cost-effectiveness of making my own soap : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I've recently gotten hooked on handmade cold-process bar soaps; I currently buy bricks from a maker for about 75 cents per ounce, more or less. I have never made soap at home, but I am intrigued by the process and think I'd like to give it a try. Since my husband and I survive on a rather tight budget, I'd love to know about how much it would cost me (supplies, oils, essential oils, etc.) to make my own soaps using the cold process method at home? Can anyone answer this question?

-- Angie Chiavone (, March 07, 2002


Lye is $5.00 per 16 oz. "can." You need 12 oz. Then you need 6# 12 oz. of fat. I use lard 'coz it's easy to find in the Hispanic section. Or go to a renderer. Probably about $1.00 per lb. Along with the correct amount of water this recipe makes 8 POUNDS of soap. That's 128 oz. or 32 4 oz. bars. You may be able to find someone who butchers that will GIVE you the fat in exchange for some bars. Essential oils are wonderful but unnecessary. I use synthetics OR herbs and herb oil. Check the old soap-making threads for more information. I've made soap off and on for 20 years. It really IS economical. Especially when you make your own laundry soap out of it... Good Luck!

-- Gailann Schrader (, March 07, 2002.

Call a few butchers. Some will give you fat to render, some will make you pay for it.

-- Laura Jensen (, March 07, 2002.

Gallian I am interested in your home made laundry soap! A very simple one I make all our bath soap and have seen here laundry soap receipis here that had indgredents hard to find. Do you have a simple one and would like to share? Thanks Coaltrain

-- coaltrain (, March 07, 2002.

I made soap from a $3 can of lye, 13# beef suet at 79 cents a pound, and water. I ended up with 40 bars for $13. It would be more obviously if you want to go with essential oils, etc., but this was just plain old white soap, smelled like Ivory.

-- Christine (, March 07, 2002.

Hello Angie,

My wife has been making it a couple of years now, I cost about 20 cents a bar.



-- (, March 07, 2002.

It can get very expensive also if you get on a soaping forum and everytime someone mentions a product you have not heard of that is suppose to do wonders for your soap, you go to the vendor and find all kinds of goodies that you can't live without. Ask me how I know!!!!!

-- Sheila in NC (, March 07, 2002.

5 BUCKS FOR A CAN??? OHh NOO,, ILl sell you all you want for 4. since I buy it for 2.50,, 1.99 when I find it on sale

-- Stan (, March 08, 2002.

I thought about "making cheap soap". I would think starting out that is the way to go. When I was first making soap we were bugeting to the bone too but...after getting the hang of soap making we went ahead and for our family I made a nice bar with olive, cococonut, palm, cocoa butter and yest essential oils and even added some oxide to match the bath...why...because it was a luxury to take a nice bath with a mild wonderful bar of soap that stop the itching so. we didn't have to buy moisturies. I even wash my face with it and I washed the children with the soap without buy a bunch of babies products. If you are on a homestead and your working hard wouldn't it be worth and dab or two more cents to have something wonderful to take a bath with. I had always made coffee soap for the kitchen and washing hand but we would buy a nice essential oil like lavender for baths. It seems like one area you can be extragant in. I do sell soap how and maybe after getting good at you would be able to sell some to recap the price and have different essential oils. I never use frangrances, I wouldn't want anything clogging my daughters pores. When I first started out I did use animal fat but find all veg soap a delight to take a bath with.

-- debbie (, March 09, 2002.

Coaltrain, do a search in the archives for laundry soap. There are several. I basically use the one that dissolves a coupla bars, shaved or chunked, in water (on the woodstove, gently or it will burn) and then add 1/2-1 cup washing soda, and 1/2-1 cup borax. I use one of those buckets that cat litter comes in and dump it all in, then fill it almost to the top with water and whisk well. It'll gel. It won't EVER foam the way we've been trained to see with detergents, but cleans well. Good Luck! And, Stan, if I still needed lye I would certainly take you up on your offer but I had a couple GIVE me a metal barrel (small one) FULL of flake lye! In exchange for some soap.... But thanks anyway. The grocery store tends to skin you on lye. I reckon because of the MethAmphetamine labs or something...

-- Gailann Schrader (, March 12, 2002.

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