Natural and Herbal Soap Recipes

We are not responsible for any injuries or other damage that may result from your use or misuse of the information provided in these soap making recipes.

Beginner Soaps

Soap 1:

Beginners soaps are to get you used to the feel of working with soap materials and to get you comfortable with working with varied ingredients. It is like taking your first steps and getting comfortable with that.

1/3 cup whole almonds;   1- 4 ounce bar Castile soap;  1/4 cup distilled water;  1 tablespoon almond oil;   1/8 teaspoon essential oil

Grind almonds into a fine powder and set aside. Shred the soap (a cheese grater works well) and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Now reduce heat to simmer. Remove pan from the heat and add the almond powder, almond oil, and other scented oil, stirring well until blended. Fill mold with soap mixture and let set for about 5 hours or until hardened.

Soap 2:

castile soap as needed;   1/4 cup distilled water;  1/4 cup powdered milk;  1/8 teaspoon peach essential oil;  1 Tablespoon sweet almond oil

Shred the soap and set aside. Heat the water in a heavy pan over a low heat. Stir in the shredded soap until it makes a thick sticky clump. Remove the pan from the heat. Now add the powdered milk, Sweet almond oil, Peach oil. Blend  well. Fill mold with soap mixture and  let set for about 5 hours or until hardened.

Soap 3:

Unscented glycerin soap;   10 drops cinnamon oil; 
In a heavy pan, melt the glycerin soap over low heat until liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cinnamon oil until mixed well. Fill mold with soap mixture and let set for three hours or until hardened. You can use any scent of oil to make a fast scented soap.

Soap 4:

1 c. borax;   1-2 t. pure turpentine;  1 t. sweet orange essential oil;  1 c. ground Castile soap
With your hands, work the turpentine and essential oil into the borax until there are no lumps left, now work in the soap. Put in a container and keep in the shop or garage.


Intermediate Level Soap Maker

Olive Oil Soap Recipe

One 12 ounce can of Lye (Red Devil)
4 cups of Distilled Water
One 101 ounce tin of Olive Oil or 13 cups of Olive Oil
1 Pyrex or Stainless Steel Container for mixing the lye (2 quart size minimum)
1 large stainless steel or enamel pot for mixing soap (at least 1 gallon size)
1 spatula or spoon (Rubber or silicon)
1 plastic container with a lid

1. Pour your distilled water into the heat-proof container, then add the Lye and stir carefully with rubber spatula to mix and dissolve.  This stuff will get hot, so watch out!  It will also produce fumes for a few minutes, so it is best to mix it up and get away from it quickly until the fumes disperse.  Then make sure to set the lye water mixture aside in a safe place to cool off.

2. Once your lye has cooled to the point where the container is just warm to the touch, pour Olive Oil into your large mixing pot and heat on the stove.  We want to heat the Olive Oil to approx. 100 degrees F, if you have a thermometer you can measure this exactly.  Otherwise, just heat it up until the outside of the pot feels very warm to the touch, then remove the pot from the heat source.

3. Pour the lye water mixture into the warm oil, very slowly and carefully to avoid spills, stirring the oil all the while with your spatula.  The mixture will incorporate and become smoother, continue stirring for a couple of minutes to make sure everything is well mixed. Then start using your stick blender or beater, for short intervals, hand stirring in between. You will soon notice the mixture getting thicker and more opaque, that means trace is occurring. Keep stirring until you get a rather thick pudding like consistency.

4. Pour soap mixture into mold, snap on lid, and cover with blankets. When it is ready, pop the block out the mold and cut it into whatever sizes you like.  Stack your soap on brown paper lined shelves in a well ventilated area, this soap should be aged and cured for approx. 4 weeks before use.  Makes approx. 6 pounds of soap, which will yield 24 good sized bars.


Experience Soap Maker

Soap 1

You should always use goggles & safety gloves.
Combine your Lye (sodium hydroxide) & your liquid, (Water or Milk) and stir until completely mixed.
Set the lye and liquid aside and allow it to cool between 100 - 125 degrees.
Combine your soap making oils & heat in another pan.
Temperature of oils needs to be between 100 - 125 degrees.
When both the lye mixture & the oil mixture are at approximately the same temperature (100 - 125 degrees) combine them.
Add your essential oils at this time to your heated oils.
Avoid splashing mixture (it can burn skin badly).
Stir until the mixture looks well blended.
Pour your soap mixture into your molds.
For this soap all measurements are by weight, except water or milk)

1 oz Sweet Almond Oil;   1 oz  Apricot Kernel Oil;  1 oz  Olive Oil;  2 oz  Cocoa Butter;  2 oz  Coconut Oil;  2.5 oz  Palm Kernel Oil;  0.5 oz  Lanolin (optional);  1.35 oz  Lye (Sodium Hydroxide);  4 fl oz Distilled Water or Milk
Follow your basic soap making instructions above.

When You Feel Comfortable Be Creative

You can also add things like:  2 Tbs. finely ground oatmeal for soothing irritated skin;  2 Tbs. finely ground coffee for a wonderful morning wake up scent;
2 Tbs. coarsely ground coffee for a deep cleansing soap;  2 Tbs. Beeswax for a more emollient like soap.

For Those With Skin Sensitivities or Allergies these oils are great.

(1.) Apricot Kernel Oil   (2.) Sweet Almond Oil  (3.) Sunflower Oil  (4.) Macadamia Nut Oil  (5.) Grape seed Oil  (6.) Hemp Seed Oil  (7.) Wheat Germ Oil or  (8.) Golden Jojoba Oil
Remember to exchange oils in exact amounts as called for in the basic soap recipe. Canola Oil is not recommended since it burns easily and smells awful when cooked.


You can add from 2 to 10 drops of any essential oil to the basic soap for desired scent. Please do remember to use less and to always use caution when using volatile essential oils, since they can irritate sensitive skin.

A Few Essential Oils  

German Chamomile
Calming, eases headache & insomnia. Anti inflammatory

Muscle relaxant, soothing agent. 


Bulgarian Lavender 
Healing for external skin conditions plus deep wounds & burns. The aroma is found to be calming.

Used for respiratory and circulatory systems. 
Astringent. Antiseptic.

Aroma is good for the respiratory system as well as used externally for skin care. 

 Eucalyptus (Organic)
Good for your respiratory system. Especially good for sinus infections. 

Lemon Eucalyptus
Bug repellent. Calming. Anti hypertensive. 

Clove Bud 
Antiseptic, pain-killing. 

Clary Sage 
Good for aging skin and wrinkles. The scent is used to reduce tension and depression. Astringent.

Good for colds, flu, infected sinuses, and bacterial inflammation of the skin. 

Cinnamon Leaf 
Works against viruses and kills head lice. 

Chamomile, Roman 
Calming, ease headaches & insomnia and is an Anti inflammatory.

Cedar wood 
Good Aroma Therapy for the respiratory system. 

Used for acne & other skin break outs.  Antiseptic.


The aromas ease depression.  It treats dry skin.

Used for arthritis and headache. Kills lice and scabies. 

Rose Geranium 
It is regenerative, so is good for wrinkles and it helps heal skin after plastic surgery.

Organic Vetiver 
Said to ease arthritis pain and dry skin. The aromas calm and comfort.

The scent eases bronchitis. It assists in meditation.  Moisturizes and soothes skin. 

It helps regenerate skin on a cellular level so it is good. for acne, dry skin, wrinkles.  Soothing.

The aromas can decongest your head and soothe sinus headaches. Antiseptic

A skin rejuvenator. The aroma aids in soothing the emotions.  Anti inflammatory.

Lemon Grass 
The scent is used for sedating nerves and soothing headaches. Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti fungal

Orange, California 
The aroma used as an antidepressant, nerve relaxant and has a sedative effect. Disinfectant. 

Mandarin Orange 
Soothing scent, good when inhaled. 

soothing and good for headaches. 


Tea Tree 
For wounds, cuts, sunburn, bug bites. Anti-bacterial

Ylang Ylang 
Aroma works as an antidepressant and stress reducer.

This next section is about producing lye for soap.

This wee area covers making the lye from wood ash. Lye made from wood ash is potassium hydroxide, not sodium hydroxide. There is about 10 times as much potassium as sodium in wood ash. This process makes lye water.

Please be very careful and read this all the way through several times before attempting this.

Making the lye

Make a lot of holes in the bottom of a leak proof wooden barrel. It can be a wooden small barrel.
Stand the barrel on blocks leaving a space beneath the barrel for some type of wood or glass drip container.

Lye can burn through some metals.

Put a layer of small clean rocks in the bottom of the barrel. Do this so the rocks will cover the holes but will not block the dripping process. Next put a layer of straw over the small clean rocks.


Fill the rest of the barrel with hardwood ash.


It takes a while but the water in the barrel will start to drip through  the filtration system (straw and stones) into the container.

Leave it alone until it stops. Now replace the drip catching container with another, in case of left over drips.

Use an old iron pot, or a steel pan. One you will not be using for anything else. Boil the dripped liquid until it is so concentrated that a fresh egg in its shell will float on top. When done with this specific process, please destroy the egg.

Be sure to take serious precautions. Do not the let the liquid touch your skin or clothing because it is caustic and will burn you or eat through your clothing.

To test the strength of the lye you will need a saturated solution of salt. This is that process.

Dissolve chemical-free salt in a pint of water until no more salt will dissolve. Now take a stick and put a small weight on the end of it and float it in a pint of the salty water. The weight will sink to the bottom, while the top of the stick will float.

Make a mark on the stick where it reaches the water line. Then float the stick and weight in a pint of lye.

The mark on the stick will probably be above the watermark of the lye. If so, stir in some more rainwater until the mark on the stick is in exactly the same place it was in the salt water. You now have the correct distillation of lye for making soap.

Major notations:


1)Hard Woods:

Holly leaf Cherry: Desert Ironwood: Mountain Mahogany: Persimmon: Oak: Shagbark: Ebony: Hickory: Cat's Claw Acacia: Coast Oak: Black Locust: Osage Orange: Canyon Oak: Mesquite: Eastern Ironwood: Catalina Ironwood: Madrone: Pecan: Arizona Ash: Pacific Dogwood: California Bay: California Black Walnut: Redbud: Teak and California Black Oak.

Ordinary wood used in cooking fires will do as long as it is predominantly hard wood. Do not use pine or soft woods. Whatever wood is used, it should be burned in a hot fire to make the ashes white. Cold ashes should be stored in a covered plastic bucket or a covered wooden barrel or stainless steel container with a lid.


2) Soft Water

Store the "soft water" in covered wooden, plastic or stainless steel containers with lids.
Soft water is best for soap making, because there are no chemicals in it to get in the way of making good soap.

Well or river water can be used for making soap, but you might need baking soda added to it.

Otherwise some of the chemicals in the water will get in the way of making the soap.

 Add the same amount of baking soda to the same amounts of the water that you wish to use to make the soap.

For example, if you were testing a 1/4 of a bucket of water, and you ended up needing 1/8 of a cup of soda, then you would need 4/8 (1/2-half) a cup of soda for a full bucket of tap water.

Please Read These Cautions and Warnings

Lye is potentially a very dangerous substance and must be handled with extreme caution.

With the proper safety precautions, there is no reason for you to have any problems.

That means always wearing rubber gloves, protective eyewear & clothing.

There should NEVER be small children or pets running around your work area, while you are making soap.

Never, ever, leave mixed lye solution on any counter or table unattended.

Please, Always find a safe and secure place for your soaps to cool down.

DO NOT use Aluminum utensils or pots for soap making, the lye reacts badly with Aluminum.

Lye can be found in most supermarkets in your area (this applies to those residing with in the U.S.)

One of the most common name brands is "Red Devil" and it comes in a plastic container and is a dry lye.

Make sure it says "100% Lye" on the container.

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