Make Soap Without Using Lye

Last updated 02/10/2021 |

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This is a fantastic, easy way to make soap without using lye--and it's safe to do with kids around. Customize your homemade soap with any scents or colors you like!

colorful homemade soaps

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? Makes sense when you think about it. That's why it's so important for me to stay away from chemical cleaners, and choose my personal care products wisely.

I've read quite a bit about making my own soap. There's hot-process, cold-process, crockpot soap...lots of different techniques and recipes.

The simplest recipes contain only a few ingredients and are all natural (like the soaps from my friends at Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve). Unfortunately, lye is one of those ingredients--and because it is so caustic, I don't want to use it or even have it around with kids in the house.

three bars of natural soap on a leaf

Am I being overly paranoid? Probably. But if I don't have any lye in the house, there won't be any spills, nobody will get chemical get the picture. I'll sleep better at night.

The secret to making soap without lye is called melt-and-pour soapmaking. With this technique, the lye work is already done and all that's left is the fun part--crafting your own unique varieties of soap!

homemade soap


Soap base. Soap base is your raw material, and it comes in a block. There are all different kinds--some contain olive oil, some use goats' milk, some contain aloe vera. Here are my reviews of the top six soap bases and what types of skin they are best for.

A heatproof bowl (I used a large Pyrex measuring cup) for melting the soap base.

A silicone mold or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. There are a zillion different silicone molds out there. I used a simple mold designed for baking, but this floral soap mold is simply adorable. You can even make small Star Wars soaps with this mold.

make soap without using lye

Herbs and/or essential oils, which will give your soap different qualities and fragrances. Here are some combinations I like:


Measure out one pound of soap base. (Yep, that's my postal scale. Why buy a cooking scale when you already have something that will do the job just fine?!?)

soap on postal scale

Chop the soap base into large pieces. Put it in your Pyrex and melt it in the microwave or in a double boiler over low heat.

Once melted, add your herbs and oils (about 30 drops essential oil and 1/2 teaspoon herbs per pound of soap base).

Mix thoroughly and pour into your mold. There may be some small bubbles or drips on the top, but that's OK.

soap curing in mold

Allow to cool for several hours before unmolding. The silicone pan makes it easy, and the bars are already formed. If you're using a loaf pan with parchment, you can cut the soap into bars with a sharp knife.

removing homemade soap from mold

Your soap is ready to use now. It will last longer if you let it cure in a cool, dry place with plenty of air. I cure mine on a shelf in the linen closet, and it smells great when I open the door.

finished bars of homemade soap

Are you ready to take the next step in soapmaking?

I highly recommend the Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection by The Nerdy Farm Wife. It contains everything you need to know about making your own natural soaps, milk soaps, and shampoo bars.

There are lots of photos and step-by-step instructions. You'll love it! Click the photo to learn more.

homemade soap with scrub brush

If you'd rather just buy outstanding natural soaps, visit my friends at Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve. Tell them I sent ya! 🙂

Read more about Homemade Soap

Next >

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Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!


  1. Michelle on September 20, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    All soap bases are made with lye then shipped to stores so people who don’t want to work with lye don’t have to. When lye water is mixed with oils saponification happens. Once water is evaporated soap is made and the soap no longer has lye in it. It’s true science.

  2. Hani on August 10, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Hi, I have featured this informative article in my soap making projects article. Thank you for writing this for us. You can find the post at:

  3. Julie on May 31, 2021 at 11:54 am

    I just came across this article and it was just what I was looking for. I don’t understand everyone being so hateful saying that you aren’t really making soap. You clearly stated that you used a soap base. Also, where are these people getting their lye? Did they buy it at a store? If they didn’t burn wood to get ash for the lye and save the fat from an animal then they aren’t really “making” traditional soap either, are they?

  4. Scott on February 16, 2021 at 9:20 am

    I think that a lot of you are missing the point. The point is “with kids around”. Lye is inherently dangerous because it is very caustic ( try drinking it, LOL ). Anyway using an already made base and adding your preference of scent, oils or springs of ? is a great way to get kids involved in doing something they will use without exposing them to the dangers!!!! of pure lye. This is a safe way of making a soap with your kids, especially the young ones.

    • Jennifer Hayne on May 11, 2021 at 7:44 am

      What a great idea! This is something I may be able to do!

  5. Celina on January 7, 2021 at 9:08 am

    You cannot make soap without lye. The saponification process will not happen. The soap base has lye in it. Using a lye calculator will tell you the ratios of fats to lye. I’ve used the soap base before. Not near as wonderful as homemade. I’ve been making soap for years. The soap base is great for ones who do not want to invest in the supplies for truly home made soap.

    • Robyn on January 16, 2021 at 11:11 am

      Exactly! The soap base is made with lye!

    • Yomari on April 27, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Lye is toxic, that’s why people use other things other than lye. There are plenty of companies that do not use lye

      • Luna on June 30, 2021 at 3:12 pm

        Hi Yomari what can be used instead of the lye to harden the soap?

    • Cheri Smith-Comfort on June 4, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Hi! I saw this on pinterest and was curious to read it, because I was of the understanding that all soap contained lye.

      So, you use soap base, which, as you see from other comments, contains lye. Your title is misleading, at the least, or a flat out dangerous lie, at the worst.

      Honestly, it makes me not trust you and not want to read anything else by you.

      You should change the title, rewrite the whole post, and apologize.

  6. Thea on December 18, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    So I guess I don’t understand the concept. You’re making soap, but use a “soap base”. Do you have a recipe for the “soap base” so that I don’t have to buy it?

  7. Catahoula Bubble Co on November 13, 2020 at 8:54 am

    You should never use ground cinnamon in soap or lotion. You can get actual burns on your skin from the oils in the cinnamon. Also this isn’t making soap. You’re using soap that has already been made with lye and just melting it down and molding it. Melt and Pour isn’t making soap. That’s fine if you want to purchase soap that has already been made but your title is very misleading because you have to have lye in order to actually make soap,

    • Kimberly Heary on January 17, 2021 at 10:12 pm
    • Kimberly on January 17, 2021 at 10:17 pm

      Why you hating. If you want to make soap with kids having the base is much safer. It still contaons lye to make the finished product. Haven’t you ever bought a cake mix are you saying just because you only added egg and oil you didn’t really make a cake?

    • Wanda on March 22, 2021 at 2:37 pm

      I get what your saying and makes perfect sense. THESE PEOPLE ARE HATERS AND HAVE CLOSED MINDS..UNBUTTON YOUR SHIRTS OR GET YA PANTIES OUT CV YOUR ASS..I MAKE BOTH SOAPS AND SOAP IS SOAP..AND YOUR DOING Great JOB..I use cinnamon mixed with carrier oils and love it ..

  8. Moksha Essentials on November 9, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up…

  9. Moksha Lifestyle on October 29, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up…

  10. best handmade soap websites on September 17, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you for making us read this well written article on how to make soap without lye. I enjoyed reading this article as it provided us lots of information regarding it. I am sure many people will come to read more about it in future.

  11. liz on September 8, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Love your information and I’m so happy I found your website.

    I have a question, can you use infused oils in melt and pour soaps?
    I currently have a batch of calendula oil and I wanted to use it but there’s not much info on infused oils and soap (melt and pour).

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer me.


    • Pam on September 8, 2020 at 10:47 am

      Liz, unfortunately if you add anything to melt-and-pour soap, it won’t set back up properly.
      If you want to make calendula-infused soap, use the recipes in my friend Jan’s book:

    • Jeannette Carriere on November 29, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      That’s not true you can add 1% to 3% of additives to every 1 pound of soap. It’s a soap base which means it already has lye in it. This basically means that with the proper instructions you can add many different things to it.

    • Christina on November 30, 2020 at 1:04 am

      Unfortunately using infused oils won’t mix well with the melt and pour soap since saponification has already happened. Essential oils can be used but it’s best to use an essential oil calculator to know correct usage rate.

  12. liz on September 8, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Love your information and I’m so happy I found your website.

    I have a question, can you use infused oils in melt and pour soaps?
    I currently have a batch of calendula oil and I wanted to use it but there’s not much info on infused oils and soap (melt and pour).

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer me.


  13. Moksha Lifestyle on August 31, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up…

  14. Moksha Lifestyle on August 31, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up…

  15. Lydia on July 27, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Yes you’re being paranoid. If you use a lye calculator (there are several online), then you will know exactly how much lye to use to saponify your oils and there will be no lye left over.

  16. Barbara on July 8, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Hi. Can I melt soap base without microwave? And if can, how?

  17. Faith on June 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    I quit reading all of the comments because of the negativity they contained so I’m not sure if this was asked. I would appreciate a reply ONLY from the maker of this post. Thank you in advance for the respect.

    Can you just melt a mild soap like ivory or dove?

    • Pam on June 28, 2020 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Faith, I’ve heard of people melting Ivory soap and mixing with water to make liquid soap, but I haven’t tried melting it and reforming it. Most commercial soaps have lots of chemicals in them, so they probably won’t melt properly. I have heard that if you microwave Ivory soap, it will puff up like a marshmallow! I wouldn’t recommend it. :o)

  18. Vlad on April 6, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    I am so sorry for having to agree with the majority of the comments but you are not making soap. And that “soap base” is soap already made so what you are doing is just adding fragrance and color. Last time I checked that part isn’t soap making, not even cutting it into shapes. Next thing you are going to post how to make ice cream by adding chocolate sirup and whipped cream to it. Good luck with your “soap making”.

  19. Chrisv on February 19, 2020 at 10:36 am

    I’m pretty sure we all get it now – melt and pour is not same as make from scratch! But – for those of us who want to buy a natural (research!) soap base and customize with our own additions and fragrances, this is also ok. You do you. We don’t all have time or desire to make from scratch and I refuse to feel bad about that. If you are careful choosing a base and additions you can have a much healthier product than commercially mass produced bars and for some of us these baby steps are good enough. Remember to be respectful and open minded – we all are just doing our best. Your soap may not be caustic but a lot of you comments are❤️

  20. Aimee Gaekle on February 11, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Hi! Do you have any recommendations of adding breast milk?

  21. soap chick on February 2, 2020 at 11:05 am

    There are no “real results”. All soap has lye. Period.

  22. nelson on December 7, 2019 at 9:24 am

    how long will it take to cure

  23. jeannegary13 on December 1, 2019 at 7:44 am

    LOL. NO soap contains lye, but there’s no such thing as MAKING soap without lye.

  24. Terri L Schrock on November 30, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Please change the title of this article. Melt and pour is great for kids to get started with but is DOES contain lye. Just already processed lye. The title is misleading.

  25. Tee on November 14, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    I love your comment! I’m interested In making soap and add some of my juice pulp to it. Would that be a good idea

  26. Desiree on November 4, 2019 at 5:08 am

    For those people who are afraid of lye in soap: I once read someone saying: to say you don’t want to use soap because it contains lye, is like saying you don’t want to drink water because it contains hydrogen …
    Lye and fat get used up and form a new substance: soap. Basic chemistry.

    To those who think home soapers are snobs: commercial soaps contain a lot more then just soap. Apart from the obvious chemical perfumes, hardeners are added, and sodium laurel/laureth sulfate (look up what that does to your skin) to make it foam more. As an added bonus, home made soap contains glycerin that is formed naturally as a byproduct in the saponification, but gets taken out of commercial soaps to be sold separately.

  27. Vivian on October 2, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Slightly miss-leading soap bases contain lye not sure why this post is called making soap w/ out lye? It’s simply untrue.

  28. Crafty on August 17, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I make soap with absolutely no lye and sell it, everyone loves it

    • Cherree on July 23, 2020 at 1:13 pm

      How do you make it?

  29. Aliyanna on August 1, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Reading the ingredients just gives me the chills…..antifreeze is the first one!!! Lye when used correctly is not caustic….and personally I would rather work with lye than antifreeze!! And add to that….there is lye in it….you have to have lye to make saponification…..just science.

  30. Dobie on January 8, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    I have used lye since the very first time I ever made soap. It’s no big deal. It’s not scary or hard.
    A quality soap base is so expensive. And how do you really know what’s in it?
    I add every single ingredient myself and I love it. I know exactly what’s in it and the cost is much lower.
    I’m not a soap-making snob, I just don’t want to say I made something when I’m using someone elses base. It’s the most important part!
    And it’s really nothing to handle the lye. Probably a lot safer than driving to the grocery or mowing the lawn.

  31. Cathy on December 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    It’s a creative process sure, but it’s still not soap-making. Just like buying cupcakes or cookies at the store and icing them at home isn’t baking but cupcake and cookie decorating, even though it can be a very creative process. Imagine an article claiming to teach you how to bake a chocolate cake without chocolate, then the instructions are to buy a chocolate cake at the store and put icing on it. And then to see people suggesting that the resulting cake is safer or healthier for people to eat as if it would be less fattening or less likely to set off a chocolate allergy because it “doesn’t have chocolate”. Really pretty ignorant, untrue, and insulting to people who actually took the time to learn how to bake.

  32. Cathy on December 17, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I checked out their goat’s milk soap bases and there are 15 ingredients in their “natural” goat milk soap base. They include palm oil (terrible for the environment and human rights), plus a bunch of unnecessary extra stuff. You can make a good goat milk soap at home with 3 ingredients. Lard, sodium hydroxide, and goat milk. It will turn out just as white and luxe as the one in the store, minus all the random additives.

    AFAIK there is no safety organization that advises against using lye while pregnant, since the exact same safety procedure is needed whether you are pregnant or not. There are, however, many that warn against exposing pregnant women to various essential oils, which are often used in melt-and-pour soaps.

  33. Cathy on December 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    The lye from my local hardware store is fine. There are lye-based products that have other things in them, but if the ingredients say 100% sodium hydroxide then it’s fine to use. It’s not like the hardware store is intentionally trying to trick anyone with counterfeit lye. (OTOH, don’t use EVOO for your soapmaking since that often IS adulterated with other oils intentionally, and that changes the amount of lye you would have to use to properly saponify everything. Plus it’s expensive; just use low-grade or pomace olive oil if olive oil is what you’re using.)

  34. SUSAN on December 13, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Besides the lye factor, I have two issues with her directions. 1. She does not state exactly how long to cure the soap. 2. She does not state how long to microwave. Being a first-time soap maker, I over-microwaved and it bubbled all over my microwave. Bummer. Then I read the part about one cannot make soap without lye. Very disappointed in this article. I’ll be looking for another one for my next round of soap.

  35. jeannegary13 on September 30, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Well, you’re obviously not a soapmaker. I can spot that premade crap with glance and certainly with a touch. Most commercial bases contain piles of chemicals not present in real handmade cp or hp soap. I can’t even use that premade crap; it dries out my skin so much that it feels like it’s going to split open. Caring about what you put on your skin is NOT SNOBBISH. Make some real soap and then come back and tell me how it’s no different. smh.

  36. Elane on September 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

    A lot of CP soapers on here are snobs. No different than Coffee snobs, name brand snobs, etc. It is a creative process regardless if you buy the base premade or not. And actually, how does anyone really know just how well all of you CP soapers are really doing on your own base. Don’t be such a buzz kill for everyone else’s creative process.

  37. Belinda on August 5, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    How can you in good conscience call this natural or safe when you have to clue what’s in the soap base? Especially the clear soap, these products don’t often list their actual ingredients because they literally don’t have to by law. Granted, there’s no need to use lye, but in 20+ years of soap making, I’ve never had an issue with it. You just have to remember to soap safely and store it away from kids and pets. And there’s a note above about vinegar…NO. Vinegar causes a flash of heat when it comes in contact with lye. If you get it on skin or in your eyes…rinse rinse rinse.

    On the other hand, melt and pour soap is a fun project with the kids and there are soap makers who specialize in this type of crafting. Their artistry is breathtaking. 🙂

  38. Lori on November 30, 2015 at 11:20 am

    You are not “making soap” you are remolding it. The melt and pour bases can be just as bad as bars you get in a store. You can buy lye anywhere as long as it is says 100% sodium hydroxide and has no dyes. I get mine at Tractor supply. I use 5 ingredients in my basic soap– olive oil, coconut oil, lard, goat milk and lye. Run the ingredients through soap Calc and have a bottle of vinegar on hand when working with lye. It’s really not that bad. Once you just do it you’ll wonder what all the worrying was about. Take the plunge and really MAKE soap!

  39. Carrie on November 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    How long will soap stay good with oatmeal in it?

  40. Lindsay on August 19, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    doesn’t the soap base have lye in it? you can’t make soap without lye

  41. anna scott on March 29, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Ahh wheesht ( scottish word for “be quiet”) the lot of you. Do you have a bar of soap at the end of the process? Yes ! So it is making a bar of soap from ingredients. Therefore it is soap making!! Good luck and thank you for sharing your recipe. There will always be those who remove joy to be prescriptive. Xxx

    • Jeanne on March 30, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Do you have a bar of soap before you begin the project? YES. Because it’s already soap. To pretend this is soap making is an insult to all of us who actually make our own soap. And the product is inferior to real handmade soap. If you’re looking for a craft project for a young child, this would qualify, but it’s not even remotely close to the art of crafting soap.

      What I mostly object to is the title, Making Soap Without Using Lye…it’s a lie. You CAN NOT make soap without some type of lye.

      • Lori on November 30, 2015 at 11:21 am

        I agree!!!

        • carly on November 30, 2015 at 1:47 pm

          i totally agree, which is why i really want to learn how to make soap from scratch! We really dont have anything like that around my area. I think i’m just over complicating the whole process and just need to start. I did find some lye at home hardware which says 100% lye crystals on it, but i will check out that site for my next batch, thanks Lori.
          If you have any basic recipes that would help me start out please send them my way!

          • Debby on March 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

            Carly, jump on in. It’s not that hard and if you mess up (everyone does at some point) you clean up and start over. Keep it super simple (Castle soap) and you’ll wonder what you were ever afraid of.

          • carly on March 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm

            thank you for your response… i just attended a soap workshop over the weekend and had several questions but she wasn’t much help. maybe you can help me? I’m wondering how to use the soap calculator.. i dont have a set recipe, just certain ingredients i would like to use (olive oil, coconut and lye). But how do you know how many grams of each ? I just want a simple 2 lb recipe that i can adjust as i go. Also have you worked with micas? i recieved some in the mail, tried it couple times and not turning out as i thought it would. Do you add it to the soap or just to some oil seperately ? soo many questions!

  42. DC on March 8, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    If you do some research, all soap is made with lye. The melt and pore soap base has already been done for you, which with children is a good thing. You cannot make soap without lye of some kind. You even make glycerin with lye at the beginning so I just wanted you to think about that. Look on line, I have done my research so I know.

  43. Jeanne on February 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    No such thing as soap without lye (sodium hydroxide). You are not making soap; you are using already made soap and remelting it…which you can’t do with real handmade cold process soap. You can do it with “melt and pour” soap because it has some type of alcohol added to it.

    Please don’t confuse the two. This is NOT soapmaking.

  44. Marjolein on February 12, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Recently I bought liquid soap. Can I use that?

  45. Rebecca Elliott on January 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    The lye (sodium hydroxide) is completely used up when you make soap. It basically is just there as part of a chemical reaction. If soap is made properly there shouldn’t be any left in the final product. Definitely not a good chemical to have around kids though…

  46. Nakushita on December 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    There is no such thing as real soap without lye, as someone else mentioned here. Melt and Pour soap though is a great way to make soap without having to work directly with lye. However, I must caution everyone to read the ingredients!

    Many of the soap bases you buy at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby have sulfates and other unsavory ingredients. Please, please read and know what you are putting on your body. Also, be very aware that in order to make soap meltable they have to add a solvent. That solvent is something they consider an industry secret and don’t add to the ingredients label. It can range from simple glycerine to straight alcohol, and anything in-between. Glycerine is a natural byproduct of the soapmaking process anyway, but by adding more you can make it clearer and more meltable, but it does result in a soap that is a bit stickier and more prone to melting. This is why many manufacturers trend toward less savory options or a mixture thereof. So if you are going to do this, and I heartily hope you do, you might want to stick with organic bases such as those available at Brambleberry or GloryBee Foods.

    Another item I feel I must add – before using any spices, herbs or essential oils do your homework. Many, such as cinnamon, can cause irritation if not used with great care, some can lead to sensitized skin and photo-sensitivity, and other unintended side effects.

  47. Rosie Zummo on November 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s stories about making soap. I have been wanting to make soap for Christmas gifts and I was afraid because of the lye, but now I have many choices and I am excited to make my homemade soaps. Thanks everyone!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

  48. Artzi18 on August 29, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I grew up in the Ozarks on a farm with my folks, grandparents & other extended family. They were very selfsufficient. We made much of what we needed & sold ( or often gave away ) the excess. I remember soap making every fall. A lot of preparation went into it. All year bacon fat was saved, to be added to the lard rendered the previous fall, rainwater was collected, ash from the woodstove & fireplace was saved too. When it got nearer time for soap making, the lye would be leached from the ash. All the children were cautioned to stay away from the lye barrel & we did, because the warning was accompanied by grusume tales of the results if we got into it! When Grandma decided it was a good day to make soap , she got out the big iron cauldron only used for that purpose,gathered up the lard & rendered drippings, the lye water, and made enough soap for the whole year. Some was for heavy duty cleaning, & other was for bathing. The heavy duty one was harsher than the bath soap. The last year I remember her making soap was1959. Each year from about 5, I got to help with a different part of the process as she determined I was ready for, until I learned all I needed to know to make soap.

    • Pam on August 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      What a wonderful story! I hope you have written this down to share with the young folks in your family. 🙂

  49. Holly on August 21, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    The MP soap still has lye in it… and other harmful chemicals

  50. ian on June 28, 2014 at 8:55 am

    So yeah…you’re still making soap with lye…

    • mommymissionblog on July 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      I was so just about to say exactly this. if you are using any melt and pour base there will be lye in it. It will have just gone through the saponification process and become soap. If you are going to use a melt and pour base for the love of god don’t buy the crap on amazon and in craft store, get it from a soap making supply company like Bramble Berry.

  51. Anna Emelia on June 28, 2014 at 12:00 am

    If anyone is too nervous to make soap from scratch but you also don’t like some of the extra questionable ingredients in melt and pour, you might look into “rebatching” a quality unscented natural soap. Basically you grate a bar of real soap, melt it down with some water and any essential oils or additives like oats, etc, mold and let it cure for a week or two. I don’t know exact measurements but many great soap making books and sites will have the info. Just look for “hand milled soap” recipes! This is a great compromise between from scratch and melt and pour and will most likely yield a high quality soap. Hope this helps some of you!

  52. Nicole W on May 24, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I am excited to try this recipe, and maybe add a little honey and oats to it. I do summer science with kids, and this sounds so great!

  53. Coeur d'Alene Soap Works on May 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I understand that this is a way to make soap without you having to deal with lye but it is misleading to make people think that soap can be made without lye. It can’t, period. Lye must be used to make soap. Someone from Wildcrafting was excited for you to post there because they think the soap base which is really called melt and pour is less toxic. Melt and Pour soap base has preservative and detergents in it which are more toxic than learning to make soap the old fashioned way with lye. After you make soap there is no lye remaining in your handmade soaps and you don’t have the addition of detergents or preservatives. I respect those who make soap using melt and pour and you can create some awesome soaps with it, but if you are doing it to be more earth friendly then I have to disagree there. Although, they are coming out with some better product lately.

    • Veronica Noll on March 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      If you want to go totally handmade, you
      can make the lye. It is only wood ash
      from your fireplace and water.
      Although I don’t know how long the
      ash should be in the water.
      But it sure is good to know if the
      Zombie apocalypse occurs and we
      can’t go to a store or order it ! Lol !!
      Check it out on a prepper site.

  54. Dawn Ykema on April 27, 2014 at 11:02 am

    You can’t make soap of any kind with out using some sort of lye. If you are using melt and pour, you are not making soap you are using someone else’s soap that they used lye in.
    ” Making” handmade soap is a very different process.

  55. Tamazon on April 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

    All soap bases contain lye unless they’re glycerin based only, so you’re not really avoiding lye. It’s impossible to make soap without lye, this recipe just saves you the step of making the lye based soap block first.

  56. Antibacterial soap for skin infections on April 1, 2014 at 12:49 am

    There are many reasons why handmade soap are better for your skin than commercial soap. Natural is always better than synthetic. 🙂

    • Jonathon on April 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      This is as close to “making soap” as melting popsicles and refreezing in a different shape is “making popsicles.”

      Someone else made the soap in a factory, and the harsh chemicals the author mentions are still in this product. What do you think was used to make the soap base?

      This kind of irks me, much the same way people who go buy wax from a hobby store and melt it down say they made a candle.
      Unless you actually make your own soap (or wax for candles lol) you haven’t made soap. You’ve simply molded it..

      • Debby on March 4, 2016 at 10:40 am

        Totally agree.
        The advantage of not having lye around for children to get in trouble with may be valid, and melt and pour is a good intro into crafting for children, but….. it’s not soap making.

  57. Katherine @ Mind Body and Sole on March 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Hi! 🙂

    This week’s edition of Wildcrafting Wednesday is all about personal care and cleaning and getting rid of the toxic and disposable items we use every day on our bodies and in our homes. This would be a great addition and I hope you’ll share it with us this week on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

    Thanks! 🙂

  58. Lyn R on February 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    awesome! thank you very much- just the soap making recipe i was looking for. 🙂 can you please tell me how long you think the shelf life of the soap is (should i make a big batch), and the best way to store it, like in an air tight container?

    • Jeanette on March 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Soap does not go bad 🙂
      However, the longer it cures the better it gets!
      It is best to store it a container that gets some air circulation.
      Soap that has fragrance in it may not smell as strong after some months (or years!) especially the citrus-type scents.

  59. Haven on January 31, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Please be careful using herbs such as cinnamon. They can be very irritating to the skin. Also when using essential oils, you need to use a safe amount. Please weigh all your ingredients and research how much oil to use per pound (16 oz) of base. Then you can calculate from there either up or down. Brambleberry has wonderful bases and a handy fragrance calculator for either fragrance oils or essential oils. Soap making is a lot of fun and you can get very creative with melt and pour.

  60. Christi on January 30, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent) is lye. By using the soap base, you are taking out the step where you are the one who has to deal with the lye.

  61. Tammy on January 30, 2014 at 7:14 am

    this is BRILLIANT!!! I’ve wanted to make soap for quite some time but the lye…..NOPE! It’s too scary and I am very accident prone. Thanks so much for this!!!

  62. Deborah Smikle-Davis on January 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I have always wanted to find a recipe for soap made without lye! I am so glad I found this recipe via Small Footprint Friday. My favorite scents would be lavender or orange.I often wonder why more people don’t make soaps without lye. Why is lye used so often in natural handmade soaps?

    • Miranda on January 30, 2014 at 6:24 am

      ALL soap, even the MP base is made with lye. The reason that lye is used so often in natural handmade soaps is because there is NO other way to make it. Without Lye, you do NOT have soap. Period. The MP bases are “making soap without lye” because the company that has made the base has already made the soap and used the lye for you. There is no such thing as soap made without lye. At some point, someone added lye to fat and/or oils to make it into soap. That is what sanctification is.

      • Rose on June 14, 2014 at 9:37 am

        Miranda, I believe you mean to say “saponification” not “sanctification”…I’m an old-time soapmaker who has used lye and would rather do that than have MP soap with propylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze and all the sodium lauryl sulfates and sodium laureth sulfates, which makes the MP soap sudsy…and many other ingredients that are not so good for our bodies.

  63. Renea on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I agree with some of the above statements. All soaps are, at some point, made with lye. The soap base that you are using also contains a preservative, Methylchloroisothiazoline, that can cause allergic reactions for people with eczema. Many times things sound good and easy but when you make bar soap from scratch, you don’t need preservatives and it really doesn’t have to be all that hard.

  64. Gabriella on January 29, 2014 at 6:22 am

    I found your website from the link-up on I really like your post! I have made my own soap before with lye and it is scary to me. 🙂 I’ll have to try this!

    I would like to invite you to on Fridays for a brand new link-up; it would be a delight to have you join us!


  65. Elizabeth on January 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Hi, I am a long time Soap Maker using lye, while I respect your decision to buy melt and pour soap base, its very important to know what is in that soap base, there are numerous places to buy melt and pour soap online. I was also was very nervous when I first started out making homemade soap do to the lye situation, but with careful handling and proper equipment its no big deal, but I do not have little ones running around any longer. I would just make sure that your soap base is pure and natural, Brambleberry is a great source for melt and pour soap, and you can add all kinds of things to your base. Have fun get creative! I just wanted people to know that with proper handling the lye situation can be conquered! If homemade soap is of interest to anyone.

    Have fun!!!!

    • Cheryl L Duffie on December 18, 2019 at 3:17 am

      I could not have said it better Elizabeth. I did a lot of research before I made soap the first time. I was
      nervous the first time because of the lye, but I had everything laid out and took my time. When the soap was made it was so exciting and I realized the lye thing was no big deal as long as one follows
      recommendation. If one wants to do it with kids then melt and pour would be better.

  66. Robin Page on January 22, 2014 at 7:33 am

    how long do you cure it?

    • Jeanne on March 10, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      You don’t cure it…it’s already soap. Most of the time it’s made with lye, oils and chemicals.

  67. Monica on January 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Our family prefers liquid soap – we find we use less and it leaves less soap scum to clean up later :-). Have you tried any natural liquid soap recipes you like? The natural ones are so spendy at the store!

    • Cassie on September 1, 2014 at 7:18 am

      I use soap nuts (technically soap berries). You can buy the berries and boil them to extract the saponins to form a liquid soap. I add glycerin and xanthan gum (mix the glycerin and xanthan gum first to avoid clumping) to mine to thicken it a bit to make it more usable for hand soap and shampoo. I leave it plain liquid for household cleaning and laundry. It’s about as natural as you can get for soap.

  68. Lisha on January 21, 2014 at 10:59 am

    This is great! What a great way to introduce little ones (who love to be hands-on) to soap making…without the chemical burn risk. Thank you for sharing this – I’ll pin it for later.

    I’m visiting from the Growing Home link-up 🙂

  69. Alana on January 21, 2014 at 10:48 am

    What is the soap base made of?

    • Pam on January 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

      The base I linked to above is from Michael’s and has some “iffy” ingredients. This one is much better: I linked to the exact one I used, since that seemed like the honest thing to do. 🙂

    • Marianne on January 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      All soap bases are made from oil and lye (sodium hydroxide). Without lye you don’t have soap.

      • petra on May 11, 2014 at 8:05 am

        exactly!!! so it is wayyyyy better to do it urself than buy it without knowing what it contains!

    • Miranda on January 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

      The ingredients in the base that she linked are as follows:

      Water, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Stearate, Glycerin, Sucrose, Sodium Laurate,Sorbitol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Goat Milk, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Silica, Titanium Dioxide,Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Methylchloroisothiazoline, Methylisothiazoline

      IMO, there are far fewer chemicals in homemade CP soap than this MP. If the reasoning behind using MP is to get away from harmful chemicals, then I certainly wouldn’t go with any of this. If the reasoning is to just have someone else handle the lye while you decorate, then I can see using this, but would rather just buy from a CP soaper.

      • stephanie on October 21, 2014 at 5:45 am

        It also depends where you get it I got goats milk soap base that has about 5 ingredients from and it seems a lot more natural. My reasoning for soap base right now is I don’t want to be handling lye at 7 months pregnant. So I tried to find a still healthy alternative.

        • Angel Eyes on April 14, 2020 at 4:21 am

          You can infact make soap without lye by using pure shea butter for the base. If you feel that lye maybe too harsh to use.

          • Pat G. on September 13, 2020 at 7:37 pm

            The shay butter is the oil. You would still need the lye.

  70. Marianne on January 21, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I love using the silicone molds. So easy to remove the soap.

  71. Rachelle on January 21, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Interesting-I love DIY projects!

  72. Ashley on January 21, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Finally! A recipe without lye! Can you tell me where I find this “soap base”?

    • Pam on January 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

      I get mine on Amazon ( but you can also get it at craft stores like Michael’s or JoAnn’s.

      • Kathy on November 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm

        The melt and pour bases have the lye already in them. Soap cannot be made without it. Look at the ingredients but it is not bad it just raises the pH and that is what the chemical reaction is for. I did a lot of research because I was worried about it too.

        • carly on November 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm

          hey im wondering if you know where i can find lye?? i heard home hardware?? is this safe to use???

          • Jeanne on November 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm

            You shouldn’t buy lye from a hardware store; it frequently has other chemicals in it. There are a lot of soap making suppliers online that sell it. Here’s where I get mine:


          • Jessi on August 31, 2020 at 9:13 am

            Some ace hardwares carry it.. it’s perfectly safe to use I’ve been using that brand for 10 years it’s just not “food safe” so you can’t use it to make things like pretzels.. I strain my lye water into oils..

          • Jessi on August 31, 2020 at 9:13 am

            Some ace hardwares carry it.. it’s perfectly safe to use I’ve been using that brand for 10 years it’s just not “food safe” so you can’t use it to make things like pretzels.. I strain my lye water into oils..

    • Mary on April 28, 2014 at 6:14 am

      I have found a small selection of soap bases at Michaels, Hobby Lobby and other craft stores, and use the store’s coupons to get a better price (usually 30-40% off). Without the coupon, a 2-lb. tray usually goes for around $9.99. Michael’s has a decent selection of “essential oil/fragrance oil” blends for melt and pour. I also have some favorite online resources for melt and pour bases:,, and, to name just a few. Wholesale Supplies offers free UPS ground shipping with a $35 (I think) order. Amazon probably has the best prices on silicone molds, but sometimes you can find them at craft stores after a holiday season for half off the regular prices.

    • kathy on March 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Anyone who says you can make soap without lye doesn’t know how to make soap. The melt and pour is made with lye. and you don’t make it you melt it. I have been making soap for a long time. I have made the melt and pour soap. It is made with lye.

      • Raphaelle on March 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        Hi can you tell me a simple soap recipe with lye for a beginner please (quantity, ingredients and how many soaps it will make.)? I would like to try to do it myself but I wish it can be an allergy-free (eczema) soap. Thanks 🙂

        • Jeanne on March 31, 2015 at 3:38 am

          Raphaelle, a soap recipe with instructions would take up a lot of space here, so here’s a link to a basic soap recipe with tea tree (tea tree oil is antibacterial and may help with eczema), but truthfully, any handmade soap that doesn’t contain all the chemicals found in commercial soaps is better for eczema. In addition to the 5 oils/butter in this recipe, I use rice bran oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter and mango butter. But this is actually a good basic recipe as these oils (olive, coconut, palm kernel, castor and shea butter) are excellent and are the standards used by most soap crafters.

          Here’s a saponification chart and how to calculate lye. (you’ll need to scroll down a bit)

          And here’s the handiest (and best) lye calculator on the net.

          • Raphaelle on April 2, 2015 at 6:41 pm

            Thank you very much, you’re very kind 🙂

      • Nikki on March 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm

        Clearly, you didn’t read the article or you are waaaay too literal.

      • Cheryl L Duffie on December 18, 2019 at 3:07 am

        Melt and pour can be fun but it is not making soap. As you said, all soap has lye in it. I love making soap and use food grade lye because it is pure. Yes, lye is used in food making too. It is safe if one follows the safely guidelines. soap making has been done on homesteads for generations.

      • Mar on January 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm

        Agreed. This article was a complete waste of time Because of misrepresentation.
        Just say what it actually is you are. doing: making soap with soap base
        already added.

        You actually said that it was great to use soap without lye because it is harsh, but then you go ahead and use premade soap (containing lye) to make your soap with!

        This would not be an issue if you advertised your recipe accurately so that people looking for a lye free recipe could find real results.

      • Maria on March 26, 2020 at 8:02 am

        Why when I make melt and pour and Follow the directions of how much
        Essential oil to put in and I even added more my soap does not smell nice?

      • Sandra Green on June 19, 2020 at 1:36 pm

        I agree! I’ve been making soap for years and I always get mad when someone says you can
        make soap without lye. Not possible! Melting a base and pouring into a mold is not making
        soap and guess what your base was made with lye!

    • rashakka on March 4, 2020 at 9:11 pm

      I get mine from hobby lobby store.

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