Almond Oatmeal Soap

Almond Oatmeal Soap

I have been curious about making soap at home for a long time, but until this year, I had not gotten up the courage to try.  The main part that had been holding me back was working with lye.  As an organic gardener, I my initial instinct is to avoid strong dangerous chemicals.  And to make REAL soap, there is no getting around using Lye in the processing.  Lye is caustic and is a basic ingredient in most drain cleaners.  Eeeek!

The other roadblock to me trying was the cost of the natural ingredients, especially organic ones.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I am generally frugal.  It is much cheaper to buy ready made soap in the store now a days, than make it from scratch at home.  If I messed up the process, it would be a big waste of money.  Therefore, I had to do it right the first time.

I repeatedly watched a few youtube videos on soap making.  My favorite video, and the one the recipe below is adapted from,  is of a gracious Mennonite lady, Marsha, making her soap outdoors near a beautiful natural spring on her property in Tennessee.  Marsha claims the soap is so gentle, it is the kind she uses on her grand-babies.

Okay, I guess I could try this…..Here is my finished product with labels (for giving as gifts) and tied with rafia:

My finished oatmeal almond soap

Almond Oatmeal Soap

3 c.  water
17 oz lye (100%  sodium hydroxide / caustic soda)*
6 lb oil (do not substitute animal fat lard in this recipe)  Below are the oils I used in this batch:

  • 2 lbs  coconut oil
  • 2 lbs. soybean shortening
  • 2 lbs canola oil

2 c. lemon juice
1 oz powdered goat milk
2 oz stearic acid
5 oz  almond oil
2 oz  oatmeal (ground in a stick blender)

This video was the most helpful of all the ones I watched: “Homemade Soap at Marsha’s”


This is a cold process soap that takes about 3 + weeks to cure.

The hardest part of making it, for me, was actually getting all the ingredients and materials together.  I wasted a lot of gas because it took me a few days to shop around for everything at reasonable prices, plus I wanted as many of the ingredients as possible to be organic.  No single store had all the ingredients; my ingredients mainly came from Stater Bros., Sprouts, and Trader Joes.  From what I read on the internet, 100% lye is the hardest ingredient for homemade soap makers to come by, and for a few reasons: meth makers buy it all up, stores would rather stock name brand liquid drain cleaners instead of old fashion pure lye, USPS prohibits shipping lye in the mail, and UPS charges a premium “hazmat” fee to ship lye via their service.  I found it at a local Ace Hardware.  I had to order the Stearic acid from an online candle and soap making supply store.  That meant waiting for days again before I could get started.  Stearic Acid is used as a hardener and an emulsifier in the recipe and since I have never made soap, I didn’t want to alter the ingredients list much.  Since I was unable to buy anything wholesale or in bulk, over all, the ingredients cost me approximately $40.  I didn’t make or buy a mold, instead repurposing a plastic bin lined with press and seal plastic wrap.  It came out okay, but I had to do a lot of trimming to make it look nice.  Next time I will use a box or make a mold.

We have been using the soap now for a few weeks, and I must say, I really do like it and plan to make it again in the near future.  I gave the majority of the bars away for Christmas to love ones, so I only have a few left.  The one thing I will do different in the next batch is make the bars a little larger.  The bars started out bigger, but since I had never trimmed down soap before, I made a lot of opps before I got the hang of it and how to make a nice shape that I liked.  These ended up around 2 1/2 -3 oz.  I think I want a 4 oz size next time.  I also plan to use olive oil in the next batch instead of canola, now that I am comfortable with what I am doing.

*Making soap is an exact science and lye is very caustic.  Always follow safety procedures with lye and all soap making methods, including wearing protective eye gear and gloves. 

Here is a link to a good source for lots of recipes, methods, trouble shooting, and more.  I would recommend starting there if you have never made soap before, and even if you have there are lots of great resources. And for anyone wanting to come up with their own homemade soap recipe, here is an excellent soap making calculator that calculates the correct amount needed of Lye and Water to different oils.

8 thoughts on “Almond Oatmeal Soap

  1. By the way, the video states you can use any oil. That is true but the SAP value differs from oil to oil so you have to have the correct values in order to have success. Randomly using any oil in any amounts to equal 6 pounds is not going to yield successful results in all cases. You must calculate the values–otherwise you might waste expensive ingredients.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I did use a soap calculator. I thought there was a link to one within the post to it.

  2. I just bought sodium hydroxide (lye) from and it was mailed USPS mail. I was able to buy it in 3# bags. Also the book, “The Soap Makers Companion” has lots of variations of oils and recipes. A book by the same author has an entire chapter on the chemistry and how to calculate and adjust the proportions to get the correct amount of lye to oil. Try Columbus Oil in Chicago, Illinois ( for economical and organic oils. Their website has a SAP calculator too so you can figure out any oils you want to try. I have all the ingredients without leaving my house. I have been making cold process soap like this for almost 20 years and I have always gotten my oils (food grade) from this company. I make a 10# batch recipe (40- 4 oz bars) which is the same amount of lye you use mixed with 3 pounds of water. Oils are 4 pounds olive, 2-1/2 pounds coconut and 1-1/2 pounds palm oil. Weighing the ingredients is more accurate which results in successful soap making. I have never had a batch fail and I have never used stearic acid, lemon juice or milk. I only add 18 teaspoons of various pure essential oils.

    1. I am sorry. I don’t know for sure. I know it turns to liquid when heated. I would recommend searching one of the soap making forums for the right answer.

      1. FYI ; already tried this recipe using liquid soybean oil which can be found at your local grocery store. It says vegetable oil but look at the ingredients it will say 100% Soybean oil . Crisco vegetable oil is one of them. My soap turned out great .

  3. Hi – very nice blog site. I found you from a link on backyard chickens website. I love the soap recipe. I’m an acupuncturist and am always trying to urge my patients to switch to local, organic products. This soap recipe might come in handy for me. Maybe I will try making it this spring. Thanks again!

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