A very simple three ingredient soap recipe that produces a hard, strong bar of soap for cleaning or laundry. Not for skin.
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What makes this different from regular soap?
If you have never tried homemade soap before, please see my beginner’s guide to cold process soap making, which will walk you through everything you need to know!
Homemade cleaning soap is one of the most useful products you can have to save money on cleaning supplies. Although it is way too harsh to use on your skin, is perfect for household chores
This is the easiest soap recipe you can make. It is designed for making laundry and cleaning products. it only contains coconut oil, water, and lye.
If you are new to soap making, you need to know that all soap is a combination of oils, water, and lye. A chemical reaction occurs and soap is produced. At first it is a batter, then you pour into molds where it sits overnight and becomes a bar of soap.
The oils you choose affect the outcome of your soap. Some are extra cleansing, some are moisturizing, etc. This recipe uses only coconut oil, the most drying and cleansing oil of all. It is calculated to have NO superfat so that it doesn’t leave any type of residue. (The things that make it terrible for your skin make it perfect for cleaning!)
This recipe contains no color and no fragrance. When I mix it up into household cleaners I add fragrance at that point if I want it. But you could certainly add fragrance and color to the soap batter.
Watch the video:
Tools and ingredients you’ll need:
- 30 ounces coconut oil (buy it in bulk to save money, brambleberry.com is good source)
- 5.52 ounces of Lye
- 10-12 ounces of water
- A digital scale.
- Stick blender
- Individual bar molds. This recipe sets up hard and is difficult to cut!
- Old pots and cups for measuring ingredients
Step by step
We begin, like with all soap recipes, by mixing up the lye and water. This will create fumes, so do this outside or near an open window. They will shoot up in temperature. Set it aside to cool in a safe place.
Next, melt the coconut oil over low heat on the stovetop. When it’s melted, it will look like any other cooking oil.
Everything needs to cool now for a few hours until they are about 110 degrees.
Get everything ready to go before you blend. You’ll need your mold out, and any color or fragrance if you’re using them.
Put on your safety gear (goggles and gloves), and blend the soap. It will come to trace very quickly, since it is all solid oils.
Immediately pour the soap batter into bar molds.
Let it sit for about 24 hours, then unmold.
It doesn’t need much cure time, since it is such a hard bar and you aren’t using it on your skin. Store in a dry, cool place.
Ideas for using your cleaning soap:
- Spot cleaning upholstery or bedding. You can get the bar wet or spray the fabric with water. Then rub the bar onto the stain and follow with a wet rag. If just a small stain gets on a quilt or bedspread I will often do this rather than washing the whole thing.
- Use it as a dish soap. Simply keep a bar with a wooden scrub brush and dish rag by your sink, get soap on you brush or rag, and clean your dishes.
- Rub the bar directly on any laundry stains before you put them in the washer. A little water and some scrubbing with this soap will effectively pretreat stains very well. It is especially good for greasy or ground in stains that resist stain sprays, like ring around the collar or kid’s dirty sleeves around their wrists. I keep a bar in each bathroom so that whenever someone gets undressed I can spot treat their clothes.
- Make soap flakes with a box grater or the shredding disk of your food processor. Mix in a mason jar 2 parts soap flakes to one part borax. You can add a few drops of fragrance oil or essential oil if you like. This makes a nice scrubbing cleanser for the bathroom toilet, shower, or tub. You will need to rinse well after using it, so don’t try this on your mirror or floor.
- When you travel, take a bar with you to hand-wash small clothing items in the sink.
- (I don’t like homemade laundry detergent. I just don’t think it cleans well, regardless of the recipe. But if you like it, this bar works as well as any other, such as Zote or Fels-Naptha. I’ve tried them all.)
Print the recipe:Print
Coconut Oil Soap for Cleaning
This is a strong, hard soap for dishes, laundry, and household cleaning. Not for skin.
- 30 ounces of coconut oil
- 10–12 ounces of water
- 5.52 ounces of lye
- OPTIONAL: color and fragrance
- Set your old pot on your digital scale and tare it so it reads 0. Weigh out 30 ounces of coconut oil. Set it aside.
- Set your old cup or bowl on your digital scale and tare to 0. Weigh out 5.52 ounces of lye. Set it aside.
- Put your large glass container or large pyrex cup on your digital scale and set it to 0.
- Pour in 10-12 ounces of water. Make sure the container has enough room to hold the lye that you have set aside. If not, transfer it to something else.
- Now you need to add the lye to the water. NEVER add the water to the lye. A way to remember this is the saying “snow floats on the lake”. Do this by an open window if you can because it will give off fumes. Stir with a butter knife to make sure all the lye dissolves. The solution will get very hot. Put it somewhere that NO ONE CAN ACCIDENTALLY DRINK IT OR KNOCK IT OVER.
- Take your pot filled with coconut oil and heat it up on low on your stove. The oils need to completely melt and be at around 130 degrees.
- Remove the oil from the heat and allow it and the lye solution to cool. They need to cool down to about 120 at the hottest. This will take a couple hours and is the most dangerous time for your lye cup.
- Check the temperature of your oil and lye. You can use a thermometer or feel the side of the containers with your hand. They should be comfortably warm, but not at all hot.
- If everything is ready, it’s time to blend. Have everything ready before you start. If you are doing fragrance or color, have it measured. Make sure your mold is ready. Have something sturdy under it like an old tray or baking sheet so you can move it out of the way when you are done.
- Add the lye water to the oil and start to blend with your stick blender on low. You are looking for something called “Trace”. This means that when you drag your blender through the solution, it leaves a trace. If you lift up your stick and soap batter comes off of it, it will not immediately flow back in like a liquid, but will sit on top for just a second, like a thin batter. This recipe traces VERY quickly, because it is 100% hard oil. You will only be blending for 1-3 minutes.
- As soon as trace is reached, IMMEDIATELY pour the batter into the molds. If you take too long, soap will start forming and hardening right in the pot.
- Put your mold out of the way somewhere to let the soap saponify (turn in to soap). It will need to sit about 12-24 hours.
- After the waiting period, turn your homemade cleaning soap bars out and store them in a place they can breathe. An old box with layers of newspaper works well. Let them cure a week or two to get even harder so they will last long.