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Make Hand-Made Lye Soaps

Updated on April 18, 2014
Hand made oatmeal soap by CreativelyCC
Hand made oatmeal soap by CreativelyCC
Hand made oatmeal-orange soap by CreativelyCC
Hand made oatmeal-orange soap by CreativelyCC
Some oils and fats used for soap making.
Some oils and fats used for soap making.

Soap Making is Fun and Profitable

Have you ever thought of making and possibly selling your own hand-made soaps? If so, I hope this hub will inspire you to take the next step toward this rewarding art. Since I started soap making, I can honestly say I wish I had started it sooner. Soap making is something I always wanted to learn but was a little apprehensive because of the of the lye use. One day my pastor and I were talking about how we both wanted to learn how to make soap. So one day she invited me to make soap with her at the church in the kitchen. That was the day I was bit by the soaping bug. Now I'm making soaps and selling them along with my sewing business.

Some vegan oils and Butters for Soap Making

Create your own unique soap with many types of oils such as:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Almond oil
  • Shea butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Walnut oil
  • Rice Bran Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Crisco

Be Creative When Making Soap

A wonderful attribute of soap making is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. You're the creator of your soaps. You may choose to make lye soaps, glycerin soap or re-milled soap. You may choose to make purely natural soaps or to use artificial colorants and fragrances. Make your soaps personally yours. The most important thing is to make them with love and have fun while doing it. This art is very relaxing and is just like therapy. It's great for people who suffer from depression and anxiety. There just something about watching the oils and lye mixture turn to soap, pouring it in a mold and cutting it.

Soap poured in molds

Lye used for soap making
Lye used for soap making

Soap Making Requires Patience

Soap making is a fun activity, but it requires time and patience. The process requires the use of several types of oils, fats or butters which need to be accurately measured along with sodium hydroxide, which is lye. If you are do not have much patience or are in a hurry, do not make lye soap. These ingredients produce high temperatures that can cause severe damage if splashed onto your skin or eyes. Only make soap if you truly want to and have the time and patience to practice caution.


Saponification is the chemical process of turning lye water and oils in soap. Soap is not soap if it isn't made with lye water. Many people fear soap made with lye water. There is nothing to fear if the proper measurements are used and the soaps cure for the right amount of time. This produces the purest and most gentle soaps you can ever use. When lye water and oils are mixed together saponiication takes place and the mixture turns to soap with no more traces of lye. After the mixture is poured into a mold, the soap is cut after 24 hours and cut into bars. Soap is then placed on a rack and allowed to cure (sit) or at least a month. Soap gets milder and better as it cures.

Soap Saponifying

Soap Saponifying
Soap Saponifying
Protect yourself when making lye soap
Protect yourself when making lye soap

Take Safety Precautions When Making Lye Soap

Sodium hydroxide or lye is a caustic agent, meaning that can cause severe and permanent damage to your body if it is spilled on it. Several safety precautions need to be taken when working with lye.

  • Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Wear long rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms.
  • Wear a mask to protect your lungs.
  • Make sure there is good ventilation in the room where you are making the soap.
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt.
  • Keep a bottle of white or apple cider vinegar nearby. Cider vinegar neutralizes lye if it is accidentally splashed onto your skin.
  • If lye is splashed into your eye. Rinse your eyes under cold running water for fifteen minutes, then get promptly go to the emergency room at your nearest hospital.
  • If lye is spilled onto your skin, pour vinegar over your skin, rinse your skin under cold water for 15 minutes, then promptly go to your nearest emergency room.

Kitchen utensils needed for soap making.
Kitchen utensils needed for soap making.

Many Kitchen Utensils are Needed When Making Soap

Soap making requires the use of many types of kitchen utensils. A few of these utensils are:

  • A large pot is needed to melt butters and hard oils.
  • A hard plastic pitcher or bowl is needed to make lye water.
  • Several hard rubber or wooden spoons are needed for stirring and mixing.
  • Never use aluminum pots or pans, only stainless steel, since aluminum will cause a reaction with the lye.
  • A stick blender of hand blender is also needed to mix the ingredients together.

Make sure dedicate these kitchen utensils solely for soap making purposes. Label them "Soap Making Utensils" and keep them separate from your cooking utensils.

Remember Safety First

Always take the time to gear up with safety precautions. When working with lye, always use:

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Mask

A digital scale is great for weighing soap making ingredients.
A digital scale is great for weighing soap making ingredients.
Castile soap used with cold process method - by CreativelyCC
Castile soap used with cold process method - by CreativelyCC


Which kind of soap do you prefer?

See results
Pumpkin soap made by hot process method
Pumpkin soap made by hot process method

Accurate Measurements

Accurate measurements of oils, fats, butters and lye is crucial when making soap. This will prevent the soap from being too harsh or too soft. A digital scale is the best weighing device to have when making soap, since soap ingredients are measured by weight. Liquids used such as distilled water, milk puree and juice is also weighed by weight.

Methods of Making Lye Soaps

There are two methods of making lye soaps: cold process and hot process. Both methods produce quality soaps that are beautiful and unique, the difference is in the curing time. Cold process is a quick method of making soap but requires a curing time of four to six weeks; whereas hot process is a longer method of making soap, but soaps can be used in a couple of weeks or less.

Cold process soap mixture is poured into molds once it reaches trace. Trace is the term used when the mixture begins to thicken. Hot process takes a few hours for the soap mixture to go through several processes, in a crock pot or double boiler, before it can be put into molds.

Re-batching is a way of making soaps from left over scraps of soaps or soaps that didn't turn out right. You simply put the scraps in a crock pot and melt them down. Add a little milk or distilled water and some oils and pour into molds.

Which ever method you use to make your lye soap, remember to take the time to use proper safety precautions and don't rush. This way you'll enjoy the activity and produce beautiful soaps to sell and give as gifts.

Holiday Soaps

Specialty holidays soaps are fun to make. I especially love making soaps for Christmas time. Some of my Christmas soaps are pumpkin soap, peppermint patty soap, candy cane soap and apple pie soap. Be as creative as you want. This Christmas I'm going to make a gingerbread house out of soap. I already made the foundation for the house. I'll make different part of it throughout this year and will assemble it in November. Be as creative as you want to create unique soaps for birthdays holidays and special occasions.

Brownie soaps made by rebatching.
Brownie soaps made by rebatching.

Custom Made Soaps

When you get some experience making and selling soap, you'll be able to make custom made soaps for customer. Customers can request certain ingredients to be used so they can have their very own custom made soap. I have a customers in the U.S. and overseas in Europe who request custom made soap. Remember to make your soap with love and patience for your customer, family and you to enjoy.


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    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      3 years ago from Maine

      Thank you very much poetryman6969 for your comment. It is safe as long as you use the right safety gear and proper technique.



    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      Sounds like a fascinating hobby but too dangerous for me.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      4 years ago from Maine

      We soap makers are all the same. You sound so much like me. Here is it almost three in the morning and I just got finished making some oatmeal honey and beeswax soap. I'm going to get some shut eye and clean the kitchen up in the morning. I'll try to do a hub of this soap in the near future. I'm so happy you're making soap, it opens up a whole new world!

    • Scotties-Rock profile image


      4 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      That is for sure. I have to control myself or I will be making soap everyday. And my family gets annoyed because I use the entire kitchen and keep them all away due to the safety issues with lye. They especially love my goggles. :) I will be following you to learn as much as I can. Thanks.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      4 years ago from Maine

      Hi Scotties-Rock. Once you get bit by the soaping bug, there's no going back! Thank you for your comment!

    • Scotties-Rock profile image


      4 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      I am a new soap maker and I must say, I am totally addicted.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      4 years ago from Maine

      Thank you very much FlourishAny, try it sometime when you get a chance. You just may fall in love with it like I did. Thank you for your comment!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I'd love to be able to do this. The instructions were excellent. And the creative possibilities abound! Nicely done!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      5 years ago from Maine

      Hi Careermommy,

      So happy you stopped by! Making home made soaps is a lot of fun!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      5 years ago from Maine

      Hi Indian Chef,

      I'm so happy this hub brought back good memories of your grandmother. Homemade soaps are the best, I'm sure you grandmother made some good soap!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Wow, what a useful idea. My mother would have loved this for Mother's Day. I will share this great hub!

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 

      5 years ago from New Delhi India


      I have seen my grand mother make soaps at home when I was kid because during her hay days, India got independence and everything was in such short supply that you had to make everything at home. Reading your hub did make me go back in memories of her.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and I've bookmarked this.

      Voted up and useful.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      5 years ago from Maine

      Thank you very much for your comments! It's so cool hearing about your great great grandparents, it's very encouraging. Soaping is a fun project and is perfectly safe as long as precautions are taken. Thank you so much for your well wishes.

      The best to you too!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have never made homemade soaps but have a family history of soap making. My great great grandparents had the first soap factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and became very successful business people. It sounds like it would be a fun project...but also a bit dangerous if all precautions are not taken. Good luck with your side-line business of selling hand made soaps. Up votes!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      5 years ago from Maine

      Hi billybuc,

      Thank you very much for your comments and for visiting!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Soap making is fun for sure; great hub with very useful instructions and suggestions. Well done!


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