Beginner needs recipe advice

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New Member
Jun 6, 2015
Reaction score
Hi, I’m new to soap making but determined to try to create something similar to Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint and Almond Oil soaps as they are becoming increasingly unaffordable. I’ve searched for recipes and can’t find exactly what I’m looking for, so I’m trying to make up my own. (This is probably not wise since I’m inexperienced but I believe in experimenting and learning as you go.)

I’ve decided to start with making a peppermint soap using two oils: coconut oil (76 degree) and olive oil in equal proportions. (I know Bronner’s also uses hemp and some other oils, but these are two oils I already have.) I used the soap calculator at Summer bee ( to determine the amount of water and KOH needed in relation to my oils. My question concerns the water amount. The calculator gives the minimum amount of water. Is this the amount of water that is mixed with the KOH (as opposed to the water that is used for diluting the paste at the end)? And yes, I know the KOH is poured into the water.

The recipe I’m considering is:
12 oz Coconut Oil
12 oz Olive Oil
17 oz distilled water
5.67 oz KOH
2-3 oz peppermint oil
3 oz Borax mixed with 6-10 oz water

I am following the instructions for liquid soap that I found at: but using different oils. This recipe does not include any superfatting but uses borax (or boric acid) to neutralize any excess lye.

Another question I have concerns the finished product. Will the weight of the paste be approximately the weight of the oils plus the KOH, assuming that the water will evaporate in the processing? I’m trying to get an idea of just how much soap this recipe will make. (I’m used to buying Bronner’s by the gallon and diluting it as I use it for months.)

Lastly, I have not been able to find very many hot processed liquid soap recipes. When I search for them online I mostly get recipes for grating bar soap and turning it into liquid soap. I’ve tried looking on this site but it seems to be difficult to sort the liquid soap recipes from the bar soap ones. If anyone has tips on how to improve my search strategies or where to find liquid soap recipes, I’d greatly appreciate the information.

Thank you in advance for your help.
Any new recipes that you develop must be run though a lye calculator. You can't just change the oils and use the same amount of lye.

Also, you don't need to do neutralization. As long as you measure everything by weight with a scale, a 0-3% super fat should work well with liquid soap and does not need neutralization.

Eta: unfortunately there are not many HP liquid soap recipes online. I agree that most are grating a bar.

As for the weight of the final soap, I would just weigh it out when it is done and then dilute it from that!
Last edited:
Ok, I'll run the recipe through the lye calculator again with a 3% superfat and leave off the borax. I still would like verification as to the "minimum water" value that is delivered in the calculator. Is this the value to use in measuring the water that the KOH is mixed with?

I also thought that maybe an experienced soap maker might be able to estimate at least an approximate amount (either in terms of weight of the paste, or in fl oz of diluted soap) how much soap could be made from this amount of oil. It's close to a quart of oil, in fluid ounces, so I'm anticipating that it will make somewhere between a quart and 1/2 gallon of diluted soap. Does this seem like a reasonable approximation? The reason I'd like to know is so I can decide whether to start out with a greater or smaller amount of oil. I don't want to use too much for the 1st try, since I'm experimenting and (hopefully not, but) it may be a total failure. I don't want to start with too little because it's a lot of work and if it succeeds, I want to have enough soap to make my efforts worthwhile. I realize that any estimate would be an approximation at best, since there are many variables involved. But since I've never done this before, any approximation would be helpful and appreciated.
Ditto on the lack of need for borax. Modern soap calculators negate the need for neutralization, and too much might add to your LS superfat.
A Couple of things you want to remember:
1) almost all KOH that is easily available is 90% pure, not 100% - make sure you use a calculator that can do that, such as Summer Bee Meadow advanced, or soap calc. If Im not mistaken the summer bee one uses more water to make the paste, so you need less for dilution.
2) No calculator that I know of gives you the dilution water amount needed - they just get you to the paste. To then dilute just start with the same weight as the paste and go from there, bit by bit and keeping good records. In general, OO LS uses more water to dilute and CO uses less.
3) you really dont want more than 3% superfat, and zero is common for dish or laundry soap. My 100% CO 0% SF soap doesn't dry my hands like commercial dishwashing liquid.

Thanks to Susie and Irish Lass I realized that making HP LS paste IS just like making HP solid soap before molding - I just then store most of the paste in bags and just dilute what I need when the jugs run out.

This web page helped me a lot to see the steps: And Susie's and Irish Lass's posts in the LS soap forum really help.

I dont neutralize, add sequestering nor thickening agents - I cook until the paste is zap free (about 45 min in my crock pot), I dont even worry about clarity testing, and then simply bag for storage or dilute for use. Oh and use distilled or deionized water, or it will never be clear :)

Edit to add: in very general terms that vary with the calculator used, I would expect an all coconut oil soap paste to dissolve in closer to a 1:1 paste:water ratio, and an all olive oil soap paste to want closer to 1:2 (or more) paste to water.
Last edited:
Thanks everyone. Seawolfe, your tips and the link are extremely helpful. I like the idea of storing the paste and then being able to add the fragrance when I'm diluting. I need some time to absorb all this information and I'm also waiting some equipment and supplies to arrive, but I'm anxious to get started. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thanks again.
The amount of water in the calculator is batch water, AKA water to mix with KOH to make the paste. The other water is dilution water.

Then everything SeaWolfe said!

The SBM advanced calculator gives you dilution liquid amounts? Really?
Wow I did not know that. I really need to get over my soap calc dependency :D
Just a little side note to keep in mind if using a crockpot. Make sure your crockpot has a lot of room because LS batter can puff up considerably and volcano at 160 F. I usually make my paste in a large stainless steel canner and cook it in the oven at 170 degrees F, which is the lowest my oven will go. Yep trust me, LS can volcano... If using a crockpot I usually put it in the sink while bringing my batter to trace, just in case.
I really think it is wise to gain experience making bar NaOH soap before KOH LS, but that is just me
I make cold process liquid soap, so I am not an expert on the hot processed. I would not bother cooking this, but that is me.

I certainly would not go through all the steps of making lye excess and neutralization. I would use 3% superfat and never look at the borax box.

Yes, SBM advanced does give dilution water. However, I never use that feature. I start out with half my paste weight in water and add from there(write down how much you add when). Once I get it diluted, I highlight how much total dilution water it took, and start just under that the next time.
Seeing as my cook is done in 30-40 min in the crockpot, I sure Susie's method of just insulating th pot and leaving it overnight would do just as well. But I can be impatient :)
I am impatient also. I just put the lid on the soap and clean up. I zap test as soon as the last thing is clean. I have yet to be zapped at that point.(10-15 minutes average) I then start dilution. Takes me about 3 hours start to finish if I know how much dilution water it needs. But I do cheat getting it to trace. I either use half the water amount in glycerin, or grate 0.5 oz hand made bar soap in there, depending on the type of soap. I hate standing there waiting for trace. If I am really in a hurry, I use 2 stick blenders and alternate for 20 second bursts.(techinstructor-if you continuously stick blend with one blender, you burn out the motor in a hurry.)
A gallon of coconut paste may be a lot but a gallon of diluted CO is not a lot. I always make 2 gallons of co paste just to have around. I love it for cleaning and use straight for cleaning by smearing some on a rag or scoop out a little plop it in my bucket of water when scrubbing my floors. I store mine in a bucket in a room under my house and it lasts a very long time. I use a -3 superfat and have never had to neutralize when I cook my paste
So many choices. I actually was not able to get to the blog to read because my virus software flagged the site as well. I do appreciate the links to IrishLass's video and Susies instructions/recipe. I also really liked the instructions and recipes at the chickens in the road blog. All my stuff has now arrived and I'm hoping to give it a try over the weekend. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks a bunch everyone.