Can You Make Soap Without Using Lye? (Here's a Secret, Easy Way!)
When I first became interested in making soap for our home, I was really worried about using lye. It's caustic, extremely poisonous, and very dangerous if it's not used correctly. Therefore, I researched every single way possible to make soap without lye. Now, what is the answer to the question, "Can you make soap without using lye?" The simple answers are: Yes and No.
Let me explain. ALL soap (true soap, that is), is made using a lye solution with oils. The lye solution chemically changes the molecular structure of the oils so you end up with soap! It's pretty cool, actually. Even the FDA has very strict rules about what can be called "soap." For it to be true soap, lye must be involved, and so must oils. Period.
**You don't see a whole lot of "real" soap in the stores! Go check out the "soap" aisle. Most are called "cleansing bars," or "beauty bars," etc. and are filled with gruesome chemicals. Check out this article, "Killer Toxins Lurking in Your Soap" for more information!
So...how can you make soap without lye? Well, you can take a little short-cut! It's called using Melt and Pour Soap. You simply purchase large blocks of ready made soap that's been specially processed to melt very easily, melt it on down, add whatever additives you like, and you have your own soap!
The neat thing is, trying out soap making with melt and pour choices is a great way to get into soap making and decide if it's something you want to pursue for real, without having to be concerned with mixing up lye! You get a feel for the kinds of additives you are ok with, and the kinds of scents you like. You can even change the composition of the melt and pour soap a bit by adding clays, salts, honey, etc.! Pretty cool, right?
It's also a super fun and easy project to do with kids! Kids love making their own soaps and being creative with the ingredients and scents!
AND...it's an easy enough project for kids to help with! Here are the steps my grand daughter and her friend did with a little help from me to make their own melt and pour soaps.
NOTE: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I will receive a small commission at absolutely no extra cost to you! I truly appreciate your help supporting Healing Harvest Homestead! Heidi
Steps for "Making Soap Without Lye" (Even a Child Can Do It!)
Step 1) Cut Up the Block of Soap
If you are doing this project with kids, you'll probably want to do the cutting for them, unless they are older and proficient with a large knife. You'll need to cut the block into approximately 1 inch cubes.
**Where do you get Melt & Pour Soap?
You can find it at good craft stores, but I'll be honest: I don't recommend those blocks of soaps. The quality is just not that great, and they will cost you more, too. When I'm making Melt & Pour soap, I buy mine from Bulk Apothecary. or Amazon. They have lots of choices and sizes too. Plus, the price is right! Here's a Honey Melt and Pour soap to take a look at! Lots of people love Goat's Milk Soap, too! There are many other choices as well.
Step 2) Get Your Double Boiler Ready
For the melting part, you'll need a double boiler so the heat on the bottom of the pan isn't too intense on the melting soap. I have a double boiler pan I use for this kind of soap making, but if you don't, and you're not making a huge amount of melt and pour, here's another way:
You can actually use a Mason Jar set into a pan with an inch or two of cool water. Heat it gently, and your soap will melt just fine! Keep the heat set to a little above low so you don't crack your glass. If you are using a Mason jar set up as your double boiler, I probably wouldn't let the kids help with this part---just in case. Just my opinion.
Step 3) Melt It!
Gently stir your soap cubes as they melt down--it will go a little faster. You'll be surprised how fast melt and pour actually melts! I always am!
Step 4) Add Your Color & Scent
Once your soap is melted down, you can add your colorant and scents. Follow the directions if you are using some kind of dye for soap. I prefer to use natural materials like clays or powdered herbs. For one pound, start with about 1/2 tablespoon, then make adjustments until you're happy with it.
Here's an article about using natural colorants in your soap, if you are interested!
For scents, I prefer essential oils. You don't need a whole lot for one pound of melt and pour soap---I'd start out with 1/2 tablespoon of total essential oils per pound of melt and pour base. For fragrance oils (I don't use these because they contain chemicals most of the time), follow the directions. Either way, start with a small amount, then adjust until you like it! It's easy to get too much scent, so be conservative at first.
Mix up really well! You don't want lumps of herbal powder or clay, and you definitely want your essential oils mixed in well, too.
Where do I get my colorants? I buy my herbs at Starwest Botanicals, and I either powder them myself or buy them powdered. You can also purchase a variety of clays from Starwest too. I've written an article about coloring soaps naturally, if you want to take a look at that! Clays are always great! If I don't get them from Starwest, I buy from Amazon. Here is French Pink Clay!
Step 5) Pour into Your Soap Mold
Just pour in your liquid soap and leave it alone until it's completely cooled and set--at least a couple of hours to be on the safe side. We decided to sprinkle some raspberry seeds on top of this soap!
Step 6) Remove the Soap and Enjoy!
I like to use silicone soap molds for melt and pour soaps because it's so easy to remove the soap when it's cooled down! You're all ready to go with practically instant home made soap!
We had a great time doing this project, and everyone LOVED the soap! My grand daughter is coming for another visit next week, so we will probably be making up some more!
Have you ever tried making soap with kids? Or tried melt and pour? What is your favorite style of making soap? I'd love to know what you think! If you try Melt and Pour with your kids, how did it go?
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
P.S. I hope you'll sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a thing! You'll receive a copy of my eBook, "How to Relax Using Herbs" when you do! :-) I know you'll love the ideas inside!