Organic Emily

Homemade Cold Processed Soap

Homemade Cold Pressed SoapA friend of mine taught me how to make cold processed soap about 5 years ago and I have been making it ever since for family and friends.  This is a variation of the recipe she used and I have loved it ever since!  It lathers and cleans very well.  You can use whatever essential oils you like.  I like to use a combination of peppermint, lavender and rosemary or tea tree.

So what is soap and how is it made?  Simply put, it is a chemical reaction  between lye (sodium hydroxide) and fat (animal or plant based, usually oils) called saponification.  When mixed together in just the right amounts, it forms a salt or soap!  Hisotrically, soap was made from rendering animal fat and adding natural lye (leached from ashes) to make soap.  There were no calculators or scales way back in the day so they would add more lye to the soap just in case so it would set up.  This irritated or burned the skin sometimes, but it was better than using to little and letting the oils separate leaving all their hard work  to go to waste.  We don’t have to worry about that today with scales and calculators.  When made correctly there shouldn’t be any lye remaining in the soap.  That’s the beauty of saponification!

Here are a few resources I like to go to for supplies and recipes.

The first website is great for recipes and lye calculator

The second is great for oils, lye and molds

The third source available locally is Jone’s Bees in Salt Lake City (2586 w. 500 s.) for lye and other oils


One large glass bowl or heat resistant plastic bowl (for lye)
One very large metal pot for gently heating oils
One scale (preferably electric)
One electric blending stick or wooden spoon
One instant read thermometer
Rubber Gloves
Newspaper/paper towels to put down on your counter to protect it from lye
molds to pour soap (I used a cardboard box lined with a large garbage bag)
Vinegar, in case lye gets on your skin and you need to relieve the burn



40 oz. coconut oil
32 oz. palm oil
24 oz. olive oil
12 oz. avocado, grape seed or jojoba oil
4 oz. cocoa butter
16 oz. lye (sodium hydroxide)
52 oz. distilled water
1.5 oz essential oils (optional)

Put on your gloves and goggles with newspaper under the counter to protect it from the chemical reaction between lye and water.

*Warning!!! Always add lye to liquid, NOT liquid to lye!!!

Measure by weight in your scale the right amount of water, put it into bowl, then measure lye and carefully add to water. Mix with wooden spoon thoroughly, (open a window to allow airflow from fumes) and set aside.

Measure oils by weight and place in pot over a very low heat just until melted. You can use the blending stick to help break up the oils. Be careful to do it slowly and do not raise temp higher than lye temp mixture.

Check the temp of both lye and oil separately of course. When both are in between 125`- 100` then they are ready to come together. (Keep them as close together in temp as possible) Carefully add your lye mixture to the oil mixture without splashing. (I actually used a very large 6 gallon bucket) Start to mix thoroughly with blending stick or wooden spoon, (perfect time to add essential oils) until it starts to trail (leaving a trail of soap behind when it drizzles off the spoon). It will harden quickly! When this happens it is ready to pour, again be careful not to splash. Cover soap with plastic wrap and blankets to keep from cooling to quickly. Soap should be ready to cut within 24-48 hours. Once cut stack on a cooling rack allowing for air flow. Do not use soap for 4-6 weeks while it cures. Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions. ! 🙂


Simplified Recipe

41 oz. coconut oil

47 oz. olive oil

47 oz. palm or palm kernel oil

20 oz. lye

47 oz. water

Follow the same directions as above.  Makes about 40 regular size bars.

Emily Saddler

Emily is first a wife to her best friend Ryan, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, Holistic Health Practitioner in the state of Utah and Traditional Naturopath outside of the state of Utah, master gardener, yoga/pilates instructor, certified clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist, and doula. She is a very passionate advocate of all things Mother Nature! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.


  1. I was just thinking I wanted to make some peppermint soap for Christmas presents but didn’t know where I could get oils locally. Thank you! I’ll check out Jone’s Bees.

Speak Your Mind