process. So, if you are looking for a strongly-scented soap, you’ll be disappointed. You can definitely add color– I would add it when I add the scent.
Hello. I have some questions about weight when it comes to soap making. I usually use grams and kilograms when I do weigh anything, but I can not find many soap recipes in my language and I have a digital scale that measure in both gram / kg and oz, but there are two kinds oz, it says nothing about that in the recipe, Is it lb oz or fl oz I should use when I weigh oil, lye and water?
I also have a question about the digital scale, I’ve been looking around everywhere but can not find one that can weigh more than one number after the comma, if I should weigh in grams there is no comma after the first number. For example 5.32 oz. lye , I get only 5.3 oz, do you think it will work, or does it matter?
Sorry for my bad english, hope you understand me and can help.
I realize this is an old post but maybe this will help someone. Recipes for soap are usually by weight so you should use the lb/oz. One number after the decimal point should be fine. Happy soaping!
Can you use a cold process recipe (in terms of oil:water:lye amounts) to make hot process soap?
Jill Winger says
Yes, it should still work.
Londa Burns says
I’ve done this many times and had great luck. I’ve made hundreds of batches of CP soap (I used to sell it) and whenever I’d mess up I’d put the entire batch in the crock pot and use the hot process. As long as you have your measurements correct, you’ll never mess this up! Have fun!
Susan Bryg says
I am interested in making my own soap so that I can avoid using commercial soaps with chemicals and ingredients with long words that I have no idea about what I am putting on my skin/in my body, etc. But lye is a poison. Isn’t that a problem?
Lye isn’t actually a poison; it is a strong base. Lye reacts with liquid and fats to create a chemical change that results in soap. Just as the liquid and fats have changed chemically, so has the lye. Chemically, it is no longer lye. It’s like baking a cake. You add flour, eggs and oil but, after it’s baked, they’ve undergone a change and are now in a new form. So, no, it’s not a problem.
Lye is used as a catalyst to create the saponification process, and it will cease to exist as caustic lye (NAOH) after saponification has occured.
Lye is NOT a catalyst. A catalyst is something needed to cause a reaction that is not changed in the reaction. Saponification is the replacement of the acid in a fatty acid with sodium. What this does is make a non-polar compound soluble in water.
Before I started making soap, I was terrified of the lye, especially the smell. Now I get mine from Essential Depot. It is very high quality and has no odor. But don’t put your face over it when you first put it in the water. It still has fumes, just not stinky ones. And have lots of ventilation. No need to do this outdoors.
Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I have always done cold process and am excited to try this method.
Hi Jill, thanks for the recipe. I have a couple questions. I bought lye beads, do I measure them the same as the powder? I want to find a crock pot at a garage sale or something, but I am not sure how big to get. Some old ones are pretty small. What size do you think is needed? Thanks, Deanna
Jill Winger says
Make sure they are still 100% lye. If so, yes, you can measure them by weight just the same as the powder. I don’t know the exact size of my crock– it’s maybe 4-5 quarts?
Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I find a lot of information on cold process, and little on Hot. Plus your recipe looks super easy. I have a question if you can answer, do we have to heat the oil to mix it with the lye? I think I saw someone who mixed the lye in the crock pot, and then added the oils. I would really like to do it that way, so I technically do not have to clean a lye container.
And how much fragrance? 2 oz???? Thank you again.
Jill Winger says
To be honest, I have only ever mixed the lye in a separate container, so that is the method I’m comfortable recommending. I imagine you could do it in the crockpot and then add the heated oils after the fact, but I have not tried it. I also don’t use fragrance oils, so not how many oz to add. Sorry!
Londa Burns says
Fragrance oils are kind of trial and error. I never use more than one oz. per pound of soap. I’ve made the mistake of adding a lot of oil for a friend who wanted a strongly scented soap. Instead of a strong scent, the extra oil I added just distorted the fragrance and ended up smelling bad.
Irena Marchu says
Please, please do not use Pyrex or glass to mix your lye in or your raw soap batter. Lye etches glass and will weaken the glass over time. One day that glass can shatter and could cause serious injury. Use either a Polypropylene pitcher (#5 on the bottom of the pitcher) or true stainless steel. And in case you’re wondering, I have been making soap for 40+ years.
Thanks for your comment, Irena Marchu – I’ve been using a glass canning jar to mix my lye into water… Have used the same one a few times now, so I’ll change that for my next batch. Appreciate all the comments here! Great blog!
Marie Miller says
Thank you so much for this very detailed recipe! This is my first go at soap making and I am wondering what sized crock pot you used for this recipe. I found one at my local thrift store but want to make sure it is large enough so that the mixture does not bubble over! Thank you so much!
Kelly Muhl says
If I use pH testing strips to test the lye instead of touching it to my tongue, what range should the pH tester strip show?
Jill Winger says
You’ll want your soap pH to be between 7-10
Julia Lenz says
I just took a class in soap making (with our beekeeping group) using the cold press method. So much fun and now I want to try this method. The teacher passed out bubble wrap to put on the top of our freshly poured soap “loaf” mold and let it sit 24 hours. When set, she removed the bubble wrap and it looked like “honeycomb” on the top. So cool!
Can you add Honey to this recipe? Such a good natural antibacterial! If so, how much
Jill Winger says
What a COOL idea!!
Jen T says
I just made this!!! It was soooo easy!!! Tried out some with the extra scrapings and was so sudsy!!!
Jen T says
Also it seems to dry the skin out a bit…is there a way to fix that?
Jill Winger says
jim pesto says
Made this! So easy! Thank you for your tips here! Guess what I did though? I used olive oil, coconut oil, lye and a pack of unsweetened blackberry koolaid! It turned the most beautiful blackberry color and set up almost immediately. My husband was skeptical that it would work right. It worked GREAT. I was able to actually use it 2 hours later! I put a pic on FB of the 6 bars I popped out of the mold and people are messaging me wanting to buy some. Thanks again. I will make this over and over for the family <3
Jill Winger says
What a good idea– I never would have thought of that!
I just sent you an email with a picture. Im seriously addicted to making these. Your instructions were clear and easy and trust me.. that’s a plus for me. Tonight I am going to try lemongrass eseential oil, olive oil, coconut oil, lye and lemonaid and I will send you an email with those results. Thanks again!
Jill Winger says
Yay!! I’m thrilled you are loving the recipe!
Does the kool aid add smell, or just color? Doesn’t it stain? I can’t even find blackberry kool aid!
Reyna Herrera says
I have a question. If I wanted to add oatmeal and honey, when would I do that?
You can add these after the cook.
Abigail Small says
Hi! I just made my first batch of soap. I never dreamed the sight of suds would make me so excited! I did want to mention that I made mine without the emulsion blender using my stainless steel wisk. I dont think it took any longer and I had great results.
Thank you, great recipe!
Rebecca Kurth says
“My soaps generally contain olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, ” I have some palm oil I would like to use along with the olive and coconuts oils….do you have a recipe you could share? Not sure how to change the ratios…afraid of the lye calculators.
Jill Winger says
Don’t be afraid of the lye calculators– they really are your best bet if you want to adjust a recipe
Your tutorial is one of the best I have seen- thank you!
I am very much an amateur soap maker and had an interesting experience with my last batch. I have been making a Castile soap with olive oil- hot process. I added honey and oatmeal at the very end and when I sliced my bars, my soap just crumbled:( I was wondering what may have caused this to happen??
Kay Mitchell says
Oh my gosh! I just tried this as my very first HP batch, and it is AWESOME!! It turned out smooth and beautiful. Thanks SO much for sharing this recipe. I am totally going to make it again…it will be my “go to”!
Jill Winger says
Yay!! Glad it worked for you!
Can this bar of soap be use as shampoo?
I’m looking for a shampoo bar soap recipe.
This has been my go too recipe!! I only just recently started making my own soap…but I love it!!! Now I have started to play around with it…have gotten positive results! So excited to try more stuff!
How many bars does this recipe make? Thanks!
It’s an awesome article designed for all the internet viewers; they will get advantage
from it I am sure.
How much soap does this make approximately?
Sherri Howard says
Hi. My first batch wouldn’t trace, then my second batch separated a bit, then went from total liquid to pudding… no in between! Now it won’t set up. Any ideas what I could have done wrong? Can I rebatch it??
Great recipe! Is there a way to test if the mixture has reached trace without touching it to your toungue? The idea of doing so makes me feel uneasy haha.
my first hot process batch looks great but smells doughy – any suggestions that I did wrong?
Kelly Young says
I’m making this now and an hour after trace, it’s still very clumpy with a lot of liquid in the pot. I’m not sure what to do next. It’s definitely still very basic. Do I have to toss it out?
I don’t wait to use my cold process soap- but it lasts longer the longer you leave it to cure. Once you have let it sit in the mold for the 24 hours, the lye has done it’s thing ?. I’ve thought of trying soap in the Crock-Pot, but it just seems more involved.
Darcy R. says
You don’t say what temperature to set the crock pot. Mine has warm, lo and high. Mine is sitting on lo right now waiting for an answer….ha ha. Thank you for sharing this process with the world. I am going to teach people in my apartment building how to make soap. 🙂
Cheryl Marie says
Which lye calculator do you recommend and what is your fat percentage. I would like to make at least 40 ounces on my first batch for my mold size.
I tried this process and it was perfect! I found the soap way too drying for my skin at 50/50 oil blend since coconut oil is so cleansing. So, i rebatched it and it seems better for me. I cut up the soap, melted it in the microwave with 1 cup of milk and added 1-1/2 tablespoon cocoa butter because that was all i had to increase moisture. The mixture actually melted well, absorbed the milk and cocoa butter well and hardened again. Great process so I will be saving that and I love the pure white color. I did add 1 ounce of FO in pUre Honey when I did the original batch and it is still fragrant.
Do u use fl oz or weigh olive and coconut oil on the digital scale
Leslie Wartman says
I weigh everything on my digital scale.
Leslie Wartman says
This is phenomenal. I have used it many times as I have no space to cure cold process soaps either. Thank you so very much for offering this recipe free of charge!
Brigitte Holiday says
At what temperature do you add additives like essential oil and exfoliants?
Anne Foster Angelou says
I have some melt and pour soap blocks that are at least 10 years old. I hate to throw them away but won’t waste making soap if they are deteriorated. they are still in the plastic shrink wrap and are “sweating” a little or feeling a little oily on the outside. Can I still use them or should I throw them away? I contacted a local soap making supplier and they said to toss them. What do you think?
Great recipe! This too, is my first attempt making HP soap. I used exact measurements and followed instructions–turned out wonderful! I will use this a “base” for other “flavors”!
Shannon Deery says
Tried this recipe today. Very dissatisfied. Extremely crumbly and wouldn’t hold shape to mold. I hate wasting supplies. I’ll stick to my tried and true recipe
does the Koolaid color your skin?
Mandy B says
I know it’s been a while since anyone has commented…
But I’m wondering if this bar would work well as a shampoo bar? Any recipe for that? Maybe all coconut oil? I’m new to it all! Thanks!
Anelia Stefanova says
A very good and detailed article. I find it really very useful. Thank you!
Jessica Mikels-Carrasco says
This is wonderful information. My daughter is researching saponification for her science fair poster. She is wanting to compare the results using different types of fats – tallow, olive oil, and vegetable oil. Can hot process soap be made only using one oil, water and lye? I found the lye calculator, so I think we can use that to determine how much of each ingredient to use.
Thanks so much for any advice you can offer,
Michelle Phillips says
Hi Jill, Can you use a recipe for cold pressed soap in the hot pressed method? And vice-versa?
I made a batch of hot process coconut oil soap but (need new glasses!) I used too much coconut oil. I did get it to trace (eventually) but it was still thin after cooking I did add essential oils as I figured I couldnt keep it and it would have to be thrown out so I might as well put it into the soap mixture that did the trick the soap started coming together so I put it in a mold it wont set and a little sample I took out is oily – I could put it in a jar & use it after finishing the housework (it suds up and cleans and my hands feel lovely and soft from the oil) or do you think it would eventually set?
Ladi Loera says
The soap seems pretty soapy. I did the zap tongue test and it appears to be fine and it lathers really nicely, but it is sort of crumbly on the top and the edges. What did I do wrong?
With this recipe what size mold could I use? I’m starting out and I do not want to use big batches. But I would like to make at least 1 inch soap bars.
Danielle Boucher says
Good morning, I love this recipe. I was just wondering when you said you used a superfat at 5%, what did you use? I want the soap to remain this white. Thank you, Danielle
Andrew Macmilan says
I will try this myself.
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Thanks for this article! I’ve been searching the internet for an easy to follow/simple guide to making soap and yours has been the best for me to understand- I plan on replicating 🙂 Cheers!
Wendy Howe says
I have used this and really liked it. Super easy to follow. My daughter is requesting an oatmeal salt soap to replace the bar she was gifted with. Do you know if I can add Himalayan salt and oatmeal to this right before molding it?
I learned how to make soap following these instructions & I’m soooo glad I got over my fear of lye! My adult children have also learned how to make hot process soap by helping me the first few times I made it, which has been fun. I’ve made 7 batches now & have started getting a little adventurous with different oils, additives, & fragrance oils. So far no failures which is great. My husband is the designated soap cutter which is funny because he is usually not interested in my crafts. The lather is amazing! I love sharing my soaps with my family & friends.
Can you tell me how much fragrance oil this recipe would need? Not essential oils just skin safe fragrance?
Tania Gonzalez says
Thank you so much for this recipe and tutorial. I just made this recipe today. I can’t wait to unmold and cut this soap. I did add fragrance. Thanks again!
I’ve made crock pot soap many times before but my latest batch didn’t turn out. It’s over a week old and still soft to the touch in the mold. Is there anything I can do to salvage it? Thanks in advance!