Olive Crazy: All About Olives and Olive Oil
Apr 082011

My Olive Crazy friend, Terry, told me she’s made soap at home, so let’s do it. Here is an easy olive oil soap recipe. I made sure the ingredient volumes where big enough so it is worth the work. Lather up!

You will be using the caustic, lye, to make your olive oil soap. Here are the obligatory safety instructions:

  • Do this away from children, pets, and clumsy people.
  • Wear gloves specifically made for using caustics.
  • Wear some cool-looking safety glasses.
  • Wear clothes (not kidding).
  • Make sure you cover most of your skin surface area.
  • Create your soap in a well-ventilated place so you don’t pass out in your lye and melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Here is some vital information about lye. Lye is called a few things, sodium hydroxide, caustic soda, and NaOH. When you are selecting a brand at the store make sure it is 100% lye and not mixed with other things that you may not want in your soap.

Items you’ll need:

  • 1 – two quart size, heat-resistant glass or metal mixing bowl. Bowl has to be big enough to keep the lye from slopping over the sides while you stir.
  • 1 – spatula of wood, rubber, or silicone
  • 18 oz – lye
  • 5 c – distilled water
  • 1 – two gallon size, stainless steel cooking pot
  • 1 – thermometer for liquids.
  • 20 c – olive oil, not extra virgin or virgin (takes way too long to form) or any of the lower grade olive oils. The label should say “Olive Oil”.
  • 1 – mold, plastic container with lid or baking pan.
  • 1 – motorized stick-like, hand blender.
  • (optional) essential oils or herbs


  • Pour distilled water into mixing bowl, add lye, stir carefully with spatula until dissolved. The mix will get very hot and produce fumes. Put lye and water mixture in safe place to cool. Wait until warm to touch before next step.
  • Pour olive oil in cooking pot. Heat steadily until oil reaches 100 F/38 C. Check with thermometer. Remove from heat.
  • Pour lye and water mixture into warmed oil. Do this slowly and carefully while stirring oil with spatula. Stir for several minutes until well mixed.
  • Alternate mixing entire substance with spatula and 30 second bursts of stick-like, hand blender. You don’t want to use blender too much since it will keep  soap from reaching the consistency needed to pour into mold.
  • Stir and mix until pudding-like and drizzled soap leaves a trail on the mix.
  • Stir in optional essential oils or herbs and pour into lightly, olive-oiled mold. Cover mold with lid or, if using a baking pan, a board. Cover with blankets.
  • Set for 72 hours. Cut into bars. Place on brown papered shelves in well-ventilated area. Check back in 4 weeks.
  • Yield is about 10 lbs.

This soap can be used on face, hands, and body. Don’t expect much lather. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

May the sun shine through your branches.



  One Response to “Lather Up! Let’s Make Soap”

Comments (1)
  1. Great job Mary! Isn’t soap making fun.

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