How to Make Soap Without Lye

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Lye is a potentially dangerous ingredient commonly found in both commercially produced and homemade soaps. Lye can cause serious burns to the skin, blindness, and if ingested, death. Furthermore, lye-free soap is usually gentler on the skin, which makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin. Thankfully you don't have to use lye when making your own homemade soap.

You can add dried lavender or rose petals to homemade soap.
You can add dried lavender or rose petals to homemade soap. (Image: marrakeshh/iStock/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • Three to four 4-ounce bars glycerin melt-and-pour base

  • Sharp knife

  • Microwave-safe bowl

  • Microwave

  • Stirring utensil

  • Essential oils

  • Soap mold

  • Cheese grater
  • Bar of unscented soap
  • Small pot
  • 3 quarts soft water
  • Pump bottle dispenser

Bar Soap Recipe

Step 1

Cut three or four 4-ounce melt-and-pour base bars into small cubes. The cubes should measure about an inch. Place the cubes into a microwave-safe bowl and set inside a microwave.

Step 2

Heat the soap base on high for 45 seconds. Stir the melted soap base. Place back in the microwave and heat on high for an additional 10 seconds and stir if the soap base hasn’t completely melted. Continue heating the soap base at 10-second intervals –- stirring after each additional heating –- until the cubed melt-and-pour soap base has melted.

Warning

  • As a safety precaution, use pot holders when removing the bowl from the microwave. This will help prevent burns.

Step 3

Add essential oils if desired to the melted soap base and stir thoroughly.

Tip

  • Lavender essential oil, for example, has a calming and relaxing aromatherapy effect, while lemon essential oil has an uplifting effect.

Step 4

Pour the melted base slowly into the soap mold. Set the mold in a location away from direct heat and sunlight. Leave the mold undisturbed for at least three hours before carefully popping the soap out of the mold and using.

Liquid Soap Recipe

Step 1

Grate a bar of unscented soap.

Tip

  • Pure castile bar soap works great for homemade liquid soaps.

Step 2

Fill a small pot with 3 quarts soft water. Add the grated bar soap to the water-filled pot and set on the stove.

Step 3

Bring the water to a boil, stirring continuously. Turn the heat off and continue stirring until the grated soap is melted and well incorporated into the water.

Warning

  • The hot liquid can cause severe burns, so always handle with care and use pot holders to prevent accidents.

Step 4

Add 1 teaspoon of essential oil to the liquid soap mixture and stir thoroughly. Transfer the homemade liquid soap to a pump dispenser and use as needed.

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