How to Make Homemade Cold-pressed Soap

Cold pressed soap is not only a fun, rewarding hobby, it's easy!

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Making cold pressed soap used to be a common home skill, but with the ease of shopping and manufactured soap it’s fallen out of use. Still, whether you're on a budget, starting up a business, looking for an alternative to store-bought, or just want to play around with some scents of your own, cold pressed soap is an easy skill to pick and can provide all kinds of benefits. Make soap on the cheap and give it out to those in need, make your own scents and sell it on the internet, or make personalized gifts for friends and relatives during the holidays. Cold-pressed soap is a fun and useful hobby to pick up, and the best part is you can make it with relatively simple ingredients.


various ingredients

What You Will Need

The tools you will need are: A kitchen scale, gloves, eyewear, a face mask, hand blender, stainless steel pot, thermometer, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a stainless steel spoon, silicone spatula, a soap mold, parchment paper, and a towel.

The ingredients you will need are: Coconut oil, olive oil, lye, coffee, coffee grounds, and oat bran.

It should also be noted that any containers that come into contact with lye should be kept to soap making purposes only.



Preparing the Ingredients

Using a kitchen scale, weigh out 8.5 ounces of coconut oil in a bowl. Next, measure out and add 12.5 ounces of olive oil.

In a second bowl, measure out 8 ounces of coffee.

In a third bowl, measure out 3.3 ounces of lye.

Measure out 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds and a third a cup of oat bran. Set these aside in a fourth bowl.

Next, put on protective wear such as gloves, eye wear, and a mask. Make sure you have a window open or there is good ventilation in the area. Be sure to always add lye to a liquid, and NEVER a liquid to lye. Add the lye to the coffee and begin to stir. As the lye dissolves a chemical reaction will begin and the mixture will become very hot. Set this aside, and you may remove your protective gear once the lye safely away from you.


Melt the coconut oil and olive oil over a low heat until all chunks have been melted into a smooth liquid. Check the temperature of the oil with your thermometer. Compare this to the temperature of the lye solution and adjust until they are within a couple degrees of each other, eventually evening out to between 100 and 110 degrees.

Pour the lye solution into the oil and use a hand or stick blender to mix until the mixture thickens and becomes the consistency of pudding. With a stick blender, this process should take between 5 and 10 minutes.

Once the mixture has thickened, stir in the coffee grounds and oat bran with your spoon or spatula.

Finally, pour the mixture into a soap mold. Lift and tap down the mold for about 30 seconds to remove any air bubbles. Cover with parchment paper and then wrap it all in with a towel to insulate. After around 24 to 48 hours, you can remove the towel and take the soap out of the mold. You can cut the soap with a knife, then let the soap cure in a cool and dry place for four weeks. This allows the excess water to evaporate. After this, you are free to use your new soap.

Essential oils


This is only one recipe for soap, and you can do all number of things to make your soap your own. Essential oils can provide great natural scents for your soaps. The best scents are strong base scents such as lavender, patchouli, sandalwood, or cedar. Lemon and peppermint can add a nice top note to your scent.

You can also swap out the oil in your soap for others such as palm oil, sunflower oil, soybean, or castor oil. Adding a bit of green tea or eucalyptus oil can have a calming benefit on skin.

You can play with the consistency of your soap, you do not need to tap out the bubbles and can even encourage them by using oils that contribute to a bubbly lather like palm kernel and babassu oil.

While coffee was used in this recipe, water is usually the most common liquid used here but it can be swapped out for a lather boosting liquid such as beer or wine. Liquids that contain high amounts of sugar contribute to a high lather.

If you’re looking for increased hydration, consider replacing the water with goats milk, yogurt, or aloe vera. Increasing the super fat of total oils will help to condition the skin, but will also decrease the lather. If you’re looking for added skincare benefits, you can add more expensive oils at 5 or 10% such as argan, primrose, flaxseed, or jojoba.

If you want to increase bar hardness you may include beeswax at 1 to 5% or stearic acid at .5 to 1 percent of the total soap formula.

Ultimately, the best advice is practice. Create many types of soap and see which one is your favorite. Save samples and compare your soaps, create large batches at once with different percentages of ingredients. Once you get a good handle on what ingredients to what and how they work to create textures and effects, you can begin creating your own highly personalized 

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Abby Marsh

Abby is a Student at Pitt majoring in Communications.
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