CraftsPhotographyDrawingTextiles & SewingPaintingSculpture

Coconut-Milk Soap Recipe

Updated on April 7, 2016

Benefits of coconut milk soap

This recipe will produce a soothing, healing and moisturising soap ideal for sensitive skins. Coconut-milk soap can be used to wash hair also and makes a great, inexpensive gift.

Coconut milk is high in fatty acids and vitamin E, which give it cleansing and healing properties, making it ideal for those with dry, sensitive skin.

Containing no animal products it's also a great option for vegetarians and vegans.

All of the photos in this article were taken by me.

Vegan friendly and contains no palm oil

This soap recipe is vegan friendly as it contains no animal products. No palm oil is used, so you won't be contributing to the destruction of Orangutan habitats.

Making coconut milk soap - safety first.

When making this soap it's important that you follow ALL of my instructions if you're not familiar with soap-making, right down to the type of materials to use. Don't skip any steps or alter this recipe in any way and you should end up with some nice, creamy, coconut milk soap. OK, if you like there is one way you can alter this recipe if you wish to do so - you can use a different kind of milk. If you wish to use goat's milk, cow's milk, rice milk, almond milk or soy milk instead of coconut milk, you can, but stick to 320g and use the full fat variety. Unpasteurised is fine.

Work in a well ventilated area such as a laundry room, garage or covered outdoor area. The fumes from the lye can get quite overpowering if there isn't sufficient ventilation.

Wear all of the listed safety equipment to prevent burns from the lye should any of it splash on your skin or into your eyes. Leave it on until you have poured the end mixture into the mold/molds.

Make sure young children and pets will not be running around you while you do this for their own safety and that you will not have any interruptions. When making soap you need to work fast and any interruptions could ruin the whole process.

Some soap-making terms

Saponification: The chemical reaction that occurs when oils/fats and a base such as lye react together to form soap.

Trace: The stage in the soap-making process where saponification is complete.


Other soap recipe I have written

I have also written a recipe for making Castile soap. Castille soap is the purest soap in the world.

Equipment

Above: Equipment needed for making coconut milk soap
Above: Equipment needed for making coconut milk soap | Source

Equipment

Keep this equipment strictly for making soap, do not use it for cooking, kitchen scale excluded if you can't afford to buy a separate one for soap-making. Just place some plastic food wrap over it whenever you're making soap so that the surface doesn't get contaminated with chemicals.

- Stainless steel pot or plastic bucket with high sides - one foot deep.

- Mixing bowl of at least 1000mls capacity to prevent spillage. Something with a handle or two is ideal but you need to be able to fit it inside the large pot/bucket so that you can gently put the ingredients from the smaller bowl into the large bowl. I suggest something with a handle because it might become quite hot as I will explain later.

- Electronic kitchen scale.

- Molds - any will do, but not aluminium or tin. Wood, plastic, waxed cartons such as milk cartons are all fine. I used to use old milk cartons and cut the resulting loaf into bars. I recommend using non-silicone molds because silicone molds form airtight seals around your soap that makes it very hard to unmold your soap.

- Mixing spoon or spatula - again not aluminium or tin.

- Safety glasses

- Rubber or latex gloves

- Long-sleeved fully closed shirt with a high neckline

- Stick blender set to high

DO NOT use ANY aluminium or tin equipment as the caustic soda will react with it.

Ingredients for coconut milk soap

Above: Ingredients for home-made coconut milk soap
Above: Ingredients for home-made coconut milk soap | Source

Ingredients - all ingredients are measured in grams.

  • Olive oil 800g, Pomace or pure. Virgin or extra virgin Olive oil can be used but they take longer to trace.
  • Coconut oil 200g, 76 degrees Fahrenheit coconut oil is best. Avoid virgin coconut oil.
  • Coconut milk (from a can or home-made) 320g, Chilled. Full fat.
  • Sodium Hydroxide 138g, Also known as lye or caustic soda.
  • Shredded Coconut (optional) 150g

Instructions

  1. Put on your safety gear, ie. eyewear and long-sleeved shirt with high neckline and rubber or disposable latex gloves.
  2. Measure oils and mix together in the large stainless steel bowl.
  3. Place chilled coconut milk in small mixing bowl and remove any lumps.
  4. Gently add caustic soda to coconut milk (not the other way around or the lye could erupt like a volcano) and mix gently until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. You will notice that it turns a caramel colour. It's the sugar in the milk caramelising. Don't worry about it, it will turn white again as it sets. This mixture will become very hot, so be careful when you pick up the mixing bowl for the next stage. For this reason alone I don't recommend using a stainless steel mixing bowl for this step as metal will conduct the heat very quickly to your hands. DO NOT leave this mixture to stand in the bowl as it will get very hot and could boil over, causing quite toxic fumes.
  5. Rinse the spatula and keep it close by, you'll need it again.
  6. Gently and carefully add caustic soda/coconut milk mixture to oils and mix with stick blender until the consistency is like custard and you can see traces of lines left on the surface of the mixture when your run the spatula through it. This is known as the 'trace' stage. This is the longest stage and can take quite a while. If you use pomace olive oil you should reach trace within 5 minutes. If you use pure olive oil you should reach trace within 10 minutes. On hotter days trace happens faster. If your blending stick gets hot, stop and let it cool down for no more than 10 minutes. You might even find that when you go back to it, you might reach trace very quickly. Sometimes the heat from the lye will help the oil saponify while it stands, then the quick mixing action of the stick blender will finish the process. Don't leave it standing more than 10 minutes as it might reach trace by itself and harden just enough to prevent a smooth pour into the molds. See video and photos below.
  7. If you have chosen to include shredded coconut, now is the time to add it to your mixture. Working quickly mix 100g of the shredded coconut into the mixture, once the soap has hardened it will act as a gentle exfoliant.
  8. Promptly pour the mixture into your mold/molds using your spatula again to scrape as much of the mixture as you can off the side of the pot. You want to use as much of it as you can, there's no point wasting good soap mixture. Once poured sprinkle the remaining shredded coconut on top for a pretty finishing touch.
  9. Leave your soap to harden for 48 hours. If you're using a loaf-type mold so that you can cut your soap into slices, do this at around 36 hours, if you leave it for 48 hours it will be too hard to cut cleanly and before 36 hours it will be too soft to handle. A bread knife is perfect for cutting soap.
  10. The soap will be ready to use after 48 hours but the bars won't be very hard or long-lasting and the pH will still be quite high so the soap might be harsh on skin. It's best to leave your soap to cure for at least 6 weeks so that you get some harder, longer-lasting bars that are gentler on skin. Place your bars on some paper towels and turn them over weekly until they're cured.

What 'trace' looks like

Below: This is what 'trace' looks like.

Above: Perfect. You can clearly see a line left behind after running a spatula or knife through it. If you pick up some of the mixture with the spatula and left it drip down, it should leave marks in the mixture.
Above: Perfect. You can clearly see a line left behind after running a spatula or knife through it. If you pick up some of the mixture with the spatula and left it drip down, it should leave marks in the mixture. | Source

Below: This is a 'bad trace'.

Above: This is much too thick and will not pour easily into molds. It was left too long after reaching trace. Pour immediately once it reaches trace.
Above: This is much too thick and will not pour easily into molds. It was left too long after reaching trace. Pour immediately once it reaches trace. | Source
Learn how to make your own Coconut milk soap
Learn how to make your own Coconut milk soap | Source

Why did my soap turn light brown in colour?

Don't worry if your soap mixture turns a caramel colour. Your soap will whiten as it sets.

Coconut milk soap bars

Above: Coconut milk bars removed from their molds. You can see how they've gone white. Leave them to cure for 6 to 8 weeks.
Above: Coconut milk bars removed from their molds. You can see how they've gone white. Leave them to cure for 6 to 8 weeks. | Source

Cleaning up

I usually set all my dirty equipment aside and leave the soap on it to partially harden for 24 hours so that I have a ready supply of soap to clean it all with. Be sure to rinse your equipment off with clean water after you've washed it.

Please share this article if you find it helpful

Please share this article on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in you find it helpful. Let me know if you did in the comments box below so I can thank you. You can also rate this article below it and leave a comment in the comments box at the bottom of this page. I appreciate all comments and suggestions and I reply to all of them.

I welcome your comments

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions in the comments section below.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      val 8 days ago

      great

    • profile image

      katia123 9 days ago

      Just finished making soaps. Thank you so much for that recipe and the great instructions/warnings. I made my soaps (hopefully) look like cupcakes by placing them in cupcake molds and by adding oatmeal flakes and little red sugar hearts on top

    • profile image

      Martine 8 weeks ago

      I tried this recipe once. Everybody who tried the soap loved it. The thing is... I made 1/4 of the recipe because I was scared to pour lye in coconut milk. When I poured the lye, the chemical reaction almost spilled the mixture on my oven. I was really scared. Is it normal?

      Anyway, the final product is wonderful and people with very dry skin liked it very much.

    • profile image

      Handmadehome 2 months ago

      I have a question. Can I add essential oils or activated charcoal to the soap in step 7? I can't wait to use this recipie, I just wanted to make it a little more personal with scents or add more benifitial ingredients.

    • profile image

      Tabitha 2 months ago

      How many bars of soap does this yield if using molds like yours? Did this recipe fill all the molds shown in your images?

    • profile image

      lisa 2 months ago

      you didn't mention that the lye/water or coconut water & the oils have to be within 10 degrees of eachother ..

      best to sit the lye /water in a ice/water bowl to cool it down .

      Also works best to mix the lye /water mixture UNDER your stoves vent hood.. I never smell the fumes this way

    • profile image

      Shirley 3 months ago

      Hi I love this recipe can I add essential oils and colour

    • profile image

      Christine 5 months ago

      How many pounds of soap does this make?

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 5 months ago from Australia

      Rita,

      Virgin coconut oil has not been refined. Only refined coconut oil will produce the desired result. Virgin coconut oil does not saponify well if at all.

    • profile image

      Rita 5 months ago

      Thanks for ur post, it's very informative. ( great to have products from Australia to copy you)I have made soap before and am planning to make your coconut soap some time soon but want know why Virgin coconut oil should be avoided.

    • profile image

      cesc 6 months ago

      This was the very first soap I made and it turned out perfect, my family loved it so much they bought up the whole batch,I plan on making it again so my customers can experience the magic also.thank you.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 8 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      I've never made soap but I'm tempted to try your recipe. I'm a fan of coconut products. Thanks for sharing this. I, too, will share!

    • profile image

      Kauri 8 months ago

      I'm glad I stumbled upson your recipe. I like making soap without any artificial colouring but was never able to make them white like your ones. Will definitely have to make it soon. Thank you for the post.

    • profile image

      liz 8 months ago

      hi - just came across this recipe for coconut milk soap - there are so many comments on it but i didnt see this question it probably will be there ok - i make soap - not too often - and have always let the lye solution get to 40-45 degs C before adding to the oil solution - you talk in your article as if you are adding still hot lye solution to the oils - have i misunderstood the instructions???? or do you add the lye solution once it has cooled to a given temperature??? - hope you can help me - thanks

    • profile image

      Faith 9 months ago

      Hi! So I just made this soap last night, I popped out a tiny bit to see how it is, it's not very sudsy, will it get more bubbly over time as it cures? It's still pretty yellowish but as it's only been one day I'm not too worried....

    • profile image

      Maureen 9 months ago

      Hey ho...I did it - made my soaps and they look great. I was going to share a snap but not to sure where or how. Thanks for the recipe, it was easy to follow and fairly concise...

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 9 months ago from Australia

      August, as pointed out in the recipe, this soap will not smell like coconut as the saponification process will destroy the smell of coconut in the milk. You can add essential oils for fragrance but please do some research about how much and when to add them. I can't give you any advice about it because I don't use them in my soaps and so have no experience with using them.

    • profile image

      August 9 months ago

      Hi. This smells like cocnut or should i add some fragrance?

      Very nice recipe!!!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 9 months ago from Australia

      Laura, yes half and half will work fine. I'm sure they will make very popular gifts :)

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 9 months ago from Australia

      freetibet99 Please accept my apologies for the late reply.

      Too much coconut oil will result in a very drying bar... in fact I don't even know if it would work... I think the bars would just crumble.

      If you can't afford olive oil, there are cheaper alternatives like pure lard or Tallow, although I've never used them and each has different properties in regards to lather, cleansing, hardness etc... so it would be wise to do some research first. You might choose to combine them with other oils such as coconut oil, castor oil, sunflower oil etc... to add properties that the tallow or lard might lack, to suit you. Soap making is a science and involves a lot of trial and error until you find a recipe that suits you. Have fun with the process and don't stress too much if your first few batches fail, it happens to all soap makers, even experienced ones.

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 9 months ago from Australia

      I wouldn't recommend using coconut water as it won't react the same way with the lye. The milk actually causes the mixture to heat up, which is why you don't need to heat the oils, allowing this to be a cold-process soap. If you were to use coconut water, I think you would need to heat the oils, which would make it a hot-process soap, something I don't have any experience with since I use milk to make all my soaps.

      Yes, to your second question, simply double all the ingredients to double the amount of soap you're making. I hope that helps :) Good luck with your soap making!

    • profile image

      Maureen 9 months ago

      I've frozen my coconut milk over night but was wondering if I can use coconut water next time? And if we need to double the recipe, do we just double all of the ingredients? Thanks for making this so easy to follow. I'll have to post something to your page if I get this finished. Thanks again...

    • profile image

      Laura 10 months ago

      Would it be possible to do half and half coconut shreds and ground coffee as the exfoliant? Thinking of making these for Christmas gifts since the directions are so amazing!

    • profile image

      freetibet99 11 months ago

      Hi! The cost of olive oil is prohibitive in my country. Can I omit the olive oil and instead use 1 kg coconut oil for this recipe? If so, can you please tell me how much sodium hydroxide to use? Thank you.

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 17 months ago from Australia

      There is no need to cover them at all.

    • profile image

      patricia endris 17 months ago

      Curious, am I suppose to cover and wrap the soap for 48 hrs?

    • profile image

      Madi 18 months ago

      Very well written article, and easy to understand considering I've never made soap before.

      Will be trying this out soon. :)

    • Diana Abrahamson profile image

      Diana Abrahamson 18 months ago from t Francis Bay

      Love coconut oil for my skin so it makes sense to try your coconut milk soap! Thanks for your great hub.

    • profile image

      Tuva-Lena 19 months ago

      Exciting! I've already made many soaps but never coconut-milk-ones! Does the milk minimize the wipping..? I've used pure water with herbs and the wipping then took about 1 hour..! This is just fabulous and saves my arms! ;) Thank you so much and have a nice day! Greetings from Sweden and Tuva-Lena :)

    • profile image

      Janelle 19 months ago

      I made this soap the other day. I left moulds uncovered to harden for 24 hours after pouring. When removed from the moulds, the soap was a creamy colour outside, however when cut the insides were a greeny colour. Overnight the end off-cuts turned creamy white throughout, and the cut edges of the soap also turned a creamy white, and my neice thinks it smells like biscuits (?). Is this part of the normal process with this soap? I am planning on adding some coconut scent and used coffee grinds to my next batch for something different. I use the CP method to make all my other soaps and always have to wait for oils and Lye mixture to be similar temps and then cover when poured, so I was a bit unsure about this one. Also, can I use this process for goats milk soap as well? Thanks

    • profile image

      Sherry 20 months ago

      I just made this soap and it was the first time ever making soap at home...my question...when I added the lye to the milk..it got warm as I expected...I stirred it with a spatula...that melted a bit ...I wasn't sure how long to stir it for because it did look well incorporated...but when I added it to the oils...it was like wet, thick sugar...not liquid...I blended with the blender...it went to trace quite quickly...a few minutes and poured nicely into the mold...now I am waiting...just wondering if I may have done something wrong or if this all sounds normal?

    • profile image

      Emily 20 months ago

      I want to begin making my own coconut milk soap, and I found this article very helpful! I was wondering how I could use powdered coconut milk instead of liquid milk in this recipe? I've read you could add the powder in at trace. Any ideas? Could the process be as simple as adding the lye to the coconut oil and olive oil, and then adding powder at trace?

    • profile image

      Dee 21 months ago

      This looks great! I will be trying my first batch this weekend (and if all works well I'll have some x-mas presents). Thank you so much for sharing this and I love that you are taking the time to give people advice etc. Can't wait to try!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 21 months ago from Australia

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Patricia, I'm glad it's going well so far and I'm sure everyone will love their gift :) Merry Christmas!

    • profile image

      Patricia 21 months ago

      Made the soap last night. Followed your instructions exactly and so far the soap looks exactly as it should. Made it in orange juice carton, so the real test to see if everything went right will come when it's time to slice. But I'm sure it's going to be great. Thank you for such easy to follow instructions. I will be putting this soap in every one's stocking for Christmas.

    • profile image

      Joanne 21 months ago

      Thankyou so much for sharing

      May i know how many minutes to mix all ingredients before i put in to the mold?

      Again thank you and God bless.

    • profile image

      Leonette Nesbitt 23 months ago

      I want to know why your recipe doesn't give the temperatures of the oils and lye solution when combining the two? All other recipes I've seen needs thermometers etc? And also - won't the lye destroy the properties and flavour of the coconut milk?

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      The oils do not need heating as this is a cold process soap. They just need to be liquid. Coconut oil will solidify at room temperature, so if yours is solid, stick it in a bucket of hot water until it has liquified.

    • profile image

      mani 2 years ago

      What degree should I heat the oils?

    • profile image

      Xiu 2 years ago

      Hi thanks for your information!

      I made coffee soap last night, my first batch and almost failed as I couldn't get trace due to no stick blender, but finally it's correct as I kept blender use my hand.

      I love ur information as you provided simple and clear information. Lovely! I will start try one by one ur recipe ^_^

      Have a great day!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Yes, that's correct, substitute the water with coconut milk.

    • profile image

      Xiu 2 years ago

      Hi.. I need your advise about the measurement.

      In case if we use the coconut milk, does it mean we replace the amount of water with the coconut milk?

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      I have heard that virgin coconut oil can be used but it's much more expensive and will not make any difference in the final product. I have never used it however so am not able to give any advice about how much lye you would need for it to saponify.

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      That all depends on the moulds you use and how big the final bars will be. If you're talking about a bar of 120g, you should get about 10.

    • profile image

      Kayem Muni 2 years ago

      In your given amount of ingredients how many soap bars can we make?

    • profile image

      Sharon 2 years ago

      Why should you avoid virgin Coconut oil?

    • profile image

      lola 2 years ago

      Thanks a lot can't wait to try this

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Tell me all of the ingredients and the amounts that you used then I'll have a better idea of where you went wrong.

    • Pollilolli profile image

      Pollilolli 2 years ago

      Hi....I tried a similar recipe with coconut milk. 80% coconut milk and 20% water with 5% superfat. My soap also turn out really creamy....like pate or butter. Not sure if it will be harden enough to use. This is my 2nd batch. The 1st one with 100% coconut milk. And the same thing happened. I will wait for a full month before I think of ways to rebatch both batches....sigh. I reckon the fat in the coconut milk makes the soap soft. Should I bump my super fat % down to 2% or don't super fat at all when using coconut milk....

    • profile image

      kim 2 years ago

      I am super excited to find this recipe. Thanks for taking the time to prepare it.

    • profile image

      Veronica 2 years ago

      I'm stoked right now! Made soap for the first time ever using this recipe and everything went really well! Like I do any food recipe, I always add a little bit of something else. In this case, a drop of Heaven Essential Oil after a good trace. Then I experienced a panic for being overzealous. I do believe I will make another batch of this recipe without the coconut flakes just as soon as the mold is free. Thank you for sharing your recipe. It was super easy to follow and a great for a novice like me.

    • profile image

      Jessica 2 years ago

      Just made a batch tonight with lavender oil for my little ones!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thanks for this useful hub for making your own soap. Excellent instructions and fantastic photos.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and will share.

    • profile image

      Evie@best antifungal soap 2 years ago

      Very inspiring...I'm using coconut milk soap , and worked well for skin. :-)

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Sorry about the slower reply this time marianne, it was late here when I approved your last comment and was too tired to think clearly.

      So if you didn't use a silicone mold it could be a lot of other things that caused your batch to not harden. The most obvious one would be that you misweighed the ingredients maybe?

    • profile image

      marianne 2 years ago

      thanks for your fast answer. (excuse me for my bad english, i'm from holland)

      i did not use a sillicone mold, just an empty pringle can,

      i will let the soap rest a few weeks, and see what it will become. BTW i don't mind the problems, just lessons :-)

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      I'm sorry to hear you're having problems. Are you using a silicone mold? They are more trouble than they're worth because they form an airtight seal around the soap bar which means it takes longer for it to harden and makes it harder to unmold. If you are indeed using a silicone mold, try placing it in the fridge overnight, you should be able to get the bar out in the morning, once it thaws, leave it to set for a couple of days. Your bar should then be fine for cutting.

      If you're not using a silicone mold, then it's hard for me to say exactly what went wrong since I didn't see you making it. It should dry out and harden over time. When this happens to my soap, I usually just shape it into bars by hand and let them cure for a few weeks.

    • profile image

      marianne 2 years ago

      another question: my soap is still verry soft after 3 days.

      it also was kind of sticky when i tried getting it out of the mold.

      now it feels like some kind of playdoh :-)

      wil this dry ore is this batch ruiend?

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Unfortunately the saponification process destroys most of the food ingredients' odours. Coconut essential oil would help but be sure to add it at trace, if you add it before trace the soap mixture will seize. As I don't use essential oils in my soaps, I can't advise you on how much to use but there is lots of information on the internet about it, so be sure to do some research first and good luck, let me know how it goes.

    • profile image

      marianne 2 years ago

      hi there, i've made this coconutsoap / like what is does for my skin. verry soft not dry. nice bubbles also.!!!

      but... i hoped it would smel like a bounty island, whaha. but i just smell the olive-oil. and it stayed brown-isch. but i don't mind that. looks verry nice.

      would a few dropps of coconut essential oil help for the smell?? thanks!!

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 2 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      Very interesting! For some time now, I have wanted to try my hand at making soap, but I must confess that lye scares me. I want to find good melt-and-pour tutorials to start with, if you have never thought of making some of those, here you have your first request.

    • WNJohns631 profile image

      WNJohns631 2 years ago

      Ah I love coconut, it's so versatile! Great recipe here, I've been debating trying to make my own soaps for a bit now. Might give this one a try :)

    • beautyandthebeast profile image

      beautyandthebeast 2 years ago

      Awesome! Thanks for the wonderful information.

    • Anthony Moreau profile image

      Richard de Mey 2 years ago from Scottsdale, Arizona

      what a great recipe .. i been using coconut oil in my coffee.. its the good fat good for many things

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for reading my hub blueheron and for your feedback, I always appreciate it when people let me know how they go with trying out the recipe.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Thank you so much for this recipe! I've been making soap for awhile now, but haven't ventured much into milk soaps. I used your recipe as a guide to including coconut milk in one of my own recipes, since I'm so inexperienced with milk soaps. It looks good, so far!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Unfortunately you need to use caustic soda to make soap from scratch.

    • profile image

      Laura 2 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this recipe. I really want to try it but i am not comfortable with using caustic soda, is there anything I could use instead?

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      It'll make a great Christmas present for anyone. Please let me know how you go.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      This is what I'm making this weekend and giving away at Christmas- if mine turns out half as pretty as yours.

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      So there really were two things going on, the air pockets and too much lye (in this case caused by the lumps in your lye solution suggesting that the lye hadn't been completely dissolved). I'm so glad we figured it out. And yes please let me know how the next batch goes.

    • profile image

      Simran Sandhu 2 years ago

      Hi! Yes, it zaps :( In hindsight I realize that my lye mix might have been a bit lumpy. Everything else is precise: the weighing scale is digital and I weigh in grams.

      The mini batch turned out beautifully! Not only did it whiten right when it started setting( my previous ones are still a caramel colour), there arent any white spots either!!!yay! It was precisely half of your original measurement and instead of using a loaf mould I poured directly into 150gm silicone moulds. Also I didn't cover with a light blanket like I did with the others.

      But there were air pockets right at the bottom....so I need to be more careful with blending, like you suggested.

      Will be trying another batch day after.... will share how that goes.

      Honestly, can't thank you enough :)

      Simran

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      We'll get to the bottom of this. Sounds to me like you're using too much lye. The only way to really know is to dab a tiny amount of the beads onto your tongue. Just a very small amount onto your finger tip and then onto your tongue will let you know... if you feel a tingling sensation then it's lye, not water. It would feel very similar to the sensation you get when you put your tongue onto the terminals of a 9volt battery. Rinse off your tongue afterwards. If that's what it is just reduce the amount of Lye you use. Are you measuring your Lye and oils in grams? It's important to measure in weight and not liquids. Are you using a digital scale? They give more precise measurements than one with a needle pointing to the numbers... those are not advisable for soap making.

      Is your lye solution fully dissolved or are there any lumps in it when you pour it into your oils? It should be fully dissolved. Any lumps should be filtered out with a sifter.

      When you say you did a mini batch, do you mean you're reducing the quantities stated in the recipe? If so be sure you reduce all quantities equally. So if you reduce the amount of oils by half, you should reduce the amount of sodium hydroxide and coconut milk by half also.

    • profile image

      Simran Sandhu 2 years ago

      Thank you for your detailed response!

      The spots were inside and theres no powder on the surface. And now they're acting hygroscopic with tiny beads of water on their surface. (??)

      So I did a mini batch, again! This time I took care to mix the NaOH crystals veryyy well into the coconut milk...sat the container in an ice bath so it wont overheat and clump....Poured it all in one go into the oils and started whizzing...here is where I will take your advice and pour gently onto the stick with the vessel on a tilt. Will be careful about air bubbles with the blending next time. Will have to wait until tomr to see the results on this one

      Reducing the variables with each batch....With your experience and my persistence I hope to spot the problem this way. :) Will let you know how it turns out.

      Thanks again!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Hi Simran

      I have had that happen a few times to batches of my soap and it could be a couple of things. I don't think they are lye pockets because your soap would burn your skin if that's what it was.

      It could be air bubbles that formed in your soap mixture or something called soda ash. If the spots are just on the surface, then it's soda ash a very common occurrence that almost all soap makers will experience and the best way to prevent it is to spray some rubbing alcohol over your soap mix after pouring it into your molds. Use a spray bottle for this. Just a few quick sprays should do it and the alcohol will evaporate so no need to worry about it getting into your soap.

      If however you find the spots all through your soap, then it's more than likely that you got air bubbles into your mix during the blending process. There are a few things you can do to minimise air bubbles:

      1. When pouring your lye solution into your oils, place your stick blender into the oil and pour the lye over its shaft so that the lye runs down it.

      2. Angle the end of your blending stick in your mixture and tap against the bottom of the container to release any air bubbles that might be caught in it then keep the end of the stick submerged for the duration of the mixing so that you're not introducing more air into the mix. If you need to take the stick out for any reason, just repeat the bubble releasing step before blending again.

      3. Once you have poured your mixture into your mold(s), tap the mold against the surface on which it's sitting a few times to help release any air bubbles that might have formed, do this gently to avoid spillage.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if it doesn't.

    • profile image

      Simran Sandhu 2 years ago

      Hello! I am back after having made 3 batches of your luscious recipe. Thank you once again! Just unmoulded the third one today. What I can't get my head around is tiny white spots here and there (possibly lye pockets?) that appear as soon as the soap starts cooling whilst in the mould. The first time I thought maybe I didn't stir well enough and reached trace too soon( it was a warm day too) so I hand stirred occasionally on the second one. Not too much success. The last one I went very easy with....stirred....let it sit for a few minutes, then blended at medium speed...let sit...stir....for about 20 minutes to reach trace....I thought I did an ok job.....but they're still there!!!! albeit not too many, but still.....does this happen with you ever? I would really appreciate your advice on this one. Thanks.

    • Mel92114 profile image

      Mel92114 2 years ago

      Most informative article...I really enjoyed this. Going to definitely give this a go. I love making my own products and I'm always on the look out for new and different recipes. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Thank you Jane, I hope people find it helpful.

    • profile image

      Jane 2 years ago

      I think it is very kind of you to post this for people

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      I've never used essential oils because I prefer to make my soaps as pure as possible but it's always nice to hear from other people who use them. I wish I could give you some advice but I'm afraid I'm not qualified to do so. I too love lavender and I also love eucalyptus and orange.

    • profile image

      anniam 2 years ago

      I have made several batches of this now and have added essential oil to them for fragrance. Based on what I read elsewhere for milk-based soaps I added the essential oil to the oils before mixing in the lye. (For other cold process soaps I add just before trace).

      It worked great, except for the batch where I used a eucalyptus-spearment fragrance oil rather than an essential oil. In that batch the soap came to trace too fast and was very hard to pour into the mold. That soap has turned out OK, just not as nice and smooth as the other batches.

      The lesson (which I already knew from other CP soaping) is use essential oils, not fragrance oils.

      PS. my favorites are lavender (of course) and lemongrass oil which I have gotten from Bulk Apothecary.

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Hi Katy, it should be fine to use home made coconut milk, just be sure to separate the oil from it though.

    • profile image

      Katy 2 years ago

      Can you use homemade coconut milk? (Recipe: 4 cups of warm water to 2 cups of shredded coconut blended and strained) The oil hardens when chilled and can be removed as well. Thanks!

    • Penny G profile image

      Penny Godfirnon 2 years ago from Southern Iowa

      I would like to pass this on to my daughter. She does make soap, but not this kind. She has a child who is alleergic to many things. This might be good for his sensitive skin. Thanks so muh for the great directions as well.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Ohhh, I think I just might try this out for myself.

    • profile image

      Simran Sandhu 2 years ago

      Ahh ok. That makes things clear on how long to wait it out. Thanks for your help. Cheers!

    • profile image

      Jessica 2 years ago

      Hello again! I need a little help trouble shooting I think.

      I made this soap 4 days ago. I made a double batch and poured it into a rubber made container for a mold. (It's what they did in my soap book)

      At 48hrs I tried to pop the big brick out so I could either cut into bars to fully cure for 6 weeks or try a milling recipe. I read that milk soaps should be milled "wet"

      Soooo it wouldn't come out of the big mold. Oh how I banged and pushed and squished and pulled on the mold, but to no avail. I got grumpy tossed it on the counter upside down in hopes it would magically fall out overnight and went to bed.

      3rd day I got a hard spatula and scraped the sides of the mold hoping to loosen the soap brick. Didn't work.

      I noticed while scraping that the soap is soft like play doh so I decided to wait another day. Maybe because it was a double batch it takes longer to harden?

      Anyway, I have mutilated it now to where I can't possibly have beautify cut bars anymore so I've started scooping it out and grating it to mill and repour. It's just so soft! So now I'm worried I did something wrong and don't want to continue if I've ruined the batch. Is this normal?

      When I go to the sink to rinse the soap mush off my hands it lathers right up, sooo I THINK it soaponified.

      Am I on the right track or have I completely botched this thing?? LOL Any helpful advice or words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

      Jess

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      I don't know what the end result of adding all those ingredients would be, but why not try it? If added at trace there shouldn't be any problems with the soap setting. I should be OK to use the hot process but I don't know if the soap would whiten afterwards. Also, when doing a hot process soap, you should still wait 6-8 weeks for the soap to cure. Hot processing it just means that water will evaporate from it faster and in the end you'll be left with a harder, longer-lasting bar, but it won't make the lye in it become inactive any faster than doing it by cold process, only time will do that.

    • profile image

      Simran Sandhu 2 years ago

      What a well written article! Out of all the others I have read, yours didn't make me nervous at all. Thanks!

      I am trying to make an all-in-one bar so do you think adding either of these ingredients at trace - almond meal, coffee, activated charcoal or rose petals will add to the quality of the soap?Do you have any other suggestions?

      Also, can this recipe be hot processed? If so, will the colour turn white at trace or later? Which is a better process? I just can't wait for 6 weeks ;)

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 2 years ago from Charleston SC

      Very interesting! I have sensitive skin and I can't use a lot of store brand soaps; they are too drying and make me itchy! I can't wait to try this!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 2 years ago from Australia

      Hi Jessica, thanks for your feedback, I'm glad you had a go at making this soap and that it worked well for you. It should be OK to mill this soap, I haven't done it myself but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Maybe just start with a small amount first to see how it goes? Please let me know how it went.

      Hello anniam

      I'm so sorry for replying so late, I didn't realise you had left a comment. So if you haven't made a scented batch yet, here is what I would recommend: add the essential oils at trace. This soap is fragrance-free so whatever scent you choose to add shouldn't have any adverse effects on the soap. Please let me know how you go.

    • profile image

      Jessica 2 years ago

      Hi there! Thanks so much for this recipe. I just made my first batch, and it was so much fun! I was super freaked out about doing it, and now that it's cooing, I am WAY less intimidated about trying this again.

      I was wondering if this recipe can be milled?? If so, do I need to use a different technique, or can I just pick a standard milling recipe for milk soaps?? Again, thanks so much!

    • JessicaBarst profile image

      Jessica Barst 3 years ago from Dallas, TX

      This is so helpful! You do such a great job of explaining for those of us who are new to (and a little intimidated by) the process of making soap.

      I have dabbled in making other beauty products before but soap is one I have yet to be brave enough to attempt. This recipe looks great and thanks to your in-depth explanation, I finally feel confident enough to actually try it - and like I have all the info I need all in one place :)

      I love that this coconut soap can also be used to wash hair, and I didn't realize that using palm oil contributes to the destruction of orangutan habitats - good to know.

      Thanks so much! I look forward to reading more from you!

    • profile image

      anniam 3 years ago

      I have not used milk before in cold process soap. However, my cousin sent me some from this recipe and it is WONDERFUL. I'm wondering though, about adding fragrance (lavender or lemon grass oil) to this recipe--I wouldn't want to mess up this lovely recipe.

      Have you added fragrance? And, if not do you think it would negatively affect the soap? Thanks!!

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 3 years ago from Australia

      carloD, that's definitely what would have caused the soap to stay brown. It's important to let the soap cool down as it sets since this is a cold process soap.

    • profile image

      Lynda 3 years ago

      Online is my next step. Don't have a health food store close. Thanks.

    • profile image

      carloD 3 years ago

      The day was not particularly hot, but I wrapped with several layers of towels, which probably kept it hot too Long. Thanks a lot for your quick answer

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 3 years ago from Australia

      Hello carloD

      Soap mixture that contains milk turns brown because the sugar in the milk caramelizes. Usually, once the mixture cools down as the soap sets it turns white again. However, sometimes this doesn't happen and it's usually because the mixture took too long to cool down. Did you make the soap on a very hot day or in a hot room? Maybe you left it near a heat source as it was setting? I usually leave my soap in a cool room to set.

    • profile image

      carloD 3 years ago

      Hi, great recipe for a gently skin treatment, gives nice bubbles.

      My soap did keep a caramel color. Any idea why it did not turn White?

      Thx a lot

    • sleepylog profile image
      Author

      Sleepylog 3 years ago from Australia

      I agree with you Lynda that it's difficult to find coconut milk without additives and the best I could do was find a brand that only has water as an additive and even now my supermarket no longer stocks it. Have you tried looking online or at a health food store?