DIY Coconut Oil Soap

Reader Contribution by Renée Benoit
article image
Adobe Stock/Denira

Make homemade coconut oil soap to avoid harmful chemicals by making cleaning and personal care products using this DIY coconut oil soap recipe.

Soap Ingredients

  • 248 g (8.75 oz) distilled water
  • 116 g (4.10 oz) sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • 794 g (28 oz) coconut oil

Soap Equipment

  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Face and/or eye protectors (a weed wacker mask is awesome because I can wear my glasses with it)
  • Rubber gloves (regular dishwashing gloves work fine)
  • Immersion blender (you can blend by hand and there’s more control over splashing but it takes longer)
  • Stainless steel pot (I use a 3-quart one with high sides and a pour spout)
  • Silicone molds that make twelve 1-by-2-by-3-inch bars
  • Wax paper
  • Soft lightweight cloth
  • 2 measuring cups (plastic is fine)
  • Candy thermometer
  • Digital scale (Important: I wouldn’t try making soap without it. In the old days of guess-and-gosh, sometimes soap would have too much lye in it and was very hard on skin!)

This 100 percent coconut oil soap recipe is very easy but a little bit different in one way so let me tell you how it went.

  1. Using the digital scale measure out your distilled water and pour it into your high sided stainless-steel pot. I use gram measurement because I feel it is most accurate. Now, using the same digital scale, measure out your lye. I use dedicated plastic measuring cups for these 2 items. It just makes it easier to keep the equipment separate from my cooking utensils. The high sided stainless-steel pot is also dedicated. The pouring spout makes it easier to decant the finished soap into the molds.
  2. Put on your rubber gloves, long sleeved shirt, and eye/face protection. Stir the lye into the water with a stainless-steel spoon. Be careful not to splash. Just stir quietly. You’ll notice that the lye kind of hardens or crystallizes. Just break and stir. It’s not that hard and it will break up and dissolve. Then it will heat up. Set your candy thermometer to touch the liquid and set the pot aside. It will heat up to about 150 degrees. Set it aside some place safe while you get the oil ready.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a double boiler. Set it aside until the lye water cools down to 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Then carefully pour the melted oil into the lye water. Start by stirring with the immersion blender without it being turned on – it won’t take long – then turn the blender on low and mix until the mixture comes to “trace.” Do you remember from my last post what I said about “trace”? This is when the chemical transformation occurs and the mixture looks like thin pudding and has soft ripples in it.
  4. Right away pour the mixture into your molds. This is where I got caught by surprise. The mixture hardens rather quickly. Much faster than the 100 percent olive oil castile or 50/50 olive oil/coconut oil soap. Scrape the remnants out with a stainless-steel spoon if you have to. If you have the molds on a cutting board covered with paper towels you can gently shake the board to settle the soap in the molds. Don’t feel bad about smoothing the soap with a stainless steel spoon or knife and don’t expect perfection! We’re just learning and professional looking refinement can come later.
  5. Put all your used equipment in the sink. You can wash it easily in 24 hours because it will be soap at that point and the chemical transformation will be complete. No more lye!
  6. Cover the soap molds with wax paper and a light towel. With this recipe it hardens so fast you will be able to put the wax paper on it and light cloth over that pretty fast. It won’t stick. After 24 hours you’ll be able to un-mold the soap to cure on a cooling rack. You can put it in the freezer for a couple hours to help make it easy to remove. Pure coconut oil soap only takes about 4 weeks to cure and then you can use it. Unless you’re impatient like me….

I used one of my 100 percent olive oil castile bars to shower with when it was only 3 weeks into its 6 weeks curing phase. It worked great!

Epilogue: I’m getting addicted to making my own soap. It’s very easy and not scary at all if you take the right precautions. Now I know exactly what I’m using to clean myself off with. Now I know there aren’t any chemicals getting on my body or going down the drain. I’m not using packaging that goes to the landfill. What other benefits can you think of when making your own soap? I bet there are a lot!

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368