Thursday 6 April 2017

Olive Oil Soap

I just love making my own soap.  It's been wonderful on my skin helping to clear up the allergic reaction I was having to shower gel.  Last year Phil from Mr Homemaker blog gave me a recipe for soap that contained olive oil and rice bran oil.  Because I'd been given quite a few bottles of olive oil,  I changed the recipe to omit the rice bran oil. 

I've found this soap to be of better quality than the other soap  I was making.  This olive oil soap seems to set harder and has a more luxurious feel and lather.  The color tends to be whiter,  only changing to a light cream color over time when stored.

Please keep in mind,  this soap comes to trace very quickly so make sure you have all your moulds ready to go before making.

1000 grams of olive oil,
250 grams of Copha (1 x block)
173 grams of Caustic Soda
450 mils of water.

1. Chop up Copha into small chunks and place into a large non-metallic bowl

2. Make your Lye .in a separate non metallic container by adding  Caustic Soda slowly to the water (never the other way around!)  a little at a time stirring continually.  Watch out for the fumes.

3. Slowly and carefully pour the  lye over Copha chunks

4. Stir Copha and Lye manually with a non metallic spoon / spatula till Copha chunks are all dissolved by the heat of the lye.

5. Slowly add the olive oil while stirring.

6. Use a stick blender to reach a good trace (do not over-heat your stick blender - alternate between stirring and power mode.)

7. Pour the mixture into your moulds and smooth off the top.

8. Place glad wrap over moulds

9. Wrap moulds in old toweling (so they cool slowly)

10. Un-mould in 24-48 hours

11. Cure for 6 weeks


*  Make sure you are wearing covered shoes,  rubber gloves,  protective eye wear and a face mask.. The fumes from the lye can be quite strong especially if you make the soap indoors.  Sometimes I make the lye solution outside,  pour in the other ingredients ,  then bring it all inside to mix together. After making it a few times,  I no longer wear a face mask or glasses but I'm extra careful.

*  Care should be taken when making the lye.  Slowly and gently is the key. One granule of Caustic Soda falling on unprotected skin will sting quite badly.

*  Trace is when the mixture looks like custard starting to thicken.  You'll see ripples in the mixture when blending.

*  This recipe can come to trace in as little as 5 minutes.  If you over, mix the ingredients you'll have trouble getting it into the mould.  The first time I made it,  I over mixed it and there were air bubbles in the soaps.

*  Make sure you have all your equipment out before starting.  This includes a spatula to scrape the bowl.

*  Have baking trays under the moulds before pouring.  This makes moving the moulds to a better location ( for curing ) easier and safer.

Made back in July 2016.  It's only just starting to change color.

Make sure it's for soap making

The mixture has come to trace

Pouring into the moulds

Great for presents too.

There the link to the other soap recipe I've used


  1. Hi Wendy,
    I have been making this soap, slightly differently, for about 6 years now. I started making it this way when Phil and Nana Chel both posted this way of making the soap. It's so much easier than melting the oils in one pot and making the lye solution in another and then getting them to the same temp before mixing together. Nope this is a much better, quicker and easier way of getting soap. Love it. I've also substituted, due to Phils's advice, the olive oil for canola oil. This gives a creamier coloured soap that I have found I can add soap colours to. Love making my own soap.

  2. Hello!

    Can you tell me approximately how many moulds I need to have ready for this recipe?
    Thankyou for all you useful advice,

    1. It makes about 15 - 18 medium / large soaps

  3. Hi Wendy,
    After reading your post and Phil's one, I think I will give it a try. I pay about $19 a 1.25 litre bottle of QV we all have sensitive skin in our family, I'm hoping we may be able to use this soap instead, and with 4 kids I may be able to save a bit of money. Looks so luxurious. Love your posts Wendy.
    Take care, Andrea.

  4. Hi wendy, I'm severely allergic to caustic soda is there something I can use in place of ? You inspire me ! Thanks!

    1. Sonia, from my research caustic soda is a vital ingredient in all soaps and soap making. If it's just the fumes you are allergic to, maybe get another family member to do the first step with the caustic soda and water outside.

  5. Thank you so much for the two soap recipes. I had my first go at soap making yesterday using the vegetable oil recipe. It seems to have set nicely and I can't wait to cut it up and for it to dry. Thanks again!

  6. Hi Wendy. I'm going to try this recipe. Should I use extra virgin or light olive oil? Can I add essential oils for scent, if so at what stage should I add it please?

    1. You can use any olive oil or even a combination of rice bran oil and olive oil. Light olive oil will give a lighter color.

      You can add essential oils but make sure it's a good quality one. Mix it in very quickly when it comes to trace ( at the end ). I made half the batch plain and the other half scented with about 10 - 12 drops of oil ( first time using it ).

      Be aware that the fragrance could change over time so maybe do the 1/2 1/2 method.

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