Coconut Laundry Soap (1% superfat)

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Coconut Laundry Soap (1% superfat)
This is a Re-Blog from:

and links to Pure Coconut Oil Soap 


soap recipe
Amazing Lather? Check!

Simple ingredients? Yep, only three.

When it comes to soap, this is probably the easiest recipe you’ll ever make. If you’re willing to break a few rules it can one of the most versatile, too. Here’s what I mean:

Traditionally, soaps are made from 5-7 oils blended to balance cleansing/moisturizing/and lathering properties. Coconut oil is not used in more than a 30% concentration because it’s so effective at breaking up oil/grease that it can be drying.

Fortunately, there’s a way to simplify things without skimping on the ends product. It’s called “superfatting.” Basically, you add the equivalent of “one quarter moisturizing cream” like big brands do, only you leave out the toxic slew of chemicals that usually go with it. By adding 20% more coconut oil than the lye can convert to soap, you end up with a luxurious body bar. Of course, this doesn’t work with most vegetable oils which go rancid easily – coconut oil’s high shelf stability is what makes it a good choice here.

The best part? Not only can you superfat and get the best of both worlds for your skin, you can break another rule and get your laundry clean, too!



All amounts are per weight. You will need to use a scale for these measurements.

Lathering Skin Bar (20% superfat)

Note: Because this soap is highly superfatted it can create a very dense lather when rubbed directly on skin. For a light, bubbly effect I recommend lathering with a natural sponge.

  • 33 oz coconut oil, 76 degree* (where to buy coconut oil)
  • 4.83 ounces lye (NaOH)**
  • 12.54 oz water
  • .5 – 1 ounce essential oils (optional)
How To Adapt This Recipe To Make Laundry Soap

Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent Made Easy

Normally it is not advised to make soap with under 4% superfat due to the fact that it can be excessively drying and even burn skin if some of the lye remains unconverted, but for laundry soap it’s perfect!

I’ve found that using a 1% superfatted recipe yields a very cleansing bar with no extra oil. Since I’m washing my clothes to get oil OUT rather than put it IN, this totally works for me. I’ve actually washed my hands with this version and have never had any irritation from it, but it’s really only recommended for laundry.

Here’s the full scoop on making your own laundry detergent.

I’ve included the recipe for 1% superfatted coconut oil soap below.

Sorting Out Life, One Load At A Time

I’ve done my share of lumpy laundry. Newborn clothes with with the tags and hangers still on? Check. “Gifts” from my helpers, including a trojan poopy diaper in my whites? Oh yeah.

As you can imagine, I’ve been more than happy just to be able to keep clean underoos in the house at all times for the past few years. Buying “eco-friendly” laundry detergent seemed like a pretty good option until I re-read my brands ingredient list recently. Undisclosed proprietary ingredients? No thanks!
If you’re looking for a good, non-toxic brand I did eventually find one here, but not before I learned to make a simple homemade  powder version that WORKS. The basic recipe is nearly identical to this one, but for some reason every time I share this link with someone it seemed to create more questions than answers. I dunno, it made perfect sense to me, but for what it’s worth here is exactly. what. I. do.

But first, let’s talk ingredients!

Powdered Laundry Detergent: What You Really Need

How To Make Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent

Bar Soap (ALWAYS) – Coconut oil-based soaps are best, but tallow and lard can also be used.

Baking Soda (SOMETIMES) – No one uses this in commercial formulas . . . not even Arm & Hammer! According to this post, “Baking soda is only half as strong as washing soda at softening water and doesn’t allow the cleaning pH to go nearly as high.   And if you have a stronger product on hand, why dilute it with a weaker one?” Fortunately, if you have some on hand you can use it to make washing soda.

Borax (NOPE)- Opinions are split on whether this product is safe, so I avoid it when possible. Fortunately, according this post washing soda perform the same function, so you’re not missing out on anything. (Plus, from what I hear Borax only works well in hot water)

Lemon Essential Oil (DEFINITELY) – Works well as a stain remover and de-greaser. I just dab a few drops on stains as I find them and then throw them in the wash.

Vinegar (YUP) – Though not a part of the main recipe, I use 1/2 cup vinegar as a rinse for two reasons:

  1. Laundry detergent has a very alkaline pH, which can irritate skin. Using a vinegar rinse resets the pH to a skin-friendly level
  2. It helps dissolve excess detergent and salts off clothes

Oxiclean or Peroxide (SOMETIMES) – For brightening whites.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

homemade natural laundry detergent recipe

Ingredients {Washes 42 – 62 Loads}

42 tablespoons

  • 6 cups washing soda (Holly Homemaker has an AWESOME recipe for this here’s the link)
  • Three bars of 4.5 – 5 ounce soap, finely grated (one made with coconut oil works best, here’s how to make it)
  • lemon essential oil (optional)

Additional Items You’ll Want To Have On Hand:

More on what to do with this stuff in the instructions below

To Make:

  1. Cut soap into small chunks. Add to the food processor along with the washing soda.
  2. Blend until you have a fine powder. You may want to lay a dish towel over the top of your food processor to prevent a fine mist of powder from floating into the air. Also, let it settle a bit before opening the container or the powder will float onto your kitchen counter!
  3. Pour into a clean container (keep the essential oil next to the jar and add 5 drops with each load)

To Use:

These instructions are for a top loader. I don’t have any experience with front loaders, sorry!

  1. Add 2-3 tablespoons laundry detergent per load ( If you are washing in cold water, dissolve it in hot water before adding it in. I prefer to start each load with a little hot water to dissolve and then put  my laundry in)
  2. If desired, add about five drops of lemon essential oil as a degreaser
  3. If washing whites, add a scoop of Oxi clean or pour 1/2 cup peroxide in the bleach compartment
  4. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a Downy ball or the fabric softener compartment
  5. For extra fabric softening goodness and a shorter drying time, toss some felted wool dryer balls in the dryer with your clothes.

Is This HE Safe?

This soap is low-sudsing, so theoretically it should be fine for HE washers. A very similar recipe found on the Kirk’s Castile Soap website is said to be safe and offers the following information and tips:

  • “This powered recipe is great for High Efficiency washers because it is very low sudsing.
  • It is important that you grate the bar soap very finely for HE washers.”

Special notes:

  1. As with other detergents, it is recommended that you cut the amount used in half for HE machines.
  2. Be sure to check your owner’s manual – using certain types of products may void your warranty.

Is This Septic System Safe?

Yes, all of the ingredients in this recipe are considered septic system safe.

Are you ready to get started?

Laundry Soap (1% superfat)

All amounts are by weight

  • 33 oz coconut oil, 76 degree*
  • 5.9 ounces lye (NaOH)**
  • 12 oz water
  • .5 – 1 ounce essential oils (optional)

* For soapmaking purposes there are several types of coconut oil. The stuff I buy has a melting point of 76 degrees. This is the most commonly available kind and the preferred type for soap making. There is also a coconut oil that has a melting point of 92 degrees and another that is “fractionated,” meaning that the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving only saturated fats. I have not tested this recipe with either the 92 degree or fractionated oils, but it works well with the 76 degree type.

** You can often find 100% lye in the drain cleaner section of a mom n’ pop hardware store. Lye is a naturally occurring substance that can be made by burning hardwoods and boiling the ashes, but it’s much easier to just buy. If you don’t see it, ask a sales clerk for help. They may be keeping it behind the counter because it has multiple uses. Be prepared to explain that you want to make soap, not meth. :)


  • crock pot
  • stick blender
  • digital scale
  • thermometer
  • glass measuring cups
  • small glass bowls
  • plastic spoon with long handle
  • rubber spatula
  • sink or bowl filled with vinegar and soap mixture (for cleaning anything that comes in contact with lye)
  • protective equipment: long-sleeved shirt, plastic/rubber gloves, safety glasses or protective eye gear
  • soap mold – A standard sized bread pan is perfect for this batch, cardboard boxes will also work
  • parchment paper for lining the soap mold
Photo Tutorial:

Step 1: Weigh your ingredients and set your crockpot to low

soap recipe

Step 2: Add water to a medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl and take it outside along with the lye and long-handled spoon. While wearing your protective gear and taking care not to breathe the vapors, slowly add the lye to the water while mixing gently. Order is important here, so make sure it is the lye you’re pouring into the water.

soap recipe

The mixture will get very hot so be careful! Let it transition from cloudy to clear, then bring it inside. Let cool for 5-10 minutes while you work on step 3.

Step 3: Place coconut oil in a saucepan and heat to 120-130F. Make sure that your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot when taking your reading.

soap recipe

Step 4: Place coconut oil in your crockpot

soap recipe

Step 5: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.

soap recipe

Step 6: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward “trace.” You’ll know trace is achieved when the mixture has the texture and thickness of a light pudding.

soap recipe

Step 7: Cover and let cook on low. During this process the oils should rise up the sides like a wave and then fold back into the mixture. Mine usually takes 45 minutes – 1 hour but the cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot is. Check on it often.

soap recipe

Step 8: When the soap is ready it should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline with no oil puddles in the middle. There are two ways to test and see if it’s done. First, dip a PH test strip and wait several minutes for it to fully change color. It should be between 7-10. If it is higher than 10 it’s not done. For a slightly less scientific approach, take a little of the soap and rub it between your fingers. It should feel a bit waxy. Now touch it to your tongue. If it ‘zaps’ you, it’s not done. Note: It is really important to make sure all the lye is converted – otherwise the finished soap can burn!

soap recipe

Step 9: If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture cools a little and then add them, otherwise they will lose their fragrance. (I skipped this, so no photo!)

Step 10:  Spoon mixture into your mold and let cool. If you want to speed up this process put it in the fridge

soap recipe

Step 11: Unlike other bars which need to harden for 24 hours before being cut, coconut oil makes a very hard bar that will be difficult to cut if you let it dry too long. Cut as soon as it’s cool and firm.

Step 12: In an area with good air flow, place bars on a rack/tray with about an inch of space between them. Allow them to dry out and harden for another few days. Though you can try your first bar right away, it’s best to let them sit for 2-3 weeks to let the conditioning properties fully develop.

soap recipe

Shelf Life

About 1 year when stored in a cool, dry place.

Check out their latest e-book: DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.

In this 180 page guide, you’ll learn how ridiculously easy it is to make your own shampoo, conditioner, lotion, tooth whitener, body balm, soap, baby products and more.

Disclaimer: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soapmakers responsibility to research safety procedures for soapmaking.


3 thoughts on “Coconut Laundry Soap (1% superfat)

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