Make Your Own Homemade Soaps

Learn how to make homemade soaps from herbs and flowers, including a recipe for rosemary lavender soap.

  • Lavender
    Add lovely, fragrant lavender soap to your bath to ease stress and insomnia.

  • Lavender

Sandy Maine made her first bar of soap in her kitchen. She loved making soap so much, she eventually went on to found a small business, SunFeather Soaps, which occupies three buildings and employs 15 people. When MOTHER’s intern, Jennifer Barros, saw a copy of Maine’s recent book, Soothing Soaps for Healthy Skin (Interweave Press, 1997), she was inspired to fill some muffin tins with homemade herbal soap. 

The recipe I chose for my homemade soap was lavender and rosemary soap, which is found under a section called “Soaps for Blemished Skin.” Maine gives a brief description of each soap and explains that both lavender and rosemary are “antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and beneficial for treating wounds, blemishes, boils, dermatitis, herpes, fever blisters, and more!”

The first step, and probably the most difficult part, was finding the ingredients. I needed lavender flowers, rosemary leaves, lavender oil and rosemary oil. For those who can get their hands on fresh herbs, Maine explains how to dry them yourself and also how to extract the oils. It was February, so I was forced to opt for dried herbs rather than fresh ones. Unfortunately, dried herbs and oils are not exactly sold at every corner store, but at least you can obtain herbs, oils and glycerin by mail order. After I arrived home, glad to have completed my shopping mission, I began the actual process of making a healing soap.

I made an infusion with the dried lavender flowers and rosemary leaves. This only took about 10 minutes, and gave me a sneak peak at what my kitchen would smell like all day. Then, I used a double boiler to melt the soap base into liquid form. After this was done, I added the infusion, the oils and some pulverized rosemary leaves. I stirred a little to ensure even distribution, and then immediately poured the liquid into molds. Altogether, this took about 30 minutes.

Because I couldn’t wait to send away for a good glycerin soap base, I used what I found at a local pharmacy. I don’t know whether it was the quality of the soap or the molds I used, but the one problem I came across was removing the soaps from their molds after they had hardened. The soap is supposed to harden after one hour, but I left mine overnight to ensure that prying them out of the molds would not harm their shape.

For molds, I used small ridged muffin tins. When the soaps hardened, it was very difficult to maneuver them out. The longer I let them sit, the easier it was to get the soap out. Lining the molds with plastic wrap or using a plastic soap-mold might facilitate this procedure.

3/28/2016 11:26:07 AM

I had to make this a few times because i think i over cooked it or something. but finally i got it right, and i got some super cute molds from and they look and smell wonderful! thanks for the fun recipe. i am excited to give them out at a baby shower i am throwing!

8/6/2015 8:57:04 AM

I learned a lot from your site. It is great feeling now I can play my liquid soap making. I use cooking oil and KOH to cook detergent. It is easier than looking around for safe detergent for garden veg irrigation (you have no control what they put in). If you use hard water for washing, you can add mono potassium phosphate as a PH buffer (similar use and amount as borax, used here as a substitute of borax). Add a little bit of milk seems help to emulsify the paste especially when you use some olive oil. To make it a shampoo just adds a bit more milk. There is nothing can be wasted in the game of soap making. The worst scenario is you made the paste water hating wax (I did it by adding way too much mono potassium phosphate); but even that can be rescued by putting a couple of table spoon of KOH in 1 kg of soft water and heat it up then add the wax bit by bit into the solution and mix them up. Add a bit of (1 %) milk seems help it emulsify. Fine tuning the paste (by adding the wax bit by bit) until the PH reaches 8 to 8.5. Done. Good as new. The separated water solution I keep it as fertiliser for garden). I never put anything unnecessary into my detergent. I like washing cloths by stamping in a basin, it is quicker (15 minutes) and cleaner and not hurting the fabric. Also I recommend using sea water for cooking seasoning instead of salt, you need all elements in the ocean (what is the proportion? The element proportion in your body are nearly the same as they are in the environment as scientist found. We are not only made of star dust but also the proportion of the star dust) but not only sodium (don’t call it table salt, call it poison). Make your own drinking water by breaking lava rock and sediment rock and soak them in collected rain water. The main source of minerals you take in is by drinking water but not by food. When your urine stinks, your blood PH is no good, when your body fluid PH is good, your urine will not smelly. Keeping your mouth fresh and odourless by using tooth pick to scrape your teeth, never use tooth paste (it wear out your teeth surface layer and unbalance the microbes that make your mouth stink). Natural and healthy teeth are ivory coloured but not white. Teeth grow layer by layer from outside just like clam grow its shell or pearl). Leave it natural (and do not drink “drinks”), your teeth can heal small damages by itself just like a clam will do to its shells. Never use mouth rinsing water which will cause your mouth smell worse only, bacteria would not make your mouth stink, but unbalanced bacteria make your mouth stink. Naturally secreted oil on your skin and hair are the first line of defence, if just dust and sweat, rinse it with rain water it will be shine and smooth. What ruin your skin and hair is those tap water, shampoo and conditioners. I use 2 natural gas fermenter (imported poly gas fermenter tank for $ 500 each) as septic tank which is a closed system never leak out into environment, when one is filling the other is maturing. Gas for cooking, the matured sediment and liquid for fertiliser in garden. The important thing is never let any unhealthy and unnatural stuff gets into your septic system in the first place. As a general principle, get rid of all your household chemical products. Air deodorant, disinfectant, bleach, hair dye, insecticide, etc. they are all unnecessary waste of natural resources and harmful pollutants to a home and the environment. The so called modern life style makes us sick, makes environment sick, the rat race of making money and getting rich is fundamentally contradictory to sustainability. Use as little as possible natural resources but contribute as much as possible effective information that is my understanding of a good Earth villager. That is the only way to reach future. Green life is good life. It is a real civilised life. Want to hear other’s opinions. Regards Jackluny

2/24/2015 6:53:05 PM

I have never made my own bar soap. is it ok to buy a used stainless steel stockpot at a thrift store or should I get a new one? also what size should I get? ty

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