Of all the products I’ve made myself, soap was always the DIY project that dare not speak its name. The ingredients were simple, the outcome was delightful, but there was that middle part with the horrible threat of flesh-eating burns and death that kept me relegated to scrubs and salad dressings.

But when I came across a recipe for a pure olive oil soap, it was so simple, I couldn’t resist. It seemed the perfect place to start.


50 oz. olive oil
6.3 oz. lye
15 oz. distilled water

This should yield about 30 two- to three-ounce bars. (Holy crap, right?) I’ve halved the original recipe to make it more manageable after I found myself working with over ten pounds of ingredients once I got going. This one is more… apartment-sized.

Step 1: Pure & Mild Castile Soap

To get a sense for the soap-making process before you do anything — the steps, the tools, and how to be safe — I recommend The Crafty Gemini’s YouTube tutorial.

I started by heating the olive oil on the stove. I knew it would hold its heat while I made the dreaded lye water. Like most things in life, the lye water actually wasn’t that hard. Aside from the fumes smelling like instant death, the only unexpected moment of panic was measuring the lye, when a static charge on my measuring cups sent lye granules flying everywhere but in.  After I made the lye water outside, I poured it into a 5-gallon bucket with my olive oil and blended it for all it was worth until it was about the consistency of school cafeteria custard. (It looked about as appetizing, too.) This is another reason I halved the recipe, because 10 pounds of flesh-eating sludge can be surprisingly daunting in the moment.
<p>Great Instructable!!<br>- btw, Castile soap is gentle on skin because it doesn't have a shitload of nasty additives that're in the usual factory-made soaps, not because of glycerine which creates the illusion of soft, smooth skin, as its a humectant. This means it absorbs moisture and the closest supply of moisture is (unfortunately) our skin leaving it soft, smooth and dry. Soap being left on our skin will have a drying effect and why we wash it off. And also why we feel the need to keep using moisturisers when we aim to help our dry skin - because 99% of them all contain glycerine. For those who don't feel their skin has become dry when using glycerine-based skin care, welcome to the world of premature aging! <br>Thought would mention (for those that are interested) other sources of lye:<br>- wood ash (yes, the ash that remains after wood fire has burned down), when added to water forms lye; <br>- caustic soda.</p>
<p>Is your ingredient list by weight or volume? Cant wait to try this my loves this kind of soap.</p>
Solids are by weight, liquids are by volume.
<p>Did you line your molds with plastic wrap or wax paper? Can coconut or sunflower oils be used?</p>
I make my soaps with both olive and coconut oil. I'm not sure that you would want to use JUST coconut, or JUST sunflower by themselves. . . I think I remember reading in one of my books that you'd have to use an insanely large amount of them to achieve the same results, which is why I never bothered.
<p>I found these directions from 1833 on how to make soap. </p><p><a href="http://www.epic-soap.com/how-to-make-organic-soap-1833/" rel="nofollow">http://www.epic-soap.com/how-to-make-organic-soap-...</a></p>
<p>Fantastic! Really looking forward to trying this. Thanks for a great 'ible!</p>
<p>How did you cut the bars?</p>
Could this be turned into shower gel? Or liquid soap?
<p>Thanks for posting! I've been itching to try my hand at homemade soap for a while now and hope I can try this soon. </p><p>I am curious, where did you end up getting the lye, did you order it online?</p>
<p>You can get lye as a drain cleaner from your local hardware store (Ace, Home Depot, etc.) Just make sure it's the only ingredient, it comes in a powder/crystal form.</p>
I love this. Have you tried to make any with herbs or other things mixed in like oatmeal for scent and scrubbing effect?
Thanks, no, not yet. I have a recipe for coffee-grounds soap that I'm curious to try next. Lord knows there're always enough ground at my place... ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: Adventures in sustainable living from a fourth-floor walk-up. Recipes, homesteading, and gardening — all from an urban point-of-view.
More by The Crunchy Urbanite:Garlic Ginger Invicibili-Tea Pure & Mild Castile Soap 
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