Castile Soap Making Recipe

In the history of soap making, Spain, Italy, and France became centers of soap making because of their abundance of natural products like olive oil. Soaps made with this oil came to be known as Castile soap, named after the Kingdom of Castile which was on the Iberian peninsula, and is now the central part of Spain.

Castile soap making was a sought after practice throughout the history of soap making because Castile soap was the best quality soap available in terms of its effects on the skin. It has great moisturizing effects, keeping the skin soft and smooth. It also was able to keep body odor away for longer, which was important at the time since the invention of deodorant was still centuries away.

Since its invention Castile soap making has gained prestige, and the soaps have risen in value. Today, some of the best soaps in the world are still Castile soaps. This type of soap is also ranked as one of the most expensive soaps in the world because of the price of olive oil. However, you can now create your own olive soap by following the old world practices of Castile soap making. This will be well worth it, especially if you love olive oil soap, since Castile soap making at home is much cheaper than buying the soap from stores!

Here is a recipe for Castile soap:

  • 60 ounces olive oil
  • 10 ounces palm oil
  • 20 ounces coconut oil
  • 10 ounces canola oil
  • 32 ounces water
  • 13.8 ounces lye
  • 4 ounces essential oil

  1. Mix your lye into the distilled water until the lye is dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool to 38 degrees Celsius.

  2. Weigh each of your oils separately, making sure you have exact amounts. Heat your oils till they are well mixed. Once the oils are hot, about 43.3 degrees Celsius, you can slowly allow it to cool down to 38 degrees Celsius.

  3. Once both your lye solution and oils are at 38 degrees Celsius, you can slowly pour in the lye solution into your pot of hot oils. Pour the lye solution in slowly and constantly mix your pot as you pour.

  4. Once your mixture is completely blended and is getting slightly thick, pour in your essential oil or fragrance oil. If you want to add color, now would be the time to do so.

  5. Allow the soap to achieve trace.

  6. Pour the soap into your molds, making sure you even out the tops with a spatula. Wrap the soap molds in towels for 24 to 48 hours.

  7. If it is hard enough, you can remove the soap from your molds and set the soap aside for curing. Curing should take about 3 to 4 weeks. Once cured, the soap is ready for use

When Castile soap making, try using a stick blender instead of stirring it yourself. This will assure you of even mixing, and will help you achieve trace faster. Use your stick blender when you are blending the lye and oils together, however when you are pouring the lye, swirl the stick blender like a spoon (make sure it is off.) You will have to use your stick blender like a spoon during the time you add your fragrance oils as well. This is so that you lessen the risk of having bubbles or air pockets in your soap If you're afraid of using the stick blender, stir the mixture yourself. It may take an hour longer, so it's up to you.

Once you pour your soap into the molds, pick up each mold and tap it against the counter. This helps bubbles or air rise to the top, making sure your soap doesn't trap them inside since they can be detrimental to the saponofication process. Also, be sure to use old towels when wrapping your molds. You wrap your molds with towels so as to trap in the heat of saponification and speed up the process, but you will not be able to use these towels on your body again, so make sure they're the kind you're willing to use for this purpose.