How to Make Liquid Castille Soap

I love liquid soap and I can’t stand bar soap (It’s icky sticky and yuck!).  The problem is that you can get great quality bar soap for a fraction of its liquid counterpart.  I’ve experimented before with making liquid soap with little success.  I finally found a recipe that is equal or better to any liquid soap out there.  Silver Fir Farms is a soap maker and over a year ago she was sweet enough to not only share her recipe for liquid castile soap but couple it with an instructional video. Get her recipe here and watch her video below: Cost: 1 gallon of her soap which I left unscented cost me $22 to make.  The cost of ingredients will vary depending on where you live.  I got my KOH from The Lye Guy.

Ingredients for liquid castile soap

Ingredients for liquid castile soap

I’ve tried this recipe three times and here’s some advice.  Read and FOLLOW her directions.  The video is great to give you an idea what your soap should look like along the way.  I watched it several times before I started mixing things together. But, Molly, why would you want to make your own liquid soap?

  1. Quality is first.  This is a high quality castile soap recipe.  Compared to Dr. Bronners it contains more olive oil which is what puts the castile in castile soap. (I’m not putting down Dr. Bronners-he’s rockin’ cool!  Just watch the documentary ‘Dr. Bronners Magic Soapbox’ on instant download at Netflix and I’m sure you will agree).
  2. My ingredients were all organic except for the soy oil (I just couldn’t find it!).
  3. The cost is great.  Dr. Bronners costs $45/gallon at my local health food store.   It does come scented (which my costs don’t include) but for 1/2 the cost you still have room to add an essential oil of your choice.
  4. It is a luscious silky smooth yet bubbly soap that rinses clean.
  5. It does take a chunk out of your day but it was fun and I only need to make this twice a year at the most.

Advice from Molly:

  • Do a 1/2 batch the first time like she suggests.
  • Weigh your ingredients.  She uses ounces in her recipe and she means weight not volume.  It may be obvious to some of you but it wasn’t to me and I ruined the first batch I made.
  • KOH is caustic and can burn.  Take precautions.  I splashed a little diluted KOH in my eye and it burned like the dickens.  I had distilled vinegar (which is recommended to dilute KOH) and water close at hand to rinse my eye out.  Some also splashed on my Kitchen Aid mixer and left small ‘splash’ marks where the paint was eaten away.Spots on my mixer
  • Once you melt your oils keep the crock pot on.  She starts on high or the 4 hour setting and then turns it down when it gets to the really thick taffy stage.
  • My second try (also a half batch) took hours longer than what she said it would take.  I was using a small hand mixer and I think that may have had something to do with it.  Don’t give up if it takes longer than the directions say it will.
  • If you have a stick blender use it.  If you don’t, consider getting one.  I got one and used it when I made my 3rd and full batch.  It went quicker than her timetable.  I’m gonna take a wild guess and assume the stick blender had something to do with it.

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7 Comments

  1. Linda
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Is the type of thing you need dedicated tools for? I do have a stick blender and a crock pot, but if I use them to make soap does that mean they are unsuitable for cooking food?

    • Posted November 20, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      The stick blender is stainless steel so not such an issue- clean up is easy. I do have a separate crock pot but Mike has used it for food. I’m not recommending it I’m just sayin’!

  2. lacyrae
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    So did you substitute vegetable oil for soybean oil? Could I use almond oil instead of soybean oil? I’m wondering what the benefit of the soybean oil is in the original recipe….

  3. Sally
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    If I want to make bar soap from this recipe, how much water should I add to make it pourable?

    • Mike
      Posted April 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I really don’t know.

  4. Ezra
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    There must be away to make liquid soap without coconut palm oil.
    This is now the single most destructive force leveled against our global environment. The demand has become so high that it is ubiquitous in almost every daily product!
    27,000 acres are leveled per DAY in a corrupt land grab in the national forests of Indonesia alone! Then they burn off the cut down rainforest and burn it off releasing millions of tons of Greenhouse gasses and particulate into the atmosphere. This exposes the 5′-15′ thick peat bogs to the lighting storms and the burning off of the forests themselves. Those bogs, if they catch fire….and some already have, they cannot be extinguished and will burn up to 100 years.
    And while it is government corruption and giant and powerful corporations on islands far far away doesn’t mean we can do nothing.
    If you check the products you buy (nearly all of them!) and refuse to use palm coconut or palm kernel oil, you can help lessen the demand and go one step closer to helping save our environment and slow global climate change.

    • Mike
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Dully noted and somewhat interesting rant. There is a way you can do something about this! Just use my recipe which only uses olive oil and vegetable oil.

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