Making liquid soap from scratch involves a chemical reaction between oils and an alkaline solution. Here is a basic recipe for making liquid soap:
- 8 oz. of coconut oil
- 8 oz. of olive oil
- 4 oz. of potassium hydroxide (KOH) flakes
- 16 fl. oz. of distilled water
- Essential oils (optional)
- Colorants (optional)
- A large stainless steel pot
- A stick blender
- A thermometer
- A silicone spatula
- Safety gear (gloves and goggles)
- Put on your safety gear (gloves and goggles) to protect yourself from the caustic nature of potassium hydroxide.
- In a large stainless steel pot, combine the coconut oil and olive oil. Heat the mixture until it reaches a temperature of around 75°F.
- In a separate container, slowly dissolve the potassium hydroxide flakes in the distilled water, stirring continuously. This solution will become very hot, so handle it with care.
- When the temperature of the oil mixture and the potassium hydroxide solution has cooled to around 95°F, slowly pour the potassium hydroxide solution into the pot with the oils. Use the stick blender to mix the ingredients together for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to trace. “Tracing” is when the mixture begins to thicken and hold a clear trail when you drizzle a small amount on the surface.
- Continue to blend the mixture until it becomes thick and creamy, like pudding. This process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the speed of your blender and the temperature of your mixture.
- When the mixture has reached trace, remove the pot from the heat and continue to mix for an additional 20-30 minutes. This will help to complete the saponification process and give your soap a smooth, uniform texture.
- Optional: Add essential oils and colorants at this stage, if desired. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour the soap into a container and let it cool and set for 24-48 hours.
- After the soap has cooled and set, you can use it immediately or pour it into a bottle for later use.
Note: The use of potassium hydroxide (KOH) is required to make liquid soap, as it is the alkali that reacts with the oils to produce soap. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which is commonly used to make bar soap, cannot be used to make liquid soap.