Soap Making Classes

Please note:  Since we no longer offer cold process soap supplies, we offer this free information to you, but cannot offer any type of technical assistance pertaining to any form of cold or hot process soap making.  Thank you! 

Method #1-  Alcohol/Lye Method

Note:  Safety precautions for using alcohol:  Alcohol is flammable!  The following alcohol / lye method is not recommended for anyone using a gas range!  Keep alcohol away from open flames.  You may use an electric range or a hot plate, but make sure they are in good working condition and are plugged directly into the wall outlet (no extention cords).  Make sure that your work space is properly ventilated.  Keep a fire extinguisher next to you in your work area, and keep a spray bottle of water handy.  If a fire begins, you will want to spray water at the base of the fire to put it out.  

Liquid Soaps use potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide.
The information below is a starting point for making liquid soaps.  The viscosity of these products may be adjusted by using thickeners, but you will have to do some experimenting to decide what viscosity best meets your needs.  

Equipment you will need:

Stainless Steel Measuring/stirring spoons
5-gallon Canning Pot-for double boiler
Pot for melting oils and fats (small enough to fit inside canning pot)
Large Stainless Steel  Bowls
Heavy Duty Rubber or Silicone Spatulas
Safety Equipment- goggles, rubber gloves, apron.
Digital Scale that measures grams and ounces
Canning jars
Distilled Water
Soap Coloring
Fragrance/Essential Oil
Heavy Grade Plastic Sheeting
Bungee cords
Isopropyl Alcohol
Lye (potassium hydroxide)
Additives  (vitamin E for preserving) 

Measure all ingredients exactly and keep notes!  Failures will later be seen as your successes!

Instructions:   Remember to use safety precautions when working with lye.  You should wear goggles, rubber gloves, and a apron.  Never breathe the lye fumes.  If you happen to splash lye solution on your skin, keep a bottle of lemon juice or vinegar on hand to neutralize the lye solution on your skin.

  1. Prepare a plastic cover for your soap pot.  Cut the heavy grade plastic sheeting into two pieces large enough to allow for 5-6 inches of additional drape beyond the circumference of the pot.  This sheeting will be secured to the pot with bungee cords once the alcohol / lye solution is added to the oils.

  2. Prepare your double boiler-  Fill a 5-gallon pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a slow boil.  You will use this pot as your double boiler (your soap pot will be placed inside it ).  Place this pot on the back burner until you need it.

  3. Heat your fats and oils-  Using a digital scales, weigh out each of your fats and oils.  Place them into your soap pot on medium heat until they reach 160 degrees.  You will want to melt your fats first, then add your soft oils.

  4. Add your lye/ water solution-  Weigh your lye and your distilled water.  Add your lye to the distilled water ( do not add the water to the lye! )  Stir until you are certain that the lye is completely dissolved.

  5. Pour the hot lye/water solution directly into the 160 degrees oils and stir for a few minutes.

  6. Add the Alcohol directly to the oil and lye mix.  (To all of the recipes that we have listed on the Bath and body recipe page, we recommend using 20 oz. of Isopropyl alcohol.)  Stir the mixture until it is thoroughly mixed.  At this point, cover the pot with one of the plastic sheets.  Secure it to the rim of the soap pot with a tightly stretched bungee cord. Do not pierce the plastic with the bungee cord.  Remove all slack in the plastic sheeting by pulling the excess under the bungee cord.  Repeat the same thing with the second piece of plastic sheeting.

  7. Weigh the pot- Before you cook the mixture, you will want to weigh the entire soap pot with all of the ingredients in it, the plastic sheeting, and with the bungee cord.  Write down this weight.

  8. Cook the paste-  Through the plastic, watch for the paste to boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and allow the mixture to slowly boil for the next 2 hours.  DO NOT RAPIDLY BOIL!  You will see the mixture puff up.  Make sure that the plastic sheeting does not come away from the bungee cord. 

  9. Weigh the pot again-  After about 30 minutes, remove the pot from the double boiler and weigh it again.  If the mixture is still fluid, you will not have to add any alcohol to it.  If the mixture is becoming a paste, you will need to subtract the new weight of the pot from the starting weight of the pot, and add alcohol in the exact amount that was lost through cooking.  (eg.  If the difference in the pot weights is 10 oz.;  add 10 oz. alcohol).

  10. Re-weigh the pot every 30 minutes during your 2 hour cooking time to find out if you need to add anymore alcohol to the mixture.

  11. Test the mixture for free fatty acids-  After cooking the mixture for 2 hours, it should be neutral.  To test for free fatty acids, dilute a few ounces of soap in a few ounces of water and allow the solution to cool.  If the solution remains cloudy, continue to cook.  If the solution is not too cloudy, move onto step 12.

  12. Dilute the soap-For all of the recipes listed on the bath and body recipes page, we suggest diluting the soap mixtures with 10 pounds of distilled water.  Bring the 9 1/2  pounds of water to a boil, then add the soap paste.  

  13. Neutralize the soap-You can neutralize the soap by creating a 33% borax solution.  To do this:  add 3 ounces of borax to 6 ounces of boiling distilled water.  Measure out 9 Tablespoons of the borax solution( the borax and boiling distilled water) and add it to the soap mixture.

  14. Add your soap coloring, preservatives, fragrance to the soap mixture-  Do not use oil-based coloring for soap or it will cloud the soap.  Add 2 tablespoons of Vitamin E oil to the mixture as a preservative.  Add fragrance at 1% of the total weight of your finished soap mixture.  Whisk so that everything is dispersed.

  15. Sequester the soap-Pour your soap mixture into glass canning jars and cover with screw on lids.  Allow to set in a cool, dark place for 1 to 2 weeks.  During this time, the cloudiness from the additives and fragrance will settle out.

  16. Once the soap is sequestered, it is ready to use!

Method #2- Hot Process Method


  1. Fill a double boiler with 3 inches of water and put it on medium heat.  You will be placing your soap pot inside of this to create a double boiler .  For now, just place it on medium heat, covered, on the back burner.

  2. Get your fats and oils ready-  Weigh out all of your fats and oils, and place them in your soap pot over medium heat .  You will melt your fats first, and then your soft oils.  Heat until the oils reach 160 degrees.  Turn the heat to low and maintain the temperature.

  3. Prepare your lye solution-  Make sure you wear goggles, rubber gloves, and an apron.  Do not breathe the lye solution!  Measure out the water portion of the solution and pour it into a canning jar.  Now weigh out your lye (potassium hydroxide).  Add the lye to the water and stir until it is thoroughly dissolved.  DO NOT ADD THE WATER TO THE LYE!  Keep vinegar on hand if you happen to get the lye solution on your skin!    Allow the lye solution to cool to 140 degrees.

  4. Add the lye solution to the oils (which should be 160 degrees).  This should be done in a slow steady stream, and should be stirred constantly.  Stir this mixture with a stick blender.  Do not stop mixing when you notice thickening; you will want this mixture to become like paste.

  5. Now you will enter the hot process portion of soapmaking-  Place the soap pot into the double boiler you got ready.  Cook the mixture.  After about 10 minutes, remove the soap pot and look to see if there is any lye separation (caused by not stirring long enough).  If it is showing separation, stir, then place soap pot back into the double boiler.  Check it for separation again after 10 more minutes.

  6. Cook the mixture for a total of 3 hours, stirring the paste for a few minutes every 30 minutes.  You will notice a change in the color of the paste as time goes by.  It will become more and more transparent.

  7. Check for free fatty acids-  After 3 hours of cooking, remove 1 oz. of paste and mix it with 2 ounces of distilled water.  Allow this to cool.  If the cooled sample is extremely milky in appearance, it contains free fatty acids and needs to be cooked longer.  If it is milky is appearance, cook for another 30 minutes and check it again.

  8. Dilute the soap- For all of the recipes we have listed on the bath and body recipe page (that you use the hot process method with), you will do the following:  measure out 11 pounds of distilled water and boil it.  Then add the soap paste to it and whisk it to break up the mass.  Allow this to thoroughly disperse in the boiling water.

  9. After the soap is diluted and cooked, you will want to neutralize the mixture by adding 9 Tablespoons of 33% borax solution to the entire mixture.  (A 33% borax solution is created by adding 3 oz. borax to 6 oz. boiling distilled water). Mix the entire solution.

  10. Add your coloring, fragrance, additives (vitamin E oil).  Fragrance is added as 1% of the total soap mixture.

  11. Pour the soap mixture into canning jars and cover.  Allow them to rest (sequester) for 1 to 2 weeks in a dark, cool area.  This last stage allows for the soap to become transparent.
(candlemaking supplies at wholesale prices)

Natures Garden offers Ohio wholesale candle making supplies for candlemaking. We also offer wholesale soap making supplies for soapmaking. In addition to candle supplies and soap supplies, we offer incense supplies and cosmetic supplies. Wholesale fragrance oil in Ohio.

Toll Free H.U.G Line: 1-866-647-2368
Copyright 1999 -2004 Deborah Ward. All Rights reserved.