How to Make Olive Oil Soap Without Lye

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Olive oil helps maintain skin's moisture and suppleness.
Olive oil helps maintain skin's moisture and suppleness. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

For centuries, olive oil and olive oil-based skincare products have been known to provide many benefits to the skin. You can purchase olive oil-based soap, but many store-bought soaps contain lye, a strong alkaline, caustic substance that can dry and irritate the skin. As an alternative, you can make your own olive oil soap without lye by using a ready-made soap base. Making your own olive oil soap allows you to tailor it to your skin's needs.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups white fragrance-free soap
  • Grater
  • Double boiler
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Wooden spoon
  • 5 to 10 drops essential oil (optional)
  • Soap molds
  • Wire cooling rack

Grate 1 1/2 cups of unscented, white soap with a cheese grater. Place the grated soap in the top of a double boiler. Add 1/4 cup of water to the grated soap. Do not stir because that will cause air bubbles to develop.

Add 2 inches of water to the bottom portion of the double boiler, and melt the grated soap over medium heat.

Remove the melted soap mixture from the heat. Pour 3 T of olive oil into the soap mixture, and add the essential oil if you want to make scented soap. Use fewer drops of the essential oil for a mild scent and closer to 10 for a stronger scent. Gently stir the ingredients until mixed well.

Pour your olive oil soap mixture into soap molds. Set the molds on a counter or tabletop, and allow the soap to cure until solidified, which can take up to 12 hours depending upon the size of the bars.

Remove the soap bars from the mold. Set them on a wire cooling rack, and allow them to sit for one to three days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spray soap molds before use to make it easier to pop the soap out.
  • Muffin tins and ice cube trays can also be used as soap molds.
  • Wrap bars of soap in plastic until you use them to keep humidity from making the soap mushy.
  • As with any process that involves heat, keep small children away from the hot soap.
  • DO NOT put any equipment used that has soap on it in the dishwasher. You may end up with more bubbles than your dishwasher can handle. Wash them by hand.

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