Monday, September 16, 2013

Pure Castile Soap

Pure Castile soap is so simple to make and is used in several natural cleaner formulas. Making your own takes very little time and you can be sure you know all the ingredients in each bar you are using. Dish soap, laundry cleaner, all purpose cleaner, shower cleaners are just naming a few applications you can use this in. This also makes a great facial soap that has low foaming properties and just one ingredient. By adding essential oils you can boost this soap to do multiple things and because it just has olive oil the fear of allergic reactions or sensitivities drops tremendously. I recommend this soap for those that have had issues with soaps that irritate or cause reactions. 

I am doing this post and instructions for making this after a question from a friend led to a lot of different suggestions for laundry detergent. A lot of them had Castile soap as an ingredient. I had come across a person, Patrice, who had apprenticed under a master soap maker and had been a great help last time I made soap. I made sure that steps were right and got what she used as a guideline to ensure I was doing this all correctly. If you can find someone that has a lot of experience with soap or has done time, like Patrice, with a master soap maker I urge you to talk with them. Get ideas and ask questions. Soap making is easy, but yet has things that if not done right can either ruin the soap or injure a person if not done correctly. Know proper practices, find out what works best and how they do things. Like canning, having someone that can help you out the first few times can help the soap making process smoother and more comfortable. 

Onto the Castile soap, for those of you who aren't aware, pure Castile soap is just Olive oil and lye... Yup pure olive oil soap. A lot of soaps now that have the majority of their soap Olive oil call it Castile soap, but just for clarification, the original Castile soap was just Olive oil. Here are the amounts I used and it made a decent amount of soap for me to set aside and use for cleaner recipes. I added peppermint to a few so I can use them as hot weather soaps. With the peppermint EO added it gives it a cooling feeling and as long as you don't use it on sensitive parts (yes it feels like its burning) it works great to help cool you down!! 

REMEMBER DON'T EVER JUST TRUST SOMEONE'S CALCULATIONS, always run formulas through a lye calculator, if you change any ingredients or values you need to rerun the formula through the calculator also. 

Castile Soap Formula

48 oz. Olive oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO))
14 oz. water
6.10 oz. Lye
1 teaspoon EO of choice (optional, if you are making this for cleaning choose one that will be one you use in your cleaner)

Great cleaning EO's can be, but aren't limited to:
  • Lemon 
  • Eucalyptus
  • Melaleuca
  • Peppermint 
  • Lavender
  • Mixes such as DōTERRA OnGuard,Young Living's Thieves oil or Plant Therapy's Germ Fighter blend for extra antibacterial cleaning

I first measure out my water into a glass bowl and mix my lye solution that I pour into a GLASS measuring cup then pour outside to avoid fumes inside, if you do it inside make sure you are in a well ventilated area or have some way to vent gasses caused by the chemical reaction away from you. REMEMBER to ALWAYS add lye to water and NOT water to the lye or you will cause an explosion of acid all over you and the surrounding area. ALWAYS use protective gloves (I use the gloves that you use when washing dishes) and I recommend safety goggles/glasses when mixing lye, I had a friend get a burn next to her eye and didn't even realize she had splashed the solution there. I use a metal spoon to stir the solution to ensure the lye gets mixed in. Then let the water sit for a while to get the fumes to disepate and the water to cool down (the chemical reaction causes the water to heat up) to around 110 degrees.

While waiting for the lye to stop fuming and cool down (ha, sounds like it's angry) I gently heated the EVOO to around 110 degrees to keep the temps consistent when I added the lye solution. Then once my lye solution has cooled (I just feel the outside of the bowl and make sure its warm but not hot or you can use a metal based thermometer to ensure it's around 110 degrees) and the oil is warmed I add the lye to my oil and use a hand held mixer to mix the lye solution in until I hit trace. 

You will know when you hit trace because it will get cloudy and thicken kind of like pudding, once you hit trace you don't need to continue to mix. You can go a little longer but too long and it will start to harden. Olive oil is one oil that doesn't take long to get to trace so don't be surprised if after a minute or two of mixing you are there. 

After you have gotten the soap to trace either pour into a silicone mold or bread pan lined with freezer paper works or just a plain old wooden box mold that has been lined with freezer paper for easy removal. I personally usually use silicone molds because I have found it needs the least prep work and my soaps come out of them very easily. As you can see in my picture the only problem was my bread mold was flimsy so I propped it until the soap became a little harder (less than 12 hours) and then just let them sit for 24-48 hours before you take them out from the mold. Make sure you wrap them in a towel during that first 24-48 hour period to allow the soaps to cook (they will be warm still due to the continuation of the chemical process with the lye). If you have them in a block, like I did with the bread mold, cut them into soaps right after you take them out from the mold. They should still be soft enough to easily cut at that point. 

Then put the soaps, covered, somewhere to finish with the chemical process and let the lye fully process through, it takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks. Using a bar before that time, with ANY lye based soaps, can result in burns caused by the lye not fully being processed out of the soap. 

While this seems like a lengthy process, you have a soap that is simple, inexpensive and a great first time soap to make!! Plus extremely handy if you make a lot of your own cleaning products or need a soap to use for yourself without a lot of extra ingredients that may cause irritation. 


  1. Thank you so very much! This is EXACTLY what I've been looking for--an all OLIVE OIL, true castile soap recipe and tutorial. This is great. I'm going to soap now! God bless you and have a lovely day.

    1. AWESOME!! So glad to hear you will enjoy this. :) Patrice was awesome in helping me out with this so I will share that with her also. Sometimes all it takes is someone to just get you going....

  2. So glad to find this! I have a coconut allergy so most "castile" soap recipes disappoint me as so often they aren't pure olive oil. This is wonderful!