Simple, Basic Soap Recipe Base


I have been meaning to list a simple handmade soap base recipe, but without using Palm oil. Say No To Palm Oil
Any of my recipes can be edited to suit the needs of the crafter. Just always remember to run it back through a lye calculator whenever you make any changes to the oils or size of the batch.

I loved experimenting with different oils, but my two favorite recipes were just so simple. No special label appeal with shea or cocoa butters.. just a basic, creamy good soap.

A 3 base oil Soap recipe

Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

70%  Olive Oil                11.2 ounces
15% Coconut Oil             2.4 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil     2.4 ounces

5% superfat – Lye           2.2 ounces

4 pounds

70% Olive Oil                44.8 ounces
15% Coconut Oil               9.6 ounces
15% Palm Kernel Oil       9.6 ounces

5% superfat – Lye            8.99 ounces

For even more basic, Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

Olive Oil and Palm Kernel Oil

1 pound

80% Olive Oil                          12.8 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil             3.2 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                   2.16 ounces

4 pounds

80% Olive Oil                               51.2 ounces
20% Palm Kernel Oil                12.8 ounces

5% superfat – Lye                       8.65 ounces


Either of these basic recipes will be a good base for a plain bar of soap, or to add additives and fragrances or essential oils.

You can use either of these bases for just about any recipe on MommaMuse – you can change your liquid (distilled water, teas, milks (read up on using goat milk before trying), cucumber, use your imagination), your fragrances or essential oils, colorants, additives (powders, clays, teas).

How much Liquid should I add?

To figure your liquid, you want 2.2 times the lye amount.  Lye X 2.2 = Liquid in ounces


What does ‘superfat’ mean?

When you make soap, the oil molecules bind with the lye molecules.  To make a gentle soap, you want to have a little bit more oil molecules than you do lye.. But at the same time,  not too much more – or you’ll have a soft oily mess of nothing.


Cold Process or Hot Process Soap?

Some people have their favorites, I like both ways of making soap.  I have tutorials on how I do each, but mine aren’t the only way to make soap.. there are other variations.  For Cold Process, read Rosemary Mint Cold Process Soap Tutorial with Recipe. For Hot Process, my favorite way is in the crock pot. I recommend getting a crock pot you can use specifically for soap making (check thrift stores, garage sales or ask friends – someone is bound to have one they never use). Instructions for Making Crock Pot Handmade Soap – a ‘how to’ with pictures.
– Be sure to use a soap calculator specifically used to calculator amounts, particularly making sure you have the correct amount of sodium hydroxide.
– If you need to make substitutions within your recipe, be sure to recalculate, as the lye amount may change. Don’t just double your recipe, run it through the calculator again. and again. and again.
– Remember your safety and for those around your soap making area. Label items appropriately, wear appropriate safety gear.

Soap Making Recipes FAQ

I’ve gotten many great questions on the comments to some of my soap recipes. I thought I’d add some of the most important ones into one FAQ for ease of accessibility.

Q: Can I substitute one oil for a different one?

A: Yes, absolutely. But, be aware that certain oils behave differently, or have different properties, and it may not turn out to exactly what you want. I won’t pat myself on the back and say that my recipe is the best. 😉 But I will highly recommend that if you switch one oil out for another, you do a test batch to determine if the end result will meet your expectations.

Remember – if you substitute one oil for another, in a soap recipe, you MUST run the recipe back through a lye calculator – This is not optional. This is absolute, you HAVE to do this, to ensure you are mixing the right amount of lye / water to your oils. If you don’t, it could mean a soap that won’t harden, at the least, and at worst, a soap that may actually burn someones skin, or worse.

Here’s more information on Oil Properties for your Soap, Lotion or bath / body oils.

Q: Megan asks: “What about substituting coconut oil for PKO? It’s a lot easier for me to find.”

A: You can use coconut oil, but you don’t really want to use more than 15 or 20% – even at 20% it can be drying. Regardless, whatever you do to substitute, make sure you run the recipe back through a lye calculator. Each oil is different and requires a different amount of lye to make soap – soap that won’t burn 😉 or end up too soft.

Q: Jami aks: “Can you use this recipe follow a crock pot hot process?”

A: Sure – all of my recipes can be used to make crock pot / hot process soap. Just follow the Instructions for Crock Pot Hot Process Soap using the ingredients from this recipe. It’s super simple… and you know when it’s done, it’s good to use – though, letting it cure a few weeks to even a few months will allow it harden quite a bit more.

Jami tried it and had this to say:
“I made this recipe using the crock pot method on this site and it turned out wonderfully! I didn’t have lavender powder so I just added lavender flowers and it looks great. I tested the recipe and it lathers so nice and feels so good. And my hands are nicely cleaned! Thanks for the wonderful instructions and recipe!”

I just want to make a note about using lavender flowers. If you use lavender flowers IN the soap, when the soap cures, those once pretty little flowers can turn out looking rather like … erm… mouse poop.. so I’d suggest making your soap and then sprinkling springs of lavender across the top, or even tying small bunches of lavender flowers sprigs to the soap.

Q: Dayna asks: “Could rose eo and rose powder be substituted for the lavender and still be safe for the face?”

A: The simple answer is yes, absolutely. Rose is good for the skin, even the face. However, your bank account may disagree. Rose eo can be very costly; and you’ll need about 1/2 ounce per pound of soap. Rose powder would be great, as well as rose clay (this will give it a lovely color too). I get rose water to use in my facial creams, but I’m not sure the lovely, soft scent would come through in the soap. You could compromise and use rose powder, rose clay, rose water, rose buds / flowers, and then use some rose fragrance oil rather than essential oi – unless, of course, you aren’t concerned with the cost factor.

In regards to Substitutions:
In general, fragrances, essential oils, powders, clays, or spices (primarily used as natural colorants), micas, teas, etc, generally don’t change the outcome of the basic soap recipe.. But there could be some changes…

For instance, my Nana’s Lavender Soap recipe calls for lavender powder. The powder, even though it’s very fine does make a fine exfoliating soap. If you wanted to make this soap for a baby, leave out the powder, and it will be a soft, creamy, use-it-on-the-most-delicate-skin soap.

Q: Pam says: “Thanks for sharing so many different recipes. I’ve started making my own lotion and love the variety I can produce just by altering the ingredients with something I like. Keep up the good work!”

A: No, that wasn’t a question, but I wanted to put it out there and respond to it. I love that Pam is altering ingredients and creating a product that works for her.

I always try to view a recipe as a guideline – and I encourage others to do so too. If you don’t want to use a specific oil, or it’s not readily available to you, find one that is, with similar properties and make a small test batch to see if it produces something more suited to your needs.

Soap Making – Lye Calculator List

Soap cannot be made without the use of sodium hydroxide. Lye (sodium hydroxide) is mixed with fats to create soap. But, you need to know how much of each to make a really good bar. Here are a list of soap / lye calculators.

Soap Calculator by weight / percentage – enter recipes by either weight OR percent, up to 9 oils.

FNWL Creator
Soap Naturally Calculator
Brambelberry Lye Calc
North Country Mercantile Calculator
Lye Calculator
Cranberry Lane
Suds and Scents
TLC Soaps
Pine Meadows
Herbal Soaps by RJ
Soap Recipe Calculator – On a website in frames..
Rainbow Meadow Soap Calc
Soap Nuts
Soap Crafters
Snowdrift Farms

For Purchase:
SoapMaker – a downloadable program for your computer. Download a free trial. Free recipe creation and management as well as inventory control.

Learn to calculate your lye amounts by hand:
Oregon trail Soaps Files
Soap Bubbles Saponification Page
Miller Soap Worksheet

Because of these calculators, we are able to make soaps that are gentle on our skin, have creamy, bubbley lather and smell and look lovely.

See Momma Muse’s Handmade Soap Recipes

Rice Bran Soap Recipe

Rice Bran Soap Recipe

– A nourishing oil and a powerful skin protectant, high in gamma-oryzanol as well as anti-oxidants, which will protect and replenish the skin. RBO is rich in phytosterols, helping to help reduce inflammation and soothe discomfort. It also contains the highest quantity of vitamin E in liquid form. Beneficial to mature, sensitive and delicate skin.

Rice Bran Oil is becoming more popular in bath and body care items due to it’s lower price, but similar properties to Olive Oil. Rice Bran has a very silky smooth feel to it’s lather in soap.

60% Rice Bran Oil
20% Palm Kernel Oil
10% Coconut Oil
10% Palm Oil

5% Sodium Hydroxide

1 Pound Soap Recipe:

9.6 oz Rice Bran Oil
3.2 oz Palm Kernel Oil
1.6 oz Coconut Oil
1.6 oz Palm Oil

2.19 oz Sodium Hydroxide

To figure water, a safe range would be to multiply the lye amount by 2.2. I usually use a range somewhere between 1.7 and 2.0 for figuring my liquid requirements. For new recipes, I recommend 2.2.

Remember to always run your recipe through a soap calculator to ensure you are using safe amounts of lye. See a list of online lye calculators.

For properties on other oils and additives to use in your soap making recipes, see
Ingredient and Oil Properties for Soap, Lotion, Serums, Bath and Body

– Be sure to use a soap calculator specifically used to calculator amounts, particularly making sure you have the correct amount of sodium hydroxide.
– If you need to make substitutions within your recipe, be sure to recalculate, as the lye amount may change.
– Remember your safety and for those around your soap making area. Label items appropriately, wear appropriate safety gear.