How to Make Eco Friendly Soap the Easy Way

Mass produced, store bought soaps are notoriously bad for the environment. And while you can get eco-friendly bar soaps and dish soaps from independent zero-waste online retailers, many people these days are choosing to simply make their own.

Making your own eco-friendly soap is easy and fun. No, really!

The process of making soap at home is less time consuming than you might think. It also gives you the chance to experiment with different ingredients like essential oils, natural clays and shea butter that will make your skin feel great after a long day at work or school.

Making your own eco-friendly soap at home is much better for the environment and your personal health. As part of a sustainable lifestyle, anything we can do to move away from unnecessary packaging and mass produced goods is a positive step.

The ingredients are cheap and easy to find, and the process is fun and rewarding.

But before we move on to the soap production method, let's take a look at some other benefits of making your own eco-friendly soap:

Benefits of Homemade Soap Making

  1. You know exactly what’s in it – because you made it yourself.
  2. It's better for the environment. Homemade soap uses all natural ingredients, so it's zero waste, and no plastic packaging.
  3. It’s inexpensive to make – natural soap doesn’t have any additives or fillers, so you can also save money down the line.
  4. You can choose your favorite essential oils for a natural perfume (lavender essential oil is my personal favorite!)

Verdict: Making natural soap is rewarding and can be a lot of fun. Here are some instructions on how to make natural eco friendly soap at home.

Eco Friendly Bar Soap Recipe

My Favourite Eco Friendly Soap Recipe

I'll be showing you exactly how to make eco-friendly soap in just a minute. But first, a few words about safety that you need to be aware of before you start.

Preparation and Protection

Lye is a chemical that's used in the process of making soap.

It has different names - typically, Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide are used to extract the lye chemically from natural substances like wood ashes (potassium hydroxide) or seawater (sodium hydroxide). Lye is also called caustic soda.

Soap making involves mixing fats such as liquid oil with an alkali like lye, to produce a soap base. Products like kitchen oils, essential oils and pure water can go into this mix for effective natural cleansing options.

But lye is a dangerous chemical if handled incorrectly. It can cause burns and blindness and it can be very harmful to your skin. Before attempting to make homemade soaps, be sure to wear protective clothing!

Cover your skin with long sleeves, rubber gloves, and use eye protection before handling lye.

Ingredients

  • 12oz Purified, Distilled or Spring Water
  • 5oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide / Caustic Soda)
  • 35oz Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1oz Essential Oil or Coconut Oil

Method

In this cold process soap making method, we will make olive oil soap from all natural ingredients.

Step 1 - Pour the water into a large glass bowl, and thoroughly mix in the sea salt until it has dissolved completely.

Step 2 - Do this step outside, or in a very well ventilated area. remember your protective gear (long sleeves, mask, eye protection and protective gloves).

Slowly pour the caustic soda into the water (never the other way round, or it can splash out of the bowl). Stir gently.

Creating the lye mixture will cause a chemical reaction which will heat up the water, and will release a gas that can be harmful if inhaled. This is why it's best to do this outside.

Step 3 - While you are waiting for your lye solution to cool, you can measure the olive oil into a large, high sided cooking pan. Once the glass bowl is cool enough to pick up comfortably, you can bring it back inside.

Step 4 - Slowly pour the lye mixture into the pan, while mixing it together with the olive oil using a hand blender.

Step 5 - Now add in your chosen essential oils or fragrance oils.

Continue to mix well until the liquid has a creamy texture, and leaves a visible track mark when you move the blender through.

Step 6 - Pour the soap mixture into your chosen mold (a meat loaf tin or similar lined with parchment paper). Don't fill your mold right to the top, leave it around 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Optionally, you can spray a small amount of surgical spirit onto the top to stop it from discoloration.

Step 7 - Leave the soap base for between 48 and 82 hours to harden. At this point, you can cut it to your desired size so that it resembles traditional bar soap, or any other shape that you fancy.

You then need to leave the soap in a well ventilated space to cure for 4-5 weeks before it can be used. T

his is a very important part of the soap making process! The caustic soda will absorb oxygen from the air, which is what makes it safe to use on your skin.

So do not be tempted to use your soap too soon.

Share Your Recipes

Do you have your own homemade soap recipe that you swear by?

Which essential oils do you prefer - lavender oil, coconut oil or something else? Feel free to send in our soap recipes, I'd be delighted to put some other ideas to the test!

Arabella Ruiz is a senior researcher at The Roundup. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and has been interested in the environment from an early age. Arabella loves to campaign for environmental causes and fundraise for charities that aim to preserve wildlife habitat, protect endangered species or help people with climate change problems.
Arabella Ruiz
Arabella Ruiz is a senior researcher at The Roundup. She lives in San Antonio, Texas and has been interested in the environment from an early age. Arabella loves to campaign for environmental causes and fundraise for charities that aim to preserve wildlife habitat, protect endangered species or help people with climate change problems.

The Roundup

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