Using Leftover Soap
Ideally, the leftover pieces of soap you use should be unscented or, at least, only very lightly scented. Highly scented soaps will compete and overpower the aromas from your essential oils. The color of the soap doesn't matter, in fact, if you want to change the color, you can find soap coloring at craft stores that carry soap-making supplies.
Remnants from glycerin based soaps (soaps that you can see through) will melt fairly quickly and evenly. The opaque (solid colored) soaps like dial, ivory, etc., melt a lot more slowly. To speed up the process, grate your leftovers with a vegetable grater or chop them into tiny pieces. Melt your soap scraps on the stove top in a double boiler over simmering heat. Whatever you do, DO NOT melt opaque soaps in the microwave or you'll have a huge, foamy mess on your hands. Once you start experimenting with soap recipes, you may run across several calling for Castile soap. This pure, white, concentrated soap (with no scent) works very well for making soap. You can usually find it in health-food stores and some larger grocery store chains.
Making Essential Oils
Essential oils are what give herbal soaps their scent. The strongest and longest lasting aromas come from oils that contain herbs like rosemary, lavender, and thyme. Other herbs to experiment with include mints (spearmint or peppermint), lemon verbena, lemon balm, chamomile, comfrey, and roses. To make essential oils, place about 4 ounces (1 1/2 cups, tightly packed) of a single herb's leaves or petals in an airtight glass jar with 4 ounces of extra virgin olive oil. Keep the jar in a cool, dark place for about 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, strain the oil to remove the plant debris. You now have an aromatic essential oil. Use it to make your soaps, or add a few drops to your bath water for a refreshing and relaxing aroma.
Once the old soap is melted, add about 1 tablespoon (more or less to your tastes) of the essential herbal or floral oil of your choice, and continue stirring for several minutes. Pour the mixture into plastic molds (available at craft stores), or into small containers that have been lightly greased with olive or vegetable oil. Leave soaps for at least two days before unmolding and/or cutting. After removing your soap from the molds, you may find that you still need to cure them (let them dry out and harden up) a bit longer. Depending on your preferences, this can take several days to a few weeks. Once they set up sufficiently, wrap them in plastic wrap or wax paper to store.
By Ellen Brown
You can use pink soap, it looks really nice. Great for gifts.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
Approximate Time: 1/2 hour
By Esther from Baltimore
It may be a little bumpy and colorful, but it works great and lasts a long time because the bars are bigger and not full of air.
By Sweet Pea from Butternuts, NY
This article is available in PDF format. Click here to download it.
Published by: Utah State University
How can I apply sugar, milk, beer, and honey to soap recipes? How can I test to know that finished home-made soap is good for the body?
When making the lye soaps which need to be stirred and then poured into a mold, add your honey or lavender or even oatmeal right before pouring to mold.
Hi Folks. I need a little help here. I'm looking for a recipe to make homemade liquid soap with pumice. (Nothing real involved or spectacular). You know, the kind you can buy in the expensive stores in the mall that you would use to wash your hands after working with greasy food in the kitchen.
Our children gave me some for Christmas, but I use it a good bit and am in need of more. I think I read somewhere that it could be made with baking soda (?) but I'm not sure. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I am looking for homemade cleaning recipes and tips on making your own natural soaps.
Here is a link to cleaning recipes that have been posted on ThriftyFun:
Are there any soap makers out there? Would you like to share some tips to those wanting to learn to make soap?
I have a lot of reciepies for soap/bath bombs/ bath products in general. Not sure how I would contact you through this site but you could leave a comment on my blog with your email, I won't publish the 'comment' but could forward you some recipies. Happy to help.