How to Make Soap Using Household Items


Soap-making was once a very common household chore, even years after the product was commercially available. Today, soap isn't considered soap unless it's scented, shaped and pretty to look at, but that doesn't mean you can't still make your own. Using simple household items, anyone can make their own soap and revive this time-honored tradition ... not to mention save a few bucks every month. Create your own combination of scents, experiment with the formula and it's possible you'll make a product that's worth selling to others, provided you're willing to part with it.

Things You'll Need

  • Stove
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 small pot
  • 2 cups glycerin soap base / 3/4 cup unscented white soap / 5 teaspoons of lye
  • 1 tsp. essential oil (optional)
  • 1 to 5 drops food coloring (optional)
  • 2 tbsps.spoons melted shea butter
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup lard
  • Plastic molds
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Wire racks
  • Fill a large pot with water and set it to boil on the stove.

  • Place your soap base in a smaller pot and set it on top of the boiling water in the larger pot. Your base may be glycerin soap base (2 cups), available online and in some craft retail stores, unscented white soap that has been grated (3/4 cup) or lye and water (5 tsps. lye and 1/2 cup water, mixed together carefully). If using lye, wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself, because it may burn the skin and irritate the eyes.

  • Wait until the base material has melted into a liquid. If using lye and water as a base, wait until the mixture begins to steam from the heat.

  • Turn down the heat of the stove to low once the base has fully melted.

  • Mix fragrance oil and color into the base if you plan to use any. Add 1 tsp. of essential almond oil, coconut oil or whatever type of oil you prefer to the base. Add one drop of food coloring at a time to make colored soap, but no more than six drops. Too much food coloring in soap may stain skin and towels.

  • Add the melting agent to the mixture. If you started with glycerin, add 2 tbsps. melted shea butter. Add 1/4 cup oatmeal and 1 tbsp. honey to the unscented, melted white soap. For lye and water mixtures, add 1 cup of lard.

  • Pour the liquid soap mixture into plastic molds. Spray the top of each cake of soap with rubbing alcohol, which helps prevent and gets rid of air bubbles.

  • Allow molds to sit for at least 24 hours to let the soap cool and form. Remove the soap from the molds, cut the cake if necessary to achieve the size you want. Place the soap on wire racks. The soap will need three to four weeks to fully harden and then it will be usable.

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  • Photo Credit handmade soap image by Alison Bowden from
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