DIY Soap-making Guide How to Make Soap from Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Bar Soap: How to Make Soap from Coconut Oil

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Thinking of making your own soap at home? It is actually simple and can be made easily using inexpensive and readily available ingredients. When you make your own soap, you can be creative and infuse essential oils to make truly unique scents and bar soaps.

When you make your own soap, you have lots of choices for the base ingredient (tallow, sweet almond oil, olive oil, lard, goat milk, oatmeal, etc.). But in this article, we will show you step-by-step how to make soap from coconut oil.

Coconut oil can be an essential oil as well as the base ingredient. Coconut oil is the most common oil used in soap making due to its natural skin-care benefits and antibacterial properties.

There are different methods to make coconut oil soap, such as the cold process, the melted pour process, the re-batch process, and the hot process. The most common method used is the cold process which is the method we will be using to make handmade soap.

Lard Soap

Homemade Coconut Oil Soap Recipe

Coconut oil soap is composed of coconut oil and a lye solution. Observe safety precautions in handling alkali or sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as it is highly corrosive. Take precautions and prepare the equipment or materials needed to perform the following procedures.

Pro tip: Consider making use of an outdoor workstation to prevent inhaling the fumes from the lye solution in the soap-making process.


Base Ingredient:

  • 2.2 pounds of coconut oil (refined) 

Lye solution:

  • 4 oz Alkali or caustic soda (NaOH) 
  • 12 oz distilled water 
  • Ice & cold water

Optional: Essential oils, fragrance oils, dried herbs, natural coloring

Equipment needed

  • Disposable gloves
  • 1 Glass bowl (2 liters)
  • 1 Plastic/glass bowl (3 liters)
  • 1 Large container (5 liters) 
  • Stick Blender or wooden/plastic spoon
  • Silicone mold
  • Silicone spatula
  • Food thermometer

DIY soap

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Coconut Oil Soap

Step 1. Gather your equipment

DIY soapmakingBefore getting started, make sure you have all your ingredients, safety gear, and supplies. We also suggest wearing long-sleeved clothing so the lye solution does not come in contact with your skin.

Step 2. Make the lye solution

Add the alkali (caustic soda) to water to dissolve it carefully in a glass bowl. Never do the other way round, as it can lead to an adverse chemical reaction. The temperature of the mixture will start to rise before it comes down again. Stir until the lye is completely dissolved and the temperature is reduced to 100°F. 

Note: Alkali refers to sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or caustic soda.

Note: Do NOT use an aluminum bowl to make the lye solution, as it can lead to an adverse effect.

Step 3. Melt the oils

Weigh out your oils and combine the coconut oil and water in a stainless-steel pan over low heat. Stir until the coconut oil has melted. Remove from heat after melting.

Step 4. Mix oils and lye solution

In the container or glass bowl, pour the alkali (lye solution) gradually into the oil/fat mixture while continually stirring it with a stick blender or a plastic spoon in one direction only. After the lye solution has been added, stir the mixture until it becomes thicker. This is the point of trace where the lye mixture and the coconut oil become a single substance. The number of minutes may increase depending on the quantity of the soap you will be making. 

Pro tip: Once you notice a light trace in the soap mixture, it is the optimal time to add optional ingredients.

Step 5. Add optional ingredients

After stirring and reaching a pudding-like consistency, you may add the optional ingredients you desire, such as essential oils, coloring, and dried herbs. Other options are honey, milk, dried lavender, and rosemary. Stir again and mix well all the ingredients.

homemade lard soapStep 6. Pour into silicone molds or plastic containers

Leave the soap mixture to harden for two or three days in a dry place. If it has not hardened after two days or if grease is still visible on the top, leave it a little longer.

Step 7. Remove the soap bars from the molds or containers

soapmaking lardWhen the soap has hardened, remove it from the molds or container. Carefully cut the coconut oil soap into bars or into your desired shapes and sizes.

Step 8. Cure the soap bars

To give the chemical reaction enough time to finish, stack the bars on trays or any desired containers and set them aside to cure for four to six weeks, depending on how large or small the quantity of the coconut oil soap you are making.

Step 9. Ready-to-use soap bars

When the soap is done curing, curls will come off the bar. To stop further moisture loss, cover the soap bars. After running through all the steps, you can start enjoying and using your soap bars. You may use them for your household use only, or you may experiment and invent your own coconut oil soap formula and sell it to your friends, neighbors, or strangers on Etsy.

lard soap bars

What is Coconut Oil Soap & Why Use It?

Coconut oil soap contains coconut oil as the base ingredient used in soap making. The base ingredient is mixed with lye or sodium hydroxide and other optional elements to create a liquid or bar soap.

The type of oil or fat you choose will incorporate specific features into the soap. Coconut oil is commonly used in soap making because it does make hard soap and creates a rich amount of lather that gives a comforting touch to the skin.

Coconut oil soap has a high cleansing effect that soothes and comforts the skin. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that give beneficial conditioning qualities to the skin, such as healing wounds and hindering free radicals.

Pros and Cons of Using Coconut Oil Soap 

If you are excited to make your own coconut soap bars, you should be aware of the pros and cons of using them. Here are some advantages and disadvantages you should know about.

Advantages of Using Coconut Oil Soap

  1. MOISTURIZING. Coconut oil has healthy fatty acids which safely moisturize the skin. It nourishes and protects the skin from dehydration, bacteria, and blemishes.
  2. SKIN HEALING. Research studies show that coconut oil has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a high concentration of lauric acid, which can treat wounds and protects the skin from infection.
  3. HEALTHY CLEANSER. Because of the natural antibacterial properties of coconut oil, it is a natural cleanser for the skin. It is rich in antioxidants that fight acne and eczema.
  4. BIG LATHER. Coconut oil soap creates a rich and fluffy lather than other base ingredient oils used in soap making. The rich lather that touches your skin gives you a satisfying moisturizing experience. 

Disadvantages of Using coconut oil Soap

  1. COMEDOGENIC. Coconut oil is comedogenic, which builds a thin hydrophobic barrier on the surface of the skin, trapping in dirt and bacteria that may clog the pores on your face and causes acne breakouts. 
  2. ALLERGIES. A coconut oil soap may work for all skin types but not for those who have existing allergies to coconut oil. 
  3. SKIN DRYING. Soap bars are made with a proportionate amount of coconut oils and lye solution. Coconut oil with high ratios in soap making may be too much at being effective in cleaning skin which can dry your skin.
  4. LONGER CURING PERIOD. If you make your own coconut oil soap at home, it will require your patience in waiting for a long curing period of the soap after saponification and unmolding. 


Coconut oil soap uses simple and inexpensive ingredients that are easy to find. It provides different advantages than other types of oil used as a based ingredient in soap. Making soap can be as simple as using a lye solution and a base ingredient like coconut oil. Coconut oil soap protects your skin from infection, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Take precautions in making your coconut oil soap at home, especially in making the lye solution that involves corrosive material. Coconut oil soap, in general, provides cleaning, moisturizing, and healing effect to your skin. Learn and be familiar with saponification and discover success on your own as you make your own coconut oil soap.

People Also Ask

Is Coconut Soap Good for Oily Skin?

Coconut oil soap may not be suitable for oily skin because this soap is highly comedogenic, which can cause pores to clog up and result in blackheads and acne. Still, you should consider testing the soap on your skin to see your reaction, as everyone’s skin reacts differently. But stop using the soap if it gives undesirable results.

What are the side effects of using coconut oil soap?

Coconut oil soap has a highly cleansing effect that may dry your skin. This happens if you use more than 30 percent coconut oil in a recipe and a super-fat ingredient that is more than about 8 percent to 10 percent.
Coconut oil is comedogenic, which builds a thin hydrophobic barrier on the surface of the skin, trapping in dirt and bacteria that may clog the pores on your face and causes acne breakouts. Coconut oil also may raise cholesterol and may hurt heart health by plaque buildup from a high-fat diet.

Is coconut oil soap good for your skin?

Yes. Coconut oil soap is an effective moisturizer that helps remove dead skin cells and dirt away from the body. It is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin E that promotes anti-aging effects on the skin. It is rich in fatty acids that replenish the skin’s natural properties. These acids are also antimicrobial and protect the skin from harmful bacteria.

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