Olive Oil Soap Recipe

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Olive oil soap, best known as Castile soap, is a classic among handmade soaps. It’s one of the simplest soap recipes, great for beginner soapmakers! No need to purchase Castile soap when you can – easily – make it at home.

Olive Oil Soap – The Mildest Soap of All

Olive oil soap, also known as Castile Soap is one of the most traditional and well-known among handmade soaps. Actually, a soap is considered a Castile soap if it contains more than 70% olive oil in its recipe. This recipe is 100% olive oil.

Technically, we can use any type of oil to make soap, but in fact each one of them contributes with different properties to the final soap. For example, coconut oil contributes to hard bars and abundant foam, while sunflower oil contributes to softer and more moisturizing bars. However, too much coconut oil makes the skin “dry” and too much sunflower oil makes the soap bars too soft. Check out all about oils properties for soap bars in Soap Making Oils Chart.

There are few oils that, used in 100% of the recipe, are able to produce good soaps: olive oil, animal fat, palm oil, coconut oil, babassu oil, rice bran oil. The purer the oil, the more natural and better the soap will be. For this reason, it is advisable to use extra virgin olive oil.

By itself, olive oil gives good bars of very gentle and nourishing soap for the skin without being dry, so it is especially suitable for sensitive skin. It produces a not very abundant foam that some may find “slimy”, others will find it creamy. It does not generate abundant foam filled with bubbles like coconut oil, but there is nothing as moisturizing, silky and smooth as a bar of natural olive oil soap.

It’s also the perfect recipe to start soapmaking at home. Due to its natural characteristics, you can learn about this thing called “trace” that soapmakers speak about so often, as this soap traces very slowly.

And it has a small list of ingredients: olive oil, lye, water and salt. You probably have them all at home right now! In addition, the end soap is delicious, very mild and conditioning, a huge difference compared to the bath gels and soaps you buy in stores.

Find Where to Buy Handmade Olive Oil Soap (Castile Soap)

If you’re not yet ready to try to make this recipe at home, but you still wish to enjoy a natural castile soap, you can find handmade olive oil/castile soap in the following links:

Other Soaps – Top 20 Handmade Soap and Shampoo Bars from Apple Valley Natural Soap

Related Posts

Watch These Videos Before Starting Your Recipe

Olive Oil Soap Recipe

Sofia Matias
Basic recipe for a natural olive oil soap, one of the most well-known ingredients for handmade soap. In the end, you will have a very moisturizing, silky and smooth bar of soap.
Difficulty: Beginners
Weight: 225g (7,9 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye concentration: 36%
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
MethodCold Process
ProductSoap Bar
Servings3 soap bars
Cost$0,6 – $4 / 0,5€ – 3,5€


Lye Water

Add After Trace


Get Ready!

  • Wear goggles and gloves! Look at “Safety Recommendations” in the video above or in How to Make Soap From Scratch
  • Watch the video above about "Cold Process Soap Making Tutorial" or read the post How To Make Soap by Cold Process Step-by-Step for instructions on cold process soap making before starting. These are generic but important steps for all recipes.
  • Assemble everything: ingredients, equipment, safety equipment. Prepare your workstations. Measure all the ingredients. Don’t start the recipe without having everything ready!
  • The essential oil is optional. It adds scent to soap. I have suggested lemongrass for this soap, but you can choose your favorite between peppermint, litsea cubeba, tea tree or lavender, or a blend. Just don't exceed the quantity.

Prepare the Lye Water

  • Make the lye solution according to How To Make Lye Water. If using fine salt, add it to the water and dissolve it very well before doing the mixture. Add the lye and mix it until the vapors start to dissipate and the water clears. Strain it to catch any undissolved lye crystals.
  • If using sodium lactate, add it in cooled lye water (below 55ºC – 130ºF) and mix well.

Heat the Oils

  • Heat the olive oil to aprox. 35ºC – 40ºC (95ºF – 104ºF). This step is only to speed up trace, you can actually use it at room temperature.

Make the Soap Batter

  • Use as a target temperature 35ºC-40ºC (95ºF – 104ºF) for the oil-solution mixture. This recipe has a water discount to reduce trace time and cure time. Higher temperature also helps to reach trace.
    However, I've made this soap at 30ºC room temperature (it was a hot summer day) and took me 11 minute to reach trace.
  • Mix the lye water with the oils. Pour carefully using a spatula.
  • Reach trace with the immersion blender. Recipes of 100% olive oil soap take time to reach it, you may need to use the stick blender for about 10-15 minutes. In the end, it should be a liquid opaque pale yellow batter.
  • After trace, add the extract and essential oil. Mix with a spatula.
  • Pour the soap batter in the molds with a pitcher (I don't recommend using box soap molds for olive oil, only silicone ones). Sprinkle with alcohol or witch hazel. You can put in pre-heated oven for gel phase.

Molding and Curing

  • 100% olive oil soaps take time to solidify. By using sodium lactate or fine salt, your soaps will solidify faster. However, it is advisable to leave it in molds for up to 7 days, because of soda ash.
    Let the soap set in molds for 2 to 7 days (depending on your patience 🙂 )
  • Unmold and let the bars cure for 8 weeks minimum. Some soap makers state that Castile soap bar is optimal at 6 months. Maybe because I always use sodium lactate or salt, mine are good to go after 2 months. See How To Cure Handmade Soap.


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10 thoughts on “Olive Oil Soap Recipe”

  1. Hallo,

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    • Hello, and thanks for your comment, suggestions are much appreciated. 

      Blogs are just built like that though, they are supposed to show their posts in the same main window. If you wish to open many posts in new windows you can use the “CTRL” key while clicking on the post. Hope this helps and enjoy my website.

      Cheers, Sofia

  2. Hello! 

    I am still surprised that olive oil is used in these bars and that this is almost to the top of the list of great ingredients to be included! The benefits it gives in how it is used to solidify the soap is super interesting! I do hate that it takes soo long to get the best form to be used!

    Thank you for the information!

    Keep  Being AMAZING 

    • Hello Brendaliz, olive oil is a must-have ingredient in soap making 🙂 Soap made with olive oil may look a bit “creamy”, as it doesn’t foam a lot, but I simply love it and use it everyday, as it is very soft, gentle, and conditioning. 

      As for time that takes to cure, it’s true that best things in life take time to get 🙂 some soaps made with salt, might take around 6 months to cure, but I was told they are simply amazing. I am yet to experiment them. 

      Cheers, Sofia

  3. Hi, I heard many years ago that making soap was easy and I knew it can be made with many soaps, but then whenever I read about this there kept being a mention of this substance called “lye” that everyone else seemed to know what it was except me. Finally – sodium hydroxide! This is very tempting to have a go at making soap but looking at the price of the ingredients I can see that this is not exactly cheap. After all, I don’t live in an olive grove so would have to buy the olive oil This does look fun though. Thanks for this. I learned something. Best regards, Andy

    • Hello Andy and thanks for your comment.

      Soap making is relatively easy and super fun, as long as one gets over the fear to use lye, or sodium hydroxide (yes, that’s what it is 🙂 ). Besides, the resulting soap is a wonderful product to wash yourself with.

      Olive oil is in fact cheap in Portugal, around 3€/l, as we are a big producer of it. But why don’t you try this one: Homemade Coconut Oil Soap Recipe? Coconut oil seems to be relatively cheap everywhere. Use a conventional refined oil, skip scent – essential oils are the most expensive ingredients – and color – you will have a white soap – and your soap can actually be economic. Not cheap but not expensive either, and the quality is worth it.

      Best Regards,

  4. Hi Sofia, I have a sister named Sophia. Spelled with a ph though and guess what? She loves natural soaps, creams, hair products, anything natural lol.. I will share your site with her I am sure she will enjoy it. But I didn’t realize natural homemade soaps was this easy to create, seems the hardest part is the 6-8 weeks to cure. Thanks for sharing your recipes Sofia!

    • Hello CeCemorgan, your comment was very warming to me 😀 thanks a lot! I hope your sister checks my website and shares her experiences as well!

      Soap making is really great, but I guess it’s a passion of mine so I am biased 🙂 but yes they are much more simple to make than we think, they can easily be made at home. Here in Portugal, our grandparents used to make soap at home, with animal fat. I know you can use ashes (filtered water from grey ashes) to make soap – ashes and animal fat were by-products for many households, so it was cheap and sustainable 🙂 . Maybe if you ask your elders in the family, maybe someone remembers someone making soap at home in older times 🙂

      Cheers, Sofia


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