The Easiest 3 Ingredient Soap Recipe - The Soap Coach
3 ingredient soap recipe

How to make a simple soap with just 3 ingredients

If, like me, you are in the UK and are looking for a super simple soap recipe to get started you have finally arrived in the right place. You have probably gone through a ton of US sites, trawled You Tube, become somewhat overwhelmed and just want some one to make it easy for you!  Hello - I am here :)

This is not a definitive How to Make Soap. I don't think that can be done in just one blog post (more about that later on ) but do read on and I will talk you through the basics.

If I were to choose a simple soap recipe that you can make at home it would, without a doubt be 100% coconut oil soap. I love this stuff, not least because you can make it from just 3 ingredients, one of those being water. 

Coconut Oil Soap Recipe

Coconut Oil is readily available from the shops, you can use water out of the tap here in the UK and the only other thing you really need is Sodium Hydroxide aka Caustic Soda  which you can find in a hardware or  DIY store (just make sure it is 100% sodium hydroxide) alternatively you can order it online. Top Tip, the B & Q one is fine to use. 

Coconut Oil soap is to me, incredibly versatile. It is one of the few oils you can use on it's own to make soap (the other is olive oil). 

You can vary the recipe to make dish soap (use a 0% superfat), make a luxury bar with a 20 -25% superfat or use something in between to make my award winning dog soap. I won't be talking too much about what superfatting is now but I do have a blog on the topic here.   If superfatting is a new term for you it refers to the amount of free floating oils and butters left in your soap when the process is complete. 

Why is Coconut Oil Good For Soap Making?

Coconut oil gives a very hard, long lasting, bubbly, deep cleaning bar of soap. It can be a little harsh on the skin as it is so deep cleaning but this is easily counteracted by upping the superfat considerably, 20 to 25% is normal and it is probably the only soap I would even consider using this level of superfat for. 

I am using it in this blog post as it is easy to get hold of in supermarkets and you can use it on it's own without other butters, fats or oils.

If you are ready to try making your own 100% coconut oil soap then try this recipe. 

Ingredients

500g coconut oil, I use refined coconut oil from a wholesaler but any coconut oil that you can buy in a supermarket or wholefood store is perfect.

165g water (in the UK tap water is perfectly good)

73g of sodium hydroxide aka caustic soda or lye, just make sure it is 100%

Follow your usual method of soap making, hot or cold process work equally well.

This recipe is superfatted to 20% and will make a really lovely bar.

For an extra creamy lather try adding in a tablespoon or so of porridge oats.

Equipment

You will also need gloves, goggles, weighing scales, a hand blender. Something to use as a mould. Either a 6 cell silicone rectangle bar mould or line a small, cardboard box with greaseproof paper. 3 x 1 litre plastic or stainless steel jugs. (not glass as it can be damaged by the sodium hydroxide over time and eventually shatter). A silicone or stainless steel spatula. A paper cup or mug. A digital or jam thermometer. 

Safety Note. When working with sodium hydroxide you must wear gloves and goggles at all times. It is a caustic product and will burn in its raw state . In the event of getting it on your skin, rinse well with plenty of plain water. If it is splashed in the eyes, wash with water and seek urgent medical attention. Keep away from pets and children at all times.

Method.

  • Weigh your cold water into one of your jugs. Place to one side
  • Important - now put on your gloves and goggles - weigh your sodium hydroxide into your paper cup or mug. Make sure you pop the lid back on as it attracts water quickly.
  • Slowly pour your sodium hydroxide granules into your water, not the other way around. Take care to do this in a ventilated area as it will give off hydrogen fumes for a few seconds once you begin to stir. Stir for around 10 to 15 seconds until completely dissolved with your silicone/stainless steel spatula.
  • Place safely to one side. It will be too hot to use at the moment.
  • Weigh out your coconut oil into a 1 litre jug or a stainless steel pan
  • Melt your coconut oil in the microwave (or on the stove top in a saucepan. 
  • Test the temperature of your sodium hydroxide solution with your thermometer. When it has cooled down to around 100 fahrenheit it is ready to use. There is not exact right temperature. This is just a guide.
  • Test the temperature of your coconut oils. Aim for around 100 fahrenheit again or lower. 
  • When you are happy that the temperatures of both your lye solution and oils are around 100f your sodium hydroxide solution into your coconut oil. (note - do not reheat your lye solution if it is too cool - heat your oils a little more to compensate instead)
  • Stir gently with your hand blender and then blend until it reaches a light to medium trace. Not sure what trace is? Watch this video.
  • Trace means you have a batter that has thickened up somewhat and when you drizzle a little of it across the top of the jug of batter it sits on top for a moment. You are looking for a pourable batter but don’t worry if it ends up a little thicker. Your soap will still be lovely.
  • Pour (or spoon)  into your mould. Tap on the worktop to remove air bubbles. If the weather is a little cool then place the mould in a cardboard box, and wrap it in a towel to keep it warm and therefore aid the saponification process.
  • Normally with any other soap recipe you would leave it for 2 days before unmoulding and cutting into bars with a non serrated knife (if not using individual bar moulds). For coconut oil soap you will need to cut it within a few hours as it sets very hard. It will still be caustic so make sure you wear gloves. Next place somewhere with a good airflow between bars. You can put them back in the cardboard box just try and ensure they are not touching.
  • Curing - your soap will be ready to use within 4 weeks. You can try it sooner but it will be softer and may not last as long.

If you like your soap to be scented you can add up to 3% of the weight of your oils in essential oils. So in this case 3% of 500g is 15g. You do however need to be careful as not all essential oils can be used at this level. A safe bet would be 7g peppermint and 8g of lavender. Or try 10g of rosemary and 5g of patchouli, Both of these are unisex and work well in cold process soap making. Add essential oils in with your coconut oils when you are mixing everything together.

If you have not made soap before then I do recommend you spend some time researching the topic, There is a lot more information within the blogs on my website and many, many You Tube videos from experienced soap makers. Whilst the process is straightforward once you get the hang of it, it can seem a little overwhelming to begin with. 

If you are looking for all the information in one place without having to spend time researching and googling then my Mini Soap Suite is the place to be . The Mini Soap Suite is a digital soap & skincare product making club which will take you from a novice to a confident maker and provide you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make your own products at home. Every month at least one new video and recipe is included and you get immediate access to the back catalogue and me in a private Facebook group too. Rest assured there is no minimum term you need to remain a member but it is such great value most people stay.

Comments (9 Responses)

29 December, 2023

Keri @ The Soap Coach

Hi Kristine, yes you can use rose water instead of water although that might make it quite costly

29 December, 2023

Kristine

Can you use rose water in place of water.

29 August, 2023

Tammy

Thank you so much

12 September, 2022

The Soap Coach

Hi Raven, makes about 600g of soap so around 6 bars? But it depends how large you cut them.

12 September, 2022

Raven

What size of a bar does the above recommendation make? First time making not for sure how large of a batch this is for?
thanks!

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