DIY: How to make pure castile soap?

Home-made olive oil castile soap
Home-made olive oil castile soap

This article will show you how to make your own castile soap bars. Buying natural or organic soap is very expensive today and unfortunately the healthy choice has become the expensive choice. And even if you are willing to pay the price for seemingly “natural products”, you will often find a long list of chemicals (non-natural additives) on the ingredient label on the back and think “what on earth is all this?”

I will advise you to never buy a product only judging from its name, because names these days are very deceptive (e.g. “herbal essence” which not only contains lots chemicals such as the carcinogen 1, 4-dioxane, which is known to cause cancer, but they also test on animals) and there is far between real natural products without chemicals inside.

This is what inspired me to make my own soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and cream. I simply couldn’t find products without chemicals – or rather I found very few (such as Miessence) but they are very expensive.

Making your own products is fairly simple, cheap and joyful….since you will be 100% sure that no additives have been added.

The recipe below uses proportions of oil and lye to create a PH balanced soap that will be very mild to the skin.

Here is the recipe for 7 bars of olive oil castile soap:

• 150g/ 164 ml coconut oil
• 538 g/ 580 ml olive oil
• 190-220 ml cold water
• 92 g lye /sodium hydroxide/ caustic soda
• 20 drops lemon oil (can use any kind of pure oils)

Alternatively you can make a double portion with half coconut oil and half olive oil. This will give you 14 bars of castile soap:

• 688 g coconut oil
• 688 g olive oil
• 509 ml cold water
• 198 g lye /sodium hydroxide/ caustic soda
• 1 tea spoon of lemon oil (you can use any kind of pure essential oil)

Here are the tools you need:

• A digital scale
• 2 thermometers that can measure up to 93° Celsius/ 200° Fahrenheit.
• A stick blender.
• 1 high temperature plastic jars (to mix the sodium hydroxide and water). I use a plastic bucket
• 1 plastic bucket to mix the sodium hydroxide mix with the oil mix)
• 1 glass bowl for lye
• 1 ceramic bowl for heating up the oil in the microwave
• A long-handled plastic mixing spoon.
• A ladle.
• Soap molds – alternative you can use a water bottle (1.5 liters) and cut it open when taking the soap out.

Caution: Whenever working with lye you should use rubber gloves, protective glasses and long sleeved skirts and pants to protect your skin from accidental splashes of the liquid.

How to make the soap:

1. Add lye to water in a high temperature plastic container somewhere with fresh air (outside your house). Do not breathe fumes. Always add Lye to water (not reverse). Caution: Temperature of mixture will rise to approximately 91ºC / 195ºF. Stir mixture with plastic spoon.
2. Allow lye to cool (place in bowl of cold water to speed up cooling).
3. Mix oils and microwave to 43º C/ 110ºF (that’s about 2 minutes in my microwave).
4. When both solutions are at 43º C/ 110ºF, add lye solution to the oil mixture. Blend with stick blender until the mixture reaches “trace” where you can see a film on top of the soap that traces the line of the stick blender. Ladle into molds.
5. Leave it in the mold for the next two days. PH will be high and can burn the skin for the first 48 hrs. The PH will settle to neutral after this.
6. Place molds in freezer for 1 hour to help separate the soap from the molds.
7. Use plastic gloves when handling the soaps the first month.
8. If you use a plastic bottle to pour inside the liquid soap mix, cut up the bottle and take out the hardened soap mass and cut it into pieces.
9. Place the soaps on paper.
10. Allow 6-8 weeks to air dry before use.

Distilled water can be used to guarantee that the PH of the soap will be neutral when complete, and that no impurities are in the water that could affect the saponification process. In Denmark I just use tap water since that’s perfectly thing (very fortunate).

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) can be purchased in cleaning section of many supermarkets. Make sure you buy the one that says 100% lye/ caustic soda/ sodium hydroxide.