Most of us have been using store-bought soap for as long as we can remember. However, we never know what harmful chemicals are present inside the soap. Plus, we have no idea whether it is actually cruelty-free or not.
Why not learn how to make liquid soap at home and have some peace of mind? Not only will you know what ingredients are in your DIY soap, but you will also save a lot of money in the long run. Ready to start your soap-making journey? Read on!
The materials that you’ll need
For making liquid hand soap, you will need the following tools and ingredients.
- Mixing Tools
- Stainless steel slow cooker
- Stick immersion blender
- Measuring cups
- Flat whisk/Potato masher
- Sunflower oil – 470g
- Coconut oil/Olive oil– 200g
- Potassium hydroxide (KOH)
- Distilled water – 470g (For lye mixture)
- Distilled water – 1.3kg (For diluting the paste)
- Boric acid – 60g
- Essential oils (Peppermint, Tea tree) – 85g
- Soap dye/Colorant – As desired
How to make liquid soap step-by-step
When it comes to the difference between liquid soap and bar soap, the major one is that liquid soap is a ‘hot process’ soap, while a hard bar of soap is commonly referred to as ‘cold process soap’.
You don’t rely on the heat that is generated during the saponification process only. Instead, heat is added using a slow cooker or a double boiler. You can make this soap recipe in an oven as well, but we recommend that you go with a slow cooker for the best results.
Step 1: Mix the oils with lye-water solution
- Add the sunflower and coconut oils to the slow cooker. Heat this mixture at a constant temperature of 70°C. You can use olive instead of coconut oil as well. However, if you use olive oil, the soap will have a thicker consistency and will lather more.
- As the oils heat, mix the potassium hydroxide with water. It will make an odd groaning/boiling sound as it dissolves. For bar laundry soaps, you use caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) instead of KOH.
- Add the lye solution to the oils slowly.
- Stir the lye solution and oils together with a mixing tool at first. Then, with the help of the stick blender, mix thoroughly so that no superfat remains.
Step 2: Bring the paste to trace
The point at which your soap paste has blended well enough and is in the form of a stable emulsion is called ‘trace’. It is the ‘point of no return’ – the different oils and lye don’t separate after this point.
- It will take almost 30 minutes to get the soap base to the trace. Since you can’t over-stir the mixture, you can blend for as long as you want before moving on.
- Once the soap reaches the trace, turn off the stick blender.
Step 3: Cook the paste
- Cover the pot with a lid.
- Keep the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Check after 20 minutes and if there is any superfat, stir the mixture. Cover the pot again.
- Check once more after 25 to 30 minutes.
- It will take almost three to four hours for the soap to cook. The soap will go through various saponification phases and will go from looking like custard with small bubbles to semi-transparent petroleum jelly.
- It will get slightly hard to stir through some of the phases, and you can use the potato masher when this happens. Right when you think the soap won’t ever get cooked, it will go from the creamy phase to the final phase.
Step 4: Test the soap paste
After the soap paste becomes translucent, you will have to check and see if it has been cooked long enough.
- Take 60g of hot, boiling water in a bowl.
- Add 30g of the soap paste to it.
- Stir it thoroughly until the paste is dissolved completely. This will take a few minutes.
- Now check the clarity of this mixture. If your mixture is slightly cloudy, it is a good sign. If the soap mixture is very cloudy or milky, then you have to cook it more.
- After properly cooking the soap mixture, let it cool – it will stay clear.
Step 5: Dilute the soap paste
Now you have to dilute the paste you just made. For bar soaps, you need less water as compared to liquid hand soaps. You can also dilute the soap paste with a glycerine and water mixture. However, for this liquid soap recipe, we will use only water.
- Take 1.3 kg of water and boil it.
- Add the boiling water to the soap paste.
- Stir with the potato masher or a large spoon.
- Turn off the heat and put the lid on the slow cooker. Wait for almost an hour.
- After the hour has passed, stir the diluting mixture. It should be soft and gooey.
- Leave the mixture overnight, and if possible, stir it every hour or so, until the dilution is complete.
Step 6: Neutralize the soap
Once the dilution is done, you have to neutralize the soap.
- Turn on the heat and bring the soap mixture up to 82°C.
- For the neutralizing solution, you have to take 60g of boric acid and mix it with 230g of boiling water. Stir it thoroughly.
- For every 0.5 kg of soap paste – (not the added water, only the paste), you have to add 20g of the neutralizer. Since this recipe has about 1.2 kg of soap paste, you can add 30g of the neutralizer. If you use too much neutralizer, it will cause cloudiness. Therefore, it is better to stay on the conservative side.
- After adding the neutralizer to the soap mixture, stir well. We recommend that you first add 30g only and let it sit for a while. Then add 15g more. If the mixture remains clear, you can add the final 15g.
Step 7: Add an essential oil and colour
- While the mixture is still hot, add drops of essential oil as well as the colour. You can add fragrance oils instead of essential oils if you want.
- As a rule of thumb, keep the fragrance to about 3%. For this recipe, you should add around 85g of essential oil/fragrance.
- Add a few drops of the colour at a time. Keep adding until you reach the desired result.
Step 8: Let it rest
- It is time to let your soap cool. Pour the mixture into large mason jars or bottles. Keep them in a cool, dry place.
- If there are any insoluble particles, they will settle to the bottom.
- Moreover, any cloudiness due to the particles of essential oils will clear up as well.
- The total time for the soap to settle is around 7 days. Making liquid soaps, especially castile soap, takes more time and patience than bar soap. Don’t skip any step since it will mess up the end results for you.
- After a week, pour the soap into the final soap dispenser bottles without disturbing the settled solids. You can use the homemade liquid soap as body wash, hand soap, or face wash.
Congratulations! You have successfully become a soap maker! We recommend that you wear gloves and safety goggles all through the process. The undiluted soap paste has a shelf life of several years. Once you dilute it, the shelf life reduces slightly. You don’t have to add any preservatives to your own liquid soap, as long as you use only distilled water to dilute it.
Liquid soap is popular all over the world. Instead of buying soap from your local store, you can easily whip up a DIY batch of natural liquid soap and save yourself a lot of money. Plus, you can choose the ingredients yourself and rest assured that nothing harmful is in there so your moisturizing days will be amazing. With the simple DIY soap-making tutorial we have discussed above, you can learn how to make soap like a pro. You’re going to make it right from the first time.