Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Coconut oil soap - Laundry soap

I've made up a little grated laundry soap for myself and I'll sell a little at my local markets. It's not cost effective for me to sell laundry soap online so I thought I'd share the recipe I use.

100% Coconut oil shredded laundry soap
I wouldn't suggest making this as your first soap as 100% coconut oil soap will easily misbehave and overheat.

If you are unfamiliar with soap making I would first buy/borrow a good soap making book and try some of the other recipes first. I would highly recommend "The Everything Soapmaking Book" by Alicia Grosso. It's very well written and the recipes will work out.

I would also check any recipe you would like to use in a soap calculator such as soapcalc as it is always possible that there are transcription errors in a recipe.

There are lots of U-tube videos of soap making around. Some are very good, some show very dangerous practices. Therefore I'd read some quality material on soap making first.

Coconut oil unhydrogenated - I use RBD coconut oil with a melt point of 25C, you could use virgin coconut oil but it would be much more expensive. 1000g

Sodium hydroxide 98-99% 182g

Water 468g


Do not use any glass, aluminium or rigid clear plastics with soapmaking the Caustic will react with them making them susceptible to catastrophic failure.

Do not undertake soap making with children or pets in the area as you are working with highly corrosive concentrated sodium hydroxide solutions.

-Accurate scales with at least 1g accuracy. This is even more important for laundry kitchen soap than for hand soap as you work a lot closer to the neutralisation point for the caustic with these.
-Fully enclosed chemical safety googles
-Heavy duty rubber gloves
-Closed shoes
-Long sleeves and pants
-Stick blender ideally you can use a hand whisk it will just take a lot longer.
-Large bowl - Heavy plastic or stainless steel saucepan
-Silicone spatula
-Plastic spoon
-Mould/s plastic tupperware containers, milk cartons will work. Ideally line these with baking paper to make it easier to remove the soap. I'd suggest something shallow would work better for coconut oil soap if you aren't used working with it.
-Cake rack.
-Grater, food processor or mincer.
-Well ventilated area.

The coconut oil soap reaction is hot and fast and precautions need to be taken to keep the reacting soap mix cooler.

Step 1- Put on your safety gear

Step 2- Weigh out and warm your coconut oil just enough to melt it. This can be done in the microwave.

Step 3- Weigh out your water.

Step 4- Weigh out your Sodium hydroxide and add it slowly to the water. Never add pour the water onto the sodium hydroxide it is not a safe practice.

Step 5- Patience - allow the sodium hydroxide solution to cool to room temperature.

Step 6- Slowly pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oils. Stir gently, then blend. Take care not to splatter caustic solution.

Step 7- When the oil and caustic solution have started to react and are like a thick custard (at trace) pour into prepared moulds. Shallow moulds are better if the soap is poured at around 3 cm depth is much less likely to overheat and volcano out of the mould than a thicker pour. You can do it but you need to be much more careful.

Step 8- Just cover lightly with glad wrap or a light tea towel. (Don't insulate heavily). Lift the mould of the surface on a cake rack or similar to allow air to circulate underneath. Ensure there is good air movement. Small batches I pop under the range-hood with the fan on. Larger batches I place outside. Make sure no children or pets can assess the soap.

Step 9- This reaction is fast and over in a few hours. You will notice the soap will go through gel. The reaction creates so much heat that the soap mix melts itself. Once this has happened it will slowly cool and become solid again.

Step 11- After reaction the pH of the soap will have dropped from pH 14 to around 9-10. You will need to check this.

Step 12- You can keep some soap in solid blocks to rub on stains. However you will probably want to use it grated. Ideally do this while the soap is still a little warm. It is much easier as it becomes very hard once totally cool.


This produces a very cleansing soap suitable for laundry/kitchen use in areas with soft to moderate water. If your water is a little hard you can use 1 cup of washing soda to every 2 cups of soap. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon or so of you favourite essential oil to the wash to add scent if you would like.

You can dissolve some in water and use it in a squirt bottle at the kitchen sink. This makes a good cleansing soap for hand washing dishes. It is a little harsh on the hands so I would use gloves while doing the dishes.

In areas of very hard water where you don't soften your water before use. I would suggest using a eco friendly detergent instead.

For woollens and silks using a gentler olive oil soap or gentle detergent would be a preferable option. Protein based fabrics are susceptible to damage with very cleansing soaps.


Lilac essential oil soap

Well not really. As much as some people would like to advertise soap as lilac essential oil soap there is no lilac essential oil.

However if you love essential oils like me then there is no need to despair you can get very close to the scent of lilacs using a blend of Nerolina oil and a touch of ylang ylang oil.

What is Nerolina oil you ask. It is steam distilled oil from the leaves of broad leaved paperbark Melaleuca quinquenerva which contains high levels of linalool and nerolidol making it a gorgeous floral scented oil. The oil by itself has a gorgeous floral scent with a strong lilac note not at all what you would expect from a tea tree.

Lilac soap