Make Your Own Soap

Always wanted to make your own scented soap, but not sure where to begin?

While there are a few soap-making methods floating about, we’ve tracked down the easiest one for you – The Cold Process Soap! Not only is this method the easiest, it’s the most common used for creating homemade soaps.

Follow our handy step-by-step guide, and you’ll be able to make your own personalised bars in no time. Use them yourself or dish them out as personalised gifts!


- 130g Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide or Lye)
- 330g water
- 20ml (4 Teaspoons) Essential Oils or Fragrant Oil
- 300g Coconut Oil
- 400g Olive Oil
- 200g Palm Oil
- Stainless steel thermometer
- Rubber gloves/protective eyewear
- Plastic buckets
- Old stainless steel pot
- Old spatulas
- Soap moulds (empty butter containers and milk cartons are suitable)
- Stainless steel stick blender
- Old blanket or towel


Making soap should be taken seriously and therefore a few steps in safety are paramount.
- Keep a bucket of cold water nearby in case any solution makes contact with your skin. If any solution splashes up, rinse the area thoroughly.
- The Lye Water mixture will become very hot, so take care when making the mixture.
- Try your best to avoid breathing in the fumes.
- Safety goggles and gloves on!


Weigh the water and caustic soda in separate containers/buckets. Once the containers/buckets are full to the appropriate weight, take them out to an open and well-ventilated area.
Pour the caustic soda into the water and stir carefully with an old spatula (making sure all the soda has dissolved). This will create the Lye Water.


While the mixture is cooling, measure/weight the oils and pour them into your large stainless steel pot. Melt the mixture on a low heat.
Monitor the temperature of the Lye Water mixture and the melted oils. Once both are sitting on 30-40 degrees, carefully pour the water mixture into the pot of oils.
Using the stick blender, mix the soap mixture until it becomes thick. Once the mixture is thick, add any additives you wish – colour, fragrances, etc. Mix it well.


Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and begin filling your moulds. Once the moulds are full, cover each one with a piece of cling wrap.
Set aside to another room for 24-36 hours to allow the moulds to set. For best results insulate with an old blanket or towel.


Once 24-36 hours have passed, test each mould. If the soap is still very soft, leave it for another day, monitoring it occasionally. If the mixture has hardened well, slowly remove it from the container and set each bar on a surface that’s damp and in direct light. This will allow each bar to cure.

Again, monitor daily and within a few days, you’ll have homemade soap ready to test out in the shower!

Want more? We thought you might like this video.

Like this artice? Subscribe to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered striaght to your inbox.

By registering you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Privacy Notice


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.

Please login to comment
Posted by Amanda1635Report
if you cant find the palm oil what other oil can you use for the recipe?
Posted by Report
where to get a small quantity og pal oil in sydney? Chris lim
Posted by LarraineReport
Could you please advise how much caustic soda I will need to make soap with 1kg of vegetable oil. I used this recipe some years ago and got quite a good soap.
Your advice would be appreciated.
Posted by Report is an american website and on there there is a lye calculator. Punch in your oil quantities and it'll tell you how much Lye to use
Posted by Report
Oils labelled "vegetable oil", if solid is usually palm oil. If you go to and click on Lye Calculator, click on grams for measurements, type the amount of palm oil you want to use, click on calculate and the program will tell you how much caustic soda to use for the superfatting ratio you want.
Posted by Report
Have made soap but it won't thicken. Used 1ltr olive oil , 250 grams copra , 172grms caustic soda and 450 water. Oil is sitting on top of mixture.what do u recommend I do?
Posted by SamanthaReport
Caustic soda!!! We used to use that to clean commercial ovens, wouldn't want to put it on my skin... thanks anyway
Posted by sani_auReport
caustic soda is in ALL soap - and in a more volatile way in the soaps you purchase from the stores... the caustic soda goes through a a chemical reaction process (saponification) when the caustic soda/water mixture is combined with the fat/oil, but it must go through a curing process before it can be used on the skin - for the caustic soda to not be volatile, the recipe must be EXACT in the ratio to fat/oil and must be fully cured - cold process *as above* takes 4-6 weeks to fully cure... if the recipe is correct in ratio & fully cured, the caustic soda will no longer be active in the soap, and the soap should be neutral in pH - properly made soap where the caustic soda has been fully saponified should not leave your skin feeling tight, dry or tingly (a sign of caustic soda still being active)... hope that helps =)
Posted by Report
We,re making soap with goats milk the first time it set this time it won,t set ,can you please tell me what I am doing wrong or publish a recipe for goats milk soap